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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Sangean ATS 909X Receiver Help

Reviews Summary for Sangean ATS 909X Receiver
Sangean ATS 909X Receiver Reviews: 28 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $449.00
Description: AM/FM/SW receiver
Product is in production.
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MBOTT Rating: 4/5 Apr 12, 2019 01:48 Send this review to a friend
Not as deaf as some people say  Time owned: more than 12 months
A couple of years ago I conducted a small experiment with my Sangean ATS-909X and my Tecsun PL-660. This was done using the whip antennas only and fresh batteries in each. Tuning from 5000kHz to 16000kHz, I found: No signal could be found on one that the other could not tune. While on the same signal with deep fades, one might keep signal when the other lost it. Neither radio was better or worse than the other with this. The only true difference I noted was in the display of the signal strength as the Tecsun always showed a stronger signal being received than the Sangean.
KB4TXW Rating: 4/5 Jul 21, 2018 13:03 Send this review to a friend
Good Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I agree with what other reviewers have said about low sensitivity using the whip antenna, although comparing signals with my Tecsun Pl-880, there is not a major difference. I think that the Sangean has a much lower noise floor than the Tecsun, which initially appears to be less sensitive. But once tuned to a broadcast signal, it performs very well. Even on 40m SSB, it does a good job. And as others have pointed out, once connected to an external antenna, it is awesome That said, the 40hz jump on SSB slow tuning is too broad. It's difficult to get exactly on frequency most of the time although close enough.There is a mod available that addresses this. The two bandwidths are fine for most things but they could be improved. The memory function is nice with the ability to alpha tag each page. Keep in mind, this is a portable radio not a communications receiver intended for serious DXing, I have an SDR for that. This is one of the best looking radios I have ever owned and it is built very well. Overall it is joy to use, and I use it everyday.
SWLABN Rating: 4/5 Sep 19, 2016 04:23 Send this review to a friend
Great with an external antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
Yes it might struggle in performance using the stock telescopic but when using an external antenna it performs very well (for HF operation).

That said, there are modifications that can be carried out to improve the stock unit.

I have used the unit successfully during sporadic-E (using telescopic) to listen to European FM signals and the RDS feature is extremely useful for ID.

SWLDXGUY Rating: 5/5 Aug 24, 2016 13:41 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Multiband Portable is a SW Killer with Wire Antennas   Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased the Sangean ATS-909X new from an online vendor for $224 plus shipping in June, 2015. Color choices were available. I picked black. This radio currently occupies the top price point for portable multiband radios with shortwave. I have used this radio for at least a half an hour to several hours a day for 14 months: indoors, outdoors, on the boat or traveling to other cities. Nothing has broken on this radio and all functions still work like new.

For the AM broadcast band (MW) a directional ferrite bar antenna is mounted inside the 909X. It is almost as long as the radio. Rotating the radio will maximize signal strength for the desired station or will null out an interfering station. Most of the time the ferrite bar antenna does a better job on MW than using an external wire antenna. Station memories may be set by ATS or by manual entry and will display call signs if entered manually. After sunset and from my Northern California suburban location the 909X can tune MW stations from all states west of the Rocky Mountains in addition to some Canadian, Mexican and Midwestern stations. The audio is excellent with voice or music and sounds as if it is coming from a larger radio.

FM is superb on the 909X with stereo available on headphones or line out. Sensitivity, selectivity and sound are best in its class. The 3-inch metal dome speaker is driven by a full watt of audio power compared to a half watt or less with other multiband portables. Audio power and fidelity is important, especially for FM. RDS shows station and program information on the LCD display and switches for three modes including a moving scroll. Station memories are set by ATS or manually. During daylight I have no trouble getting clean stereo signals from high-towered and high-powered San Francisco FM stations 70 miles away on the whip antenna. I can also tune in a puny 8.5 KW FM station 85 miles away.

