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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Radio Shack DX-60 Help

Reviews Summary for Radio Shack DX-60
Radio Shack DX-60 Reviews: 1 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $69.95 (in 1982-1983)
Description: The Realistic DX-60 is a vernier-tuner-based general broadcast shortwave, AM-broadcast, and FM-broadcast receiver.
Product is in production.
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N5NSL Rating: 4/5 Jul 12, 2003 16:55 Send this review to a friend
Good shortwave monitor  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my Realistic DX-60 shortwave "monitor" radio in August, 1982 and have enjoyed it ever since. It is a minimal-feature radio best applied to listening to general AM-broadcast, AM-only Shortwave broadcasts between 3 to 27 kHz, and FM broadcast bands (monaural reception only). It has coaxial coarse and fine-tuning knobs, a sweeping turning needle frequency indicator divided into five bands (AM, FM, SW1, SW2, and SW3), a moderately effective High and Low Tone switch, a 1/4 mono jack for a headphone, a Motorola automotive-radio style antenna jack, and is either powered by four C-cells or its built-in three-foot AC cord. It also includes an effective squelch and volume control. It also includes a 3 foot telescoping whip antenna with a jointed base and an integral carrying handle. The external and whip antennas are used for Shortwave and FM. The AM medium-wave broadcast transmissions are received through an internal ferrite coil antenna.

The Good:

Sensitive and rapidly tunable, the DX-60 is a wonderful little monitor radio for rapidly tuning fairly weak to strong signals for AM-only shortwave, AM medium-wave, and FM broadcast (mono only). Audio quality is good and adjustable on all bands and includes a two-position "Tone" switch. "Tone" switches in a small capacitor across the speaker circuit to reduce high-frequency response (intended to quiet some kinds of heterodyning and impulse QRM). The squelch control effectively quiets the radio in no signal conditions (but does wake up for QRM--as QRM is a signal from the radio's perspective). Sensitivity is surperb, selectivity for it's wide AM-optimized bandspread is good, but due to the radio's nature if cannot usably resolve narrow signals like SSB or CW. However, if two competing signals are within it's bandspread, it will either heterodyne or combine the signals. Also, the radio is simple to tune, can rapidly get to any frequency in its bands in a few seconds (yet you won't be able to determine exactly that frequency from the display). In mountain or rural areas at night away from QRM sources, the radio is very sensitive and clear (allowing for the typical ionospheric rolling and phasing) for AM broadcast traffic. AM medium wave broadcasts are received through an internal ferrite coil antenna. The internal ferrite is most sensitive to transmissions perpendicular to the ferrite rod and may be positioned for best reception by rotating the entire radio.

The Interesting:

Like the ancestor machines the CB-60 (1979) and SW-60 (1981) radios, the radio can be tuned quickly, receives well, and has a nice functioning squelch. However, it is difficult to determine how strong or weak a signal is when received. There is no signal meter on the radio and extremely strong to moderately weak signals appear to sound identically strong judging from the speaker's output. As could be expected, as the batteries die, the radio's sensitivity decreases slightly and the speaker's amplifier begins to clip.
In normal use, the radio drifts slightly and typically due to thermal and mechanical forces on the tuner and unintended resistance from the tuner switch. (Among the analog radios I've had, stability is comparatively good.) However, if the radio is "dedicated" to a station for a time with the squelch, the drift can be minimized by keeping the radio in still air around a constant temperature and by tuning past the station, then tuning slightly back onto frequency to equalize mechanical tensions. With small correcting adjustments every once in a while for the first few hours and assuring the band-switch is well wiped by its own contacts and fully set into it's detent, the radio can remain stable and on-frequency for months!

The Bad (and these are "weak bads"):

There are only a few of these, and they are minor. The motorola jack is widely available but by its nature intends to use a coaxial cable, which may need a balun for some antennas. Also, typical, with age and disuse the squelch, volume, and band selector switches will become noisy until exercized. Also over about 20 years, one of the dial illuminating lights burned out and needed replacing. Due to the concise and condensed nature of the frequency display, one can only determine their frequency within about 150 kHz (maybe as good as 25 kHz if you know the actual radio well and have checked against a more accurate frequency reference). Of course, if in a region of overwhelmingly strong signals from anywhere on any frequency, (i.e. literally physically next to a 500 kW transmitter) the radio will overload and resolve the signal. In strong signal conditions from low VHF stations (below channel 6 on NTSC analog TV within the transmitter's metro area, for example), the radio will accept the image on shortwave around 1/4 to 1/2 the frequency of the VHF transmitter).


The DX-60 is a wonderful tabletop or portable radio for rapidly and casually tuning in AM medium ave, shortwave, and FM broadcasts. With its squelch control, it's also fit for temporarily "dedicating" to stations for a few weeks or months at a time.

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