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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Panasonic RF-4900 Help

Reviews Summary for Panasonic RF-4900
Panasonic RF-4900 Reviews: 24 Average rating: 3.9/5 MSRP: $$479
Description: General Coverage communications receiver.
Product is in production.
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KC4MOP Rating: 4/5 Jul 23, 2015 14:30 Send this review to a friend
Not Bad For An 80's Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got this radio from eBay for $240.00. The usual scratchy controls and selector switches. Everything works and sounds pretty decent with built-in speaker. Connecting to an eternal amp and bigger speakers makes the radio shine. Definitely not very portable. Without the 8-D-Cells it weighs 18lbs. I was not looking for anything like a palm sized radio or a Grundig. This would be a good radio to take camping and access to 12vdc and some portable antennas.
The radio jumps to life with external antennas to the appropriate terminals. FM has its terminal, MW and SW-1 has its own and then the remaining SW bands have another. You can choose wire clips or a PL259 for the SW-3-10. The external antenna for MW (AM band) and SW-1(top of AM band and 160M) was a mystery to me because it was not doing anything to increase reception of AM broadcast UNTIL I grounded the radio chassis to my Ham station ground. Pretty nice sensitivity. One reviewer here noticed birdies. That is from front end overload. By reducing the RF gain the birdies and what sounds like a bunch of AM stations in the background disappears. So I will devise a setup that will include a 75 ohm attenuator to prevent RF overload. Other people complain that the SSB is drift city. I did not notice that on a lengthy QSO between Ham ops on 20M.
I could not justify getting a general coverage receiver that was going to be in the $500-$800 range.
THUNDER291 Rating: 5/5 May 16, 2014 17:36 Send this review to a friend
love this rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
four years of use its going strong got through a trade great rig
GREEME Rating: 4/5 Mar 3, 2014 13:45 Send this review to a friend
My DR49  Time owned: more than 12 months
Had a DR49 (RF4900) from new, and it's been my main receiver for HF, SW broadcast,etc. Still works to this day, on the supplied telescopic whip. Had some great catches on it. True it is a bit tricky keeping the SSB but otherwise a great piece of kit.
KP4FAR Rating: 5/5 Jun 30, 2013 19:46 Send this review to a friend
This is an excellent sw set. v  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got my RF4900 on a trade for another SW set. It was not well electronically. Various transistors including two FETs had to be replaced along with a voltage regulator and a Zener diode. When it came alive a complete alignment was done. Afterwards I found out how good and sensitive this receiver is. Tuning is easy using the combined digital analog displays. Audio is excellent and selectivity adequate. It could have been placed in a smaller package but I guess that Panasonic knew that the military style cabinet would sell better. I like its looks. One important fact is that most of the replaced transistors had Radio Shack available equivalents. The RF4900 is not a modern R75 but it does a great job on shortwave.
DXTUNER Rating: 3/5 Sep 27, 2012 19:41 Send this review to a friend
It'd be great except for one thing.  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a highly sensitive, good sounding radio that's fun to sit behind & use. Selectivity is pretty decent for a consumer-oriented SWL unit. The big drawback though is awful drift on sideband. I've had 3 RF-4900s, they were all like that. Holding onto to an SSB signal is like trying to grab a bar of soap in a bathtub. Otherwise this would the Cadillac of consumer grade receivers.
VE2ITZ Rating: 4/5 Apr 2, 2012 18:55 Send this review to a friend
Happy camper  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Got it for a good price. I was looking for a decent shortwave receiver from the early 80s era to relive fond memories of my late father. I recall him having an RF-2900.

The RF-4900 seems to be the big Brother of the Panasonic line at the time.

Not a DX machine like others have said but quite sensitive and good performance for the price paid. Being top of the Panasonic line for its Era I am very satisfied for my Shortwave experience.

Mine is in a very nice shape. The 2 year guarantee sticker is still on the front panel! Does that mean It is still covered.....?

In my fond memories and dreams!

BMW Rating: 5/5 Nov 3, 2010 08:42 Send this review to a friend
Great for an analog set  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm a little bit surprised at the low overall rating this radio has received. There's a lot to like about this radio and not much to not like - on shortwave, I'd say this is one of the best analog sets out there, so for what it is (analog), I give it a 5 out of 5.

