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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 05-15-2018, 6:25 PM
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Default Portable shortwave radio

Hello

I'm looking for an inexpensive shortwave radio that can receive up to 30mhz and having a jack for an external antenna would be a plus. I would be taking it camping/backpacking so I wouldn't want to purchase an expensive radio for it to get wet, broken, stolen etc. Any ideas come to mind? My budget caps out around $75

Thank you

Peter
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Old 05-18-2018, 11:38 PM
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Consider stretching a bit to ~$90 and consider the Sangeam ATS-405 (ATS-405 : FM-Stereo / AM / SW<br>World Receiver).

Over the years Sangean has made reasonably valued shortwave portable radios. Its form factor reminds me of my SONY ICF-SW7600GR that I have owned for decades and still own today. Back in the days of Radio Nederlands's Media Network I reviewed more than few portable and the 7600GR is my favorite,

That said, unless you was camping in darkest Africa or high atop mountains in the Rocky Mountain, asttaching a LW antenna is problematic. Spurious signals will appear elsewhere on the dial. Perhaps a ~20 ft wire may help,in the middle of the day. Do your research.

Given the noisy electrical fields of today, keep away from AC lines and dont bother using the inexpensive wall warts. Used decent batteries instead.

These days the best dx listening occurs when the power goes out... and noise level drops to zero..

Hope that helps.
Tom w2xq
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:49 AM
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Or the Tecsun PL-600. It sells for around $90 at Universal Radio. It also receives SSB if you are interested.
Also +1 on Tom's suggestions.

Jim
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Old 05-21-2018, 1:20 AM
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A lot of the modern digitally tuned SW radios are very good, even without an external antenna, because of the DSP chips inside, and the way they tune to the antenna. My Grundig G2 (which was probably made by Tecsun) has a DSP chip and will pick up every SW station -- just off the whip -- that my Sangean 909 does with a 25-30 ft antenna.

The new Sangean mentioned here (the 405) has a DSP chip, as do most of the modern Tecsun models. An external wire will help with SW in some areas.

The irony is that even though SW broadcasting is dying, the ability of relatively cheap radios to bring in broadcasts portably is the best it's ever been.

Good luck in your purchase, whichever radio you buy.
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Old 05-21-2018, 7:08 PM
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I highly doubt that a DSP chip in a radio is going to do anything at all with the sensitivity. In most cases that I've see at least, their use is in audio recovery, not in the RF section. Still if you like what a DSP can do in that particular area, then by all means go for it.

I'd like to be proven wrong, however. DSP is changing at such a rapid rate that it's difficult to keep up

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Old 05-21-2018, 8:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ka3jjz View Post
I highly doubt that a DSP chip in a radio is going to do anything at all with the sensitivity. In most cases that I've see at least, their use is in audio recovery, not in the RF section. Still if you like what a DSP can do in that particular area, then by all means go for it.

I'd like to be proven wrong, however. DSP is changing at such a rapid rate that it's difficult to keep up

Mike
The SiLabs DSP chips (like the ones in my Grundig G2, and similar Degen and Tecsun radios) tune to the antenna they 'see'. It's built into the RF amp circuitry in the DSP chip. It describes how it is done in the datasheets. This is one reason the radios are so good for the price. They work well off their whip antennas for that reason. I've been able to receive stations on my G2 with just 4-5 inches of antenna, which the other radios have difficulty hearing without an external one.

My Sony XDR, which has a different brand of DSP chip, does the same thing with a MW loop. It tunes to the loop. It is also very sensitive on MW, moreso on a single 3 ft turn of wire than some other radios are with tuned external loops that have multiple turns of wire.