The Sangean ATS-909X shortwave receiver is a PLL controlled dual conversion, digital read-out general coverage receiver with Silicon Labs DSP. It is an outstanding portable shortwave receiver for experienced listeners who are comfortable using external antennas. The 23-foot ANT-60 reel-up random wire antenna supplied with the 909X offers excellent SW performance and portability. It can be used indoors. If a longer wire antenna is used SW performance is amazing and not subject to overload: even with true long wire antennas. When used with the whip antenna the 909X is not particularly sensitive on SW.

909X is equipped with a potentiometer type RF gain control that is more useful than a two or three position LOCAL/DX attenuator switch and easier to use than hidden features. I use the RF gain control at MAX setting most of the time but turn it down to as low as 4 or 5 (out of 10) for full S-meter readings on very strong SW stations (such as the notorious China Radio International, Havana relay). SYNCH functions do not work well on current radios priced under $500 so Sangean wisely omits this. ECSS operation will work fine for voice on the 909X but is usually not suitable for music due to the 40 Hz SSB fine tuning step. The 6 kHz WIDE IF filter is the best choice for most broadcast station listening. The 6 kHz filter skirts are sharp enough that heterodynes and splatter from nearby strong stations may be tuned out nicely with a 1 or 2 kHz fine tuning adjustment. For SSB signals LSB and USB are selectable. The 4 kHz IF filter is chosen for SSB by default: good for SSB but too wide for crowded CW conditions.

The 909X has a three position audio filter switch. This is more like selecting between three audio equalizer settings than using tone controls. NEWS: highlights the human voice range and helps in noisy band conditions. NORM: the all-round setting for all listening. MUSIC: best used for music played at higher audio levels. These settings work very well. The unique 12-element signal strength meter has lively ďactionĒ and is a pleasure to use. An adjustable squelch is provided but I rarely use it. If you find the detents on the flat tuning dial are a little too pronounced be advised that they will become less noticeable to the touch after the tuner is broken-in after 3-4 months of regular use. The coarse/fine tuning step switch is cleverly located inside the tuning dial where it belongs. Up and down tuning buttons are right next to the tuning dial. Direct frequency entry or memory tuning is accomplished by an alphanumeric keypad. SW memory page names may be labeled any way you wish. I use the memory pages often and keep them updated with pertinent A/B season frequencies.

The 909X features the best LCD display found on multiband portables. The display lights may be left on continuously when household AC power is used. Under battery power the display runs on a power-saving 20 second timer but can be lit for an additional 20 seconds by pressing the light switch. The display stays lit as long as a tuning control is used during the 20 second period. Clock functions include three alarm settings, choice of buzzer or radio for alarm, Humane Wake System and auto clock setting via RDS. Interestingly, daylight savings time cannot be used for local time if you have the world clock set to UTC (as opposed to local London time). I leave the world clock set to UTC and donít bother with DST or local time. The volume control knob features a thin rubberized coating for improved grip. This coating wore off during the first year of regular use. I donít miss it at all and its absence is not noticed visually or functionally. The alphanumeric keys have a firm but positive touch and do not stick. Jacks are provided for line out, auxiliary in and headphones. There is an AUX IN switch. The IF filter switch doubles as a STEREO/MONO switch for FM. The 909X is a solid feeling and attractively styled rig with exceptional ergonometric design. The exception is the RF gain control that is too close to the power jack. Thankfully, there are no hidden features. All controls are quickly accessed from front, side or top panels when needed.

The radio works great with four standard (white) Panasonic Eneloop NiMH rechargeable batteries. A ďsmartĒ battery charger is built-in. AC power must be connected and the radio must be turned off to automatically charge batteries. For top performance on SW recharge Eneloop batteries after 4-5 hours of operation and before the first battery charge status bar on the LCD display goes out. Itís OK to let the batteries run down much farther than that for everyday MW and FM use. The smart charger operates using a tiered charging method. If the charger operates for only 20 minutes or so before the red LED charge light goes out let the radio cool, turn the radio on and off again and a longer charge cycle will follow if needed. You will get closer to a full 1.5V charge on the Eneloop batteries with this longer cycle.

