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Reviews For: Etón Satellit

Category: Receivers: General Coverage

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Review Summary For : Etón Satellit
Reviews: 7MSRP: $229.99
The retro chic, modern sleek AM/FM/LW/SW radio that’s out of this world
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KE8WO Rating: 2019-05-06
Good Features and Performance Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've only had this radio for a few days but have used it enough to verify the good performance reviews by others here so I won't repeat that but only offer a few comments..
- Being that it is DSP based, the radio does have some of the audio muting that is common to DSP based radios. But it is much subdued to the point of being not that noticeable.
- Sideband reception in the shortwave bands is very usable. Most SSB stations are using frequencies that are of 1 kilohertz increments. As such, I usually do not have to use the extremely fine tuning feature. This makes tuning much simpler.
- I have noticed that SSB stations that vary in signal strength on the frequency will have a brief noise burst as the DSP adjusts .. kinda like an AGC set to a fast recovery on a more sophisticated receiver.
- I was concerned about having to push the main tuning control to switch between Fast, Slow and Stop tuning modes.
I just leave the rotary control in the Slow tuning rate and use the front panel up and down tuning buttons which provides the fast tuning.
- The leather case is nice looking but I will not be using it.
- The antenna actually sticks out from the back of the case when folded. So when you place it on a flat surface it is actually being propped up some by the folded antenna. I'd rather the antenna would fold into a recessed area of the radio.
- My radio had a few very small creases on the speaker grill. Not bad enough to retun it and risk getting one with some other defect. Other wise the radio is in perfect condition and I am pleased.
- The radio was at a special price on Amazon ($92) and made me jump at the offer. I suspect Eton is either coming out with a new model or perhaps this is the end of the line for this size / style radio from Eton. I was also considering the similar priced and performing Xhdata d-808. But in the end, the ease of doing business with potential returns to Amazon compared to the risk of an EBAY purchase of a radio from China made the decison easier.
SWLDXGUY Rating: 2018-02-23
A Good Performer Depending upon Price Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
The Eton Grundig Edition Satellit and Eton Grundig Executive Satellit are the same radio, sharing the same operating manual and differing only in respect to outward appearance. The Eton Grundig Edition Satellit has a black and silver color scheme and no leather while the Eton Grundig Executive Satellit has a light metallic color with a leather flap cover. What sets these Satellits apart from the rest of the multiband portable pack is VHF air band. If you want air band, you have it. I'm no expert on ATC listening but the Satellit receives the international airport frequencies 15 miles from where I live just fine. I have the Eton Grundig Edition Satellit purchased new in the fall of 2017 from RadioWorld Canada on eBay for US $116.27. The firmware version of my radio is RBDS-003.
Pros: Attractive design (especially in black) and cool-looking display in orange with purple tint highlights. The monochrome display is better than found on most multiband portables with plenty of lighting controls to adjust. Expect to keep the Satellit display lit whenever you use it. The display is not very visible unlit. Overall build quality is lightweight but not cheap. These Satellits have RDS for FM like the superb Sangean ATS-909X. Overall SW performance is good for a PLL radio with DSP priced under US $160. The digital tuning display is accurate to 1 kHz. SSB performance is among the very best available on multiband portables with a 10 Hz tuning resolution. In fact, this is my favorite portable for HF Aero. Tuning by keyboard entry is snappy. A battery charger is built-in and will charge four AA LiMH cells. Listening to SW broadcast stations is good if you can forgive the thin audio quality on nominally strong stations.
Cons: Speaker audio is fizzy and tinny, worse than most radios of this size. If you can't hear high audio frequencies very well these Satellits may become your favorite radios. There is no audio tone control. Like some other multiband portables these Satellits can use four rechargeable LiMH batteries and charge them inside the radio. Unfortunately, the battery charger is antiquated and two to three times slower than "smart" chargers equipped on better multiband portables. The “dumb” charger requires manual setting to match the battery’s mAh rating and an unforgivable 11 hours to charge four AA Eneloops. Satellite controls can be cumbersome and awkward to use. Shortwave tuning mutes and delays between tuning increments with the display showing an irritating blur between steps. SW bandwidth filtering is much wider than claimed with poorly defined, sloppy filter skirts. This is a common but largely ignored fault with all SW portables using the current generation of Silicon Labs DSP bandwidth filtering instead of more expensive ceramic IF filters. Not surprisingly, the 6 kHz ceramic IF filter equipped on the more expensive Sangean ATS-909X (also DSP) is more selective on SW than the 6, 4, 3, and 2.5 kHz DSP filters on the Satellit. The LOCAL/DX switch works for SW but not MW. The Satellit SYNC feature is not very useful, rarely improving a weak SW signal. MW reception is hissy and otherwise unremarkable. FM reception is average quality but crippled by the aforementioned poor speaker audio. The radios suffer from hand capacitance indicating poor shielding to cut production cost.
These Eton Satellits have been offered by major retailers at over $200. The good features of these radios make them a very attractive choice for anyone who wants a multiband portable with SW, air band and SSB for under $160. Priced under $120 these radios can be quite a bargain depending upon your portable radio needs.
KF2YD Rating: 2018-02-07
Great sound and good sensitivityEtón Satellit Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
The Eton Grundig SatellitI is the best radio out of the other digital DSP portable radios that I own.

