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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | ETON E5 with SSB Help

Reviews Summary for ETON E5 with SSB
ETON E5 with SSB Reviews: 36 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $169.95
Description: The Etón E5 is the a world class portable radio covering AM, FM and shortwave. It features dual conversion AM/SW circuitry for exceptional sensitivity and image rejection. It offers S.S.B. - Single sideband reception. It has an amazing 700 channel memory capacity with memory scan and auto tuning storage. The 24 hour clock features alarm and sleep timer functions. Tuning is via auto-scan, manual scan, conventional tuning knob or direct keypad entry. FM stereo is supported to the mini earphone jack. The LCD display can be illuminated one of three ways. In Normal Mode pressing any button activates the display. While plugged into the AC outlet the Always-on mode illuminates the display whenever the radio is turned on. In Manual Mode the dial will light for 15 seconds when the light button is pressed. Other refinements include: Local/DX Switch, Wide-Narrow selectivity and external SW antenna jack.
The E5 operates from four AA cells (not supplied) or via the supplied AC wall adapter. The supplied AC adapter can also recharge NiMH AA cells (not supplied) while in the radio. (Do not attempt to recharge other types of AA cells). This radio also includes a multi-language Owner's Manual, wrist strap, protective case, wire antenna and ear buds. 6.675 x 4.125 x 1.125 inches 12.2 oz (168x105x29mm 346 g). One year limited warranty.

Product is in production.
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KB0HAE Rating: 5/5 Oct 10, 2010 00:08 Send this review to a friend
Great portable receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have a G5 and a KA 1103. The KA1103 replaced the KA 1102. The KA 1102 is a very good radio for the price. The truth is that I came into some extra money, found a good price on the G5, and had been reading about the Grundig G5/Eton E5 radios. I knew that I would like the ergonomics better than the Kaito, and the extra features. Plus the G5 is supposed to be a slightly better receiver. I chose the G5 over the E5 purely because I liked the darker color. The two radios are supposed to be the same except for the color and the name. The performance of the G5 and the KA1103 is very nearly identical.

On to my first impressions. The G5 is slightly larger and heavier than the KA 1102, but not radically so. I like the anti-slip coating on the G5. Within a few seconds of inserting four 2000 Mah NiMH batteries that I had fully charged, I was listening. As with the KA-1102, I had downloaded (and read) the manual before I got the radio, so I knew the basic operation. The G5 has a more intuitive interface than the KA-1102. Neither was hard to learn to use, but the G5 was a little easier. The manual that I downloaded for the G5 leaves something to be desired, as it lacked diagrams and any specs. The printed manual that came with the G5 has diagrams, but still no specs beyond size and weight. It is a HUGE 251 pages because it is in six languages. I emailed Eton asking for the specs on the radio, and was told that they are "œprivileged information", and not released to the public. I consider that this policy is not right, as I believe that the purchaser has the right to ALL information about the product he/she buys. I ended up printing pages 9 through 16 of the G5 manual that I found on line to put in the radio case to take along, as the 251 page one is just to big to be taken along. This covers pretty much anything that anyone who has used a shortwave radio with SSB capability should need.

I had already made up a chart (actually a table) in OpenOffice so that I could list what frequency is in what memory in what page. I had done this for the KA-1102 as well, and was able to copy and paste the information into the chart for the G5. So I knew what frequencies I wanted in what pages/memories. Programming the 100 or so frequencies took about 45 minutes or so. Doing so also helped me get used to the memory page system on the G5. I also programmed a couple of alarm settings that I had used in the KA 1102. I like that I can set the day as well as the time, but am disappointed that there is no way to easily set the time to the second. Four seconds is as close as I can get for now. (Note that over time I found that the clock on the my G5 gains about a minute in 9 days or so.) I emailed them about it, and Eton clearly regards the clock function of a shortwave radio of no real importance.

After listening a bit, it was time for a side by side comparison of the G5 and the KA 1102. (not quite fair as the G5 is larger and more expensive) The radios were sitting side by side on my desk, both running on batteries, Local /DX switches set to DX, wide/narrow switches set to narrow (most of the time), and both using only the whip antennas. The G5 clearly heard CHU on 7335 Khz when the KA-1102 couldn't. On the G5 the signal was weak but clearly heard. The G5 also seems to pick up less noise, in spite of having a slightly longer whip (about 4 inches). I was able to hear Radio Canada International on 15235Khz on both radios. This confirmed what I already strongly suspected, that the signal strength LEDs on the KA 1102 are useless, reading 4 LEDs (full strength) for weak signals. The bar graph on the G5 is much more useful, giving a truer reading of signal strength.