By federal regulation all multiband radios must use energy-saving wall wart switching power supplies for AC power. These do a fine job of generating SW radio interference and sending noise from household wiring and appliances into the radio. Disconnect the wall wart and use battery power for SW listening. For some unexplained reason the 909X uses an AC/AC wall wart and not an AC/DC supply. I donít understand why.

I use the 909X with the ANT-60 antenna on overnight trips several times a month. At home I use the 909X with a 106-foot random wire/long wire antenna. I also use a restored Hammarlund SP-600 for SW listening. With both radios using the same antenna there are a few stations that the SP-600 will tune that the 909X canít, but not many. I also use the 909X for SW in other rooms where I have additional external antenna connections. Weighing in at 65 lbs., I donít carry the SP-600 around very often.

Here are some SW stations that I can tune with the 909X using an external antenna. English language broadcasts on a daily basis: BBC World Service (both mornings and evenings depending on season), Radio China International, Radio Havana Cuba, Radio Romania, Voice of Turkey, Vatican Radio, Voice of Korea (North Korea), Voice of Vietnam, KBS World Radio (South Korea). Radio New Zealand and Radio Australia are heard for nearly 18 hours a day during the summer. Foreign language stations with good music and English language stations heard seasonally or occasionally: Radio Argentina, Radio National Brazil, All India Radio, Saudi International Radio, Radio Cairo, Channel Africa (South Africa), Voice of Greece, Radio Taiwan International, Voice of Indonesia, Radio Japan, Voice of America. Many religious or ranter broadcasters are heard from the USA along with commercial stations like WTWW and WRMI. There are countless other stations that I haven't tried to identify yet.

Sangean build, component quality and quality control is currently second to none in the portable multiband market. If you are married to the idea of using only a telescopic whip antenna for portable SW listening and you donít want all of the benefits of using larger external antennas you may be happier with another portable multiband. Accept less than optimal performance with external antennas on these radios as a trade-off for the convenience of using a whip antenna most of the time. If you donít mind using the supplied ANT-60 random wire for portable SW listening (itís quite portable) and want a radio that can take full advantage of random wire and long wire antennas for more demanding SW catches then go for the Sangean ATS-909X. It will be worth the price tag.
SHORTWIRE Rating: 2/5 Aug 3, 2016 16:22 Send this review to a friend
Good on LW, MW and FM, DEAF on SW.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Good sound and sensitivity on LW, MW and FM.

Almost completely DEAF on SW, only S9+ signals usableÖ!

Still good warm, mellow sound on SW if you happen to come across a signal that is strong enough to be listenable.

Power connector seems intermittent.

Tuning control not very precise, as if the indents might not be well aligned with the encoder.

N9VEQ Rating: 4/5 Jul 25, 2016 17:10 Send this review to a friend
WOW !  Time owned: more than 12 months
Radio feels good to pick up, hold, push buttons, listen to. Sides of radio are bumps to make holding easier

Due to phenomenally bad health (priests run away from me) due to MS, listen to Sangean 909x, Comm Radio C1A, Kaito KA 1103 daily. Buttons on the 909x are superior to my other radios. Music s clear. Felt voice was muddy, consonants not clear. CR1a with slightly shorter antenna has clearer voice. CR1a has no attached antenna, so attached antenna CRITICAL. Have concluded I need to attach better antenna to my 909x. Muddy voice is from FAR AWAY stations, not local stations

ka1103 has rechargeable batteries. Plug into USB port to charge. My 909x does not have built in rechargeable batteries. "Springs" in battery compartment go non-springy and I have to rebend them. 909x is a bit large for my malfunctioning hands, Advantage to physically lite rechargeable ka 1103 with lanyard
SM4KAS Rating: 5/5 Jun 4, 2016 08:30 Send this review to a friend
One of my best portables  Time owned: more than 12 months
Some of the portables I own similar to the Sangean ATS-909X are Sony ICF-7600GR, Tecsun PL-660 and Degen 1103.

