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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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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 07-14-2017, 12:46 PM
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I have had the Rat Shack labeled DX-398 which is the same radio as the Sangean ATS-909 for over ten years and it has never locked up on me. It is sensitive and for MW-DX it's also very good. I also bought an external loop antenna for it and I have used it via proximity method as well as plugging it in to the ANT socket.
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Old 07-16-2017, 6:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bolt21 View Post
I realize that I'm dusting the cobwebs off this thread, but I'm wondering if anyone has purchased a 909X recently, as in 2017. I've read a lot of reviews on Amazon complaining that Sangean has been turning out a lot of junk units with bad firmware. I'm torn between this model and the Tecsun PL-880, and I favor the 909X because of the alpha-numeric capability, but don't want to end up with a unit that stops working after just a limited amount of use.

Anybody have any input? TIA
Mine is about 2 years old and gets limited use unless I'm travelling or the local weather is an issue. It's been a good, solid receiver for me. I own three portables as listed below and use them equally. I would have no issue recommending one to anyone. A year ago last spring I wrote the following.

"While the storms rolled through, I conducted a small experiment with my Sangean ATS-909X and my Tecsun PL-660. Whip antennas only and fresh batteries in both. Tuning from 5000kHz to 16000kHz, I found: No signal could be found on one that the other could not tune. While on the same signal with deep fades, one might keep signal when the other lost it. Neither radio was better or worse than the other with this. The only true difference I observed was in the display of the signal strength as the Tecsun always showed a stronger signal being received that the Sangean."

For what it is worth.

--
Mike
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 07-17-2017, 3:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WA8ZTZ View Post
Took a long look at this radio but did not buy it. Could not find published specs on sensitivity or bandwidth. Also, lacks provision for external antenna on LW, AM, FM.
The 909X schematic shows what looks like a clear connection to FM, and it appears it may be connected to the MW circuit also (not 100% sure, and not sure about longwave, the way they made the schematic the MW/LW loop(s) aren't IDed specifically -- MW loop looks like the T50? at the lower left of the schematic, the one with the FET wired to it).

Here's a link to the schematic (it's on some guy's Google BlogSpot blog):

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LWD2Gpzws3...1600/1.bmp.jpg

As far as the overall merit of the radio, I can't say, as I posted earlier that I have a 909. I bought a Sangean PR-D5 two years ago and it still works fine, the only "glitch" being that the power button will sometimes wig if I don't press squarely in the middle, but that's the only thing, and it remains to be seen whether there will be any other issues. A peek inside shows it's well put together. Time will tell.

Good luck in your decision. The main thing that would keep me from buying a 909X (aside from the fact I already have a 909 and there isn't as much to listen to on HF as there was even 5 years ago) is the price.

Last edited by Boombox; 07-17-2017 at 3:33 AM..
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Old 07-17-2017, 3:21 PM
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Boombox,

TNX for the research, you're right about lack of identification on that schematic.

My decision not to buy the radio was based somewhat on price and somewhat on my inability at the time to find detailed specs.

The guy that dusted off this old thread said he was torn between the 909X and the Tecsun PL-880.
IMHO, the Tecsun looks like a lot of radio for less money.

In my case, ended up with the Tecsun PL-600. Probably not as nice as either the 909X or 880 but works OK for me and a decent radio for the price.
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Old 06-04-2018, 1:18 PM
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It may be too late for me to comment about Sangean's ATS-909X, considering how old this thread is, yet it's also a bit too earlier to contribute an accurate assessment, as I acquired the radio brand-new only one week ago. Nevertheless, my impressions so far are very good.

Without the technical knowledge or equipment to measure the radio's sensitivity and other performance factors, I have to rely only on a comparison with my other two radios, the ICOM R75 and the Sony ICF-2002 (also sold as the 7600D). The ICOM, even though it has triple conversion and two switchable RF preamps, does not pull in signals any stronger or clearer than the Sangean. In fact, the Sangean produces far less noise, even with its included AC adapter in use. The ICOM is running on a very clean regulated power supply, yet the receiver adds quite a bit of its own circuit noise. The Sony is quieter, but the signals are no stronger. Note here that I can't have an outside antenna, so I'm using a random wire antenna indoors on the third (top) floor of a wood-frame apartment building. The Sangean's telescoping whip antenna is sturdy and quite long. It is sometimes sufficient if I listen while sitting outside on the balcony, but I'm in Canada, and winters are long here.