Both radios picked up the signal well, but there was slightly more noise on the KA 1102. I had to use the narrow mode on the KA 1102 to get rid of the noise, but left the G5 on the wide setting. Next was WWV at 10000Khz. On the KA 1102 I have a significant amount of bleed-through from a local FM station. Understandable, as the station's antenna is only 2 blocks (as the crow flies) from my home. There was no bleed-through at all on the G5. In fact on both SW, and FM the G5 seems to be more selective than the KA 1102. The G5 is also a little more sensitive. The sound on FM is somewhat better on the G5 both on the internal speaker, and with the same pair of Koss ear buds. The speaker I can understand, as the G5 has a larger speaker and cabinet. I did not test AM much, both radios seem to work about the same in the minute or two I took to compare the two on AM. On SSB, the fine tuning is not as touchy on the G5. I will have to wait for signals on the higher bands to test things there. I like the brighter back-light and horizontal display on the G5 better than the vertical display and dimmer back-light on the KA 1102.

I realize that the G5 is a more expensive and larger radio, so its not quite fair to compare the two radios. Both are excellent small portable receivers. But if you don't mind the slightly larger size, and can afford to spend a little more, get the G5! I have a good friend who is on a tight budget, and would like to have the Kaito KA 1102, so I will probably make him a deal on it, as he has helped me out in the past.

BTW, in my opinion both of these radios beat the performance of the Grundig YB-400 PE (but not by too much) that I had a few years ago. The extra memories, and bells and whistles are definitely worth getting a newer radio!

Pros for the G5:

Bright back-light and the buttons are lit too.

Top notch shortwave reception.

Very good FM selectivity.

Nice display and keypad layout.

Ability to program alarms for specific days of the week.

Ability to give alpha names to memory pages.

Nice non-slip coating.

The tuning knob with its 1Khz steps is a welcome addition to the up/down buttons

A real padded case!

Easy programming of memories.

The BFO is not too touchy as it is with many portables.

Ability to check what memories are available while listening.

Being able to listen while charging batteries.

Line output for connection to external audio amplifier.

Ability to copy, and paste memory pages.

Effective signal strength bar graph on the LCD display.

Continuous coverage from 150Khz to 29.999 Mhz (AM and SW) and 87.50 to 108.10 FM.

AM or SSB mode are stored in memory for AM/SW frequencies.


Eton will not release the specs for this radio, and seems to want to give the bare minimum of information about it.

The external antenna connection attenuates signals. This is a "feature" that is not mentioned in the manual This attenuation makes the external antenna connection unusable unless you have an external antenna that is longer than 10-20 feet.

No way for the back-light to stay on all the time when the radio is being run on batteries.

No memory scan feature.

No ATS function on shortwave.

Only 7 memories per page. There should have been 35 memories per page, with 20 pages. Memory pages should have been selected by direct entry of page #, and hit page/time, as well as holding the check button and using the tuning knob. In memory mode, the Auto up/down keys should manually step through memories. When the end of a page is reached, the memories in the next higher or lower page are stepped through. When the Auto up or Auto down buttons are held down for 2 seconds, this should initiate a memory scan. One page of memories should be reserved for ATS scanning in any mode/band. When doing an ATS scan, the scan should end when the highest memory (or lowest) is reached.

No ability to name individual memories.

Radio charges batteries slowly due to not having automatic charging circuitry.

No seconds display on the clock, and very difficult to set the clock to the second.

The clock on my radio gains about 45 seconds per week.
N7JBH Rating: 5/5 Apr 8, 2010 14:38 Send this review to a friend
Excellent for the price  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Picked up a Grundig G5 on clearance at Radio Shack for 59.95, what a bargain. I already have a Degen 1103 and Tecsun PL600, I like the G5 best. Performance of all 3 are about the same, ergonomics on the Tecsun PL600 is the best, but it's a little larger than the other 2. The Degen requires you to jump through hoops just to adjust the volume, and the "analog" dial is useless. The G5 has a great non-scratch rubberish finish and great backlight. So, all considered, for $59.95 the G5 is a bargain, the other two were more expensive and had exhorbitant shipping rates from China. I use mine at work with a couple of Vectronics 1W QRP transmitter kits hooked up to a random wire on the roof, actually made some contacts with this setup. Some people on here just have to complain about everything, and if you don't agree with them, they consider you inept.. Must lead very unhappy lives!
WB9YCJ Rating: 3/5 Dec 9, 2009 19:54 Send this review to a friend
Bought another - same drab audio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought a third one (sold the first two). Same drab audio and YES folks, the I.F. selectivity switch is in the
W I D E position. All my past and current audio assessments have been with the I.F. switch in the W I D E position.

Also, co-incidently, I recently had my hearing checked by a licensed audiologist. I sat in a soundproof booth and pressed the button everytime I heard a tone, etc. The audiologist said I passed with flying colors.

