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HF/MW/LW Equipment For general and technical discussion of all receivers which cover the HF bands. For HF tranceiver discussion please use the Amateur Radio Equipment forum above.

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Old 11-21-2013, 4:34 AM
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Cool Do not buy the Sangean ATS-909x !!

I can't believe this... I haven't powered on my 909x for a couple of weeks and of course, why should I think something could go wrong... Of course, my return policy has expired by only a few days...

I just experienced the issue in quote below.

From this FAQ page: Sangean ATS-909/Radio Shack DX-398 FAQ: Technical Information

Quote:
I checked the keypad, and my radio still doesn't respond!"

Some users have noted that after the radio has been stored for a long time with batteries installed, the radio will lock up and the reset button will not work. Removing the batteries doesn't help, since the radio is still powered by a memory capacitor that takes a long time to discharge by design.

In that case, remove all batteries from the radio and let it sit for at least a few hours, perhaps as long as six days (as reported by one user on the DX398 list at Yahoo! Groups.)

According to Sangean, this is a known issue. Radios powered on AC have not exhibited this problem. (My radio is AC powered and I note that it has locked up on power-on approximately once every month or so, though I have always been able to reset the radio so far.)

In any case, you shouldn't need to take a hammer to it, though I sympathize, having owned radios that malfunctioned at full volume!
Just to be clear, the above quote was written for the original ATS-909 model. I own the ATS-909x model which is the latest version. Apparently, it's also uses the same crappy design.

My experience was this... used it for a few hours over the course of several days after receiving the radio. Enabled the "button lock" and tucked it away in its case. Went to power it on and the buttons wouldn't unlock. Nothing worked. I performed the reset and the radio did seem to reset but the buttons are useless. Even the volume control doesn't work but you can hear a slight hiss from the speaker.

I have let it sit w/o batteries for 12+ hours and it still hasn't returned from lock-up. My reset button does seem to reset the radio but the buttons are still locked.

I haven't contacted Sangean about this but rest assured I will! This is utter crap!

I just checked Amazon reviews and a few customers have also hit the same problem.

Do not buy this radio!
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Old 11-21-2013, 6:14 AM
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Hmmm...
Note to self: remove this item from wish list ?

OP - keep us posted please
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Old 11-21-2013, 8:37 AM
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I bought a Sangean 505 about 20 years ago to listen to some friends who had the Spectrum program on WWCR. It was an okay receiver, but my son broke the display when he was a little kid and I couldn't get a replacement. The newer LCD replacements were incompatible with the vintage I had. Very long story short, the radio was a battery hog. It ate batteries every few days even if I wasn't using it. The non-radio features were clunky and non-intuitive. So, I would give it a "meh" but only because I soldered wires to the battery spring and contact and hooked up a little variable power supply to run the thing. To be fair, it did what it was supposed to and I put some mileage on it. But the display and user interface were funky right from the start. I wrote it off because I was an unsophisticated guy who didn't understand things people from other parts of the world obviously did (really?).

Then, maybe 6 years ago I took a trip to Radio Shack and bought a Grundig G3, which was a lot like the Sangean (they have to be made in the same place by the same people - the non-radio functions made equal nonsense to me). I used to use this one for BCB DXing and with the fluorescent lights off, it had a neat MW receiver that I could hear AM from the Caribbean at night. I got sent to the Middle East and thought, COOL! I was going to do some SWLing from another part of the world! I unpacked the radio (which was in its fake leather case), inserted the AA batteries which I brought with me, and turned it on. It played for about 3 seconds and smoked. Seems that during the flight some hardware vibrated loose inside and shorted. My SWL dreams were dashed.

There has to be something better than these portables out on the market. Heck, I'd take my Transoceanic with me on trips if it were not a collector's item now and it didn't cost so much for luggage.
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Old 11-21-2013, 12:53 PM
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by LCRay View Post
Hmmm...
Note to self: remove this item from wish list ?

OP - keep us posted please
Yeah I don't know. After my recent experience I can't recommend it. It was definitely on my "best portable ever" list until this...

I just looked into Sangean's warranty and they make you send the entire package (box, radio and all of the accessories) and a check for $8 to cover return shipping. To add insult to injury, they state that it will take 3-6 weeks to get it back.

