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Reviews For: Lowe HF-150

Category: Receivers: General Coverage

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Review Summary For : Lowe HF-150
Reviews: 26MSRP: 750.00
Solid, Simple Little Receiver with Excellent Audio Quality
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
SEALORD Rating: 2023-03-09
Still my favorite for portatop dxing Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Mine is the South Midlands Communications version purchased new in 2000 and I've been the original owner since. I installed the back lighting option from Lowe along with the keypad and padded carrying case. Over the last 23yrs. the keypad stop working along with the internal AA battery option. I replaced the trays with no luck, but now use an external 12v battery pack which gives me ~10hrs. of solid use between charges. The audio & performance of this little receiver still makes listening a pleasure especially if you use an outboard speaker which it drives effortlessly. Another known issue is the front end or lack of, but a Kiwa BCB filter easily resolves that. Not much to add about the features as it's Sync & SSB performance are well documented, but can add that recording audio from the Rec Out using an iphone with a special patch cable makes for good archive collections. The last few years I've been using it poolside with a MMD-40 antenna on the ground and an old passive Realistic 5" cube speaker - it makes for a wonderful cocktail-in-hand radio listening experience! Why would I give it 5 stars with it not functioning 100%? As long as the HF-150 keeps pulling in great dx and sounds wonderful to me I could care less about extra options. It's a keeper!
LNXAUTHOR Rating: 2021-04-04
Simple mod makes this rcvr great! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
wish i had purchased one of these years ago... a recent find of a used one in great condition with the remote keypad has now convinced me that this is probably the best bedside-easy chair AM BCB-listening companion ever made

i really like the 8 AA-cell trays, and NiMH 2300s last a long time (at least a week with hours of listening a day for me)... the AAs may be recharged in situ

the AMS modes work very well indeed... the sound from the internal speaker is very good to my ears, although i do use a KES-5 plugged into the rear

for listening i use two antennas at the same time: an AN-200 loop wired into the wire antenna slot, and the HF-150s telescopic antenna screwed onto the UHF connector

navigating frequencies from the rig's knobs is easy, but using the keypad - which requires no batteries - is even easier... there are two firmware versions supported in the rig to allow mode changes via the keypad... my 150 had the earlier firmware

the only downside is no backlighting... this is easily fixed with a clear white 3.2V LED wired to the pos/neg rails behind the on/off/vol knob: remove four screws from the bottom, solder a five-inch length of wire to PCB, then snake the LED down to the right side of the LCD, making sure the light points into the LCD's edge - voila! backlighting when turned on - took about 2 minutes to do

i really like this little radio... it is compact, portable, has good ears even with poor antennas... it is a keeper and will be part of my estate sale...
G3WRT Rating: 2021-02-12
Back to the 1980's Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have used this gem for years. It is a well-designed 1970/80 technology physically little RX. Many a 198kHz test match special provider. The synchronous AM detect makes it stand out and that is highly effective in QSB, now employed by me on 3615 and 5317kHz. Apart from an AOR5000+3 what other rig provides that? I have figured out an S meter feed and that is worthwhile. Forget ballistic meters for that task and use a cheap colour DSO (cheaper than a meter anyway) which for AM carrier monitoring (broadcast and ham) adds a significant experience. Doing so then really requires rehousing the whole thing, to avoid separate boxes and at the same time addressing the LCD backlight, lack of, issue plus adding a very necessary keyboard entry. While about it doing something better with the tuning would help QSY, which is another less than perfect feature. None of which I have or am likely to do unless I run out of COVID-19 lockdown things to do. I am not brave enough to backlight (with LED) the LCD but that is sorely needed (involves a lot of delicate scraping). The DSO S meter I do use. This RX is what it is and for the 2nd hand price now I am not selling. I have not put batteries in it because for LW/MW (and test matches) it really needs a decent ferrite rod antenna, which I suppose the rehousing could make possible. Actually, building a companion AM transmitter in the same new housing would make a small splendid 1980’s type portable rig. How long is COVID-19 going on for? … seems like that could be a task that gets done. Overall, it is a well-executed old design that works well.
OE5CSP Rating: 2021-01-24
Superb audio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I´ve been using this little radio for more than a decade and I´m still enjoying its superb audio.Using a pre-selector is almost a necessity, because the HF 150 is easily overloaded when using multi band antennas like FD3/4 windoms.Listening to SW or MW together with the Yaesu FRT-7700 and the SP-150+Kenwood HS-6 headphones is a real joy.The built in speaker is rather small, so I use external computer speakers.
I don´t think it is the best receiver out there
but listening to broadcast stations is definitely a pleasure.
It´s very well built and survived many trips to all over Europe.
VE4MM Rating: 2018-08-31
GARBAGE Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Have a Lowe 150 and went to use it after a few years of non-use and it would not power up.

