Need for a trip- a portable with great weak station reception off the whip?

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modrachlan

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I am in the midst of a series of business trips where I can only take one small to mid-sized radio (horrors, right?). I normally take a Sony ICF-SW20 on such a trip, but the last time I went to this particular place I took a Sony 2010 on a whim, and shortwave reception was very poor even with the AN-LP loop attached. I'm sure it had a lot to do with the concrete and rebar cage I was staying in.

I have not dipped my toes in the DSP waters yet, at least in portable form, but I bet a radio with good sensitivity off the whip with DSP might have a better chance of turning weak signals into readable ones.

At the moment my top contender is the Tecsun PL-880.

I'm not wedded to DSP, but it seems like it would be good to have this tool at my disposal.

I would prefer to the radio to also have decent stereo FM reception and not be shy on MW either.

I could add some wire to the whip, too, or use a portable loop, and if you know if the radio you are suggesting works well with an external antenna, please let me know. Thanks for your ideas.

EDIT: I have considered taking the HF-150, but I would be crushed... CRUSHED... if it were lost or damaged.
 
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SCPD

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Any radio will suffer if you're in a bad location and/or your antenna isn't able to get any signals.

I haven't tried it since its initial launch (which was disappointing) but you might want to look into the CR-1a:

CommRadio CR1a, Comm Radio CR-1a Communications Receiver, CommRadio CR-1a

The CR-1 series has had quite a few firmware updates and even a hardware change (hence the "a" designation.) I can't speak to the newest model or firmware but it's likely to be much better than when I owned mine.

I have an ICOM R-20 which is very portable and covers a very wide range. It doesn't too bad off the whip antenna. Sadly, its audio output is a little lacking especially when using SSB.

http://universal-radio.com/catalog/widerxvr/0020.html
 

modrachlan

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>Any radio will suffer if you're in a bad location and/or your antenna isn't able to get any signals.

Very true. I just thought it would be interesting to try something else, as long as it the radio in question is reasonably good at picking out weak signals. You know, what the heck, this is how I entertain myself on business trips. :)

Thanks for the reply!
 

4nradio

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I would avoid taking a radio worth hundreds of dollars on travel... it just makes for more stress, as you're concerned about the chance of theft or damage.

I would recommend either of these two portables which are sensitive off their whip antennas, are of modest size, and modest price: Tecsun PL-660 and the Degen DE1103 (or equivalent Kaito KA1103).

I've owned and used both of these extensively and like them both. The Degen/Kaito model is a little quirky to adjust the volume but you quickly get used to it, and I like the fully backlit keys and buttons for use in low light. The Tecsun has a slight edge in performance and has the desirable Sync-AM mode, but the Degen/Kaito radio is a better performer on medium wave (AM broadcast).

You can't go wrong with either of these.
 

modrachlan

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Excellent! Thanks, PrimeNumber.

FWIW, I went ahead with the plan to get the PL-880. Seems like a nice compromise between listenability and sensitivity.
 

modrachlan

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update- i'm in the middle of my trip. got a room on the 7th floor. stretched the wire antenna included with the PL-880 across the biiig window in the room. I'm super pleased- hearing more milcoms than I ever have. Trenton Military is booming in on 15034 @ 2200. heard traffic on the Trenton MACS as well at 18120. Heard some obviously Canadian hams and- most interestingly- a ton of Spanish language chatter on CB channel 9. I was able to make out "Puerto Rico" a few times. (the wire is in a N-S orientation.)

Audio quality is as good as it's reputed to be. needless to say it's been a pleasure to listen to FM off the whip on the 7th floor as well.

Just to make sure what i experienced on the trip wasn't a fluke, i tested it before leaving and found it less pleasant to listen to than my HF-150 but was able to copy more weak stations than the Sony 2010.

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with the choice.
 
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