I picked mine up in somewhat rough shape on ebay for $120 - cosmetically it looked great but it had a broken knob shaft, 2 missing knobs, a missing battery cover, and some very scratchy controls. Upon replacing the broken shaft as well as replacing the knobs with some old knobs I had lying around and hitting up all the knobs and switches with a quick shot of de-oxit, everything functioned great. I then spent several hours giving this thing an RF alignment on all the shortwave bands (some of which were way off) which was actually pretty easy to do just by ear and using the RF-4800 service manual which I found online (the RF-4800 and 4900 are identical as far as position of alignment points on the board), let me tell you, this is one sensitive receiver.

As far as signal stability, its not perfect, but its as good as you'll find in an analog set, and I find SSB reception to be adequate for casual listening. Yesterday I listened for a good hour to 14.3 MHZ (the Maritime Mobile Service Network) and was picking up communications from all over the country, and this is on just a small car CB antenna barely above ground level. Once I got the frequency and BFO pitch set perfectly, they only needed the smallest of adjustments every so often.

Also after alignment and calibration, the digital frequency counter is almost spot-on across the entire bandspread. Frequency drift from power up to warm up is only about 0.002 mhz.

Other notes - AM seems sensitive enough, haven't gotten around to testing FM much yet (though that is not why I bought this receiver), tuning is really smooth, and overall this is just a great looking set. If you're looking for an analog shortwave receiver in the $200 range that has a digital display, this is the one to buy, I highly recommend it.
KB3QIA Rating: 4/5 Nov 17, 2009 10:46 Send this review to a friend
Nice Receiver Even Today  Time owned: more than 12 months
While it might not be as stable as some receivers, the RF-4900 (DR-49 outside the US) has many things to recommend it. It's one of the better looking sets out there, especially when well kept. The sound is as good as any that I've heard from a solid-state rig, and it's just a lot of fun to use! I've used mine for several years now, and I find it can go after the tough catches just as well as a more modern set. I own both the RF-4900 and the DR-49, and they are both terrific sets. Would give a 4 1/2 if I could!
K9PU Rating: 3/5 Dec 28, 2008 16:08 Send this review to a friend
OK AM/FM  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had this radio for over twenty years (I think it was the eighties). It has never failed, never required service.

OK radio on AM and FM. Not my idea of a DX radio but has external antenna connectors so much better than most. External (attacthed) adjustable "rod" AM antenna on back can rotate for directional variations, although seems fragile, it works.

Digital display is a bit off most of the time but has a recessed "tweeker" knob for corrections. Pots (volume et al) get a bit scratchy if not used regularly. On/off switch likewise.

Shortwave is a bit drifty. Ham (SSB and CW with BFO) are usable but not stable. External antenna connectors, both coax and wire types on back panel for SW.

For it's time, a good radio, way better than my old Zenith Trans Oceanic (without a BFO). Can buy much better all-around radio today, but for casual listening if the price it right....
WPE9JRL Rating: 4/5 Dec 2, 2008 18:18 Send this review to a friend
Radio Enjoyment  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought mine on eBay as a diamond-in-the-rough. I was ready to send it back to the seller once looking at it after opening the shippng box. But, I decided to plug it in and just see what this big box of a radio could do. I attached an antenna and took it for a spin....I was hooked! Spent the next four nights removing years of gunk from the cabinet, front panel, knobs. Cleaning the pots (volume, bass, treble) cured the maddening scratchiness of the controls. Exercising the remaining switches quieted them down. Suddenly with a little cleanup, I had a somewhat respectable radio.

The RF-4900 is what it is. It's a nice sounding tabletop set that was designed to satisfy the listening needs of the average non-technical SWL'er. I think it does that very well. It is fun to use and has very pleasing, loud undistorted detected audio. Panasonic did something right in that area. Sure, it's not as stable as an Icom Pro in the SSB department...but touching up the BFO every once in a while was part of the radio experience thirty years ago. It does do a respectable job of SSB for casual listening. Sensitivity seems fine.

Bottom line: It's just a fun radio to use. Lots of knobs and switches on that big front panel....who cares if there's two cubic feet of air inside the cabinet? Works decently, sounds great. Attach a simple long wire and away we go!

BTW, I've been in "radio" for about forty years. I have owned or do own several very expensive sets. Sometimes you just need a simple box like this one that does it all and is a pleasure to listen to.

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