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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Allied/Realistic SX-190 Help

Reviews Summary for Allied/Realistic SX-190
Allied/Realistic SX-190 Reviews: 10 Average rating: 3.9/5 MSRP: $249.95
Description: SSB sensitivity: less than 0.5 uV for 10 dB S/N ratio. AM sensitivity: less than 1 uV for 10 dB S/N ratio. Selectivity: 4 kHz at -6dB. Features Q-multiplier, dual conversion, 25 and 100 kHz crystal calibrator, ANL, HFO and VFO output jacks and a tape out jack. Visual dial accuracy rated at +/- 200 Hz.
Product is not in production.
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VK5GI Rating: 5/5 Dec 29, 2017 22:38 Send this review to a friend
A good hardworking radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have both the SX and the AX versions of this radio. The SX I have had for well over 10 years, only changing the caps.. It is a fine sensitive and selective radio, and is the main receiver at vk5gi. The AX was,bought at a hamfest locally and needs ony the caps to be replaced which I'll get around to one of these days. The tuning mechanisms are works of art, and the Q multiplier a real advantage. Both my rigs were built by GRE in Japan.. I would put the SX on a par with my JRC NRD-'15. It is that good.
W7MBR Rating: 2/5 Mar 6, 2015 19:41 Send this review to a friend
SWL Receiver At Best  Time owned: more than 12 months
For a serious communication receiver I would rate it a 1 and for a SWL receiver I rate it a 3...thus my overall 2 rating. It does need help. Inadequate IF selectivity for SSB/CW and too narrow with sloppy skirts for non fatiguing AM. It's fairly stable but you will ride the tuning control quite a bit for a solid state receiver. The PCB and related components are substandard as well. It is quite nice looking however. The receivers in most of the transceivers of the same period as the SX-190 like the Kenwood TS-520S were far superior. The much older Drake 2B could and does run circles around it. It is now on my no buy list and I have been collecting radios since 1959.
SIERRAHOTEL Rating: 4/5 Jan 1, 2012 02:31 Send this review to a friend
One I always wanted!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I remember seeing an SX-190 at the local Radio Shack my dad's cousin ran. At $250, I couldn't even dream of owning one. It looked so great, and still does, all these years later, it's got a timeless design that has held up very well. GRE did a great job designing the front panel. I bought one a couple years ago that looked nice, but was seriously deaf on all bands, and had bad filter caps too. I found that not only were the caps bad, but the PC board of the PS was cracked too! No traces were bad though, and a little "gap filling" cyano glue fixed the board in a few minutes and some caps out of my junk drawer fixed the buzzing issue. A look around and some resoldering some bad looking joints got the sensitivity back on all but the highest band, where it is still pretty deaf, but I can hear strong signals. A couple of friends have looked at it, and they haven't been able to fix it yet either. My second SX-190, which I got last week from a friend who grabbed it at a garage sale for $100, works perfectly, even if it's not quite as pretty as the other one is. I may swap the front panels on them, and make the one the works correctly the pretty one, maybe not.

Pros: Looks great, and has nice audio with a good speaker or with headphones. Smooth tuning knob is a pleasure to use.

Cons: Filters are too wide, period. Overloads badly with any of my outdoor antennas, but can be tolerated with the preselector, and with the 10-100db attenuator I built years ago. S-Meter is very generous, to put it mildly. Signals that are barely moving the needle on my other receivers are S-9 on both of my SX-190's.
N4UE Rating: 4/5 Aug 15, 2008 19:14 Send this review to a friend
Pretty darn nice radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have one SX-190 and two AX-190s. The radios are very similar except the SX-190 has some extra trimmers for the SW xtals. Of course, the front panel is different as well. One of my AX-190s had a problem with the dial. It would slip, sometimes.

Although this radio was complete, I bought it for cheap as a 'parts' radio. It was 'ugly' (that would be a generous' description). ha ha
However, after looking at it for the last couple of days, I decided it was too good to part out.