I'm going to call and talk to someone live and hope they can offer some suggestions.
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Old 11-21-2013, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 902 View Post
I bought a Sangean 505 about 20 years ago to listen to some friends who had the Spectrum program on WWCR. It was an okay receiver, but my son broke the display when he was a little kid and I couldn't get a replacement. The newer LCD replacements were incompatible with the vintage I had. Very long story short, the radio was a battery hog. It ate batteries every few days even if I wasn't using it. The non-radio features were clunky and non-intuitive. So, I would give it a "meh" but only because I soldered wires to the battery spring and contact and hooked up a little variable power supply to run the thing. To be fair, it did what it was supposed to and I put some mileage on it. But the display and user interface were funky right from the start. I wrote it off because I was an unsophisticated guy who didn't understand things people from other parts of the world obviously did (really?).

Then, maybe 6 years ago I took a trip to Radio Shack and bought a Grundig G3, which was a lot like the Sangean (they have to be made in the same place by the same people - the non-radio functions made equal nonsense to me). I used to use this one for BCB DXing and with the fluorescent lights off, it had a neat MW receiver that I could hear AM from the Caribbean at night. I got sent to the Middle East and thought, COOL! I was going to do some SWLing from another part of the world! I unpacked the radio (which was in its fake leather case), inserted the AA batteries which I brought with me, and turned it on. It played for about 3 seconds and smoked. Seems that during the flight some hardware vibrated loose inside and shorted. My SWL dreams were dashed.

There has to be something better than these portables out on the market. Heck, I'd take my Transoceanic with me on trips if it were not a collector's item now and it didn't cost so much for luggage.
For the record, my Sony 7600GR has worked perfectly since the day I bought it. I think the Sony Gods are trying to tell me something.
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Old 11-21-2013, 4:51 PM
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Unhappy Spoke with Sangean

I called Sangean today and spoke with a service rep. He was very nice and professional and did apologize for the failure.

The white 909x was released first and then followed by the black 909x. It seems a large percentage of the black units had improper firmware loaded which is what causes the problems. Sangean QC got lazy and just assumed these would work 100% fine.

Unfortunately, I may have to send it in and wait at least 4 weeks and due to Christmas, it could be 6 weeks or so...

In my case, he said they'll likely just replace it with a refurbished model that's known to be working.

He seem to imply that the white models have far fewer firmware issues. So if you want to risk buying one, buy a white model!

<sigh>
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Old 11-21-2013, 8:57 PM
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Cool Last Update

Thankfully, Amazon is letting me return the unit for a refund. Probably won't be picking up another 909X.
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:38 PM
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FWIW, I never had that reported issue with the DX-398, and I've had batteries stored in it "a long time" the whole time I've owned it. Only problem I've had with it is the negative terminal needed to be resoldered after maybe 8 years of use.

RE: Other Sangean products: I've had no issues with them, aside from the necessity of hard wiring the battery on the 440 (which I also did to the 390) -- the 'fork' connectors that connect the battery to the main PCB on those radios can go funky after 10 years or so of use. I also wired back to back diodes on both those radios for further protection from static electricity.

With portable radios, you're always going to have certain issues with quality, even some of the older, "classic" SW transistor models had glitches that developed over time.

The deal with the 909X is that it's pretty expensive; the last thing you'd want is a $250+ (?) radio that stops working for no reason. Being perturbed with them over this issue is understandable.
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Old 11-23-2013, 1:21 AM
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Default There IS a better portable

Quote:
Originally Posted by 902 View Post
I bought a Sangean 505 about 20 years ago to listen to some friends who had the Spectrum program on WWCR. It was an okay receiver, but my son broke the display when he was a little kid and I couldn't get a replacement. The newer LCD replacements were incompatible with the vintage I had. Very long story short, the radio was a battery hog. It ate batteries every few days even if I wasn't using it. The non-radio features were clunky and non-intuitive. So, I would give it a "meh" but only because I soldered wires to the battery spring and contact and hooked up a little variable power supply to run the thing. To be fair, it did what it was supposed to and I put some mileage on it. But the display and user interface were funky right from the start. I wrote it off because I was an unsophisticated guy who didn't understand things people from other parts of the world obviously did (really?).

Then, maybe 6 years ago I took a trip to Radio Shack and bought a Grundig G3, which was a lot like the Sangean (they have to be made in the same place by the same people - the non-radio functions made equal nonsense to me). I used to use this one for BCB DXing and with the fluorescent lights off, it had a neat MW receiver that I could hear AM from the Caribbean at night. I got sent to the Middle East and thought, COOL! I was going to do some SWLing from another part of the world! I unpacked the radio (which was in its fake leather case), inserted the AA batteries which I brought with me, and turned it on. It played for about 3 seconds and smoked. Seems that during the flight some hardware vibrated loose inside and shorted. My SWL dreams were dashed.