This is why I brought up the DSP factor. I think radios with DSP usually do a lot better anymore than radios without it.
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Old 05-21-2018, 9:15 PM
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Interesting - I didn't know they had evolved that level of functionality. Thanks for the education

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Old 05-22-2018, 1:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KD0ILS View Post
Hello

I'm looking for an inexpensive shortwave radio that can receive up to 30mhz and having a jack for an external antenna would be a plus. I would be taking it camping/backpacking so I wouldn't want to purchase an expensive radio for it to get wet, broken, stolen etc. Any ideas come to mind? My budget caps out around $75

Thank you

Peter
I second the ATS 405 suggestion. I have one, in the RadioShack version they made, and it works pretty well.

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Old 06-02-2018, 3:45 AM
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Check what Anon-Co has to offer:
https://www.anon-co.com/


For instance the Tecsun radios they sell are very good. The PL-310ET would be good for backpacking as it's smaller than a paperback book and has a padded case. It only goes up to around 21MHz though, and doesn't have a BFO for sideband. On the plus side it's only around $40 with free shipping worldwide. The PL-600 does go up to 30MHz (29.9999) and has SSB. It's $57 plus $16 shipping to the US, so it would be approaching your budget limitation but slightly under. It's rather larger than the 310 also. They have a PL-380 that's $3 more than the 310, is the same size, has the same frequency coverage, and lacks an external antenna jack (at least the description doesn't mention one.) It does come with an external (probably clip-on) antenna and headphones though where the 310 doesn't include those.



A note about Tecsun radios: sometimes you get a lemon. Not often, but sometimes. If so, contact Anna at Anon-Co and she'll be happy to exchange it for another one (and she'll probably also have a wee chat with TecSun's factory about quality control as she's one of their largest dealers and has some clout with them.) And you can also ask her any questions you have about the radio you buy and if she can't answer it herself she'll contact Tecsun's engineers to get an answer for you.


It depends on what you plan to listen to: casual SW broadcast listening, in which case the 310 would probably do except for its upper frequency limitation, or also utility, military, ships at sea, hams and so on, where the 600 would be better.


I think I'd avoid their radios with analog tuning, no PLL and no DSP even though they're cheaper. You get what you pay for.


(FYI: the external antenna jacks take a 1/8 inch/3.5mm monaural plug, not a stereo plug that has tip-ring-sleeve. Tip connects to the antenna and ring/sleeve/whatever (the other connector) to ground or just leave it unconnected. That was the question I asked Anna which she had to refer to Tecsun's engineers.)
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Old 06-02-2018, 4:05 PM
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Also the CountyComm GP-5 gets good reviews. It is about $90. Its small size is good for camping.

Jim
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Old 06-13-2018, 8:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a29zuk View Post
Also the CountyComm GP-5 gets good reviews. It is about $90. Its small size is good for camping.

Jim
The knock I have with the GP-5/SSB is battery life. With quality rechargeables,it will only hold a charge for 72 hours when it goes unused. This is the second one I received from CountyComm.

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Old 06-25-2018, 6:35 PM
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I was pleased with my CCRANE Skywave.

https://www.ccrane.com/item/rad_ccra...e_travel_radio $89

So much so I purchased the newer SSB version which opened up the ham bands! It works well and comes with a portable antenna for better reception. I take it everywhere.

https://www.ccrane.com/item/rad_ccra...e_travel_radio $169
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Old 06-29-2018, 8:26 AM
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Default Rechargeable Batteries in GP-5 SSB

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The knock I have with the GP-5/SSB is battery life. With quality rechargeables,it will only hold a charge for 72 hours when it goes unused. This is the second one I received from CountyComm.

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Mike
Interesting to read of your experience with the battery life in the GP-5 when the radio is off. I just bought one (Rev. 3), and my radio seems to be holding the charge in the Eneloop cells for weeks. I don't see any parasitic drain issues with mine.
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Old 06-29-2018, 3:42 PM
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Thanks everyone for the great reviews and advice, I hope I don't disappoint too many but for myself I decided to buy the Tecsun PL600 from universal-radio and I purchased the Tecsun DR920c from Ebay for my friends son who is taking a fast interest into radio. Thanks again for everyone's help!

Peter
KD0ILS/WQTL997
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