While you can get by on voice signals with, say a Tecsun PL660, if you ever decide to get heavy into the digital side, portables will fall way short.
There are many very good Software Defined Radios that cost well south of USD500 that will do the job. They take some study and work to get working, from what I understand, but once they are working properly, they do an excellent job.
The other possibility is to keep an eye out at hamfests for used desktop receivers.
not sure what my budget would be just trying get a idea of a entry level radio would cost .I would be more interested in voice . What would I be able to monitor ?Air Military. Ships . and the such .I guess what iam asking is there much voice to listen to
Quite a bit, depending on what we're talking about here. If you're interested in the broadcast side of things, it's all voice, and there's lots to listen to (tho a lot of broadcasters are shutting down, it opens the way for the smaller broadcasters to get through - and they can be more entertaining)
If we're talking utilities, there's still voice out there - particularly from air and some military. There's a lot less ship traffic than there used to be, mainly because they've shifted to satellites, but that's still possible. And with the better portables, some of the digital stuff - HFDL (which is used in the air services), ALE (which is used by numerous government and non government agencies) is all still good, as are some of the SITOR-B broadcasts (maritime).
It's a little hard to guide you without a budget amount, but you can get a Tecsun or Kaito portable for much less than USD250- but at that price level, there are several Software Defined Radios such as the SDRPlay which is about USD150.
New desktop radios are very few and far between - the Icom R75 was recently discontinued, but still available (if you can find one) as is the Alinco R8T. But that will set you back around 600 or so. If you know what you are looking at insofar as models go, and go with something of an educated eye, then hamfests and used lists (like the one at Universal Radio) would be the way to go. In fact, Universal sells a book that outlines many of the older radios, along with a website that has lots of useful tips
The other side of the equation is the antenna. One doesn't work without the other. Without knowing what you're going to get, or anything about your situation (can you put an antenna outside? how much room have you got to work with?) it's nearly impossible to make a solid recommendation.
I would decide on a budget first and foremost, then folks can make recommendations. Don't neglect the various online reviews, either.
Get a Tecsun portable. They're relatively inexpensive and probably get the job done for your present purposes. I have never used a Tecsun -- I have several Sangean portables I am happy with. But I keep reading good things about Tecsuns.
If you want to hear aircraft and ships, then you want a radio with a BFO or SSB capability (both will receive SSB, just differently) -- like your DX-394 (which has LSB / USB / CW capability as well as AM).
There are Tecsuns out there with SSB capability, a lot of guys swear by them.
Probably the biggest drawback with SDRs is they aren't very portable, so that should also be a consideration.
IMHO I wouldn't go for a portable if you're looking to receive aircraft and the other utilities - the signal strength is not great so you need a more extensive antenna so a desktop is a better pick. They're not the huge things they used to be, my money would be on an Alinco DX-R8 or a CommRadio CR1 - not that I have any experience of either as I am a dinosaur with a load of older radios that I can fix myself!
That may well be true in NZ, Martin, but here in the US, aircraft checkins on the MWARA freqs (as an example) are easy catches, as are the various GHFS milcom frequencies, ALE checkins and many SITOR-B broadcasts as well
Certainly a portable would get you started, but down the road, a SDR is definitely the way to go; even if you want some portability, the CommRadio CR1A is a good performer. Mike
I agree that listening to local HF Aero is easy even for me down here in the South Pacific - Auckland booms in of course but in the afternoon I get Tahiti, San Fran from Hawaii, Nadi and Brisbane on 8867 easily. Then I go hunting for the DX from Gander, Shanwick and the Caribbean/Africa/South America stations - not a peep from my Kaito/Degen 1103 but some good stuff on my two OCFD's and the 'real' radios - and that does include two WinRadio SDR's! I have to get up early before dawn to get the Asia/India/Russia stations.
I tend to use the SDR's for spotting the action then transfer the frequency over to the three HF "canoe-anchors" - not quite as big as a 'boat-anchor'!