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Reviews For: Sangean ATS-505

Category: Receivers: General Coverage

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Review Summary For : Sangean ATS-505
Reviews: 26MSRP: 129.95
Low Cost Portable RX with SSB
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
SMAUG Rating: 2013-06-19
A good solid radio; surpsingly good sound Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I don't have a fancy HF rig or a much more expensive shortwave radio against which to compare this, like some reviewers do. But such comparisons are not really appropriate anyway, right? An $80 SW vs. a $1000 ham tranceiver?

Let's compare it to something more in its own league: the Tecsun PL-390. $80 vs. $55.

The speaker on the ATS-505 blows the little stereo ones on the PL-390 out of the water. Even though there are two of them on the Tecsun, the sound is not really stereo unless you're right next to it.

The ATS-505 is much more bulky. But that is the cost of the more bassy speaker and the amp required to drive it, right?

The analog tuning and volume controls on this radio are buttery-smooth and easy to use. The part where I have to push in the tuning dial to get smaller tuning increments is kind of clumsy, but quite useable.

The display is great, but is best viewed from a low angle. For example, if I stand the radio up vertically, I can't see the display clearly unless I'm about 20° below it. No biggy, as the stand works great.

I believe this is one of the few radios under $100 that can receive SSB. I catch an occasional ham conversation there, but mostly just super-high speed morse code. Not really a great feature to me. Maybe if I were a General Class or above ham, it would be better, as I'd know what and where to listen.

The radio is not pocket size by any stretch of the imagination. More like for a shoulder back or backpack. It has nice dents on each side of the back for one's fingers, and it feels nice to hold it there.

With an improvised 30' wire antenna ran up the side of the building, reception is awesome. Even with the whip antenna, it easily outperforms the receiver in my $250 A/V receiver/amp. (even when it has an external antenna!) I can see now why some folks like to use good shortwave radios and patch the output to their A/V receiver.

I have not noticed any particular weakness, reception-wise in the lower AM, shortwave, or longwave bands, but I don't have a lot to compare it against, certainly not a high-dollar HF rig. However, I bet if you equipped this radio with an antenna equivalent to those on HF rigs, the reception would be equally as good.

One thing worth noting here is that although this has a better speaker and slightly nicer controls than the Tecsun radios, the ETM mode on the Tecsuns make it MUCH quicker to find stations to listen to, esp. on shortwave. Also, the better speaker on this radio only really makes a difference when listening to music on FM broadcast. (which I do more than I thought I would; at some point, I get tired of tuning around and just want some nice background music, you know?)

I think this radio marks the point at which there is diminishing returns to spending more: Spend more, and it might be a little nicer, but not commensurate with the cost. Spend less, and you can get a surprisingly good radio, albeit with poor audio from the built-in speaker and some funky controls.

Programming the radio is not as easily remembered as the Tecsuns. I don't know why. it's not hard, just harder to remember for some reason. Both require the manual, but I found that for the Tecsuns, I remembered it all after one reading. On this one, I have to keep referring back to the manual.
W8GND Rating: 2011-10-31
It's a decent receiver! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have stacks of portable sw radios, and the 505 works well. It seems especially good on FM.

But I have a secret for SWL's. I was a bit disappointed by the performance with the whip antenna, so I hooked the thing up to an 80 meter dipole.

What an amazing difference. 80 meters comes in as crowded, it hears WWV with full quieting, on 10 and 15 meters. Even the sideband sounds good.
I detected no horrible distortion.

I guess that moral is simply that a 5 foot whip is never going to outpeform a big antenna.

My Sangean 909 is still my best receiver, and I have lots of nominations for the worst.

And of course, none of them can compete with the really fancy radios (R75, and so on). But for $80, I think this is a decent rig.

73 Jerry W8GND

PERRY Rating: 2011-01-24
Good travel radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
It is compact enough to fill my full day trip/camping needs and works fairly well. On many fronts,it will not win against my Grundig 750 while in the shack on a wire. The front end is not as hot as on my G6 Buzz Box. The G6 is better for a quickie trip around town. That is ok because this radio will accept an external antenna without overloading. It works better with the provided roll up antenna,and needs it. It comes in a close seccond to the tuned wire on the roof with my "home brew" kite shaped portable PVC supported, rotating 3'by 3'open loop[long wire]antenna cut[sp-st mini switches]to 80/40/20 and 10 at 1/4 wave with #16 TFF. Oh, and don't forget the 20' counter-poise wound on the vertical support. Buy 100 feet of wire.