I purchased this latest radio with the intent for experimentation..... That is, I sent it to KIWA. Craig at KIWA ELECTRONICS installed the audio upgrade. The Kiwa audio upgrade places improved components in the audio signal path to provide improved audio quality. The result is that the audio now sounds clearer with improved detail. Overall intelligibility is now improved. You frugals can also buy the upgrade kit from Kiwa and install it yourself (perhaps). If Eton/Grundig had these components in the radio from the factory I would then say it rates a FIVE. I like my Kiwa modified radio.
MW1ROS Rating: 5/5 Nov 30, 2009 11:47 Send this review to a friend
Brilliant  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned dozens of sw receivers over the years, including some very expensive models. I can honestly say the E5 is one of the best I have ever had the pleasure to use, It is THE ONLY ONE that I could ever hear anything on 27.555 usb using the standard whip antenna.
It excells itself right from 150KHz right through to 29.999KHz.
If I could find a fault, it would have to be the volume control, nothing to worry about, just a bit over enthusiastic on volume difference between settings volume 5-7, apart from that it is perfect and well worth every penny.
To put a few similar models as comparison, I own the E5, Sony 7600gr, Sony sw-7, Grundig YB400 in the prtable range and the E5 leaves the rest. standing, I would put it on par with my Drake R8. as I can pick up everything on the E5 that I can on the drake.If your thinking of buying this radio, don't think, just go get it, you won't be dissapointed.
WD40 Rating: 5/5 Sep 19, 2009 13:59 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Everytime I turn on this little radio I'm amazed at it's performance and features. I use it for listening to SSB signals but also for AM and FM. The price is right and with a good outside antenna it's a powerhouse!
KG8LB Rating: 4/5 Aug 13, 2009 06:24 Send this review to a friend
Gotta consider the price and size  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought one at Radio Shack. This is the year 2009 . The price of $119.95 does not buy what it used to buy. It is also a small radio so ergonomics are somewhat compromised accordingly. In this day and age the incentives for manufacturers to even build a portable, low priced (in today's dollars) are shrinking. To compare this radio to larger radios and/or far more costly radios may be less than fair.
Of course if radios like this do not sell or if our expectations are too high, they will just go away. Manufacturers of this type radio have all but disappeared. No support from the buying public and the remaining builders will find something else to do. Indeed if the demand for this type radio is good, better radios will follow. Better radios of course may indeed cost more.
Taking the cost and size into consideration I am content that the radio is a good value. The ergos could be better but at least I have not suffered any physical pain in operating this radio.Ergos are also a subjective rating ,often what one person loves another will hate. Of course I really doubt it was intended as a top drawer DXer to be used for extended listening sessions. As a bedside radio or a radio to take along on motorcycle camping trips it does quite nicely.
For serious listening I have "other" receivers. Larger, more costly receivers.
The radio I bought has no major intermod problems and I find tuning CW and SSB quite satisfactory. The attenuator is there for a reason, learn to use it. I appreciate the fact that the fine tuning control is NOT easily bumped. Once a SSB station is tuned on the actual operaring frequency you can usually tune uo and down the band with the main tuning with minimal need to touch the fine tuning .

So, for a new radio, of this size and price I am content with the value returned. Surely it is comparable with all of the "other" current radios in it's size and price range.

Forgot to address the audio concerns.
In most modes audio fidelity is closely related to IF bandwidth. This radio is no exception. "Overly bassy" audio in the AM mode is quite easily remidied by using the wide bandwidth option that this radio provides. Actually a very nice feature for a radio of this size and price.
In fact, I find the audio quite pleasant and I appreciate having the option to narrow the bandwidth when conditions dictate.
KB3GTY Rating: 1/5 Aug 1, 2009 01:51 Send this review to a friend
good for am, poor for ssb  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I owned a g5 for 2 hours. The ssb was hopeless, it was very difficult and time consuming to fine tune. The distortion was so bad (with or without the adapter) that signals were uninteligable. Passport says the agc is set too fast for ssb and distortion results, but they didn't mention how bad it was. I had to reset the micro-processor 3 times during the 2 hours I owned it. seriously overloaded with an external antenna, even with filtering or attenuation. After the 3rd reset, I returned it to my local radio shack for a g6 (see review). On sw (am) the radio wasn't too bad, and some of the other features would have been nice (were I able to use them).
N2KPE Rating: 4/5 May 2, 2009 09:16 Send this review to a friend
Highly sensitive  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have read the reviews and I have to say they are, for the most part, on the money. This little radio is EXTREMELY sensitive. More so than my FRG-7 and Palstar R30 (borrowed from a ham friend). Yes it does have some "ghosts" and other garbage, but its sensitivity, while utilizing only its built-in 36" whip, is amazing. Battery life is also excellent and the padded case seems to be of pretty good quality.
TERRYW Rating: 2/5 Jan 5, 2009 21:00 Send this review to a friend
Extremely Overpriced Toy Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Eton once again brings us an unhappy mix of the very good and unacceptably poor, all in one greatly overpriced package. The G5 is a bedtime toy for those who still have money to burn.

