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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Sangean ATS 909X Receiver Help

Reviews Summary for Sangean ATS 909X Receiver
Sangean ATS 909X Receiver Reviews: 26 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $449.00
Description: AM/FM/SW receiver
Product is in production.
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KD9AUR Rating: 5/5 Feb 12, 2014 13:18 Send this review to a friend
Best in its Price Class!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I had been comparing the Sangean to the Tecsun PL-660 and PL-880. I wound up returning the PL-880 for a refund as the 909X is a much better radio than the PL-880 with less bugs.

My main complaint with the 909X was that it was definitely less sensitive on the whip antenna than either the PL-660 and the PL-880. This was discussed in the ATS-909X Yahoo Group, and one of the members came up with a 4:1 BALUN mod for the whip antenna which has resolved the problem so well that my 909X is now definitely more sensitive on the whip on SW than either the Tecsun PL-880 or the PL-660. If you have one of these radios, I highly recommend the mod. Instructions can be found in the files section of the Yahoo Group.

I also prefer the FM on the 909X over the Tecsuns. The RDS works flawlessly and the sound is to write home about. You can also set the radio to automatically set the clock from the RDS data. I do not do much on LW or MW so I can't comment much on that except to say the MW sounds excellent on the speaker, and the ferrite bar antenna appears to be very good as the radio is as sensitive on MW as any of my other portables.

On shortwave, I use both the whip antenna as well as an external antenna. The 909X handles the external antenna quite well and has proved to be just as sensitive as my Icom R-75. You occasionally have to back off the RF Gain slightly on the external antenna , but it is easily adjustable, and I far prefer the ability to fine tune the RF gain over a Local/DX switch. While I prefer a BFO, the 40 Hz tuning for SSB is more than adequate for the job, and the DSP makes for easily readable weak signals. Weak signal SSB distortion (whether from an AGC hardware design flaw, or firmware problems) was my major complaint against the PL-880.

As far as the tuning knob, I have gotten used to it now, and I do not mind the detent at all. In fact, It is quite useful in staying on frequency if you are moving the radio around.

The other things I like about the ATS-909X are the large display and classy looks. It also has enough room on the inside to easily mod it. I also feel the operation is more intuitive than the Tecsun's, and you don't have to remember the "hidden functions" and deal with the soft mute issues. The backlight on the display has a separate button to turn it on and off, and it is bright and makes the display easy to read from any angle.

The 4 KHz and 6 KHz filters have an IF of 450 KHz as opposed to 455 KHz, so replacing one filter will be somewhat limited in choice. Most people who feel the wide filter could be wider opt to replace both filters with 455 KHz filters. For myself, most of my listening is done on headphones in USB, and the 4 KHz filter is perfect. Adjusting the passband is fairly easy with separate trimmers for each filter. When I am listening in AM on the speaker, while it could be a little brighter, it still sound great to me.

I personally believe this is the best radio in its price class, and highly recommend it.
SAILCAT Rating: 4/5 May 6, 2013 21:11 Send this review to a friend
Thumbs Up!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought the Sangean ATS-909x few weeks ago and I like its performance. It has very good, if not quite excellent, MW capabilities and it also has excellent FM sensitivity. SW is very good to excellent, as well. Not interested in SSB, so I cannot address its performance in that area. The audio is surprisingly good from such a small package and it is very satisfying to listen to. Controls are intuitive and well laid out, requiring a short learning curve to operate. Construction quality is very good, as well. It is solid and it has no mysterious rattles or loose bits that would be annoying. It is a pretty handsome design, too. The price is rather steep but it is nice to have a radio that provides the impression that it will be around for a long time. Overall, the ATS-909X is a very good radio and I would give it a 4.5 rating if I could. Recommended.
SAILCAT Rating: 4/5 May 1, 2013 21:51 Send this review to a friend
Expensive, Imperfect, But Very Good Portable  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Briefly, the Sangean ATS 909X is crammed with desirable features and it is a strong performer for a relatively compact portable radio. Is it perfect? Alas, no. MW is very good but not excellent, although it is close. FM is excellent by most measures and SW is strong but perhaps not up to the level as the Tecsun 660, but it is very good, nonetheless. Controls are intelligently devised and intuitive, quite unlike the classic Sony 7600GR, another very good MW/FM/SW radio. Overall, it is a worthwhile purchase but it is rather expensive. Recommended.
KB3DIV Rating: 5/5 Mar 2, 2013 16:14 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
For the new in the box price of $200.00 I feel I got a deal. If you don't read directions you won't be able to run any piece of equipment to its full ability. Most of the negative posts on this review are user error inflicted, I assure you! I hear everything very well with the supplied antenna(s) as well as outstanding results with the external connected wire outside. I installed 4 rechargable batteries and find the operation and functions to be better than expected.
AUSSIE Rating: 5/5 Aug 21, 2012 15:45 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Portable Receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I picked up a brand new Sangean ATS-909X new batch direct from taiwan for $155 australi with shipping didnt get an adapter end english manual no big deal,The cost in australia is between $380-$550 for waht i paid for performance on hf aero is excellent with its own telescopic antenna was able to copy stations from auckland,
brisbane,manila,nandi,new york ,singapore hooked up to a outdoor Wellbrook-ALA1530AL-1 active loop can hear stations like my other receivers all i can say its a keeper..
WA3YAY Rating: 4/5 May 4, 2012 15:30 Send this review to a friend
Fixed the tuning knob  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Had the radio less than an hour and it was up on the bench in full warranty-voiding mode. Took it apart, unsoldered the tuning control, removed the detent spring, reassembled and now it's a pleasure to use. Whoever at Sangean thought that design was a good idea needs a refresher in mechanical design.