All in all ~ for the price and the plan it is a straight forward and fun radio _ Can't have to many - SO BUY IT.
WX1F Rating: 2010-01-02
Tough little rig! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had mine for over four years and it's tough as nails! Been dropped on the tile floor half a dozen times, didn't break and still works great. Of course it's not as good as tuning around with an expensive Icom or Kenwood hf rig...but for under $100, it's a fine little receiver and is easy to operate.
GW6ITJ Rating: 2009-10-13
Good FM - poor everything else Time Owned: more than 12 months.
My ATS-505 was purchased as a replacement for a deceased Sony ICF-2001D. I thought it reasonable that even a cheaper modern all-rounder might have similar performace to the old classic - how wrong I was.

It is sold as an all-rounder but is really a good FM Broadcast receiver with AM and SW added as poor relations.

On SW the radio has very poor sensitivity and next to no selectivity at all. Signal images are common. OK it can resolve SSB and CW but it's hard work listening, listening at low audio for CW is a pain as the audio hasd a constant hiss at any volume. The 1kHz resolution is too big a step and press any button and it's back to 5kHz. Broadcast reception is OK but it's AM and wide so it should be good.

MW listening has not been extensive for me but it has never been great.

The memories are limited and often erased when changing batteries. Front panel buttons are an art to use correctly. Alarms are handy as is the auto turn off after several minutes.

How not to keep the XYL happy - listen with headphones at night and change bands. The Beep is from the radio not the headphones - you have been warned!

I mailed Sangean for some information 2 years ago - heard nothing.

So it has turned out to be a novelty radio really. A great shame. But then it was cheap, trouble is it was a present so how can I tell the XYL? Answers on a postcard.

NIGE Rating: 2008-06-07
good radio for the price Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Not a bad little radio for the price.It is nothing compared to a frog, but my son who is only 5 can operate it ok and he loves putting AM bands on and
listening to 2CH (1170) believe it or not...
KG4GYL Rating: 2007-12-25
poor sound quality ruins everything Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
great display-easy to operate-but speaker sounds like a 1960's transistor radio; just awful
otherwise great radio but grundig yb400pe sounds like a bose system next to the sangean ats505

plug it into computer speakers PLEASE
M1MBZ Rating: 2006-06-28
Okay, poor cut down version of an ats909 Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Having owned and loved using an ats909, I bought this radio for holidays on the beach and to take to work with me, it was £40 in a sale at a local electronics store, the first dissapointment was the lack of an antenna jack, okay so I can use a crocodile clip on the whip instead, the second dissapointment was poor reception on bands below 1700kHz. Low band AM reception is terrible to listen to, but I have no real issues with listening above 1700kHz.
The BFO control acts as expected, when listening to SSB/CW.
No line out jack means you have to mess around to build an attenuator/impedance transformer if you want to use this radio with your PC soundcard for PSK31/RTTY/SSTV etc.

A good radio for the price I paid, but there are much better radios out there. If you can aim for a sangean ats 909 or better.
FINETUNER Rating: 2006-02-05
Excellent closeout value! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I got my DX-402 at the $49 closeout price, and feel like I got an excellent deal.

Sensitivity on SW is a bit better than my ATS-909, and I can use the 402 with an AC adapter and its built-in whip for adequate reception. Another user reported receiving SSB stations no matter where the receiver is tuned on SW. I'm also finding this annoyance but only on occasion. I like the SSB reception performance. If you look at the tuning LED at a certain angle it has in interesting yellow color with SSB signal peaks.

MW sensitivity of the DX-402 is plenty adequate for my area, every channel has station(s).

FM reception good, I just tried for two favorite fringe stations and they're right there.

Audio on all bands is very pleasing, more crisp than the ATS-909, although I think the 909 has more bass, which I also like. Stereo on headphones, while a common feature on these radios, is definitely a treat at this sale price.

Unlike many users I like the tuning knob, the delay is a minor annoyance. A bigger problem is the radio's reverting to the larger tuning step after I've selected 1kHz, when any button is pressed. This is poor programming.

All in all while I'm not sure I'd have paid the original price for the 402, at the sale price this is one of my best catches.
THATBPGUY Rating: 2004-10-07
Very Good For the Price! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
OK, I'm a novice, but I purchased mine 1 month ago and have travelled around a bit. It's plastic, but just as good as my other radios. SW was sensative and I get hundreds of stations worldwide. SSB worked much better than I had hoped. AM reception was great! While on the oregon coast I picked up my favorite AM sports station from San Francisco and reception was loud & clear. The speaker sounds very good (for it's size) and I can't find anything to complain about. I have a set of rechargable batteries and so far have used them for over 40 hours. I purchased mine thru C. Crane Company. I know they're spendy, but I've always had excellent customer service from them and for that, I'll pay the extra $10.