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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 03-23-2017, 4:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Boombox View Post
Some of the very good portables made by Degen and Tecsun are under $100. The Tecsun PL880 is around $150, which isn't bad considering its performance.

And I don't know what radio you have that "isn't that great", but the DSP chipped Chinese made SW radios available today are much better than the equivalent you could get in the 1980's and 1990's, which were probably the peak years for SW broadcasting.

The SW BC bands are more thinly populated than they were years ago but there still is a lot of broadcasting to Africa and Asia that is audible here in the US (and also in Europe). I've heard the BBC in English broadcasting to Asia from Singapore and to Africa from Ascension Island and that's just on a portable off the whip.
Some portables are OK I guess, but I've been buying those types of radios in the past. They're simple but a little boring at the same time.

I like a SW receiver with lots of buttons, knobs and filters that look like a cockpit of a small plane. They are very cool looking and expensive as well. Usually, these are HF transceivers which range in price of $1000 and more.

If I save my pennies I might be able to get one this year.

- cheers
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 03-24-2017, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by cwlang55 View Post
I like a SW receiver with lots of buttons, knobs and filters that look like a cockpit of a small plane. They are very cool looking and expensive as well. Usually, these are HF transceivers which range in price of $1000 and more.

If I save my pennies I might be able to get one this year.

- cheers
It's important to make sure that all those impressive buttons and knobs actually make a difference in what you hear, otherwise you're putting out big bucks for mere ornamentation. Everything on my ICOM R75's front panel accomplishes something, but the S-AM (synchronous AM) feature is ineffective. That has been mentioned in some reviews, but for me it's only a minor issue.

Anyway, just for comparison, I also have a portable that I bought in the 80's, a Sony ICF-2002 (released in foreign markets as the 7600D). I must say, it's a real performer! One night I was astonished to discover that the same weak signal I was listening to on the R75 with a longwire antenna came in just as strong, possibly even stronger, on the little Sony with just its whip antenna. The only drawback is that the Sony's digital tuning works in 5 kHz increments on the SW bands, so that sideband signals from utility stations and hams have to be tuned in with the tiny fine tuning thumbwheel at the side of the radio. This can be a bit tricky, but it does work. Of course, it doesn't change the readout, so you can never be sure about the actual frequency.

The audio in the Sony is far superior to that of the ICOM, too. I'm restricted to an indoor antenna and there's lots of electrical noise, but the longwire for the ICOM can't be moved around. However, the Sony's whip antenna is quite directional, so that I can easily point it away from the sources of the interference.

Another advantage of a portable: If you're willing to spend a bit on batteries, you get away from having to find a decent power supply. The switching supplies common in AC adapters can create lots of interference, and even the conventional "linear" power supplies may not be sufficiently filtered to prevent AC hum on the receiver's audio.
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Old 03-24-2017, 5:25 PM
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I like the Sony ICF-SW7600GR buy it costs $179 at amazon.com.Too much for me.

I'd probably might upgrade to a Tecsun pl-660 for $109. It has some good reviews until I have the funds for a tabletop shortwave receiver.

Thanks everybody here for the replies
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Old 03-24-2017, 7:19 PM
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The AOR AR-3000 and AR-3000A are quite good at receiving HF even though they are wide band receivers which don't have some of the fine tuning and filtering capabilities of a desktop HF receiver.

They show up on eBay every now and then for reasonable prices.
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Old 03-24-2017, 7:37 PM
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My Icom PCR1000,1500,2500 wideband receivers performance is as good as my hf receivers on hf aero.
I use to have the AOR 3000,3000A performance on hf was excellent.

Regards Lino.
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Old 03-24-2017, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by cwlang55 View Post
Anyway, I have a SDR, but it's only for 25 MHZ and up. I need a HF up converter to listen to SW stations. I would buy one if amazon could sell an assembled one and not a DIY kit.
:/
I have been using the R820T2 RTL-SDR and it gets shortwave as well as above 25Mhz, just need to adjust the software (I use SDR#). Cost me a whopping $25 on Amazon and came with two antennas (but for shortwave you definitely need a better antenna than the one that comes with it).

Happy Listening!
Bob
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Old 03-26-2017, 4:11 PM
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If you have a ham license, many ham rigs also have general coverage receive capability.
Don't need to have a ham ticket to use one for monitoring. Financial solvency wouldn't hurt though.
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 03-27-2017, 4:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwlang55 View Post
Some portables are OK I guess, but I've been buying those types of radios in the past. They're simple but a little boring at the same time.

I like a SW receiver with lots of buttons, knobs and filters that look like a cockpit of a small plane. They are very cool looking and expensive as well. Usually, these are HF transceivers which range in price of $1000 and more.

If I save my pennies I might be able to get one this year.

- cheers
Like GB46 said, are those knobs and buttons really going to improve your listening experience? That's something you need to consider when dropping several hundred dollars on a tabletop.

Unless you're chasing ultra-weak ham CW signals from rare countries on the other side of the world, all those extra buttons and knobs probably won't add all that much. You could get a used Sangean 909X and probably get more radio than you need for most SW applications.

Or the Tecsun you mentioned. The DSP chips in many of these SW digital portables work wonders, especially when you consider the SW bands are less crowded so whatever is actually out there on the airwaves is a bit easier to hear -- "easier", of course, a relative term. And some of these newer Tecsun and similar radios have multiple bandwidths that are very useful -- arguably better than the equivalent radio would have had just 20 years ago.

In the 1980's and 90's, the bands were still so crowded that one would need a high quality narrow filter (or special techniques) to pull out a weak station that was placed next to a stronger one. But with today's uncrowded SW bands, that need has been lessened.
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 03-27-2017, 9:37 AM
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Exactly the opposite, the need has increased substantially unless you live out in the sticks or have no switching power supplies, TRIACS, LEDs, compact fluorescents, widescreen TV sets, WI-FI networks, BPL, abandoned/unterminated cable TV service drops and other RF-heavy electronics, or even just power lines, around (difficult if not nearly impossible these days).

