• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

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Looking for a good SW radio!

revclstoner

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362
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#1
Hello!

I have a question. I am interested in getting a ham license; I am already a licensed GMRS radio operator, and I would like to monitor that SW frequencies.

Who can suggest a good SW radio for monitoring? I am looking at a Grundig S350, but would like feedback on other options.
 

ka3jjz

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#2
That radio has a serious limitation - it doesn't have the ability to hear sideband transmissions. These are commonly used by hams and numerous stations on the HF band. If you tuned them on this radio, they would likely sound like Donald Duck on a bad day.

Sadly the days of desktop radios are all but gone. You can find them on used lists like the one on the Universal radio website. But you should know something about what you're buying. The 2 basic categories of HF radios these days fall into the portables and Software Defined Radios. You can find links to sites with lots of reviews here....(links are always blue)

https://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Category:Receiver_Reviews

But before we get too deep here, we need to consider your antenna situation. Can you put something outside (away from the home - always best to get away from noise sources)? How much room do you have? Without a good antenna, you're not likely to hear very much. The old saying goes that connecting a good radio to a poor antenna invariably produces poor results.

Mike
 
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revclstoner

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#3
I'm in an apartment, and I doubt that I will be allowed to install an outdoor antenna. I'm in a one-bedroom apartment, not that large in space.
 

DJ11DLN

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#4
Not a serious SWL here -- more of a dabbler, really -- but I've been very pleased with my County Comm GP5-SSB. Paid about $50 for it. It was a cheap way for me to get my feet wet, and it might be for you too.
 

ka3jjz

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#5
What are you looking to hear, specifically? Broadcasts, hams, etc>?

Living in an apartment is going to limit what you can do (I live in a condo, basically in the same position you're in). You're likely to need to stick with portables if your budget is limited, but I know of folks that use a SDR with an active loop. Use the links I gave you earlier for the radio or SDR research, and for loops, check this out...

https://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Loops

This will get a bit more pricey, though....Mike
 

revclstoner

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#7
What are you looking to hear, specifically? Broadcasts, hams, etc>?

Living in an apartment is going to limit what you can do (I live in a condo, basically in the same position you're in). You're likely to need to stick with portables if your budget is limited, but I know of folks that use a SDR with an active loop. Use the links I gave you earlier for the radio or SDR research, and for loops, check this out...

https://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Loops

This will get a bit more pricey, though....Mike
Mainly hams. I take a look at the links given and see what I can get. Thanks!
 
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#8
Look into one of the Tecsun PL series of radios, one that has SSB. Moderately priced, and work adequately off the whip. You attach a few feet of wire and you can receive more signals. Of course, if you are in an apartment, you may have a lot of RFI in places. YMMV. That would apply, however, to any radio using an inside antenna in an apartment complex.
 

revclstoner

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#9
Look into one of the Tecsun PL series of radios, one that has SSB. Moderately priced, and work adequately off the whip. You attach a few feet of wire and you can receive more signals. Of course, if you are in an apartment, you may have a lot of RFI in places. YMMV. That would apply, however, to any radio using an inside antenna in an apartment complex.
Will do. Thanks for the info!
 
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northern Virginia, USA
#10
+1 on the recommendation of one of the Tecsun receivers. I have a PL-880 that is superb for listening to amateur radio communications on the HF (shortwave) bands. Some people who use a portable prefer the Tecsun PL-660 or 680 to the 880 - but that is a matter of debate. I live in an apartment and have to confine my listening to my balcony or inside my apartment, using portables at this time. You can still hear quite a bit, especially when propagation is not terrible.

Some buyers of the earlier PL-880 reported problems with the sound while listening to sideband communications - but I can report that my unit, bought just a few months ago, sounds very good. I do not experience the issues reported by earlier buyers, and it is known that Tecsun has improved the radio through firmware and possibly hardware updates.
 
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Echo Mike Two-Seven
#11
Mainly hams. I take a look at the links given and see what I can get. Thanks!
My C.Crane Skywave SSB pick ups quite a bit of ham traffic on SSB mode with just the telescoping antenna. Radio is a little pricey, but has a lot to work with WX, AIR, SSB, SW, FM and AM...comes with a reel wire antenna to boost reception if you like too.
 

NC1

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Surry County, North Carolina
#12
When I feel like listening and don't want to turn on my Kenwood HF rig, I use a Radio Shack DX-390 desktop/portable radio.

It has Side-band capability and a decent receive with the large extendable Whip antenna. There is an outside receive-only shortwave antenna I made just outside the window a few feet that makes a big difference. The connector is a single wire going from the antenna through the window opening, and from there it is attached to the base of the radio whip antenna using an alligator clip.

Not only does this little setup work great, I probably spent less than $50 for the whole thing.
 
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#13
^^^^^ Ditto on the capabilities of the DX-390 (Sangean ATS818). Very easy to use radio. I used to use mine all the time for ham band monitoring, and SW DXing / listening. A lot of the Sangean models from that era were pretty good for tuning SW, and often they can be found used at decent prices in decent working condition.

Since prop has dropped, I use my other radios to bandscan anymore (Grundig G2, which works well off the whip; Radio Shack's version of the ATS505, which is a decent radio for bandscanning and seeing what's out there -- good on MW, esp. with a loop, too).
 

iMONITOR

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#14
My C.Crane Skywave SSB pick ups quite a bit of ham traffic on SSB mode with just the telescoping antenna. Radio is a little pricey, but has a lot to work with WX, AIR, SSB, SW, FM and AM...comes with a reel wire antenna to boost reception if you like too.
$89.00 for a good SWL radio is not pricy. In fact that about the most inexpensive one I've seen in awhile.
 

spongella

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#15
If you go the used route, some good ones are: Yaesu FRG-7, Kenwood R-2000, Yaesu FRG-100. Also check Thomas Witherspoon's excellent SWL blog: The SWLing Post He has lots of information on SW radios. Good luck and hope you find a radio you like.
 
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