I was fortunate and bought the CD sold by, (I have NO commection).
Gregg (KI6IUJ), not only knows these radios inside out, he obviously is quite fond of them. The CD is packed with all kinds of good info, including the fix for the dial slippage. Seems there are a couple of sweat solder joints in the brass gear train. Yes, taking it apart is time consuming. The gear train is quite nice, having 2 large spring loaded gears. Although these radios have been around, none of the 3 I own show ANY measurable wear in the gear train. As an engine builder, I was impressed. The resoldering job was very easy but the reassembly was, er, fun. The tolerances of all those gears and shafts are very tight, so it takes a couple of tries to get it right. The end result was WELL worth the effort! Smooth as silk, and ZERO backlash.

While I had the gear drive out, I re-did all the mechanical pieces. I even found an 'off the shelf' spray paint that is the EXACT color of the Allied / RS covers!! All three cover sets were sprayed today.
This AX-190 is almost as deaf as a stump. I can hear the Cal signal on the lower bands. Since the other radios exhibit excellent sensititivy, I have a hunch this radio may have taken a lightning hit nearby. I have replaced the rf amp transistors and no luck yet. I'm going to put 2 radios side-by-side on the bench. Feed them both a signal and 'scope' them out....
Should be fun.

Like my FRG-7, I am amazed at how well these older radios work, especially when you take off the covers and ask yourself.."where's ALL the parts?!?"...

have fun


VE2ITZ Rating: 5/5 Apr 15, 2008 10:47 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am very happy to acquiring this radio at the local ham fest for 80 Canadian dollars!

I had read about this radio but it seemed to me that having gaps in the spectrum was a minus.

But boy was i wrong for judging this by these standards.

I took it all apart and cleaned all the shell, knobs and dial screen.

This one is a later model and it is in a 9.5 out of 10 condition.

I plugged it into a 40 meter half wave slopper though a manual tuner and It was just pulling all those signals through.

Nice feature is the q multiplier. This really help to cancel a lot of man made noise around the area where i live. I live in an urban environment and i have power lines in the back as well as the front of my apartment.

This radio still feels and acts like a real radio! Tough and built like a tank!

I had a Sony ICF-6800 in the past and regretted selling it. But now that i have this beauty, my regrets are long gone.

I highly recommend it to those that are not rich but yet can get something decent for the price and have a lot of fun!!!!

KE5QXL Rating: 4/5 Oct 21, 2007 05:33 Send this review to a friend
Glad I Bought It!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have given this radio the rating (should be 4.5) close to that which it earned at the time of its release and reviews by several magazines. I have the Allied version (GRE). I purchased it around the original release date. Only the primary 2200 uf cap has been replaced. Still working on a mod replacing Q1 & Q3 with J309 JFETs (instead of the 40673 MOSFETs mod. The J309s are already installed. I now have RF gain from full CCW to full CW!). The SX-190 has given me numerous hours of listening enjoyment over the past several decades. It was well worth the money I spent. Very few radios have been built with its mechanical quality at decent prices. Something I have never seen mentioned: the HFO and VFO are powered even when the radio is turned off (as long as the power source (AC or DC) is selected and plugged in).
KE5QXL Rating: 4/5 Oct 9, 2007 11:10 Send this review to a friend
SX-190, Glad I bought it!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have given this radio the rating (should be 4.5) close to that which it earned at the time of its release and reviews by several magazines. I have the Allied version (GRE). I purchased it around the original release date. Recently, I took it out of its ten year storage. Initial current performance is that it is not receiving as well as the DX-400 which I have. I have begun replacing aged capacitors in an effort to bring back decent performance. Still working on a mod replacing Q1 & Q3 with J309 JFETs (instead of the 40673 MOSFETs mod. The J309s are already installed. Doing some experimentation with bias.). The SX-190 has given me numerous hours of listening enjoyment over the past several decades. It was well worth the money I spent. Very few radios have been built with its mechanical quality at decent prices.
VE4MM Rating: 4/5 May 3, 2007 15:53 Send this review to a friend
Great in 1977/78  Time owned: more than 12 months
Cannot compare to the recievers of the 90's and 2000's but was a star in the 70's
KB1GMX Rating: 4/5 May 3, 2007 14:32 Send this review to a friend
decent radio for it age and price range when new  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have one I got used back in '76 and kept it since. I also have the matching speaker.