I listen exclusively through headphones. The Sony's audio is pleasant, but far too bassy for listening to weak signals from shortwave broadcasters in AM mode. The ICOM is the opposite: It has the rather harsh audio of a communications receiver (which indeed it is), but this makes prolonged listening pretty unpleasant. The Sangean's audio, on the other hand, manages to be both more pleasant and more readable than either of the other two.

The ICOM has more IF filters, twin passband tuning, etc., plus a nice, smooth tuning dial. These things are especially helpful on SSB. Unfortunately, the radio has developed some key bounce over the years (I bought it in 1998), so that pressing a key sometimes results in two or three operations instead of a single one. I haven't encountered this on the Sangean so far.

Where the little Sony seems to shine is in its longevity: I've had the thing since 1985, and aside from a little scratchiness in the controls, it's still like new. Unlike the other two radios, however, it has only one tuning step on shortwave, 5 kHz, so that in tuning sideband stations it's necessary to use the fine tuning control. This is a tiny thumbwheel, which is not very stable mechanically and often has to be readjusted to correct the voice pitch. One tunes downward on USB and upward on LSB, as the specific sideband cannot be selected. The Sangean does offer that capability, however, and its tuning dial is OK, even with the detents. Some other people have found them annoying due to the lack of smoothness. However, the detents do prevent accidental detuning, which is an added benefit.

I love the appearance of the Sangean, the tilt-out stand, and also the nice big LCD display.

The memories are stored in separate "pages". With only 9 memories to a page, this seemed awkward at first, but I've already gotten used to it, and have been storing the frequencies in pages I name by categories, for example international broadcasting, aeronautical, ham, time signals, etc. (abbreviated, of course). 39 pages are available for shortwave, which comes out to 351 memories; more than I'll ever be able to use. The remaining 51 are shared by the FM, MW and LW bands. Quite a few memories were pre-programmed by Sangean, but I cleared them all, since the frequencies are either outdated or the stations are unavailable at my location. By comparison, the Sony has only 10 memories, and the ICOM has 99 plus 2 reserved for scanning range limits.

Obviously I've been comparing apples and oranges here -- but so far there are no lemons. I just hope the Sangean ATS-909X lasts me as long as my other two receivers. It's the black model, and I've read the warnings, but I have my fingers crossed. Did you ever notice how hard it is to tune a radio with your fingers crossed? Or type a post this long on a forum, for that matter?

Last edited by GB46; 06-04-2018 at 2:10 PM..
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 06-04-2018, 6:16 PM
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PS: I forgot to mention in my previous post that the ATS-909X performs very well when I feed the audio to my computer via the line-out jack to decode data signals, such as coast guard weather fax, Navtex, etc. The radio proves to be quite stable.
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Old 06-05-2018, 8:41 PM
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Glad to hear your 909X is working out. It's the last of the high quality, old school (i.e. analog IF chip) portables. I was concerned as a Sangean owner to read about the glitches... hopefully they've got them worked out. Usually Sangean make fine products.
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 06-06-2018, 8:33 AM
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@Boombox: In the old days, radios would fail due to things that the owner could remedy himself -- bad solder joints, a tube or capacitor needed replacement, etc. It wasn't necessary to send the whole unit back to the manufacturer. Now it's often a software problem. I seem to encounter glitches in nearly all of the software I use these days. Not all of those glitches are serious enough to render the product useless, however, and hopefully that will be the case for this radio.

My only complaint so far is that the user's manual is pretty sketchy in places. It says very little, for example, about the built-in battery charger, so that I didn't know at first whether the batteries could be charged while the radio was in use on the AC adapter. Now I see that this is not the case, but it's no big deal. As for the adapter, Sangean says its output is 9 volts AC, while the power jack on the radio itself says "DC In" and neither AC nor DC are specified on the adapter's label. I noticed that the German section of the manual specifies 9 volts DC.

Also, as I mentioned in another thread, a passage in the manual states that the slow tuning step on sideband is 40 khz, when in reality it's 40 hz. If I had thought it was as huge an increment as 40 khz, I'd never have bought the radio.
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