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Reviews For: Panasonic RF-B65

Category: Receivers: General Coverage

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Review Summary For : Panasonic RF-B65
Reviews: 9MSRP: 350
General Coverage Portable Communications Receiver.
1989 -1992. 150 Khz to 30 Mhz. AM/SSB. Double Conversion.
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
DXACE1 Rating: 2014-08-24
One of the top mini-portables of all time Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have been a SWL since the late 1960's and in the course of my listening career a few portables (the normal not the mega size) stand out, being the SONY 2010, the 7600 GR, SW-55, and the various minis like the SW100/SW07. But the Panasonic RF-B65 is right up there in the top five. This is largely due to the points mentioned by so many reviewers. In short, this was a high quality portable, highly-sensitive and able to hear pretty much everything that even top communications receivers can. Most notable with the 65 is the wonderful stability of the receiver in SSB. Though the radio is obviously limited because it has no selectivity bandwidth options, it makes up for that in that when you switch on SSB, you can get nearly absolute rock solid reception for hours. This is in contrast with other SONY's that had issues with SSB stability, notably the SW100 and SW07's, and the SW-55 which is famous for having a bit of a warble when in LSB or USB. On the Pan 65, if you're good enough to be able to ear tune it to zero beat using the thumbwheel, it will pretty much stay there, provided you don't bump the radio or move it around in any big way. Contrast that even with the ICF 7600 GR, which has a very touchy sidewheel and can be a bit drifty, especially if it's in need of replacement of caps due to age. My love for the Pan 65 is so great that I have concentrated on collecting superb copies of it -- I have one 10 condition one I use every day, and two new in box never used. One note for those who enjoy this great radio -- it is possible to get a 65 that has gone off center on the thumbwheel fine tuning, that is instead of being able to zero beat a station in the exact middle of the thumbwheel, it might be off significantly. This is fixable -- one of the great repair specialists for SONY's, Rod Wallberg, also will work on Pan 65s to correct this issue. All in all then, the quality of the 65 is why this radio is still in high demand on EBay. It's a diamond among the classics.
W2HP Rating: 2010-07-19
The very best! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Being a owner of the RF-B65 since 1988 there are NO radios that come close. Size, sensitivity, weight and reliability. I own a Sony 2010, Grundig E5 and they work fine. 2010 is too big but the benchmark for all comparisons. The B65 is mono and has lots of good clear audio. Its the radio I take when traveling. Its sensitivity is identical to 2010. It hears very well. Its selectivity is just OK but listening to DX with low level signals does not overwhelm the radio. Battery life is good. The plastics can be damaged if treated roughly. Laying in the sun on a beach causes slight drift of the BFO oscillator when getting hot! I cover it! Its weak point is the contactor cube for frequency up and down tuning on the main chassis. But with caution it can be unsoldered and removed and given a bath of liquid gold cleaner and it will restore that control. Its nothing but a up and down contact point in a cube 1/2 inch square. It shows a problem when tuning doesnt move up or down properly by the main dial. NO parts are available and outside of the tuning control, none needed. I treat this radio with care and love. Its truly a gem and has no current rivals. Selling of used units brings $300 prices as people know how good it is. In 1988 I paid $215 at Crazy Eddies in NJ. Best thing I did! Thanks. Pete W2HP hamming since 1954
KY8M Rating: 2010-06-15
The perfect trure portable Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I'll keep it short, as my feeling towards this radio are pretty much the same as the other reviews.

I have had mine for about twenty years, got when it first came out, it has never disappointed me.

For what it cost, it's size, excellent build, you can not beat it. I see even now (2010) they are selling for what I paid for mine new.

If mine were to break and not be repairable I would look for a used one in a heart beat.

73 Gary
ELJAY Rating: 2007-12-28
Solidly made, very good performer Time Owned: more than 12 months.
To be ruthlessly accurate, the RF-B65 should get only 3.5 brownie points in absolute terms, relative to all available radios. But among its own class of small LW/MW/SW FM radios, it's a solid 4. Only the lack of access to the extended AM BCB and a couple of quirks keeps it from being a 5 (which seems to be reserved for certain recent model cheaply made but good performing plasticky radios).

Very good LW and MW reception with the internal ferrite antenna, sensitive and directional enough to DX LW beacons. Holding the radio doesn't detune or desensitize the signal, and it's small, so it's suitable for both Dreidel DXing (spin the radio around) or Dizzy DXing (you hold the radio and spin your body around). Internal ferrite antenna works only up to 1611 kHz. 1612-1614 is a dead zone. From 1615 kHz on up it's in SW mode and defaults to the telescoping whip, although some good MW broadcasters can be picked up this way. Otherwise you'll need something like an external loop or ferrite bar antenna, one that plugs into the provided antenna jack, or one that inductively couples with the internal antenna.

Very good sensitivity on shortwave, AM or SSB for broadcasts or listening to hams. BFO dial easy to tune. Selectivity only fair and there's no choice of filter widths. Detuning 1 or 2 kHz and using BFO in SSB can sometimes reduce adjacent interference. Not so useful for CW or data modes.

ECSS tuning method limited. Switching to SSB reduces signal strength of broadcasts, but BFO can sometimes clarify difficult signals.

