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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 03-21-2017, 2:34 AM
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Default Why shortwave receivers are still expensive IF

Hi,

With the recent Radio Australia leaving the shortwave band and others who had as well, why are SW receivers still pricey? I'm referring to those portables that cost between $100 - $300 and table top models that are well over $400 or more.

Don't get me wrong. I love SWL. And I would love to get a tabletop model if the price can come down that I can afford. I can only afford those cheap $50 bucks SW radios which aren't that great.

- cheers
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Old 03-21-2017, 7:34 AM
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Whether a station is closing or not has absolutely nothing to do with the price of a radio. This is very much a niche market, and there's a certain amount of markup due to production costs on a very narrow marketed radio. Also some of it has to do with the dollar and euro differences, for those SDRs and radios that come from overseas

There are likely other factors, but having stations on the air or not plays no real role in this

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Old 03-21-2017, 9:51 AM
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With large scale integration in IC's, surface mount components, and mass production in China, radios are dirt cheap today..

Consider a radio like the National HRO sold in 1930. With accessories, it was about $200.00 See add below:

Now consider inflation. To get the value of $200 back in 1930, you need to have $2,890 current dollars. $200 in 1930 | Inflation Calculator The minimum wage back in 1930 was under .25 cents an hour.

Short wave radios aren't that expensive
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Old 03-21-2017, 2:37 PM
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Desktop receivers have largely been replaced by SDR's - there certainly aren't many new desktops on the market. Most ham band transceivers have full coverage receivers built in and you are allowed to use them provided you don't press the Tx button! Many hams are reluctant to sell them to non hams unfortunately.
Back to SDR's - they have infinitely more capabilities than most desktops especially when it comes to memories - although some receivers now are SDR's in disguise - they are a bit cheaper as there's no massive designing needs to be done on the front panel or the switchery - software is much easier to write and changes to the software can easily be downloaded. Some SDR's have their own proprietary software but others can be operated with "freeware" so you can pick which one you like.
So one of the newer USB stick broadband SDR's will meet your $50 limit with some change, download SDR# software, stick up a long-ish wire and you'll be amazed!
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Old 03-21-2017, 4:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ka3jjz View Post
Whether a station is closing or not has absolutely nothing to do with the price of a radio. This is very much a niche market, and there's a certain amount of markup due to production costs on a very narrow marketed radio. Also some of it has to do with the dollar and euro differences, for those SDRs and radios that come from overseas

There are likely other factors, but having stations on the air or not plays no real role in this

Mike
I just though that If stations were closing/leaving and SWL is considered old fashion,, that companies selling SW receivers would like to get rid of them quickly before people stop buying them.

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.

Anyway, I am a newbie to all this so If I sound ignorant, I apologize. :/
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Old 03-21-2017, 5:06 PM
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My first shortwave radio was a Knight Kit Space Spanner. Built it in 1960 and IIRC it cost me about 20 bucks with the wood cabinet. That's somewhere between $150 and $200 in todays money. This was for a 3 tube regen set that the 6 to 18 mcs.SW band tuned in 180 degrees of dial rotation.

OK, there was more to listen to back then in terms of SWBC but in terms of electronics there is more value for the dollar today.

In your price range, check out the Eton Traveler III.

Last edited by WA8ZTZ; 03-21-2017 at 5:32 PM..
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Old 03-21-2017, 6:47 PM
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Originally Posted by WA8ZTZ View Post

In your price range, check out the Eton Traveler III.
Thanks, but I've been buying SW portables at around these price range for years. I want to experience a higher end model like the Eton Grundig Satellit 750 or those SW receivers with a waterfall display.

-cheers
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Old 03-21-2017, 9:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwlang55 View Post
I just though that If stations were closing/leaving and SWL is considered old fashion,, that companies selling SW receivers would like to get rid of them quickly before people stop buying them.

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.

Anyway, I am a newbie to all this so If I sound ignorant, I apologize. :/
No need; the question was simply uninformed, never ignorant. We are all taught to think in such commercial terms that it's all too easy to think that HF stations have anything to do with the market for receivers. It simply doesn't work that way here. There WAS a time when a station actually did market a specific radio, but that was a LONG time ago (bonus points to anyone that can name the receiver).

