Sangean ATS-909X Clock

devicelab

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So I decided to give Sangean another shot on their ATS-909X radio. I've apparently misplaced my PL-880 but I also wanted a SWL radio that will stay at work with me. Since warmer weather is approaching, I've instituted a 'personal time' where I go for a short walk and will plop down with a radio and do some daytime listening.

I'm just curious how you owners set up your radio's clock? So I can set my home time (PDT) but since there's no implementation of DST the world times are off by an hour. It says you can program your own 'world time' but you really can't. Since there's no -1H then I'm kinda screwed. I wanted to have my local time and also UTC time.

So it looks like I will have just program UTC by default..?

So far the unit is working well and my experience is far better than when I had first purchased one -- soon after released. (I purchased a black unit and had the infamous wrong firmware issue.)
 

devicelab

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So I went thru the online manual (Rev 1) and in the back after explaining how SSB works there's a mention of a DST switch. Well, my version has no switch that I can see. I do have the P-01 model (which I guess is the last version produced.) FM is still 87-108 though. (Some users reported they were getting 76-108...)
 

Boombox

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On the 909, there is a small button that does the trick. It's next to the LCD readout. I just looked at several pics on the Sangean site of the 909X. There is a 'sunshine' (sun & happy face) button on the top of the radio. Perhaps it's the DST button? It appears to be next to the time set button.

Not having the X version of the 909, I have no clue. Just a guess. Most of my radios I just set to UTC -- I only use my SW radios for listening to HF anyway (or MW).
 

devicelab

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Doh yeah I know which one. I thought it was referring to wake up timer but yes I think that is it. Poorly labelled though!
 

GB46

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So I went thru the online manual (Rev 1) and in the back after explaining how SSB works there's a mention of a DST switch. Well, my version has no switch that I can see. I do have the P-01 model (which I guess is the last version produced.) FM is still 87-108 though. (Some users reported they were getting 76-108...)
Just out of curiosity, which firmware version did those black models have that was said to be the wrong version? I have a black ATS-909X, and the firmware version is indicated by the radio as P-01 (by pressing Enter while the radio is off). The FM range, by the way, is 87.5 to 108 on my radio.

@Boombox: Yes, that sunshine button next to time set is the DST switch, although I never use it, because I want to see UTC when I refer to shortwave schedules, so "World" is displayed on the screen to the right of the clock. BC is planning to drop the time change, anyway, and adopt permanent DST. That's a misnomer, because we would simply be on UTC minus 7 all year round, which is actually Mountain Standard Time.
 

devicelab

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Just out of curiosity, which firmware version did those black models have that was said to be the wrong version? I have a black ATS-909X, and the firmware version is indicated by the radio as P-01 (by pressing Enter while the radio is off).
Well I never knew. I just looked it up and I bought mine November 2013. I received it and after using it for ~ 5 minutes, the CPU locked up on me and I never could it to work again. I forgot that I actually went passed the Amazon return period and Sangean told me it would take 4-6 weeks to repair mine. Amazon thankfully allowed me to return mine.
 

GB46

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I bought mine in May of 2018, so the firmware must have been corrected by then. Still, if I use it heavily, about once every couple of months it will suddenly shut down in the middle of an activity, such as using the tuning dial. When I turn it back on it will be working perfectly with all its memories and settings intact; only the clock needs to be reset.

This follows a pattern on my computer, where every few months I'll suddenly get the blue screen of death shortly after enabling Wi-Fi. Then the computer will reboot on its own and I have to select "start normally" from the prompt. Big temporary files are left behind, and I have to clean up the hard drive, but otherwise there's no harm done.
 

devicelab

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I bought mine in May of 2018, so the firmware must have been corrected by then. Still, if I use it heavily, about once every couple of months it will suddenly shut down in the middle of an activity, such as using the tuning dial. When I turn it back on it will be working perfectly with all its memories and settings intact; only the clock needs to be reset.
Yeah sounds like a CPU reset. You have the same one I do I'm sure. So far I haven't had any issues. It did shut off once but only after I realized my rechargeable batteries were very dead. :)

I took it outside today and played around with reception, etc. SSB performance was pretty bad. Seems fine if the signal is very strong but otherwise it was pretty poor. It seems a little deaf on SSB and even on AM in some cases. My PL-880 was pulling in 10M WWV probably at S9 levels but the 909X was struggling to get even close to that. Its telescopic whip is a foot longer too! The SSB audio is also very weak. I have to crank up the volume control just so I don't miss a weak station.

