Realstic DX-200 High Band Not Functioning

SatHunter

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Joined
Jul 23, 2021
Messages
7
I bought a "like new" Realistic DX-200 on an auction in the middle of July. The description is partially accurate- the cosmetics are very nice, just very dusty. The tuning and signal meters look great. I cleaned up a noisy volume and RF gain pot. Tuning 4.5 - 13 MHZ works amazingly well. Tuned in about 10 stations around 6 MHZ last night. Broadcast band is also very impressive. Longwave and 1.6 to 4.5 MHZ are very noisy with lots of interference. My biggest concern is the 13 to 30 MHZ band. I've never heard a signal on it not even CB band. The signal meter stays near zero and you can hear static in the background from one end to the other. When I tune down towards 13 MHZ the speaker gets completely silent. I've tried different outdoor and indoor antennas and none of them make a difference. I mostly listen to 80 - 40 meters but I use my other rigs a lot for 13, 15, and 17 MHZ SWL broadcasts so I miss having it on the DX-200. I was hoping someone would read this that had a similar problem with a Realistic rig and was able to resolve the problem. Thanks!
 

Boombox

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Sep 2, 2012
Messages
983
If it has a mechanical bandswitch, exercise it. I have a DX-160 -- different radio, similar guts inside, though. Whenever I use it in between long periods of disuse, I always have to exercise the bandswitch. It's a rotary device inside ratio that operates several wafers, if memory serves. A good exercising of it should help. Beyond that, your problem could be simply poor SW conditions. For one thing, propagation on the high SW bands has been really poor the past few years, and that also may be part of your problem. I'm lucky sometimes if I hear WWV on 15 Mhz, and that's with a DSP portable. Last night, I heard three grainy signals on the 31 meter band. WWVH was s3, WWV was s1-2. In a 'normal' year, WWV would be s4 or s5. Oh, and last time I checked the CB band, it was also dead. This was on a DX398 with 25 ft internal antenna.

Last but not least, my DX-160 is excellent on MW, and MW DX. You may want to DX the MW with your DX-200 a while and see what all it brings in. The selectivity on these designs of radios was really good for MW.
 

SatHunter

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Joined
Jul 23, 2021
Messages
7
I thank you for your reply Boombox! I really miss my DX-160, I wish I never would have sold it, it was a really great radio. I've been trying the MW DX the past few nights on the DX-200 and it does a fantastic job. 2 nights ago I had a really good signal on most stations from 5 - 10 MHZ. WWV on 2.5 and 5 MHZ came booming in but last night most signals disappeared and the band's were very noisy. I'll take your advice and try to work on the bandswitch. I need to take the lid off and have a look inside (it smells like it come from a smokey environment). Do you know if it would be safe to use a contact cleaner on the bandswitch? With my Panasonic RF 3100 I heard a fairly strong station around 15 MHZ late yesterday afternoon but no WWV so there is a bit of activity on these frequencies even though the conditions aren't very good. That's why I concluded that there is a bit of a problem with the DX-200 that I can hopefully resolve.
 

Boombox

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Sep 2, 2012
Messages
983
If you use contact cleaner on the bandswitch, protect the tuner capacitor from any and all overspray. If it's like the DX-160, the tuner cap is a combination of metal plates and plastic wafers. You could use a bunch of paper towels as a 'shield', and spray in a direction away from the tuner cap. Any tuner cleaner that hits the plastic wafers will damage them, and the tuner cap.

Another idea would be to use some canned air first. It might be just enough to blow away any dust and grime from the bandswitch contacts, something exercising the bandswitch could also do.

You can also spray canned air on the tuner cap, if it looks dusty -- just canned air, nothing else. That can help sometimes. I did that once with my DX-160 after it hadn't been used in years.

Good luck, and enjoy the DX-200. From what I've read, it's fairly close to a DX-160, they mainly updated the configuration of the dials to resemble one of the new Kenwoods (I think the Kenwood R-600? Not sure).
 

SatHunter

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Joined
Jul 23, 2021
Messages
7
Canned air is a great idea. I need to take the whole case off, the lid won't come off by itself. Also I have been exercising the switch a few dozen times. I tried the problematic band again this afternoon. It appeared that there was a legitimate signal near 16 MHZ but it was extremely weak. The meter never moves at all but the band conditions are horrible so this may be a contributing factor. WWV on 10 MHZ was s10 today so I was happy to hear something coming in this clearly. Also the DX-200 picks up noise from just about any source. Last night I couldn't pick up a single signal even local stations on MW due to noise. I traced the problem to my Amiko satellite receiver. Turning it off cut the noise in half. Unplugging it eliminated the noise altogether. I truly do appreciate the good wishes and your assistance. Realistic SW receivers will always be among my favourites along with their variety of scanners I owned since I was a kid. The only radio I'm not fond of is a Realistic DX-350 portable I bought for $20 a month ago. It doesn't receive any SW and picks up dozens of harmonics & "birdies". It's saving grace is that it packs a punch on AM band and picks up many distant stations. FM also performs very well so I guess I got my money's worth. It will be a handy Radio to use when the next power outage comes around.
 

Boombox

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Sep 2, 2012
Messages
983
I also have a DX350 -- two of them. The Taiwanese made original (two ceramic filters on MW and probably SW as well) and the Chinese made 'A' model, which has a different chip in it (and just one ceramic filter). Both are very good on MW... add a loop and you can DX even in signal poor areas.

On SW they used to be better when there were more SW signals. One night in 2013 or 2014, I heard both CKZU (British Columbia) and CKZN (Newfoundland) at the same time -- slapback echo on the CBC's hourly newscast. Just off the whip, on the Chinese made DX-350. And the Chinese made radio is the poorer of the two on SW.

But with low to no SW signals out there, my DX-350 radios pick up RFI, static, and FM hash very well on the SW bands anymore.
 

SatHunter

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Joined
Jul 23, 2021
Messages
7
I know exactly what you mean. I have been jumping from the DX-200 to my Yaesu and a vintage Panasonic and they all pick up noise better than anything but I did get a booming signal on the 7 MHz CHU time signal from Canada. I seem to get more shortwave stations with a 20 ft. indoor antenna that with a 45 ft. outdoor one. The outdoor long wire picks up insane amounts of interference. It's near the power lines and my many satellite coax cables. I'm waiting for a RTL SDR to be shipped, I've been anxious to try these out not only for short and medium wave but for 2m amateur and scanner frequencies. I've used my high powered desktop PC's in the past with satellite tuner cards but this will be my first venture into software defined radio. Keeping my fingers crossed.
 
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