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Reviews For: Allied AX-190

Category: Receivers: General Coverage

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Review Summary For : Allied AX-190
Reviews: 12MSRP: appx 250
General coverage communications receiver.
Product is not in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
W4NFR Rating: 2014-12-22
I got a good deal and it worked! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I was fortunate to find one for sale from a Radio Shack that was going out of business. It was new in the box and already 40 years old. It is in extremely nice condition and works well. I was not happy with the receive sensitivity, so I did the Mods to make it more sensitive. I like old stuff and I look at it mostly. Pretty good receiver for its time in the 70s. Built by Kenwood back in the day.
VK5GI Rating: 2013-11-07
Excellent receiver Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have had an SX-190 for many years and I was given the opportunity to pick up an AX version at a recent hamfest. It had obviously been on someone's shed shelf for many years, it was filthy and rusty but - hey - I like a bit of a challenge! It has cleaned up great, I have stripped the rust and old crummy paint off the substantial steel case, and it is working just fine. The AX and SX receivers are fundamentally substantial and well built instruments and with care will last for many decades. They are already 40 years old. Find one, buy it!
W8AAZ Rating: 2009-04-11
Too much now? Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I will say that I had one of these as a youth. I liked it pretty well and enjoyed operating it. I thought it worked really pretty well at the time, if you are comparing it to current radios, forget it. We did not have that reference point at the time. Just this though, nice ones are selling on ebay for too much, in my opinion. They are selling for collectables prices, not a price that reflects a fairly decent but obsolete receiver that is maybe not quite old enough to be antique. So you have to decide if you are a collector or a practical user, as I think the practical performance does not in itself justify the prices we are seeing online for nice ones. Sorry.
KN6LE Rating: 2008-06-03
STILL HAS STYLE Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Very happy with my AX-190. Workmanship and styling superb. Very stable, reasonably sensative. Very firm feel. When I use it, puts me right back into the early 1970s
KY4Z Rating: 2007-11-27
Worth a look as a second rcvr Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I remember when the Allied AX-190 was new; I was a very enthusastic SWL'er who wanted a ham bands only receiver. I never bought one, but my admiration for this receiver and its SWL companion, the SX-190, never subsided.

When I had a chance a couple of years ago to pick up an AX-190, I wasn't disappointed with it. It is what it is, however -- don't think that it will outperform your high-end Icom ham rig. The AX-190 holds its own for what it is -- a 35-year-old mid-range priced receiver.

The selectivity is a compromise. It's a bit narrow on AM and a bit wide for SSB. While it doesn't offer DSP or a range of crystal filtering for SSB and CW, the Q-Multiplier is effective and can be used to help cut down interference under crowded band conditions.

As with most other receivers from the early 1970s, sensitivity drops off some on the bands above 20 meters. I've found the rig receives best on resonant antennas for whichever band you're using. I use mine with my external antenna tuner in my shack and it does a respectable job.

My AX-190 is quite stable; its a joy to tune and the audio quality is very good (depending on mode). I love the styling of this rig; even after 35 years, its still a beauty.

If you're looking for a bit of nostalgia and would like a receiver that will give you stylish good looks and decent performance, you won't go wrong with the AX-190.
KB1GMX Rating: 2005-09-10
Good for the era and price and possible used buy Time Owned: more than 12 months.
First, I got mine in 1974 used and have had it since. It is the ARS AX-190 version. It is a GRE chassis. I have the matching speaker. The first task was rebuilding the VFO tuning mech as the original owner must of like to bang against the stops damaging the brass gears. Then I realigned it very carefully. It has been my standby reciever and used to calibration agains WWV (15mhz). Over the years I've been watching for the matching transmitter, they were very scarce.

A few years ago I opened it up and replaced the 2SK19s in the frontend (it was getting deaf)
with MPF102s and did a complete realign by the book. It does good or better than spec for sensitivity and selectivity still. Properly aligned the VFO tracking is +- 500Hz which is
not bad considering.

Excellent sensitivity for 80-20m, Ok for 15 and tepid for 11 and 10m. Typical for midrange RX of that era. Like many transistor recievers of the time RF overload of the front end is typical, the RFgain control does help this. Also a Tuned antenna works best (or random wide with antenna tuner).

Selectivity is fixed by IF can mechanical filters that are not very narrow. They are narrow enough to be on the tightside for AM phone and wide for SSB. The Q-multiplier when properly adjusted can provide a good notch or peak and makes the selectivity passable. With some imagination adding a good 2.7khz (or 500hz)ceramic or mechanical filter to the 455Khz IF could be done.

Handy items: front pannel headphone jack, Rear pannel VFO, HFO outputs and runs nicely on 12V.
There is also a rear pannel speaker jack, Mute
and line audio.

Watchout fors: If you find one used the VFO drive
may have dead grease or other damage making it stiff and jumpy tuning. This is NOT normal but with a bit of work can usually be repaired. It should tune very smoothly. Dead or partaially dead audio amp outputs that give fuzzy audio.
I've seen a few with "deaf as a stump" complaints and replacing the 2sk19s on the front end board
works here. If it has been "golden screwdrivered"
an alignment will be needed and could be a pain if they cracked the slugs. Also bad or missing crystals in the front end. Dead crystal calibrators are common. For any radio this age the pots maybe bad from use/abuse.