As to your SDR; there actually is an upconverter you can add to enable HF reception, especially if you have one of those RTL SDR types. It's called a Spyverter, and here's the link...

https://www.itead.cc/spyverter.html

If you have questions about SDRs, we have a dedicated forum for these, and that's where I would go for more information on this topic. We also have a very extensive wiki on the subject here

Software Defined Radios - The RadioReference Wiki

Mike.
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Old 03-22-2017, 3:34 AM
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Originally Posted by ka3jjz View Post
There WAS a time when a station actually did market a specific radio, but that was a LONG time ago (bonus points to anyone that can name the receiver).
Mike.
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.
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Old 03-22-2017, 7:09 AM
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That would pre-date me by a long shot (hi). There was a HF station that did this too in the early 60s and 70s (big hint here...)

Mike
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Old 03-22-2017, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by cwlang55 View Post
I want to experience a higher end model like the Eton Grundig Satellit 750 or those SW receivers with a waterfall display.
The 750 is a nice radio and a big step up from a pocket portable. If you are looking for new tabletop receivers there are not a lot to choose from. Check out the Alinco DX-R8T, a nice RX. If you have a ham license, many ham rigs also have general coverage receive capability. Unfortunately, Icom has discoutinued its legendary R-75 however, they are about to introduce a wideband radio, the R-8600, no price info yet but plan on spending some $$$.
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Old 03-22-2017, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WA8ZTZ View Post
The 750 is a nice radio and a big step up from a pocket portable. If you are looking for new tabletop receivers there are not a lot to choose from. Check out the Alinco DX-R8T, a nice RX. If you have a ham license, many ham rigs also have general coverage receive capability. Unfortunately, Icom has discoutinued its legendary R-75 however, they are about to introduce a wideband radio, the R-8600, no price info yet but plan on spending some $$$.
From speculation I read around $2000. Too much, for me anyway.
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Old 03-22-2017, 11:26 AM
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If you do decide to go with the Spyverter - it would be a fairly cost effective way to go for HF- it's only a matter of choosing which software you use to see if a waterfall is available (many have them). The SDR wiki I gave earlier has a selection of these programs, but there are undoubtedly more. Google is your friend (hint)

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Old 03-22-2017, 12:13 PM
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I think it was WLW which was Crosley's first station?
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Old 03-22-2017, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ka3jjz View Post
There WAS a time when a station actually did market a specific radio, but that was a LONG time ago (bonus points to anyone that can name the receiver).
Drake PRN 1000
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Old 03-22-2017, 2:28 PM
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Yep, I think that one and the Drake SW4A were the radios that got 'marketed' - the one station I remember that did was Radio NY Worldwide - but BOY does that go back a ways...onward...Mike
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Old 03-22-2017, 2:35 PM
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Quote:
Radio NY Worldwide
Was that "1010 W1NS" - in the 60's you could get that halfway across the Atlantic on the BC band in the evening - using the radio room receivers and a full length antenna of course!
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Old 03-22-2017, 4:18 PM
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Quote:
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I think it was WLW which was Crosley's first station?
yup, you got it
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Old 03-22-2017, 4:23 PM
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Was that "1010 W1NS" - in the 60's you could get that halfway across the Atlantic on the BC band in the evening - using the radio room receivers and a full length antenna of course!
Nope, different station entirely, but I remember WINS quite well. It sure was a powerhouse back in the day...Mike
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Old 03-23-2017, 4:07 AM
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Originally Posted by cwlang55 View Post
Hi,

With the recent Radio Australia leaving the shortwave band and others who had as well, why are SW receivers still pricey? I'm referring to those portables that cost between $100 - $300 and table top models that are well over $400 or more.

Don't get me wrong. I love SWL. And I would love to get a tabletop model if the price can come down that I can afford. I can only afford those cheap $50 bucks SW radios which aren't that great.

- cheers
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.
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