There has to be something better than these portables out on the market. Heck, I'd take my Transoceanic with me on trips if it were not a collector's item now and it didn't cost so much for luggage.

I had the Sangean 505P like yours, I gave it to a relative (i still regret it, Im an indian giver!)

there IS a better portable: the Kaito 1103. You'd think i work for the company by the number of recommendations I give for it. I don't, but if Kaito is listening... lol

the Kaito 1103 (not so sure of the other models! I only have owned this one) is such a great radio. I use it a lot, and I find myself using it more than the more pricey radios I have. The Kaito is small but not TOO small, it's got the BFO for SSB, LF and SW, and only about 80 USD or so. it's awesome on MW too it has a nice size ferrite.
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Old 11-23-2013, 6:10 AM
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I love the Kaito 1103...even though it has weird key assignments
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Old 11-23-2013, 7:51 AM
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Thank you for the lead on the Kaito! Wow! A digital sliderule display - that's pretty cool! Looks like Amazon is advertising the price at $57 new. Can't go wrong for that. Years ago I think I dropped $200 on the Sangean, but I put some good mileage on it.
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Old 11-23-2013, 1:45 PM
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+1 on the Kaito/Degen 1103 - mine has worked flawlessly since 2008.
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Old 11-30-2013, 9:36 AM
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A little late to the thread, I have had a DX398 since 1999, and never had a problem with it, great receiver. The DX392 however, I have had some problems. Can only use it with AC now, and have tried every "fix" on the internet. Anyway not trying to highjack a thread. Just showing that QC (even at Sangean) can be hit and miss I guess.

For what its worth, if you don't need USB/LSB the Tecsun 380 is one awesome little radio, blows my larger radios out of the water on SW BCB. And believe it or not, I just purchased a Kenwood HH thf6a as a receiver( I know, get my HAM lic., I will someday hopefully) , and with a telescoping antenna ,this little radio is awesome, USB/LSB come in great. Fine tuning is very good on this radio. Mike
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Old 11-30-2013, 1:39 PM
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You can make just about any portable perform well on bcb by taking a 4ft 1/8" dowl and coil wire with 1/4 " spacing between turns and putting a alligator clip to put on the whip your radio is only as good as you're antenna

Sent from my HTC One X using Tapatalk
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Old 12-01-2013, 6:54 AM
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I bought a Sangean ATS-909 in January 2008, and for me it has been a good little radio for the price I paid for it. I haven't experienced the lock-up problem at all. The only problem that it does have is that the clock display doesn't work correctly, some of the elements in the LCD won't darken as they're supposed to.

I also disliked that if you directly entered a frequency on the int'l broadcast bands, it would try to match it with a broadcaster it had in the preloaded memory and display that instead of the frequency. I get around that by entering a frequency 1 khz up from the frequency I really want then tune down 1 khz to it. So for example if I want to tune to 9.800 mhz, I key in 9 8 0 1 ENTER then use the tuning knob to drop down to 9.800 Mhz, otherwise it might display "Radio France Intl" or something like that.

Other than this, though, it has been a good, cheap HF band radio which offers SSB as well as AM/FM.
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Old 12-03-2013, 2:22 PM
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Maddening isn't it?

What makes it worse is that it is unknown if these radios with the known issues are recalled from the distributors, and fixed, or just exchanged with units that will eventually exhibit the same problem leaving it up to the end user to go through the replacement song and dance.

This is kind of what I was talking about about with the loss of pride in QC/manufacturing / engineering these days that made me appreciate my Sony 7600GR. It may not be perfect and has it's own warts, but at least the unit stays functional and is likely to do so for a decade or two.

I feel your pain as I liked my 909x when it worked.
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Old 12-28-2013, 9:04 PM
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Default Sony 7600

The Sony 7600 (made in Japan) at the $150ish price point IMHO is the best bang for a travel size HF in the market. Just bought my son one for Xmas and it is a solid performer. I have had a Sony 2010 for many years and we set em side by side and the little 7600 hung right in there with a little louder audio than the 2010 on a couple of freqs.

Jslo
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