Shortwave in urban areas is more crowded today than it ever was, but not with broadcasters.

The American (read: Chinese) BPC electronics industry has accomplished, over the last 2 decades, jamming on a scale that it took the Soviet Union 60 years to barely scratch the surface of.

Last edited by TomatoPaste; 03-27-2017 at 9:42 AM..
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Old 03-27-2017, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by TomatoPaste View Post

The American (read: Chinese) BPC electronics industry has accomplished, over the last 2 decades, jamming on a scale that it took the Soviet Union 60 years to barely scratch the surface of.
ROFLMAO
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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 03-27-2017, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by TomatoPaste View Post
Shortwave in urban areas is more crowded today than it ever was, but not with broadcasters.

The American (read: Chinese) BPC electronics industry has accomplished, over the last 2 decades, jamming on a scale that it took the Soviet Union 60 years to barely scratch the surface of.
So true! I have to run my laptop on battery power while listening to shortwave. Its charger emits an S-9 signal over the entire HF range, obliterating all but the strongest stations. Ironically, the label on the adapter quotes FCC guidelines, stating:

1) This device must not cause harmful interference to other devices.

2) This device must accept harmful interference from exoteric devices.

Great translation! By "exoteric", I assume they meant "other" devices, because an exoteric device would be one meant for the general public, which would imply that it's not allowed to accept interference from private devices (my radio, for example).

As for those filters, they can sometimes decrease the effects of RFI a bit. I've noticed that when monitoring RTTY and CW transmissions, for which I use MultiPSK, where I sometimes get fewer erroneous characters when using the narrow filters. The difference in the noise factor is also visible on the software's spectrum display. On the other hand, the R75's noise reduction feature makes the noise a bit easier on the ears, but it doesn't seem to reduce the errors in RTTY and CW decoding.

Last edited by GB46; 03-27-2017 at 11:28 AM..
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Old 03-27-2017, 2:07 PM
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Originally Posted by TomatoPaste View Post
Exactly the opposite, the need has increased substantially unless you live out in the sticks or have no switching power supplies, TRIACS, LEDs, compact fluorescents, widescreen TV sets, WI-FI networks, BPL, abandoned/unterminated cable TV service drops and other RF-heavy electronics, or even just power lines, around (difficult if not nearly impossible these days).

Shortwave in urban areas is more crowded today than it ever was, but not with broadcasters.

The American (read: Chinese) BPC electronics industry has accomplished, over the last 2 decades, jamming on a scale that it took the Soviet Union 60 years to barely scratch the surface of.
I never gave any thought to your example of abandoned un-terminated TV cable. On my roof where I run two HF antennas and one scanner antenna, there are not only at least 9 live TV cable feedlines running close by my feedlines, but there are also about 5 old, dead TV cable feeds laying up there going nowhere-cut. Plus a pretty old, crappy but live dish antenna that my neighbor gets his Russian feed with. I wonder how much of this mess contributes to what RFI I live with. Good post.
EDIT-I apologize for posting this not keeping in mind the thread subject. Sorry for going off-topic.
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Last edited by ridgescan; 03-27-2017 at 2:29 PM..
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 03-27-2017, 4:52 PM
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Originally Posted by WA8ZTZ View Post
That would probably be Crosley in the early 1920s who had created a low cost receiver and got into broadcasting to stimulate demand for his radios.

How about more bonus points to anyone who can name the AM station.
WLW. Still on the air today, but with only 1/10 the power output than in was in the '20's-'30's. 500kw? Wow....
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old 03-27-2017, 7:20 PM
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WLW. Still on the air today, but with only 1/10 the power output than in was in the '20's-'30's. 500kw? Wow....
QRO
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old 03-28-2017, 2:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomatoPaste View Post
Exactly the opposite, the need has increased substantially unless you live out in the sticks or have no switching power supplies, TRIACS, LEDs, compact fluorescents, widescreen TV sets, WI-FI networks, BPL, abandoned/unterminated cable TV service drops and other RF-heavy electronics, or even just power lines, around (difficult if not nearly impossible these days).

Shortwave in urban areas is more crowded today than it ever was, but not with broadcasters.

The American (read: Chinese) BPC electronics industry has accomplished, over the last 2 decades, jamming on a scale that it took the Soviet Union 60 years to barely scratch the surface of.
I have CFLs. They emit nothing beyond 5-6 feet unless they're burning out. I have LED lightbulbs, which are not expensive brands and they emit even less RFI than the CFLs. I have Wifi, which puts out RFI on a few frequencies but does not cover the SWBC bands, even when the router is 20 feet away from my DX shack. The switching power supply to my laptop isn't always engaged and it doesn't obliterate the SW bands, either.

The local powerlines put out less RFI than they did in the 1980's and 1990's.

And I live in the same suburban neighborhood I lived in in 40 years ago.

Perhaps most of the RFI occurs in the utility bands, which I have no interest in. But the SW broadcast bands are relatively RFI free here where I live. The only time I had issues with RFI in the SW bands was when a neighbor had two plasma TVs on. The bands are emptier because there are less broadcasters on the air.

Either way, getting an expensive tabletop is not going to solve RFI, which was not the original subject of this thread.

The OP would be just as well off getting a good portable if he has to be on a budget. In my opinion, an expensive tabletop will not improve listening that much considering the money expended -- and that holds especially if he has RFI issues. A higher performance tabletop will only make the RFI louder, and it's harder to carry a tabletop around to find an RFI free area in the house or vicinity.
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