Using the AN-LP1, the Sangean (after evaluating all these receivers for about four years) is the winner with the Sony very close behind.

The 909X with the AN-LP1 is a simple and nice setup that I would recommend anyone interested in BC-listening on shortwave.

That said, I like all my receivers. They just have different personalities and that is a good thing.
KB1BBY Rating: 4/5 Nov 7, 2015 19:45 Send this review to a friend
Very good receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My black Sangean ATS-909X is ONE OF the best battery powered portable shortwave receivers I have ever owned. For the somewhat high price, it could be better. More narrow filter bandwidths and synchronous detection (and display indicators for both) are the two missing features and I am VERY SURPRISED that Sangean overlooked these two highly desirable capabilities. There are several other less expensive receivers on the market (some MUCH SMALLER) which support BOTH features. With these 2 features added, this radio would be HANDS DOWN, THE VERY BEST BATTERY POWERED PORTABLE SHORTWAVE RECEIVER EVER MADE!

Build quality is very good and the audio is excellent. The slow tuning rate is more than sufficient for SSB and due to that fact, I don't really mind the tuning detents. Before getting this radio, I was almost certain I would end up performing the bench surgery to remove it, but now that I have used it a bit, I must say I am very impressed with how well this radio will zero beat any SSB signal with ease. I would still prefer the fine tuning to be a thumbwheel on the side of the receiver, but not a deal breaker.

Sensitivity lacks somewhat on the telescoping whip, but for good reason. This radio was clearly designed to plug and play very well on external long wire antennas without overloading very easily. The exceptions are easily dealt with by reducing RF gain. Also, many weak AM signals on SW and MW can be tuned in SSB modes EXTREMELY WELL for much improved copy. This MAY be why Sangean never implemented synchronous detection in this receiver.

Of all the small battery powered receivers I have ever used, this one is probably the CLOSEST to the armchair copy you would expect when using a formidable HF transceiver to hunt down weak AM/SSB signals.....WHEN used on a well matched long wire antenna. I don't chase down CW signals very much these days, but I'm sure a much narrower filter would be needed for great CW copy.

When I need to grab something VERY compact on the fly, I will bring my Grundig G3 with me. I have realigned the internal trimmer caps for better SSB balance and good SYNCH functionality and I am very happy with the performance for such a tiny receiver. The RDS on FM works pretty good too, but not as good as the ATS-909X. Also be aware of the new G3 on steroids....which is the miniature Eton Satellit. Eton has recently implemented better firmware to address the muting issues with the main tuning encoder...and I have also heard that it has SEVERAL SELECTABLE DSP FILTER I MUST try one of those little receivers.....and SOON!

HOWEVER, when I don't mind lugging a slightly bigger receiver, the ATS-909X provides much richer audio AND overall much easier fine tuning of SSB signals than my Grundig G3.

Due to the fact that there are smaller and less expensive receivers which include synch AND better narrow filters, I have to rate this radio a solid 4. If Sangean ever ADDS selectable DSP filter bandwidths, I will certainly give it a rock solid 6!

Happy band hopping and DX chasing! 73, de KB1BBY / Scott.
G3SEA Rating: 5/5 Mar 16, 2015 19:10 Send this review to a friend
A little Gem !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months

I have the black model of this remarkable little
World Band Radio.
The 40 HZ fine tuning and DSP are a great improvement over previous models and the AM/FM audio is superb !
It got a real test in the recent ARRL SSB and CW Contests where Hams from all over the World were heard on just the reel antenna.

No doubt a matched Ham antenna will improve even more on it's performance.

KE5GGY Rating: 5/5 Jan 24, 2015 00:27 Send this review to a friend
Solid Radio  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
A great looking and performing radio. The radio has a 'high end' feel to it. Sound is superb. On an external antenna it rocks on ham bands. However, internal and whip antenna performance is just average. In fact, the Tecsun PL-880 (which I also own) performs better on SW and AM DXing using built-in antennas. In spite of that issue, I love this radio!

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