Audio sounds good on AM/FM but it's pretty poor on SW so far. I was hoping for a bit better performance -- now I have to decide whether I want to keep it. :unsure:
 

GB46

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Yeah sounds like a CPU reset. You have the same one I do I'm sure. So far I haven't had any issues. It did shut off once but only after I realized my rechargeable batteries were very dead. :)

I took it outside today and played around with reception, etc. SSB performance was pretty bad. Seems fine if the signal is very strong but otherwise it was pretty poor. It seems a little deaf on SSB and even on AM in some cases. My PL-880 was pulling in 10M WWV probably at S9 levels but the 909X was struggling to get even close to that. Its telescopic whip is a foot longer too! The SSB audio is also very weak. I have to crank up the volume control just so I don't miss a weak station.

Audio sounds good on AM/FM but it's pretty poor on SW so far. I was hoping for a bit better performance -- now I have to decide whether I want to keep it. :unsure:
Well, I've noticed that it doesn't do as well on battery power as on the AC adapter, even with brand-new alkalines, but since I never take it anywhere I've been using it on AC power as a table-top radio alongside my R75. It does better on the whip than with an external antenna, and the signals are often just as strong as they are on the R75, which is connected to an indoor 23 ft. piece of wire. Another advantage is that I get far less RFI with just the whip. Of course, the R75 has much better IF filters and tuning accuracy.

I did take the 909X outside on battery power in one instance when I was on vacation in Saskatchewan, and the stations I usually hear in BC were a lot stronger, but then, the prairies are a much better listening location than my current one, which is in a mountain valley.

As for the audio, I find the 909X more pleasant to listen to than the R75, but the R75 is a communications receiver, after all. Its speaker sounds more like a telephone earpiece at full volume. The 909X has a far better speaker. I use headphones on both radios exclusively, however, and still prefer the 909X's audio, even on sideband.
 

Boombox

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Indoor antennas are OK, depending on whatever floor they're on (a second floor one in a wooden building gets it up maybe 20-25 feet?). On top of that, no worries about lightning strikes, static electricity buildups from snow or dry, winter wind, etc. They have their pluses. Negatives are indoor noise sources, and limited length.

RE: Sangean 909X on SW -- SW conditions have been poor for a couple years. 909's aren't famous for being awesome off the whip. If you use an external wire antenna -- even a 20 ft indoor one (located away from noise sources, obviously) you'll have better luck when propagation's up.

RE: the Daylight Savings Time button: on my DX-398 / 909, it only changes the local time compared to UTC. In other words, when I have the 909 set for UTC, UTC shows in the LCD readout, but the local time will reflect DST. I think the local time shows up if you press the 'clock' button on the front of the radio (it's been a while since I used the radio so I don't remember, and I put it back in storage). I know there's an easy way to see the local time even when the radio's LCD is set to show UTC. In fact, it's easy to scroll through the time zones, to see the local time in a target area.. It's probably the same on the 909X.
 

GB46

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Indoor antenna? Please! Not a decent way to compare using wire indoors. Get the wire outside and then you won't see people shaking their heads
There is no way to get my antenna outdoors. Sure, I could get it as far as the balcony, but it's still too close to the building, and I'd have to keep the sliding door open all the time, as well as a sliding screen door on the outside of that. Not in the summer, however, because of flying insects and lots of smoke during our annual wildfire season. Keeping the door open in the subzero temperatures of winter would obviously not work, either, and we're facing south, where our prevailing winds come from.
 