The sound quality on the Eton Grundig SatellitI radio sounds better then my Digitech AR-1780 and my Tecsun PL-380. The Eton Grundig SatellitI also has much better sensitivity then my Digitech AR-1780 and my Tecsun PL-380.

Conclusion: If I had some extra money I would purchase a second Etón Grundig SatellitI in a flash.

Great radio for the money. The best price is on eBay $110 from eBay seller named radioworld.
KT7DX Rating: 2015-10-27
Just got better! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I wrote my first review of this little receiver back in January 2015; I thought it was a pretty good receiver. Since then, Eton has upgraded the Satellit with new firmware updates. My main complaints were muting while tuning on the MW/SW bands and a strange stereo 1/8" jack for the external antenna which caused a 'normal' mono plug to short the jack out resulting in no signal.
Well, upon hearing that Eton had an upgrade and that they would replace/ repair the first versions of the Satellit's, I jumped on it.
I called Eton and talked to Richard Sharman, Operations Coordinator at Eton. While we were talking about the new firmware upgrade that I had heard about, I received an email form with the standard questions (name, address, description of problem, etc.) to send back; which I did. Within 24 hours I received an RA authorization to return the unit.
I received the receiver back in under two weeks with the following improvements:

No full muting on LW/MW or SW while tuning anymore, just the momentary clicking and very slight muting you would expect from an optical encoder with detents. A VAST improvement!

An almost strange, 'bluish' tint on the display lens (or display itself) that, while not affecting the readout or color in ambient room lighting, profoundly improved its readability in direct sunlight. The display is now readable at any angle or any brightness setting while using the radio outside. The previous version was completely washed out in direct sunlight.

I can now use a Grundig reel-up antenna that came with my Grundig YB-400PE which would short-out the external antenna jack on the earlier unit.

On the earlier version, the SSB fine tuning needed to be zeroed in order for the Sync mode to work properly and sound normal. This is no longer the case. The Sync mode locks in and sounds normal no matter what the SSB offset is.

The only thing Eton didn't do was increase the bandwidth while in Sync mode; its widest is still set at 4 kHz, 6 or even 8 kHz would have been much better on good, strong signals.

Apparently, you were able to check the firmware version by pressing the Reset and 0 (zero) button simultaneously and releasing the Reset button. The first version showed "RBDS--003"; it still does. Not really sure what this is or what it means. The S/N on my older unit was: 4B00938112S; the new S/N is: 5100418112S.

I gave this receiver a 5 out of 5 in my first review, mainly because of its size, sensitivity and sound. Needless to say, with these improvements, it's still a 5 and a definite keeper!
I love this radio!

Terry, KT7DX

LA2MOA Rating: 2015-06-16
It's OK - but just OK Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Been playing around with my new Eton "Satellit" for about a week now, and here's my review - harsh and brutal, and I'm not impressed!