Let's start with the good aspects. This is a very small radio. That makes it greatly portable. The LEDs are very bright, nicely illuminating the LCD and even the button labels - perfect for, uh, twiddling your knob while lying in bed. The speaker sound is unusually crisp and well defined, much better than the E1, but the sound lacks the depth which the comparably small Yacht Boy 400 PE has. The G5 is very sensitive and every claim of this radio being hot is correct. It has the required essentials: a tuning knob, SSB, lots of memories, an external antenna jack, a narrow and wide filter, DX/Local gain attenuator, and a clock in military time. How it executes these essentials is where the problems begin.

First, the ergonomics are quite poor. The tuning knob is too small and flush with the side of the radio. The action is nice and feels like high quality, but it's hard to grasp and tuning it for a time becomes tiring and then painful. Producing physical pain is the definition of bad ergonomics. Yet there's much more. The DX/Local and Wide/Narrow switches are also very small, flush with the sides of the radio, and hard to find and operate. The buttons on the face are tiny and tightly spaced. Any man with man-sized fingers will have difficulty hitting the correct buttons, requiring more concentration than should ever be necessary when using a radio. Many of the buttons have dual functions. For some of these you must turn the radio off to get to the second function! For others, you must hold down one tiny button and hit the next correct button before your few-second window of opportunity closes. Well, no thanks. That's all as queer as a football bat.

Secondly, the G5 has lots of ghosting for a dual conversion radio. Local MW powerhouses and your neighbor's CB up and down all the SW bands. Oh yay. Also, expect interference from TVs and computer monitors. These are common problems in portables, which simply makes the G5 yet another common and problematic portable. Switching the attenuator to Local helps this problem, but guess what? You just lost all your DX stations as well. The wide filter is far far too wide. You'll read a strong station plain as day 5 kHz away, right on top of the adjacent station your trying to listen to. The narrow filter helps, but it is quite narrow and lacks any sound quality you'd want to listen to. With the wide filter, the 49m band is full of squealing Hets, on every station which has another station 5 kHz away, which is most of the 49m band during its peak listening time. The narrow filter helps that too, but again, there went your audio fidelity.

The SSB is also rather poor. The fine tuning knob has much too coarse tuning. It takes painfully exact turning of it to get anywhere near the zero beat, and you'll find yourself twiddling blind through the HAM bands wondering which frequency they're really on and trying to cure them of Donald Duckitis. Using an external antenna in DX mode completely garbles everything in SSB, just as it should not do. And if you're a fan of ECSS for dealing with fading distortion, forget about it. SSB on an AM broadcast is a garbled, burbling mess.

If you find a powerful SW station in the clear, then the G5 is quite nice for listening over the speaker with the wide filter. Powerful stations in the clear are exactly what SW doesn't usually offer, and your options for dealing with the usual propagation problems are here few and quite poorly executed.

The memory labels are all rather odd. I never saw English letters so weird and distorted. If you give a page a four-letter label, then there's no way to have less than a four-letter label for it in the future as the typeset has no blank space in it!

The FM and MW performance are acceptable, but I hope you didn't spend $150 for those.


very small size
bright illumination of LCD and buttons
crisp and well-defined speaker sound
very sensitive


poor and painful ergonomics
tiny and hard-to-use buttons and switches
awkward dual-function of buttons
ghosting of MW stations up and down the SW bands
overly-wide wide filter, causing adjacent interference problems and squealing Hets
poor SSB, utterly useless for ECSS

All that pain and poor DX for $150? You have got to be kidding me, Eton. So many rave reviews for this radio tells me most people never had a decent radio in their life and are accustomed to complete and utter crap.
KI6H Rating: 5/5 Jan 3, 2009 12:05 Send this review to a friend
Tiny, sensitive & versatile  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This tiny rig goes right in my book bag when I travel and I've had great fun pulling stations out of the ether when no similar radio will. I consider it the little brother to the Eton E1 I leave at home (the E1 is simply too large to carry around the world.)

I mostly use the G5 to listen to the night-time shortwave bands; local FM classical; and to monitor ham freqs when I'm in a country that doesn't recognize my US license (e.g. Mexico.) SSB works fine & I've used it to monitor 17m, 20m and 40m, both voice and CW, as well as to clean up difficult-to-pull-in shortwave stations.

It's so small I balance it on my chest while listening in bed.

Battery life is excellent; selectivity excellent; speaker excellent; solid construction; all in all a nifty little radio, which I use much more than I thought I would, especially considering I have about a dozen shortwave receivers. Only quibble is that the printing on the DX/Local switch is unreadably small gray-on-gray.
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