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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Radio Shack DX-396 Help

Reviews Summary for Radio Shack DX-396
Radio Shack DX-396 Reviews: 7 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $99.99
Description: Shortwave Reciever
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the Radio Shack DX-396.

KG6QNK Rating: 5/5 Jun 15, 2011 09:46 Send this review to a friend
Has been a lot of fun  Time owned: more than 12 months
I am not sure how many years I have had this Radio; probably close to 15 years. During this period has been used heavily. Radio does have some age-related issues; however, still works like a Volkswagon.

Good overall performer considering it's price range. Allthough it's good for audio quality, on the AM Band, the passband for Shortwave is fixed excessively wide. This tends to negate the otherwise good sensitivity of this unit by burying weak signals in noise and admitting side band splash from nearby signals.

I do miss the lack of SSB capabilty sometimes. I have used a kit built BFO and an old AM Radio placed nearby to beat a note...both methods worked allright; however, if SSB and CW reception is important to you, get a Radio with SSB capability.

I read somewhere that if you find a "Birdie" on the AM Band around 1300 kHz you most likely have a lemon. Mine does not have this problem so evidently I got a good one.

Radio was purchased for Shortwave use; however, FM is stereo through headphones and sounds excellent. AM Band performance is darn good for a little compact portable. By the way, if you have ever heard Morse Code at the bottom of the AM Band, it is probably aeronautical Beacon, used for navigation, usually transmit only 25 watts.

I have had a lot of fun with this Radio, probably will retire it soon and upgrade. If you can find one at a garage sale, cheap, you might want to consider it.
KB0HAE Rating: 4/5 Apr 3, 2008 00:07 Send this review to a friend
Good receiver for SW broadcast listening.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I got this receiver in a trade practically for free. Its not a bad performer but can't compare to my Grundig G5. Several things bugged me about the radio. No backlight, it uses C batteries, and no external antenna jack. I made an AA battery case out of an old defunct booklight so that I could use the radio with some AA NiMH batteries that I had on hand. They will run the radio for a long time. I also added an external antenna jack. I mounted it just below the hand strap swivel. I connected the jack to the same spot as the whip antenna, and the ground on the circuit board. This made a big difference when using a coax fed external antenna, instead of connecting the center of the coax to the whip.

I couldn't find a way to add a backlight though. Not a bad receiver for listening to SW broadcast stations if you can get one for under $30.00

For better performance, and SSB capability, go for the Grundig G5, or the Kaito KA-1102.
KA6JIA Rating: 4/5 Apr 17, 2003 13:53 Send this review to a friend
Good Deal  Time owned: more than 12 months
For the beginner,and general casual listener;it's
a fine receiver. Had mine for 2 years;has payed
for itself many times over. I did have to clean
the circuit boards of excess flux;and install a
lockwasher to keep the antenna tight. That having
been said,I have no regrets-the price of mass
production. I have collected a fair number of
QSL cards and done some technical monitoring with
it. There is no such thing as a perfect receiver;
for $69.00 this one isn't bad.
AE5DY Rating: 4/5 Mar 21, 2003 00:34 Send this review to a friend
Nice radio; get it on sale  Time owned: more than 12 months
There are a couple of things I do not like about this radio: no SSB, it's not good for weak stations (just like the other reviews say), and there is no external antenna jack.

That said, it's a pretty good radio IF you can get it for $50 or less. (I bought it "on sale" at $60; I've never seen it for more than that since. Go figure.)

For the beginning or only occasional SWL, this radio is a good choice. I am looking forward to upgrading to a Sangean 909 (or 909 Deluxe from C. Crane), hopefully in the near future.
KB8ASO Rating: 5/5 Mar 10, 2003 20:47 Send this review to a friend
Great for the money. $29.95 now!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just picked one up at the local Radio Shack for $29.95 on clearance. I couldn't leave it behind for that price! It will beat anything out there in the same ($30.00) price range. Have the manager check the computer for stores in your area to see if they still have one left. It is well worth the hunt. It looks to be made by Sangean. Fit and finish are good. For $99.95 it was a bit overpriced, but now it's a steal. It is no 756pro or a FRG-7 for that matter, but for a knock-a-bout portable it is ideal. Battery life is good and it uses 2 C cells. Audio is good for it's size and is sensitive enough to recieve most SW broadcasters that run more than fleapower. Not bad on AM band either. No SSB. FM is good. I live in a fringe area and it recieves FM stations well 50-70 miles out. It also has direct keyboard entry of frequency. Little skimpy on memories,(only 10) dual timezone clock, alarm, and it scans memories or bands. I wish it had a back lighted LCD.

Randy AB9GO
ALTOCU Rating: 4/5 Mar 7, 2002 04:57 Send this review to a friend
Overall thoughts  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased the 396 while on sale for 70.00 us dollars. First impression was that the receiver had good overall mediumwave sensitivity. I'm new to shortwave so I'm not sure how to compare the shortwave performance as compared to other receivers. However, I am very satisified with the ability of this receiver to pull in the strong stations with an occasional unexpected weak station. The downside of the receiver is the spurious signals on FM...its average at best...with lots of ghost signals at times. That said the audio quality is quite good for the size of the radio. One of the strongest positives about this radio is the battery life which has been over two weeks so far and counting. From what I have heard about the DX402/Sangean 505...this receiver is just as sensitive while 50-60 dollars cheaper. I like the overall sensitivity of the receiver and the battery life along with good audio quality...hard to pass up for 70 bucks.
KB1CKT Rating: 4/5 Nov 20, 2001 12:50 Send this review to a friend
Good when on sale  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Note: this product occasionally goes on sale for about 70 dollars.

I bought this when it went on sale, to see if I really wanted to invest any money into listening to shortwave. I wanted a small reciever, as no doubt everyone else does, that covered the sw bands and more. This unit does that easily, and does the regular broadcast bands too.

It is not a great weak signal performer, and it does not have the syncronous AM detect; and the filtering isn't that great. But, it does quite well given it's size and portability. I like it for the fact that I can prop it up on desk and listen while I'm swinging the soldering iron, or I can grab it and put it next to the couch when I'm reading. Battery life has been good so far.

I'm not sure how I would recommend this product; I tend to like to listen to stronger stations, and not tune around alot. It's probably great for the mildly curious prospective sw listener; or for the listener who has well-defined goals like me (small size, low cost, only need to pull in strong stations in general). For someone serious about sw, well, you get what you pay for.

All in all, I'd buy it again.

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