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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Sangean 803A/Radio Shack DX 440 Help

Reviews Summary for Sangean 803A/Radio Shack DX 440
Sangean 803A/Radio Shack DX 440 Reviews: 35 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $$180
Description: One of the best portables ever made!
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the Sangean 803A/Radio Shack DX 440.

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N2MDV Rating: 5/5 Feb 4, 2018 08:31 Send this review to a friend
Still a great MW/HF/FM portable!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Back in late 1989, I was thinking about getting the Sony ICF-2010, since many of my friends raved about them, but was budget conscious. A good friend of mind persuaded me to get the new up and coming radio company Sangean, and the new ATS-803A for $245.00 then. So, I went that route and don't regret it one bit. Great RF sensitivity, about .5uV, or better on HF, and better than 2uV on FM. Nice ears on the MW and LW bands as well. Direct keypad enter was nice back then, and I still think it is today.Separate Bass / Treble controls, Balance control for FM stereo in headphones, good sounding 4" speaker, RF Gain control, BFO isn't too bad (Better than other radios I've tried.)This portable was a DX king for me, and I still use it as my main bed-side radio today. One problem these radios had was that ribbon cable that stuck into that line of IC sockets would corrode. Must be dissimilar metals. I would fix them by soldering those, and I've done it to several ATS-803A / DX-440 radios. AUX OUT audio on the Sangean was also nice for tape REC out, or connect to a stereo receiver. (DX-440 didn't have that, but that's an easy MOD to do.) That 40" telescopic whip is effective for both HF and FM weak reception. Then minuses? Being so sensitive for a portable, it picked up any noise out there. A Noise Blanker would have been nice. And, (Just my preference.), I'm not a fan of the late 70's and 80's slide POT's radios and stereo gear had then. That, and the 3VDC for memory with two AA batteries would only last for 6 months, then batteries tended to leak if you forgot about them. It's best to power this radio with a transformered 9VDC 500mA wallwart, since switching power supplies will be heard with this portable. (But knowing this, not a problem.) I still use this portable to DX MW band today with an Inverted-L antenna. I've DX'ed many pirate SW, MW, and even FM, pirates with this portable. Still, it's a keeper with me.
VK2JEM Rating: 3/5 Jul 25, 2017 18:33 Send this review to a friend
Bargain at the time  Time owned: more than 12 months
Got one new way back when they first came out.

Was a real good performance/$ bargain at the time.

Slightly too pack in a suitcase, but good size for carrying room to room or throwing in the car for trips.

Worked very well. had two band widths filters were ok, 9 memories (i think) sensitive, stable and with accurate 1KHZ digital display.

Did what it should didnt do anything wrong, didnt do anything special. I kept it for years then gave it to my elderly dad, who liked it for casual listening. I actually preferred this to the simialr sized but much more expensive and full feature Sony icf2010 I had at the same time.

But these days I Tecsun PL660/680/880 would eat it for breakfast and is smaller and lighter for not much more new than you woudl get one of these used.

AS i say, good in its day, if i saw one cheap i woudl be tempted, but time has passed it by.
SWLCHRIS Rating: 5/5 Sep 5, 2016 10:49 Send this review to a friend
Best radio for under 100.00  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is my second radio . I had the Sangean branded ATS803A before.Both radios identical with exception of line out for Sangean not being present on DX440.I have owned one of these since 1990's and both never gave me a problem.
Audio is great. Can't complain about the choice of tone since both able to choose bass and treble levels.Audio level is good on both. No weak audio here.

Signal handling is very good. Weak signals able to be heard along with powerhouses.I used a 21 ft vertical with the ATS803A to hear RTM Sarawak on 4 mhz band back in 90's. I am using the dx440 with a dipole of approximately 70 feet now to hear Radio France Intl on 15300 khz.That is a hard catch now since they shut off many frequencies. So weak signal handling isn't an issue. This is one of the few portables that actually had a real rf gain not just a local dx switch.

Memories are lacking but for a bandscanner not an overly major issue. Only 9 to speak of.

SSB is available through use of a bfo which can be tricky but is able to be used with a light touch to cut the warbly voices into clear speech

Overall not found new anymore but if you paid less than a 100.00 as the going price seems to be $50.00-100.00 its still a steal for a FULL sized portable that will pull in anything you want.No it's not an Icom or a Drake or a Kenwood,but if you want budget dx'ing that is the best, pick up this radio.

If I ever need another one I won't hesitant buying one.
G7HZZ Rating: 5/5 Sep 2, 2016 10:57 Send this review to a friend
Really rather good  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned mine for a very very long time, maybe since it was new. It has performed solidly over all that time.

It performs well on the FM and AM broadcast bands with a suitable antenna and is more than adequate for reception of the Amateur Bands with a good antenna and a homebrew preselector/ATU.

I recall a tendedncy to overload slightly when using an Active Antenna, but that was easy to resolve and in any case, it added unnecessary complexity for a travel radio.

I modified mine to have a wider bfo function and to reduce the 'chuffing' when tuning it (but I have lost the details).