Installed the 8 batteries and nothing.

Ready for the garbage.
K1VCT Rating: 2016-10-10
Great little receiver Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought my HF-150 in the late 1990's. Also got a SP-150 and PR-150 (the "speaker" and "preselector".

A few things. First are two accessories the HF-150 really needs, and those are the backlight for lcd display, and the keypad. I have both. The backlight works well, is led illuminated and matches the leds in the PR-150 and SP-150.

The radio is a very simple, John Thorpe design, with great audio, and if not perfect, at least altogether usable filtration.

For shortwave listening, you will be hard pressed to find a better sounding radio, that's how good it is. The internal speaker is great. The SP-150 is pretty good too, giving you a notch, treble response, and bass cut filtration. If you get a decent signal, and run the SP-150 into a studio monitor of moderate size (say a 3 way 10" based monitor with a ported cabinet), get ready to be blown away, as the radio and SP-150 are capable units, limited only by the tiny speakers they have. Ditto when used with better quality headphones.... just amazing audio. The SP-150 also has an S meter.

The PR-150 is a nice and handy pre-selector, that makes a decent account of itself. Leds light the band ranges and a large knob select the actual pre-selected frequency, with good cut-off of nearby (in frequency) signals.

To that all, I added my own "BP-150" design, which has two gel-cell 6v batteries in series, a charger, on/off power switch and a pair of leds, and switch, which show battery charge. Both leds, great charge. One brighter than the other, waning charge, just one led, charge soon, and one dim led means only 10 or 15 minutes of power left. The batteries provide up to 10 hours of use! Great for stormy weather. I made it through three hurricanes with the HF-150 "kit".

This is one of those "keeper" radios, the one that is not great on paper, but just a special little unit that you don't dare to part with. ICOM R-75 aside, I enjoy LISTENING to the HF-150 more than the ICOM.
G4MJA Rating: 2016-04-01
One Of The Best! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
During my 36 years in amateur radio I have owned many receivers, some good, some not so good. It is only recently that I managed to purchase a near immaculate example of the Lowe HF-150 with the optional keypad. Regardless of the fact that this receiver is at least 19 years old the performance is outstanding. Simplicity to operate & the reception performance with only a whip antenna is exceptional. It has the best synchronous AM facility I have ever used & locks on to weak stations like a limpet & doesn't let go. It offers a range of filters in AM mode & SSB performance is just as good. The audio quality from the top firing inbuilt speaker makes for easy listening. If you are in the market for a receiver & have the opportunity to buy an HF-150, buy it, you will not be sorry.
DXTUNER Rating: 2012-12-26
It always works and it never acts up. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The HF-150 is the best behaved general coverage receiver that I’ve ever used. Good sensitivity across its entire range, no weak spots, drop-off points or cliffs, yet it has no annoying characteristics whatsoever. Most receivers have at least 1 or 2 irksome qualities. The HF-150 is quiet, it doesn’t drift and the audio is good. I’d like to mention that the HF-150 is in fact great for sideband utilities & Ham listening, mainly because it is so quiet. Distant aeronauticals, for example, barely discernible above the noise on other well-known receivers, come through real good on this radio. In fact I use mine primarily for utility Dx’ing. So how anyone can say the HF-150 is only for broadcast listening is beyond me. It’s also top notch down on longwave, probably the best I’ve ever owned for that band. Finally, a large outdoor antenna isn’t needed for this radio. Just a short piece of wire does the trick.

I recommend the HF-150 to those wanting good coverage and no heartache. Provided you don’t think you’re too advanced to use such a simple, small radio.
W4OP Rating: 2012-10-18
Still one of the Best Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned my Lowe HF-150 for perhaps 15 years now. In the meantime, I have had the Palstar, and several other receivers. The AM sync is only 2nd best to the Elecraft K3. Built like a tank. I cannot imagine what the previous reviewer meant when he said it needs a tough case.
Backlighting is very easy to add- I have done 6 of them now for friends. Battery operation and the built in whip preamp make this an ideal portable rig. As others have noted, audio is brilliant for such a small receiver. Maybe it lacks the features of my K3, but for overall listening enjoyment, and ease of use I'll take the 150 any day.

Dale W4OP
KG8LB Rating: 2012-10-18
Not much radio for the money Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
The Lowe receiver is OK for general listening . Use on the crowded ham bands is another issue altogether . Bandwidth , passband tuning ? Yes , nice audio ..on strong stations . When things get tough the Lowe falls short on features . Small display (get a flashlight to use it at night ) . It needs a tough case construction . The shortcomings provoke one to toss it at the wall .