If you want some insight to how to do this, go to the bottom of where I sort of document the whole affair. Just a mechanical mod that you can do with some patience, soldering skills and a good magnifying glass.

As for the radio itself, it's nice. The quality is good and the performance ranks a 5 for shortwave broadcast listening and a 4 for Amateur use. The filters are just a little wide for CW. FM audio is superb. Overall a decent radio.

But the price is too high. I knew ahead of time that if I wanted to, I could have bought a Tecsun PL-660 and would have been happy. Or maybe a Kaito 1103, but I was in the mood for a replacement for my old ATS-909 and had a bug up my butt for the X model. Was it worth another $75 or so. Probably not, but the deed is done.

The only thing I wish I could have improved is the feel of the tuning control. It's a fine thought to place the knob on the front, but the mechanical design was half-baked. I tried everything I could think of to make the thing smoother, including Teflon shims, but to no avail.

Still a decent radio.
9V1JP Rating: 5/5 Apr 30, 2012 06:20 Send this review to a friend
Great Receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I learned about the newest worldband receiver from Sangean about 2-3 months ago. I did not buy it until my trip to Taiwan. Finally bought it from BEST electronic store in Taipei. I happen to have my Eton E1-XM with me. Did a quick A-B comparison with the built in telescopic whip antenna. Sangean seems to perform better in the MW band. On the SW band, the Eton E1-XM seem to be better in terms of readability and sensitivity. I have not had opportunity to compare SSB reception at the moment. The Synchronous Detection on the E1 helps in eliminating fading and increases readability/intelligability of the signals.

For the price and the size of the Sangean, I think it is much more portable for travelling. But for tabletop applications, I prefer the E1.
VK2GJF Rating: 4/5 Apr 22, 2012 19:19 Send this review to a friend
A nice portable  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently had the opportunity to purchase a used version of this radio date stamped 01/11 with an early version of the firmware. I like the look of the radio very much and the backlit display is superb. I found the audio good for such a small speaker and the functionality good. I compared it side by side with the original 909 as well as the Sangean PR-D5 and Tecsun S2000. Lets face it, this is a portable radio for casual listening and NOT a communications receiver by any stretch of the imagination. So with that in mind, it does a very good job. Audio was better than the original 909, much crisper, sensitivity on AM was on par but FM was much better. Side by side on MW, the PR-D5 outclassed all the radios tested but on SW (PR-D5 excluded), the radios performed closely with the Tecsun (Grundig Satellit 750), performing slightly better. Yes, it would have been great with a Synch detector, Tecsun have shown that this can be included in cheaper portables with good results, so for the new price of the Sangean, I feel it was an oversight. I found the buttons needed sometimes pushing more than once and what I find the biggest let down is the thumbwheel tuning, quite frankly, its a pain to use! What a shame that Sangean did away with the tuning control placed on the side like the original version for the sake of what maybe aesthetics. Overall, it is an improvement on the original 909, albeit just but as stated, I like the look of the radio overall and it will be a keeper. One to add to your collection if you want a nice portable radio to play with. I would have rated it higher except for the thumbwheel tuning.
PA0RCL Rating: 4/5 Mar 19, 2012 02:35 Send this review to a friend
Primarily a BC receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Letís face it, this is radio intended for broadcast listeners and not primarily for hams. For the latter group, it just lacks some selectivity on SSB, let alone on CW. Tuning across the amateur bands is not very comfortable with the dented steps of the tuning knob and fine tuning on an SSB station is not that easy. I find the AGCís response too fast with strong amateur stations (the "pumping" soon becomes irritating) although this can be overcome somewhat by reducing the RF gain. A minor isssue is that the S-meter merely indicates a number of bars, not S-units and that the frequency display has no decimal digit. These issues, except the ones relating to the display, apparently have been solved in the Radio Labs version of the ATS-909X. I would have given that one a five (had I bought it) and consequently I give the original ATS-909X a four.
For the broadcast listener, this portable radio is an excellent choice. It has good sensitivity and sound quality and plenty of memories to store favourite stations. It has good looks, too.
All in all, this is a radio that cannot be beaten for the invested money.
KD5HLB Rating: 5/5 Feb 19, 2012 13:56 Send this review to a friend
Excellent receiver!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
For the money it is by far the best communications receiver on the market today. The step button for fine tuning SSB signals is better than what you will find on other receivers in that price bracket. I use mine for emergency management with my amateur radio station. I highly recommend it for city or county EOC, or for your personal use.
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