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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Sangean ATS909\Radio Shack DX 398 Help

Reviews Summary for Sangean ATS909\Radio Shack DX 398
Sangean ATS909\Radio Shack DX 398 Reviews: 70 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $250 399 cdn DX 398
Description: Travel Portable Communications Receiver
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the Sangean ATS909\Radio Shack DX 398.

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KD7RDZI2 Rating: 5/5 Nov 20, 2016 06:25 Send this review to a friend
Long term portable  Time owned: more than 12 months
Time owned: 20 years! And this radio works even better now than new. Sensitivity is impressive once you tap the IF and convert the 450Khz IF to 12Khz for any sound-card. To check its sensitivity I made a home-brew signal generator (same schematic of which should produce a S3 (–107 dBm) signal on 80-40-30-20 meter bands and what I see is about 12db over noise-floor on 80, and at least 25db on 40-30-20 meters. If this is correct, the noise floor is below -130dbm! Notwithstanding the plastic enclosure, it seems also quite unaffected by the noise of a PC. I am using "the Crystal mixer fo=462 KHz use for IF exact 450 kHz" and the software QUISK on Linux for demodulation, IF filtering, DSP, NR etc. Contrary to IQ SDRs you do not need a stereo input, just any input of your sound-card should suffice!
The only issue in 20years were the volume and RF gain control that become scratchy and the rotary frequency encoder erratic. After I sprayed some Isopropyl alcohol, all these controls and the encoder became like new!!!
K7DXT Rating: 4/5 May 7, 2014 14:45 Send this review to a friend
Decent Radio...Has Lasted a Long Time  Time owned: more than 12 months
I looked back and saw my first review of this radio under the call N0MVA. That was 14 years ago, and the little RS398 still sits on my shelf with all the capabilities it had back then.

I can't say how it compares to more modern SWL radios, but this thing is now 15 years old and still doing great. Again, the whip is near useless, but with a few feet of wire, it comes alive.

My only complaint is the relatively short battery life. But for camping, or just informal SWL, this is a great little radio.
N4YX Rating: 5/5 Jul 20, 2013 06:13 Send this review to a friend
Great Portable SW Rcvr  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned both the 398 & the 909. Very good all around portable SW radios. I've also owned many Grundig YB400 & other Radio Shack SW portables. I like 'em all but favor the 398/909 due to all the nice features coupled with great performance as a portable sw rcvr.
K1PJR Rating: 5/5 Mar 13, 2012 16:11 Send this review to a friend
Great radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought the DX-398 at RS when it was on sale for $150. I had a $75 gift card so it was a good deal for me. After a few years I sent it off to Radio Labs for their mod. I put a total of $175 in the radio and I couldn't be happier.

I compared it to my FRG-7 connected to a PAR SWL and the DX-398 kept pace with just its whip antenna.

Best portable I have next to my RF-2200.
K6ELV Rating: 4/5 Dec 17, 2010 00:41 Send this review to a friend
SUPERB on MW  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I found this radio at a flea market for a really cheap price. The speaker was blown and the antenna was broken. I replaced the speaker and the antenna and the radio is as good as new, and sounds good too. I am glad I found it and purchased it.
The sensitivity of this thing is absolutely SUPERB on medium wave without even using an external antenna. During the day I was able to pull in a station from Boise Idaho (I am in California). At night it is even better, every single frequency has a station that comes in intelligibly, and there is never any bleed over from much stronger local stations like there is on other AM receivers. This thing can get reception of AM stations clearly in the fringe areas. I am picking up stations that I have never been able to pick up before with other radios.

As for FM the sensitivity is good also, I was able to get an FM station clearly from a city that is 120 miles away that I couldn't pick up at all before! The selectivity however could be better because I was hearing some splatter on the band from adjacent stations that doesnt occur in my other FM radio. I would pick up FM 96.1 all the way from 95.3 to 97.7mhz which made it IMPOSSIBLE to pull in weaker stations from that range because that stronger station would just swamp them. Other than that the FM quality is pretty good. I like the "RDS" feature too. It is nice for quickly identifying the type of station when you are just scanning around, and is also good for identifying a song you don't know the name of.

As for shortwave it is pretty good too, I was able to hear activity on some of the amateur bands as well as some of the stronger shortwave stations like Radio Havana Cuba with just the telescoping whip antenna inside of a house. When I go outside the SW station gets clear and I can pick up much more activity on the amateur bands.

Unfortunutely on Longwave I cannot receive anything but noise, but this is probably expected since I was just using the telescoping whip antenna indoors.