For an old radio it performs well and was better than the HW101 RX save for overload.

I gave it a 4 because it was good, noteably so for the time but for the dollar (as new purchase in 1973) it was expensive. As a used radio buy it can be a good deal for a first RX if in good shape or can be brought back to original. The ability to run off of 12V DC is handy for field use

TUBESAREKING Rating: 2004-02-03
GRE Wonder-Radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Hate to burst some peoples's bubble, but the AX-190/SX-190 is not a Trio-Kenwood. I just received my SX-190 via eBay and in the process of cleaning and fixing it up noticed that each PC board has GRE clearly marked on it. GRE is the company that made the DX-160, DX-150/A/B for Radio Shack. To my eyes, I can see the Kenwood resemblance. I'd say GRE was inspired by Kenwood, Collins, Drake etc. when designing this rig.

For the SWL, consider it a speciality receiver. It is not general coverage. It is not suitable as your only SW radio, or even your only good SW radio. But, as an addition to your shack, its a beauty. Coverage is limited, tuning is fantastically smooth, selectivity is awesome. Audio quality, is, well interesting. It is very, very narrow band for AM. SSB sounds very clear and crisp. AM sounds very fuzzy. But, unlike the narrow bandwidth on my Kenwood R-1000 and Sony ICF-SW77, it does not have that horrid muddy sound. After listening to the fuzzy sound, I came to like it for real DX work. For the easy stuff, I use the Kenwood on wide with its quasi HiFi sound. When the Kenwood is being trashed by adjacent channel interference, its this Realistic SX-190 to the rescue!

Build quality looks good. My SX-190 has Realistic and RS on it, not Allied, Allied Radio Shack, or ARS on it. Solder connections look good on it, likely due to it being a later model. Serial number contains 76 in it. The general consensus is that these were only offered from 1971 to 1973. Yet, the very first Radio Shack Canada catalogue I ever saw was from 1975, and I recall seeing this baby in it, and for the next couple catalogues as well. Perhaps it had a longer run in Canada?

With my 70 foot long wire V, keeping the RF gain all the way up results in warbles and whistles everywhere - just like a cheap 70s era multiband portable. Back the RF gain down to the 2/3 of the way up position, and it behaves beautifully. I'm sure wide open would be fine with a small antenna.

The preselector works well, but must be set up properly, otherwise you'll force images into it. Properly tuned, this baby is essentially image free.

This is a "hands on" receiver. You don't just tune in the stations. You tweak tuning, RF gain, preselector. You do math in your head to identify your frequency - 5.7 + 135 = 5.835 Mhz.

The gears for the tuning system tell you GRE put their heart and soul into this baby.

My SX-190 has a rather rusty top and bottom case, so come spring I'll be sanding, priming and painting. The dial indicator slips a bit arround "200", likely an easy fix. the ajustable marker dial did not work properly until I removed the tuning knob and reinstalled it closer to the front panel as it should be. Now the clutch system works great.

Not for the average Joe and Jane, but for the shack of a seasoned amateur or SWL, a hands on delight.

Be prepared to try it with different speakers until the audio is to your liking. If you need extra crispness, using a 6.5 inch closed back midrange speaker will peak up the mids, making it easier to hear tough DX. If you want more warmth, a 6x 9 car radio speaker with a whizzer in one of those carpeted 6 x 9 boxes [with a bit of fibre glass insulation inside]does a nice job.

The closest thing to a solid state boatanchor I've seen - a canoe anchor or a dory anchor. A poor man's Collins? Perhaps.

The knobs are solid aluminum - the tuning knob is very heavy, giving a decent flywheel effect.
MMAGHAKIAN Rating: 2002-11-15
GREAT FUN COOL ! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The person who said bad things about this radio needs to tune his up. These are awesome radios, if you can get one, be sure to tune it up !
W6PMR Rating: 2002-09-12
Am I on the same Planet ? Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Wow, From reading the reviews from the other fellows about this radio one might conclude that it is an OK rig.....NOT.
I was suckered into owning this radio because I
will admit, it's a good looking radio but it leaves much to be desired.
It's numb as a rock above 10mhz, the audio quality is poor, it has a severe image problem and is overall a cheap, low-end Ham band only, table radio.
To read one of the other reviewers put this in the same sentence with Collins, ANY Collins made
me choke.
Look people, lets get real on these reviews, if you can pick this radio up a any swap for under
a hundred bucks, and I do see this all the time,
you figure out how good this thing is.
VR2XMQ Rating: 2002-09-12
Very Good RX for Age Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I must say that I am quite impressed by the Allied AX 190 communications receiver. This set was recently purchased along with the matching SP-190 external speaker and arrived yesterday. It was connected up to the antenna and I found that the dial mechanism was really ultra smooth and had a rally nice feel. All the knobs are in aluminium including the VFO spinner knob - really nice touch and none of these cheap and nasty plastic ones you get on equipment these days.

Very good RX on 80 meters but a bit lacking on 10.
But for a RX built in 1971, top marks. The audio is very nice on both SSB and AM and I'm sure with an additional antenna preselector and a good audio filter it will work like magic on CW.

I'm really pleased I bought this radio. It might be worthwhile to get the sister SX 190 which is for the SW bands.This is a very attractive looking radio.