Portable HF Receiver with SSB Wanted

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RayAir

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I would like to ask for recommendations for a good quality portable SW receiver with SSB capability with a price range of $300 or less.

Currently I have a Kenwood R-1000. It's old and the lights burnt out. Plus I have no means to power it if the lights go. SSB tuning on it is also way more difficult than it should be.


Thank you in advance.
 

WA8ZTZ

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Everytime this question gets asked, my recommendation is the Grundig Satellit 750. Big for a portable but that also makes it easy to operate with large enough buttons and controls plus nice audio from the speaker. However, the biggest advantage is the availability of external antenna connections for ALL bands... most portables do not offer this. The built- in whip does a good job receiving the international broadcast flamethrowers but since you asked about SSB, you probably are interested in ham or utility listening, in which case an external antenna is a must. For example, Gander VOLMET 10051 USB is S1 here on the whip but S9+10 on a 45' wire antenna.

It can run on 4 D-cells and they seem to last forever compared to smaller portables that run on AAs.

Lots of portables out there, good luck and have fun with whatever you choose.
 
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ka3jjz

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The Tecsun PL-660 enjoys a pretty good rep as far as SSB capability. The real king - as long as you get one without the tuning bug - would be the PL-880, which has numerous selectivity options (very unusual for a radio in this price range). Here are a couple of reviews;

Tecsun PL-660 PLL World Band Receiver Product Reviews

Tecsun PL-880 Product Reviews

A review of the Tecsun PL-880 portable shortwave radio | The SWLing Post

and there are Yahoo groups for each of these radios - apart from any owners you find here, these are often the best places to find out the 'hints and kinks' for each radio;

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Tecsun_PL-660/info

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Tecsun_PL-880/info

Mike
 

larry308

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I enjoy my CommRadio CR-1a, great audio, small and compact with internal rechargeable battery. Great freq. range.
 

WA8ZTZ

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I enjoy my CommRadio CR-1a, great audio, small and compact with internal rechargeable battery. Great freq. range.
Apparently, CommRadio is coming out soon with the CTX-10 SDR transceiver. Not sure if this is replacing or in addition to the CR-1a.
 

ka3jjz

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The OP request includes a $300 limit - Neither the CR1A or Satellit fall into that price range. Let's try to keep to that, please...Mike
 

WA8ZTZ

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The OP request includes a $300 limit - Neither the CR1A or Satellit fall into that price range. Let's try to keep to that, please...Mike
The Satellit 750 currently available from a large ham radio dealer for $299.95... just made it !!!
 

ka3jjz

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Heh...got it in by THAT much! (anyone remember Maxwell Smart??)

From the reviews I've seen, the 750's sideband reception really isn't its strong suit, but it does work...Mike
 

WA8ZTZ

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Heh...got it in by THAT much! (anyone remember Maxwell Smart??)

From the reviews I've seen, the 750's sideband reception really isn't its strong suit, but it does work...Mike
The SSB is fine but you do have to twiddle with a BFO knob. That is OK with me (that's the way it was back in the Maxwell Smart era). :)
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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I would like to ask for recommendations for a good quality portable SW receiver with SSB capability with a price range of $300 or less.

Currently I have a Kenwood R-1000. It's old and the lights burnt out. Plus I have no means to power it if the lights go. SSB tuning on it is also way more difficult than it should be.


Thank you in advance.
I had one of those years ago. Actually not a bad receiver. There was a field install kit to add 12V DC power cable to it. There was also a mod to improve SSB filtering and AGC action. The burned out lamps, I assume are grain of wheat bulbs. If you wish you can install LED lamps. If it is in decent shape, I would fix it up, keep it or sell it. You can probably still get $150-200 for it.

I sold mine and bought an Icom R7000 , later an Icom IC-R7000. Hardly portable!

Here is an interesting, cheap radio with SW and SSB.

CountyComm GP-5/SSB, County Comm GP-5SSB, Tecsun PL-365
 

RayAir

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Thanks for the advice everyone.

I was looking at one of those County Comm radios on Fleabay.

Looking through responses, I'll check out the Grundig 750. I had an 800 years ago. Other than being a boat anchor it worked pretty good.

With regards to the Grundig 750, how would that compare to a used Drake R8?

I see a few Drake R8's going for $400-$500.

If the performance of an R8 is substantial compared to a Grundig 750, I'd wouldn't have an issue spending more.

Due to world developments, I'm looking to get back into shortwave broadcast and utility station monitoring.
 

ka3jjz

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I think you're going to find that a Drake R8 is head and shoulders above most any portable in terms of performance. Way above, in fact. Very well regarded radio, even if RL Drake is no more (sniff). I had a R4B and R7A for many years. I would be careful with prices like that though...I've seen used R8s going for much more than that.

Mike
 

corbintechboy

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The Sangean 909x is a good radio, I have one and no issues and it will handle an antenna better then most portables. The Sony ICF-2010 is also a good radio that will be very close to desktop performance.

The king of all this though would be the Icom R75. On ssb it will be hard to find anything in its price range that will beat it.

Drake made great radios but they are getting a bit long in the tooth.
 

WA8ZTZ

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I think you're going to find that a Drake R8 is head and shoulders above most any portable in terms of performance. Way above, in fact. Very well regarded radio, even if RL Drake is no more (sniff).

Mike
x2

The 750 looks like a communications receiver but lacks many of the features of a true communications receiver like the R8. For example, the R8 has passband tuning and multiple selectable bandwidths, the 750 does not. The R8 can run on 12 volts but is not exactly portable. Be prepared to pay way more than $300.
 

redbeard

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I was looking at one of those County Comm radios on Fleabay.

Due to world developments, I'm looking to get back into shortwave broadcast and utility station monitoring.
Do you want a standalone radio for SHTF purposes or is a computer-based SDR something to consider? I have an Airspy R2 and a SpyVerter that I mostly use at home but will take with me and the laptop on occasion to stalk a signal. That's less than $199 now I think and works pretty good. I also use it on the VHF+ bands without the upconverter and enjoy the compatibility with programs like DSD+ and Unitrunker.

If you want a portable 'real' radio, I get it. The county comm radios are rebadged Tecsuns, you can find that version cheaper usually. I was considering one for a 72hr bag sort of thing.
 

WA8ZTZ

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Few more thoughts... if portability is important to you, realize that the R8 is getting near boat anchor territory plus you have to lug around a 12 volt battery. OTOH, the 750 is a grab and go bug out radio.
The R8 is really overkill for typical international shortwave broadcast listening, most any portable will handle this. Utility monitoring is another thing, here is where the R8 will be superior to any portable. The 750 does cover the FM broadcast band plus the VHF AM air band, the R8 does not. The R8 is a serious communications receiver probably more at home in a base station with good antennas that will do it justice. The 750 is a good all around portable that has provision for antenna connections for all bands it covers thus giving it an advantage over most other portables that lack external antenna capability.
 

K5MPH

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I used to have the Drake R8 not much of an portable radio and would not want to lug i around for a bug out radio ether the 750 would be better for portable use as of right now i only have an DX-390 it fits in a backpack better than the R8.....
 
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