If I could find another cheaply, I would buy it.
N0SOY Rating: 5/5 Sep 20, 2012 20:10 Send this review to a friend
One of the best portables made  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had several shortwave recievers over the years. This is my favorite. The battery life is excellent, It is sensitive and controlable in the Shortwave bands and FM through headphones is nice. It has a good strong audio using the internal speaker. I like the seperate treble and bass controls. I hate tone controls. If anyone has one they do not want I will gladly give it home. Hint. Never use power supplies they will always introduce noise. Batteries are the only way to go.
KDMSKY59 Rating: 4/5 Feb 3, 2012 23:57 Send this review to a friend
Brings back memories  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have great memories of the 803A. I once worked a VK6 from the Nevada desert back in 1995 using a 30 meter Ramsey xmitter and the 803A as the receiver. We had a 20 minute ragchew. That was at the bottom of a sunspot cycle by the way. I recall computing the contact as 10,000 miles per watt. The radio worked well with once watt with no need for muting although I do recall I had to replace the fets in the rf amp one time. Seems to me ham radio was a lot more fun back then as was life. Very often less is more.
VE7BGP Rating: 5/5 Feb 3, 2012 16:45 Send this review to a friend
Mine Early ATS-803  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got my Sangean ATS-803 nearly 5 years ago with a bunch of other Items from an Inheritance. Mine is the Emerson labeled ATS-803 which had only 1 Bandwidth when I got it but was still a great little radio on MW or AM Broadcast band DXing and worked well in the International Meter Broadcast Bands. It also worked ok on the Ham Bands for CW and SSB when the bands were not crowded. Anyway I got reading away on the Internet and how someone from EEB Electronic Equipment Bank found out there was a simple mod to enable the Narrower bandwidth using the FM Mono Stereo Switch using the unused second 1/2 of the switch. 2 Filters were installed in even that early ATS-803 the narrow filter only active when scanning using the then new ATS Tuning Scan feature! Yes Indeed it is a simple mod to enable the Narrow Bandwidth feature missing from that radio. After comparing the DX-440 and ATS-803 schematics I found an extra 22k 1/4 watt resistor going from that FM Mono/Stereo switch Stereo contact to the base of Q206. I added that resistor on mine and I have enjoyed the 2 Bandwidth choices ever since I did the mod in 2008. I have written a more detailed article of this mod and posted it on the ATS-803 Yahoo Group and posted pictures of the mod. If you got the early ATS-803 Sangean radio try this mod I think you will also be pleased with the results of this simple but effective mod. I think this oldie is a better Radio the later DX-390 & 398 ATS-818 & 909 offerings Sangean put out and they are now Classic. Enjoy!
Gerry VE7BGP
OLDSWLSD Rating: 5/5 Nov 1, 2011 22:57 Send this review to a friend
Becomming a classic  Time owned: more than 12 months
Some people don't like the 440/803A but I suppose I'm more fond of them because a 440 was the first SW receiver I ever bought new. Like my fondness for the DX-160, what I considered my first "real" SW radio.

This is my second DX-440. I bought the first one new in 1991 and it served me well for many years and I did a few mods to it but they aren't fireproof.
The one I have now was from a seller on Ebay who does estate sales and knew nothing about it. For some reason it was listed in the collectable plate category so I got it for $30 with shipping.

The usual battery connector problem and a dirty encoder were the only problems and easily fixed. Not bad for a 20 year old radio. No carry strap or documentation but otherwise complete.

The only mod I've done on this one is the anti chuff and I may replace the FETs on the front end, it's a bit noisier than I remember the other one being.

The 440 has good sensitivity and the narrow IF filter cuts adjacent channel interference while the wide is very good for stronger signals. RF gain control works smoothly as does the BFO control. The separate bass and treble controls are also a big help with QRM and adjacent chan noise.

Considering it's vintage and original price range it's a very good unit. A decent SWL receiver with external antenna and a preselector helps a lot too. It's no match for a good modern receiver but it is very stable and reliable.

My only real complaint with the 803A/440 is the poor sensitivity in the 1600 to 1700KHz range. I've been more into MWDX lately than SWL. Probably due to the input filtering since it was built before the MW X-Band. Tweaking up the preamp on my homebrew loop overcame that problem though.

I'm giving it a 5 because of it's sensitivity, durability, clean sound, ease of use and making allowances for it's age.
VK4RU Rating: 5/5 May 16, 2011 18:17 Send this review to a friend
a ripsnorter!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
this is the hottest shortwave receiver i have ever owned! broadcast with the wide switch on is a delight! the direct entry keys work very well. I use it to listen to the airport weather beacons. The unit I have was bought at a hock shop at Cronulla yerars ago. The inside metal bits are a bit rusty, could have belonged to a yauchtie and the batteries had leaked requiring a lot of cleanup. Lives next to my bed. the clock is a bit chronic to set. Don't have an instruction book for it. Batteries seem to last forever.
N0SOY Rating: 5/5 Dec 5, 2009 16:25 Send this review to a friend
great radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned a dx-440 since 1991 and have used it extensively. I have not found a radio that feels as well made, is as sensitive and overall as useful as this one. I have tried several others and they are not in the same class. I wish that that Sangean still made them. I particularly like the separate bass and treble controls. I hate the combined tone controls that most have now.
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