First of all: The name "Satellit" on this radio is nothing but an insult to the real Satellit brand, made by Grundig. And that's it!

HF: My ICF-2001D (ICF-2010) runs in cirkles around it. Also in SSB mod. filters are a joke. The most narrow one in AM (2 KHz it's said to be), is more like a 4 KHz cheramic filter with wide skirts! Actually, the 2.5 KHz DSP-filter appears to be wider than the 3 KHz one. A joke!

AM: My ICF-2001D (ICF-2010) runs in cirkles around it. Nuff said. Actually, nothing beats my ICF-2001D among my portables for weak signal AM DXing...

FM: My Degen DE-1103 (Kaito KA-1103) modified with 110 KHz IF-filters runs in cirkles around it. In fact, a stock DE-1103 also runs in cirkles around it. The Degen/Kaito is far more sensitive than this "thing" made by Eton. Sorry to say it. Compared to the DE-1103/KA-1103, it's deaf! RDS is fast and good, though, if the radio is able to "hear" the signal.

Conclusion: The Eton is an "OK" radio for casual HF, AM or FM listening, but not a serious portable for serious (portable) DXing. Way overpriced, compared to it's performance! And for crying out loud: Dear Eton - please call it something else than "Satellit". It doesn't even come close to a real Satellit.

I give this radio the rating "3". I actually would prefer to give it a "2.5" but that to low. Sorry, Eton - wish you had continued the E1(XM). Now that was a real radio!
K9GDT Rating: 2015-05-01
Very Good, Could Be Better Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I agree with KD9AUR,

This is a fine receiver. It is not perfect, however. My only real complaint with it is the same as with other Eton, Grundig and Tecsun receivers when used in the SSB/CW mode: The AGC/AVC action is utterly miserable.

First, let's look at the AGC characteristics of a good SSB/CW communication grade receiver:

1) Fast Attack: You want the gain of the IF amp/AGC system to respond quickly to avoid being blasted by the sudden appearance of a strong signal. This means The AGC timing capacitor should be charged by a low impedance source and the AGC loop should be compensated so these fast changes are applied to controlled stages without delay.

2) But Not Too Fast: You want only legitimate signals to act on the AGC system. If the designer properly implements step 1, the AGC response will be too fast and will respond to non-repetitive noise, such as a spike caused by someone turning on a lamp or a thermostat kicking in. A judiciouslly selected resistor between the the charge source and the timing cap will increase the charge time to about one millisecond. Setting this timing is the easy part!

3) Headroom: For that millisecond duration, signals can become quite large and the receivers amplifiers need to remain linear and not clip. This aspect is a dismal failure in all of these otherwise excellent receivers. I suspect the designer determined or tested the AGC/Gain circuit values by a using a steady carrier from his signal generator.

4) Decay Time: The ACG level on AM is determined by the carrier level of the received signal. With SSB or CW there is no carrier. So the average AGC levels must somehow be determined by momentary peak levels of the received signal. In order to avoid an unpleasant inrush of noise between syllables or when the key is up, the AGC circuit must maintain gain levels during these 'no-signal" moments.

The decay time on a good communications receiver can vary between 1mS for signals with very rapid fade to several seconds for steady signals. Ideally, the decay rate should be adjusted to match the rate of fade in order to keep the recovered audio constant while supressing fatiguing background noise.

For receivers with only one decay time selection, 500mS has always worked well for me, even on multi-hop DX signals.

Suggestions for improvement:

1) By all means, fix the AGC!

2) Ergonomic suggestion: Setting the tuning rate is currently a two-handed operation: one hand to push the tuning knob and the other hand holding the left side to kepp the radio from sliding around the table.

Why not put a momentary tuning rate selection button on the front panel, just below the power switch? Doing so would mean operating the Satillit is always a one-handed operation, thus negating the need to put down that beer to make those frequent tuning rate adjustments!

Does anyone know where I can obtain a service manual for this fine receiver? I'd like to fix mine.