There was a companion SW bands version (SX190)
and a matching transmitter.

It's an 80-10 with 15mhz (WWV) and also 27mhz dual conversion reciever with IF can sized mechanical filters in the 2nd IF. It operates off 110V or 12V and has all the neeted interconnects for
a matching transmitter (HFO out, VFO out and Mute).

After replacing the mangled VFO gears and fixing other damage from the previous owner I have a fine RX. About 10 years ago I did realign it fron t to rear and replaced some of the front end fets (2sk19) with MPF102s to get the sensitvity fully back to spec. Tuning accuracy is about +-1khz
after marking against the crystal calibrator.

This radio works all the way to 10M and while not
the hottest it is satisfactory when connected to a good 50ohm antenna.

On 20M it's good enough that I'm using it for
hunting BS7.

Like most first generation transistor recievers it's overload capability is poor, use of the RF gain control (it's also an attenuator) will help
manage this.

AM on mine is muffled. However if you sweep the
IF bandwidth you see it's a bit tight for AM (around 6khz at -6db) but a bit wide for SSB.
As a nonserious Ham bands RX it's decent and
the Qmultiplier helps

It's not a Drake R2 but it's far better than many
of the simpler recievers that sold for less.

If you are looking at one of these the tuning should be smooth and not stiff across it's
full travel. If it is not it may be dried
grease or it may be because the tuning run from end to end and banged in to the stops. The basic reciever is fairly straight forward and easy to keep going with no exotic or rare parts used.

MODS: none I know of for it. Mine I've added
a jack to bring out the BFO and replaced the
Zener diodes with LM317 regulators for better
stability. New caps in the power supply were needed a few years back (mild hum). In the
spare socket (provided) a crystal for covering 17M. With the correct crystals in the 15mhz, 27mhz and spare this will cover the WARC bands.

I give it a 4 as it was good, but for it's price
new (1975ish) it was expensive.

KYSPENTAY1 Rating: 3/5 May 3, 2007 13:36 Send this review to a friend
Nice Rig  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The SX-190 is a fondly remembered receiver. Itís a reminder of what could have been had Allied Radio Shack been able to successfully market it. This rig is a fine performer, but itís not for everyone. For one thing, chances are good that one purchased today will need more than a bit of work done to it. The original electrolytic capacitors (luckily, there arenít that many) will need to be replaced. If reception is weak, try replacing the two Zener diodes, especially the 7-volt. You should also perform a complete realignment. Many units suffer from dial cord slippage on the preselector, and that can be a pain to fix. However, once you fix it up, youíll have a pretty hot receiver. Keep in mind that there are gaps in the coverage, so you might want to pass on it if you do a lot of utilities dxing.

You see these selling for some pretty high prices on eBay. Iím not sure that some of those buying them wouldnít be better off getting a good used Yaesu FRG-7, Sangean ATS-909 or Sony ICF-SW7600GR. In my opinion, the SX-190 does a better job with single sideband than it does with AM signals. The audio quality can be a bit muffled for general program listening.

Many have said that these radios are deaf above 15 mHz or so. Well, I guess I got lucky, because mine do a great job pulling in stations on all bands. I did have two that were fairly deaf until I replaced that 7V Zener in the VFO box. Then they really came to life. Overloading can be a problem on the lower bands at night, but can be remedied by deliberate mistuning of the preselector, using the RF gain control and/or simply switching to a shorter antenna. I donít recommend the mod that replaces the original front-end FETs with MOSFETs. You could wind up with some unpleasnant oscillations.

In all honesty, you should probably look for another receiver unless this one means something special to you. In my case, my father owned one back when they first appeared on the market. I am also very nostalgic for those days when Radio Shack at least tried to modestly cater to the ham/SWL crowd. I grew up browsing the pages of their catalogs and dreaming of owning their shortwave radios. Iím certainly aware that there are much better receivers to be had, but I enjoy using the SX-190. It may seem irrational, but I donít mind struggling with its weaknesses when I think of those countless others (like my dad) who did the same way back when.

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