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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 02-16-2015, 12:13 PM
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Smile Looking for a Shortwave Rcvr.

Hello to Any/All

Name here is Sean
KD4ADV (General)
QTH - Amelia, VA 23002
Grid Square - FM17ai

I am looking around for a good Shortwave Receiver.
Something in mind between a RS DX-398 to a Tabletop model that has more than 10 memories with Multi-mode / All Bands from LW to MW to SW as far as 30 MHz . I will accept if LW is not available.

I am planning on going to Raleigh, NC / RARS Fest in April and try to find something that I can use at home and take with me.

I am in no hurry. I use a Yaesu FT 757GX II for both SWL and HAM into an HF5B/Butternut on 30 Ft Rohn Tower, with a 2m beam on top.
The Xcvr only has 10 memories - 0-9.


Thank You

73s de KD4ADV
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Old 02-16-2015, 2:41 PM
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Sean your better bet these days, apart from the Icom R75 and Alinco R8- is a software defined radio or SDR. There are quite a few that cover HF, and some go even lower than that.

There are many that cover this range, and our SDR wiki has the ones we know about broken out my ranges they cover...the link is below...

Software Defined Radios - The RadioReference Wiki

We have a separate forum for this. As an aside, while the Butternut is a good ham antenna, you're going to need something a bit more broad-banded to cover all that real estate. We have another forum devoted to receive antennas, and 2 wikis here...

HF Antennas - The RadioReference Wiki

Loops - The RadioReference Wiki

Now the only thing to concern yourself with is if you have a high powered FM or BCB station nearby. Many of these SDRs will need additional filtering - however, done properly, you still will be below what you would pay for a R75 or R8

And if you really are set on desktops, yep, you guessed it - we've got a wiki for that too...

Category:Receiver Reviews - The RadioReference Wiki

Go get yourself a good tall drink of your favorite tuning oil - you're going to be here awhile

Mike
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Old 02-16-2015, 3:00 PM
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If you want a desktop, though it is getting a bit long in the tooth, the ICOM R-71a is still one of the finest rigs ever made. Used by several government angencies for years, they set the standard for desktops. A good used one can be had for around $300. And if you are lucky, you may find someone wanting to get rid of one that is dead. GRAB IT. Probably all it needs is a memory module replaced, about a $70 repair
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Old 02-16-2015, 3:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KD4ADV_Sean View Post
I am looking around for a good Shortwave Receiver. Something in mind between a RS DX-398 to a Tabletop model that has more than 10 memories with Multi-mode / All Bands from LW to MW to SW as far as 30 MHz . I will accept if LW is not available.
You didn't mention the obvious question -- of how much you wanted to spend.

On the low end:

Sangean ATS-909X Portable Shortwave Radio ATS909X

$250-ish

On the high end:

Elecraft® Hands-On Ham Radio™

$1300-1400-ish

If you're computer friendly and have a laptop to use -- then go with SDR that covers DC-1.3 Ghz:

R820T2 + HAM-IT-UP + Case

$125-ish

http://www.nooelec.com/store/sdr.html

Last edited by nickcarr; 02-16-2015 at 3:07 PM..
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Old 02-16-2015, 4:48 PM
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With the R820, you might very well need additional filtering if you have strong MW or FM stations nearby.

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Old 02-16-2015, 6:13 PM
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SDRs are pretty cool, but the whole setup with a PC might be sort of clunky. He's looking to travel with it, so for that reason it might not be the best idea.

But again, not a whole lot to go on. Is your only criteria that it have more than 10 memory channels? In that case anything made past 1988 will satisfy your needs. If you're asking what are the best ones then we can make suggestions..

I'll always throw the Sony ICF-2010 into the arena when asked about what the best shortwaves are. It is quite simply put the best shortwave radio ever made as far as performance goes. Now if certain features that the 2010 doesn't offer is a requisite, such as many filtering options, dsp, waterfall/broad bandwidth monitoring, PC interfacing etc. You'll want to look at some of the SDRs or expensive HF coms receivers. But if more than 10 memories is all your after, I'd recommend trying to locate a 2010 for $200-300. It's the nuts and bolts of a communications receiver assembled into the casing of a portable.
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Old 02-16-2015, 6:46 PM
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There's been some interest in running FCD+ on netbooks or tablets, and considering most people travel with at least that, it 'sorta' does make the definition of 'portable'.

If you're looking at portables, I'd take a fairly good look at the Tecsun PL-880. You want memories - try having 3050 (yes you read that right) of them. Some decent selectivity options, too, along with a sync detector and other hidden goodies that have long since become 'un-hidden'

The only caveat is that I've heard of some QC issues with this radio. If you get one, don't get it from Amazon or fleaBay. Get it from someone reputable like Universal Radio, so you can return it if it does have problems. I'm pretty sure there's even a Yahoo group for this radio, so you can do your research beforehand

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Old 02-16-2015, 7:02 PM
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I would be remiss if I didn't also mention the PL-660, which a number of folks here have, and it too have a massive (2000) amount of memories.