Excellent signal stability, less drifty than other BFO equipped radios I've owned.

Resistant to images and interference from powerful local MW broadcasters or CBers running illegally modified rigs.

Overall pleasant audio for AM, tho' a bit thin. AGC response is a bit fast and can sometimes make listening tiresome with crackly atmospheric conditions or locally generated snapping and popping noises. Very good for clean SW signals and MW, however.

Sounds surprisingly good on FM, considering the small speaker. Very crisp, clear, pleasant. Good sensitivity and selectivity and responds to changes in number of antenna sections extended, angle, etc.

Direct entry keypad is properly designed, but requires an intermediate step of pressing the "Frequency" button first. A bit of a hassle, but necessary to facilitate the one-touch memory recall option. The keypad doubles as a shortcut to various popular broadcast meter bands by first pressing the "Meter" key followed by the appropriate marked numbered key. Four direct jump keys for FM, LW, MW and SW.

Tuning in 1, 5 and 10 kHz steps. Fine tuning via BFO only in SSB mode. Tuning dial chugs when turned rapidly, but it is possible to hear signals between chugs. No true scanning. Auto-slewing possible by pressing and holding the manual tuning up/down key until it begins scanning, after a slight delay. With DX/local switch set to DX, slewing will stop at every hint of noise or carrier. In local position it will miss all but the strongest signals. But it's useful if you want to pick out only the strongest stations.

Lots of nice little features: Sleep timer; dual clock; LCD signal strength meter; flip-up panel for frequency/time/program reminders; hold switch to prevent accidentally turning on the radio while packed in luggage; overall flat design - very travel friendly; world time zone map and frequency allocation chart; 9 memory presets for *each* mode, 36 presets total! Pretty good for that or any era. Most controls are intuitive (the standby set/cancel isn't).

Good battery life from a set of four AA NiMH rechargeables. (Two AA for memory backup.)

A well crafted gem, no longer economical to make in an era of cheap plastic boxes.
CQDX Rating: 2005-07-15
Excellent portable Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This is an excellent radio. It is really bad that this radio is produced no more. Panasonic RF-B65 pulls in signal on all bands. It certainly outperforms Sony ICF-7600GR in selectivity and sensitivity and, what is more, sound. The sound is crisp and clear. Dynamic performance on SW. Some strong stations are really a pleasure to listen in this radio. Signal metre and manual tuning are added advantages, especially in the radio of this size and weight. In fine, please grab if you see one. You will never be a loser.
If the poet permits, I will certainly say,
"Old order changeth yielding place to new one, only to prove old is gold".
WDM11A Rating: 2005-02-01
Excellent Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Excellent portable wordband receiver, be it SW, AM or FM. Among the best in it's size/weight class. Suberb audio...maybe the BEST in it's size/weight class. Crisp, clear, highly intelligable audio, low background noise. Materials and workmanship are of high quality. Excellent sensitivity all bands (tuned RF front-end). Lots of nice features including rotary tuning knob (something NOT usually found on receivers in this size classification). Can be used for travel, but the audio and senstivity are sooooo good, you will find yourself using it at home instead. I rate the Pan RF-B65 as the BEST portable worldband radio in it's size/weight classification. (IMHO), it outperforms radios such as the Grundig Yacht Boy 400 and 500, Sony 7600, Sangean 505, 606, etc., etc. Also available in a non-SSB/BFO configuration (RF-B60). A MUST if you like compact worldband PLL receivers. (Mike P - Satellit600)
WA6IPD Rating: 2004-07-17
Nice recever Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have had my radio for at least 10 years and it is very well constructed and overall I am well satisified. It was designed as a travel radio all the controls are recessed so they are not easily damaged. But as a travel radio it is of limited use because it’s appetite for batteries is real real bad. If you are looking for a small travel radio the analog sets are the only way to go. Yes you can use it on SSB but it’s not easy. It has a sleep feature which is nice but it makes a poor bedside radio, feeling around for the controls in the dark even when you know where they are is difficult. I use mine for travel mostly cruising and I only listen for the news on VOA or the BBC but do not listen at any length.
KB2SMS Rating: 2003-11-16
Awesome little radio! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had this little radio for about 10 years and absolutely LOVE it. Crisp,clear audio, easy to use and the receiver really pulls in the signals. I bought it a few years before I became a ham and listened to a lot of ham QSOs with it. Despite the fact that I have better ham rigs that would do better at receiving shortwave they aren't as portable as this little rig, I can take it anywhere. If you can find one, get one. I'll never give up mine!

WB9YCJ Rating: 2003-06-29
Hot Receiver, Crisp audio. A 5 Star Winner ! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Grab one if you can, Hot receiver on all bands, tunes ssb/cw with no chuffing or "pulling". SSB/CW sigs are stable unlike so many other portables that dont make the grade. Out performs Sony ICF-SW55. A real champ on medium wave with its own built in ferrite bar antenna. The telescoping whip coupled with the internal preamp make for a great stand alone portable often not in need of an external antenna. Digital freq readout. Memories. Clean Crisp audio that reaches out and makes station I.D. less challenging.
A true portable unlike the sony 2010 (which I hesitate to carry as a portable due to its size). The RF-B65 is a 5 star classic and an unsung hero!