Other things I like are the switches for narrow/wide, the switch for music or news, and the RF gain knob. They help to reduce noise and hear the station more clearly. I like how they have an ext. antenna jack also because it is a must for receiving longwave and weaker shortwave stations.

If you can find a used one cheap then GET IT. You'll be glad you did.
G1HBE Rating: 4/5 Jul 29, 2010 11:27 Send this review to a friend
Better than most  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
For home use, I have an AOR AR5000 and a Wellbrook loop antenna, but it can be difficult finding a portable radio with good performance (especially on MW(AM)) for use when travelling. Recently I've been using a Sony 7600GR which has good shortwave and FM but is only average on MW, which is my main interest. I've just picked up a second-hand DX398 from a fellow enthusiast and I'm impressed! SW is a bit deaf on the whip and FM maybe not quite so hot as the Sony, but this set shines on MW. It can hear a weak AM station right next to a strong one even without switching in the narrow filter, something the Sony could never do. For listeners in the Manchester area of England, I'm talking about trying to hear Manx Radio with Asian Sound spitting sparks just 9 KHz away. The 398 does it, and that's no mean feat for a sub-£200 portable. Truly excellent, and I've only given it 4 because of the slight deafness on SW.
PHILG Rating: 5/5 Mar 27, 2010 10:09 Send this review to a friend
Radio Labs Super ATS 909 is unbeatable  Time owned: more than 12 months
I'm writing here of the Radio Labs Super ATS 909, not the Sangean stock 909.

As backdrop for my review, I've never had a ham license, but I started out my US Air Force career as a Tactical Air Control Party guy. Long-range comm is all satellite now, but back then it was HF. We did everything the ham guys do, but no FCC license. We spent lots of time perfecting antennas, to include field expedient antennas.

The Super 909 is magic. I read the other review about the Super 909 being deaf. I don't know what to say about that. Mine smokes any other portable I've heard. I must admit I've never owned those other portables, Grundig, Kaito, Sony, etc., but I have friends who own them so I've been able to play with them at length.

The Super 909 is great on the whip, of course, but pure voodoo with an external antenna connected to the RCA jack. I have a nicely made slinky dipole, but my favorite is the Par Electronics EF SWL end-fed longwire. Very sensitive, and quiet as heck if you take time to properly ground the matching unit.

Radio Labs has made the 909 do what you thought the stock 909 should have been able to do. The blue LEDs are cool, but don't add anything to the radio's performance. One of the best mods is removing the muting feature. Wide open is much better for manual scanning. Giving the gain knob some range is better too. Stock seems to be more like on/off gain control. Naturally, Radio Labs customization of IF filters and sensitivity increase is what makes the radio sing.

The stock 909 is reviewed in the 2009 Passport to Worldband Radio. All the cons they list are fixed by the Super 909 mod.

Can't beat it.

PH0Q Rating: 5/5 Mar 25, 2010 14:13 Send this review to a friend
Good receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Since '96 I have a Sony icf-d7600. Now I bought this Sangean. The sound of this Sangean is much better then the sound of the Sony. Earlier reviews show bad reports in this respect for the Sangean. It seems to be that there was a redesign.
SSB conversations are received loud and clear.
It is a joy to have this receiver.
AKSWL Rating: 5/5 Mar 2, 2010 14:15 Send this review to a friend
Great receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just purchased a used ATS-909 from Universal. This is the latest model with the BLUE case lettering and Blue LED dial lights, also has an upgraded speaker. As compared side by side to a friend’s 398 the whip sensitivity seems to be improved.
So Sangean is listing to recommendations from users.
W2FLR Rating: 5/5 Feb 11, 2010 07:04 Send this review to a friend
Great Receiver  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
My first DX-398 was a gift from a fellow ham. It needed a speaker replacement as so many of these do. Once replaced, I was able to give it a workout. It is, in my opinion, the best radio for the money. MW and SW are outstanding even with the whip but by adding an external antenna, a whole new world opens up.

After a few weeks, I needed another dose so I searched around for a second one. Found a used one at Universal Radio. This had the many of the online mods already performed. Wow. The radio with the mods far surpasses any other receiver I have (9 of them) or any I've used through my 50 years of SWLing. The ability to select LSB/USB, the ease of use, the audio quality and the sensitivity make this a perfect radio for the HAM/SWL/FM/BCB listener.

Thank you Sangean for a great radio and darn you Radio Shack for not continuing to brand it in your stores.
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