73 ;n cheers ;n beers,
George - K9GDT

Homebrew and Vintage Radios:
KD9AUR Rating: 2015-01-31
Par Excellence! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
This radio was the victim of an unfortunate set of video reviews early on where the failure of the reviewer to read the manual and understand the radio operation, and his ensuing frustration and negative comments gave the radio an early and undeserved reputation. As an example, the manual clearly states that if the backlight is off, the first key press will always turn the backlight on, so you will need to press that key a second time to get to its intended function. If the backlight is always on, this is a non-issue. When you first turn the radio on, you have to remember to hit the power key twice. I did benefit from this circumstance, however, as I was able to buy a returned radio from Amazon for just $115.00. Since then, the price has gone way up.

What is becoming more clear to me the more I use this radio, is that despite the relative shortness of the whip antenna, the FM tuner section is par excellence. Equal to, and slightly better than my previous favorite, the Sangean ATS-909X. Weak signal FM DXing is a strength of this receiver.

The MW DX capabilities far outstrip any other portable on the market. Most of this is due to the lack of digital artifacts which plague other DSP Radio Chip portables, and a very low noise floor. Eton paid a great deal of attention to the placement and layout and routing of the DSP Radio chip and its associated leads to achieve this. In the Satellit, it is placed in its own RF can. On most of its contemporaries, the chip is placed under the RF shield for the display in the proximity of the processor and serial register IC's, etc. This causes the "digititus" you can hear on AM in the other radios (or so we speculate).

While most will be attracted to this as a SW radio, the fact that MW and FM DXing are not only possible. but a strength of this receiver make this a very unique radio.

The shortwave is also a strength. Testing I have done on the whip shows it to be able to not only hold its own with the best of what is available today, but in most cases it exceeds them on sensitivity. I have done some round robins with a table full of portables and the Eton always has come out on top against the G5, 7600GR, G3, PL-660, PL-880. It's closest competitor is the DE-1103, but you can still resolve signals better on the Satellit. All this despite having the shortest whip antenna of the bunch. Eton also did a good job with the SSB. None of the AGC problems that plague the Tecsun PL-880 are evident in the Satellit, even though both radios use the same Si 4735 DSP Radio chip.

Some other advantages are the exceptional RDS, the extra filters (why did they stop at 6 KHz?????), excellent construction and ergonomics. Even the little added "knee" they included in the whip antenna is well thought out. I like the integration of the BFO into the tuning knob and the visual aids in fine tuning SSB signals. This allows the separate volume control, and also prevents the BFO from being bumped and accidentally mis-tuned. The audio is superlative in its class, second only to the Tecsun PL-880 and the Meloson S8, and not by much at that. The display backlight can be made to stay on even on batteries, and even with the radio turned off. the display itself packs a lot of information that is easily read and viewable from almost any angle. I find I do not need my Walgreens glasses to read it wonderful.

My only negatives are: (obviously the muting while tuning, but only in SW SSB mode. I have gotten used to the detent and I like it. The lack of wider BW in SSB modes (although I appear in a minority here), the lack of wider bandwidths in AM Sync mode, a wider lock range on the sync detector (works better the closer to dead on frequency you are- but it does work), and lack of a true charging circuit for the batteries that does not require the operator to set the parameters. Tone controls were supposed to be available, but were dropped from the released design. The stereo external antenna jack is so trivial as to be laughable. A simple 3.5mm stereo to mono adapter solves this, or a more permanent mod is available which is easily done with simple tools.

To myself, the biggest drawbacks are the BW in SSB and AM Sync as my treble challenged ears really like the enhanced fidelity of the wider bandwidths. Tone controls would have definitely helped here. Were this radio for shortwave use only, I would not like it nearly as much. However, as I have recently gotten more into AM/FM DXing, this has become my primary radio.

This is not so much a brilliant design as it is a proper implementation of the Si 4735 DSP Radio Chip. It is everything the PL-880 should have been, but is not. Maybe Tecsun will fix the problems with the PL-880 in the upcoming PL-680. If so, that will be an awesome radio.