And both have Yahoo groups - which I highly recommend so you can ask other people that actually have the radio about their experiences...

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Tecsun_PL-880/info

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Tecsun_PL-660/info

And regardless of what radio you pick, this little project is a definite winner...

http://forums.radioreference.com/rec...r-project.html

Mike
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Old 02-16-2015, 10:25 PM
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I too have the portable Tecsun PL-660, and it is a great receiver on the shortwave bands. It's not so good for weak station reception on middle wave (AM broadcast band) because it has a high noise floor on that band. But for the shortwave and ham bands, it is simply fantastic. As has been mentioned, it has a ton of memories.

It can also receive LW, the commercial airband, and FM broadcast band. Personally, I've never seriously tried it on LW or the airband, but it is great on FM.

It's a good grab and go radio.
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Old 02-17-2015, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ka3jjz View Post
There's been some interest in running FCD+ on netbooks or tablets, and considering most people travel with at least that, it 'sorta' does make the definition of 'portable'.

If you're looking at portables, I'd take a fairly good look at the Tecsun PL-880. You want memories - try having 3050 (yes you read that right) of them. Some decent selectivity options, too, along with a sync detector and other hidden goodies that have long since become 'un-hidden'

The only caveat is that I've heard of some QC issues with this radio. If you get one, don't get it from Amazon or fleaBay. Get it from someone reputable like Universal Radio, so you can return it if it does have problems. I'm pretty sure there's even a Yahoo group for this radio, so you can do your research beforehand

Mike
I tried using a netbook as my dedicated SDR radio with not very good results.. It turns out that the SDR software is actually pretty demanding, and the 1-2 GB of ram and processing power of a netbook or tablet doesn't cut it. It'll require a very narrow sample rate otherwise the audio will chop. Remember, with SDRs it's the computer doing the work not the radio hardware. So you actually need a decent one for good results..
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Old 02-17-2015, 12:39 PM
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The Eton Satellit is not a desktop and doesn't quite make it to 30MHz but is quite a great little receiver. I use mine daily for the most part. I also am expecting to arrive the new Tecsun PL-680 that was just released this month. As I believe it is built on the same underlying chip as the Satellit and the PL-880 I am expecting it to be another solid performer in the mid-range portable market.
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Old 02-17-2015, 1:04 PM
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The only paperback-sized radio that really excites me is the Tecsun PL-660, though I am hearing promising things about the 680 as well. It's excellent in SSB. I wouldn't mind it having more filters like the 880 does, but the 660's shortwave performance is so much better, I'll just live with it.

The only other portable that I find necessary to keep around now that I have the 660 is a Sony 2010. I was listening to Wolverine Radio on Saturday night and the 660 kept drifting off. I put the 2010 on it as well and it never drifted one bit. So between these two I can hear just about everything within reason.
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Old 02-17-2015, 1:08 PM
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Here's a little bit on the 680, from SWLing.com

Tecsun PL-680 | The SWLing Post

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Old 02-17-2015, 2:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ka3jjz View Post
Here's a little bit on the 680, from SWLing.com

Tecsun PL-680 | The SWLing Post

Mike
Impressive, but I think I will hang on to my DX-440
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:34 PM
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The Radio Shack 200629 "Synthesized World Receiver", their version of the Sangean ATS-505, is a good SW portable off the whip. MW performance is good in high signal areas (in low signal areas a loop really helps). FM reception is excellent.
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Old 02-18-2015, 1:58 PM
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Given that Sean is already using a 757GX for SWL, he may be disappointed with the performance of the portables, but they do have the advantage of having a whip antenna.
However I would seriously think about the Alinco DX-R8. The R-75, although a very good receiver, is getting a bit long in the tooth so IMHO the Alinco is a better bet - IQ outputs and all.

Review...
Review of the Alinco DX-R8T tabletop shortwave receiver | The SWLing Post

...but you may need to carry around an active antenna with you!
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Old 02-18-2015, 2:22 PM
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While the R8 is physically smaller than the R75, would you really call it 'portable'? It does need only modest power, but still, I don't think I could call it portable...Mike
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Old 02-18-2015, 3:58 PM
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He didn't. He cited "portables" in paragraph one, then started a second paragraph citing the R8.
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Old 02-19-2015, 12:21 AM
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Sean wanted an opinion - he got mine. I wasn't looking to start a pi****g contest.
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Old 02-22-2015, 6:03 PM
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Thank you all for the feedback
I appreciate the response

I looked at the Tecsun PL-660 and it looks very good
I do miss my DX-398 and used to listen to the MWARA / Air Route comms with no difficulty at all. The jack for the external antenna helped out well.

73s de KD4ADV
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