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Panasonic RF 2600 vs Realistic DX 440

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#1
I'm new to this shortwave stuff so be patient with my ignorance.

There are two used radios for sale, one is the Panasonic RF 2600 for $85, and the other is the Realistic DX440 for $60, which of those two is the best?

Is there another radio I should be looking at instead of those two?

The I heard on another forum that shortwave broadcast stuff have very few stations to listen to anymore, is this true?

Thanks for your guys help.
 
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#2
I don't have the RF, it is held in high regard, as is the 440, of which i've had 2. One purchased new,
and a second one purchased used. I have a couple of Sony ICF SW 7600G's, and they are very good.
And an old Yaesu FRG-8800. Sometimes they are all on at once, but the 440 hears everything that
the others do, and I just enjoy operating it, probably my favorite for all around dxing, utility and ham
listening. Sure sounded good today in the shack... It's up to You what style, tabletop, or portable, best suits You. The 440 is classified as a portable, but with 6 d cell and 2 aa's for the backup, it's kinda heavy for small portablility. As for the RF, probably about the same as far as weight and size to be "portable". Do Your web research for more. There is still quite a bit to hear, though not as much as when I started out some 45 years ago.
There are sites with frequencies and times. Welcome, and have fun with whatever You choose,
and don't forget a decent antenna makes all the difference no matter what the radio.
 
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#3
Thanks for the reply.

I did research both of them but I got confused over what frequencies they carried, but it appeared the 440 was slightly better, I just wanted what I read to be verified by experts like yourself.

Would an outdoor TV UHF bowtie, or an outdoor circular FM, or an indoor Terk powered AM/FM antenna work? Or do I need to use wire? If wire, how long of an antenna do I need to use? does the wire have to be bare or can it be insulated? And does any wire work like small gauge electrical?

Thanks again.
 

muskrat39

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#4
The DX440 is a rebadged Sanagean 803A, an excellent radio, still desired today,twenty years after its introduction. The is a Yahoo group of 440/803A users. Both radios, are good, but there is more support for the 440. I still have my 440 I purchased new twenty years ago. Still works good.
 

ka3jjz

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#5
While there are somewhat fewer of the big boys out there these days (BBC has had major cutbacks, VoA rescheduling, etc.), this opens things up a little bit for the lesser-known broadcasters. Don't limit yourself to just thinking about English language broadcasts - if you do, you are frankly likely to be disappointed.

Did you take Spanish in school? Very useful here - there are still a fair number of stations that broadcast in that language (Spanish was very common where I went to school...). French, too.

I would take a closer look at those prices. Even though these radios are quite old, I'm suspicious when I see prices like these. If you're on an under-USD200 budget, there are several portables - Tecsun's PL660 and 880 - which are good choices to start off with

Mike
 
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#6
Would an outdoor TV UHF bowtie, or an outdoor circular FM, or an indoor Terk powered AM/FM antenna work?
Definitely not. Shortwave frequencies are different from UHF frequencies by more than a factor of 100, and a UHF, VHF, or broadcast FM will not work at all, or at best extremely poorly.

Or do I need to use wire? If wire, how long of an antenna do I need to use? does the wire have to be bare or can it be insulated? And does any wire work like small gauge electrical?.
Bare wire is a no-go. You want it insulated, except where it connects to your radio or coax.Otherwise you will short out your signal or have corrosion problems if the wire is outdoors.

For reception, small-gauge wire is OK because the current involved for receiving is very small. If the antenna is indoors, or protected from mechanical stresses like wind, you could use wire in the 22-28-gauge range. But outdoors, you'll need heavier wire, like 14-18-gauge, to prevent breakage in windy conditions.

The length of the wire will depend on the frequency you are trying to receive. Some shortwave/HF antennas have wire segments of varying lengths connected together so that one of the wires will be resonant ona any band you use.
 
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#7
Thanks for the info, but KA3JJZ brought up a point I didn't realize. I did realize of course that there is a lot of foreign language stuff going on, but I didn't realize that hearing english broadcast would be so limited. Not sure if I want to spend $60 for a radio if all it's going to be good for is AM/FM and maybe one or two english broadcasts on SW, for that I would just buy a standard AM/FM radio! Any thoughts on all of that?

When I was a kid my brother had a cheap SW radio (Electro Brand) and we could listen to probably at least 50 (that was a long time ago back in the late 60's so I could be off on that 50 number) different english broadcasts from all over the world late at night. I guess that's all changed to just a handful at best?

Is KA3JJZ way off base here or has it really gotten that bad?
 

ka3jjz

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#8
Definitely not. Shortwave frequencies are different from UHF frequencies by more than a factor of 100, and a UHF, VHF, or broadcast FM will not work at all, or at best extremely poorly.



Bare wire is a no-go. You want it insulated, except where it connects to your radio or coax.Otherwise you will short out your signal or have corrosion problems if the wire is outdoors.

For reception, small-gauge wire is OK because the current involved for receiving is very small. If the antenna is indoors, or protected from mechanical stresses like wind, you could use wire in the 22-28-gauge range. But outdoors, you'll need heavier wire, like 14-18-gauge, to prevent breakage in windy conditions.

The length of the wire will depend on the frequency you are trying to receive. Some shortwave/HF antennas have wire segments of varying lengths connected together so that one of the wires will be resonant ona any band you use.
Many of the cheap wire kits for antennas had bare wire, and it works fine so long as it doesn't touch anything metal. It won't 'short out your signal', but it will make a heckuva lot of noise. And this is very important - keep it AWAY from phone and power lines! Make sure that if it should fall due to a storm, for example, that it falls in an area where there aren't any power lines that could cause a fire.

Now what length you need to use for the antenna really is a WIDE open question. If you're just starting off with an inexpensive portable, 25 or 30 foot is probably all you need. If, however, you're using one of the more expensive SDRs or a desktop, you can use 60-75 foot and still be good. A couple of considerations here- it greatly depends on how much room you have, what radio you're using this on, and a whole bunch of other factors. There are antenna types that are dependent (in part) on their length - the classic dipole is a case in point. Too, where you are in the US matters. Signal levels tend to be higher on the East Coast then West, so using a longer antenna may be problematic if you try to use it on a small portable.

What radio(s) you plan to be using this antenna would help narrow the answers down..Mike.
 
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#9
Many of the cheap wire kits for antennas had bare wire, and it works fine so long as it doesn't touch anything metal. It won't 'short out your signal'
And there is the problem. If there are any metal or conductive objects touching bare antenna wire, (even tree branches) you will get shorts and electrical noise. If the wire is insulated, this is nit a problem until the insulation gets punctured. Insulation also protects the wire from corrosion, which will increase the service life of the antenna.
 
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