GB46

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Indoor antennas are OK, depending on whatever floor they're on (a second floor one in a wooden building gets it up maybe 20-25 feet?). On top of that, no worries about lightning strikes, static electricity buildups from snow or dry, winter wind, etc. They have their pluses. Negatives are indoor noise sources, and limited length.
Fortunately I'm on the top floor, which is roughly 40 ft. above street level, and this is a wood frame building, but you're right about those noise sources. I suppose I could use a longer wire, but I've noticed that the longer the wire, the higher the noise floor, so I'm not gaining much.
909's aren't famous for being awesome off the whip. If you use an external wire antenna -- even a 20 ft indoor one (located away from noise sources, obviously) you'll have better luck when propagation's up.
I've seen quite the opposite here. Plugging in the 23 ft. wire antenna that came with the 909X actually reduces the signal strength. As I mentioned earlier, the 909X does very well with just the whip, as long as I run the radio on AC power.

Perhaps those complaints about the radio's poor performance on the whip are due to battery operation; they're right about that. I've always used fresh alkalines with the radio, which have a higher voltage than most rechargeables, but perhaps on AC power the radio is running at a higher voltage. The adapter puts out 9 volts AC, which is converted to DC inside the radio, whereas the four penlights provide 6 volts, and four rechargeables typically supply only 4.8 volts.

Or maybe the power cord leading from the adapter is acting like an antenna; it's long enough to do that.

I know there's an easy way to see the local time even when the radio's LCD is set to show UTC. In fact, it's easy to scroll through the time zones, to see the local time in a target area.. It's probably the same on the 909X.
Yes, and it's a feature I appreciate when I want to know the local time in a foreign country. There's no need for me to squint at the tiny time zone map on the radio's tilt stand.
 

MisterLongwire

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Trust me even though you are in a wooden framed bldg. you can still get your radio zapped by static electricity and even if lightning struck the ground from you a mile away.
 

a29zuk

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Perhaps those complaints about the radio's poor performance on the whip are due to battery operation; they're right about that. I've always used fresh alkalines with the radio, which have a higher voltage than most rechargeables, but perhaps on AC power the radio is running at a higher voltage. The adapter puts out 9 volts AC, which is converted to DC inside the radio, whereas the four penlights provide 6 volts, and four rechargeables typically supply only 4.8 volts.
Also, your radio is being grounded through the mains when using the adapter. This can affect the reception of your receiver.


[/QUOTE]
There is no way to get my antenna outdoors. Sure, I could get it as far as the balcony, but it's still too close to the building, and I'd have to keep the sliding door open all the time, as well as a sliding screen door on the outside of that. Not in the summer, however, because of flying insects and lots of smoke during our annual wildfire season. Keeping the door open in the subzero temperatures of winter would obviously not work, either, and we're facing south, where our prevailing winds come from.
[/QUOTE]

I don't know if you knew about these:



They are kind of expensive for an adaptor, though.

Jim

[/QUOTE]
 
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GB46

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Also, your radio is being grounded through the mains when using the adapter. This can affect the reception of your receiver.

I don't know if you knew about these:



They are kind of expensive for an adaptor, though.

Jim
True, the power line probably comes into play there, and luckily without adding RFI, because I get no more noise on AC than with batteries.

As for those feed-throughs, I once bought something like that for my RV in order to accommodate a connection to cable TV, since the RV had no built-in connections, although I installed a proper cable receptacle later on. Believe it or not, the shipping cost me more than the feed-through, which was only about $7. I was charged $15 for shipping, and the parcel arrived as a rather large cardboard box, roughly 10"x10"x10", densely padded inside with the little feed-through in the middle.

Anyway, there's no real advantage here in putting an antenna outside, as it would still be very close to the building. I noticed that when I sat out there with the radio on batteries, and picked up lots of RFI. Right now I have the 23 ft. wire hanging from the curtain rod next to a window, so that's the best I can do.
 
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