• 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.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

Uniden's new "retro" shortwave desktop receiver?

Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
2,604
#1
No doubt the desktop shortwave radio days seem to be over. Or are they *if* you consider the buying demographic which would consist mostly of those who long for a real faceplate again? A radio for those knob-twiddlers among us who delight listening to utility / amateur comms, especially since the broadcast shortwave days are long gone.

I'm talking a refresh of the Uniden / Tempo 2020 dressed up as a receiver. (Not the portable 2021) There are plenty of modern portables and sdr's, along with amateur transceivers out there, but if this was marketed as a "modern classic", and actually had the guts to back that up, a lot of shelf and garage space could be saved! :)

Imagine a front end that could really handle VLF properly. Low noise preamps, plenty of rear-panel connectivity, silky-smooth vfo, yet still providing a simplified interface. An audio section that really paid attention to things like fidelity (and not just frequency response - but low distortion and the like)

Half the guts could be a simple shelf for a 20ah agm battery! Yeah, it would be big, bulky, and in your face. Some of us still like that. :)

Joking aside, I'd buy one in a heartbeat, as long as it didn't pull 3A - the lower the better. I'm just saying that it would have to withstand the rigors of something like a Sherwood test, but be touted as "retro" as the marketing niche and not get lost among the crowd.

Weve done this to cars, so why not a Uniden shortwave with great specs to replace the boat-anchors that aren't getting fixed or rotting away on the shelf. The "modern classic" if you will.

I can dream....
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
21,728
Location
Bowie, Md.
#2
I would disagree about the broadcast days being gone. Yes, there's less of them out there, but there's still a lot of stuff to be had, especially so if one gets out of the 'english only' mode. Unfortunately the sun's lack of any respectable activity is a big downer, no doubt about it.

Yes sadly I think what you want is a dream. The market has pretty much gone to SDRs, and if Uniden really wants to get into that market - it is a very narrow market, after all is said and done - that's where the bang is these days. You did have the CR1 and CR1a, which I would call a hybrid (part desktop, part SDR) for lack of a better term. Those radios did rather well, and were only in the last year or so were they pretty much shelved by the manufacturer. The Winterfests over the last couple of years, when they were still around, actually had them as door prizes. And you really don't see them all that often on the used market.

Mike
 
Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
2,604
#5
I agree with both of you actually. I think a retro knob-twiddler could live right beside an sdr or other advanced receiver.

How about a slightly modernized Bearcat DX-1000 !

Another one I'd probably get sight unseen. Improve the specs a little, and I'd be totally happy.

But yeah Mike, if a manufacturer would target this kind of a retro-niche market, they couldn't take a half-way stance. It would have to be built like it was going to last another 20 years at least. Metal cabinet please - I'll pay.

I would gladly pay for quality knobs, pots, vfo etc that invites one to use it. There's a reason I'm in love with the inexpensive Nasa / Target / Lowe HF3. It only has 3 controls, but to me, they "feel" right and seem rugged enough to last 20 years.

I had the CR-1, but the encoder couldn't handle all my knob-twiddling. Twice actually. Nothing more irritating than a vfo skip. So frustrating that my late model Yaesu FT-450D did the same. In just short of 2 years casual use. Arrgh.

But the Nasa HF3 1970's simple tech encoder will be spinning into the next century. 1995 tech, but built *right* to last. At least my newer HF3 unit is mostly surface-mount, but the basic design just keeps on rockin.

I think Uniden could pull this off - as long as they pulled out all the stops. No cheap junk switches, knobs, etc. Us knob-twiddlers that spun the dials of the 60's / 70's gear know the difference.

"The new Uniden Retro-3000 ... get your hands on one today!" would be my catch phrase. :)
 
Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
2,604
#6
Majoco - that's what I'm talking about too!

There's GOT to be a market for those burned by online deals, part-swapping, or facing a long protracted restoration, which would cost twice what the radio would be new!!

Let the *new* Uniden Retro-3000 grace your shack!
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2007
Messages
5,939
Location
175 DME, HEC 358° Radial
#7
It's a nice dream, but I think if I was going to dream, I'd be dreaming of someone like Elecraft making a receive only version of the K3. In the meantime, the WJ-8718A keeps me from wanting anything else. For now...
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2017
Messages
179
Location
Naples Florida USA
#8
I would disagree about the broadcast days being gone. Yes, there's less of them out there, but there's still a lot of stuff to be had, especially so if one gets out of the 'english only' mode. Unfortunately the sun's lack of any respectable activity is a big downer, no doubt about it.

Mike
Very well said, Mike. Although I've become interested in utilites in the past few years where as I never was for the decades before, if you do a bit of searching for shortwave broadcast schedules and frequencies on various reference sites (I mainly use the "SWBC Schedules" app on my iPhone) you'll see that broadcasting on HF is not only NOT over, but compared to just five years ago there is actually a slight increase in usage. As you said, you need to get out of English Only mode and enjoy the music or DX. It is ironic that I noticed more broadcasting at the sunsot cycle's low point...
 
Last edited:

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
21,728
Location
Bowie, Md.
#9
Unfortunately the SDR market is so narrow, Uniden may not want to risk it. And one could make the argument that the SDR market is flooded right now, so much so that anything new would have to have some sort of radical design not found elsewhere. Keep in mind that R&D ain't cheap.

Mike
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2017
Messages
179
Location
Naples Florida USA
#10
<snip>
If anyone should get back into making receivers again, it's Drake. I just rediscovered my SPR-4 with all the options and just got the final crystals I need for all HF broadcast/aero frequencies (the ones that I want, anyway).
Does Alinco still make new receivers? I've never used one but they seemed to be the last new manufacturer.
Palstar is still making their R30A, and yes, AFAIK Alinco is still selling their DX-R8T (and the ham transceiver clone). I think they're the only 2 left.

Ah yes, the 'SPuR-4' as we used to call it in the day. Drake made an outboard converter that plugged into the crystal deck to make receivers like this (I had the R4B that was sadly damaged by being in salt air for too long) general coverage. Less than 2000 of these units were ever made; I know this because Perry Ferrell (yes, that Perry) is the one that sold one to me. The SPR-4 was and still is considered to be a classic. Drake is now solidly in the satellite business, as I understand it. They left after the Eton E1 which they co-produced with Eton/Grundig...Mike

hmm...looks like something happened when I edited the message. Sorry about that - my bad.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Feb 6, 2007
Messages
5,939
Location
175 DME, HEC 358° Radial
#12
As possibly the only user of a Bearcat DX-1000 here...

...It looks great in photos and on the desk, but when you start handling it the cheapness is evident immediately.
I had one many years ago, mid 80's is when I got it. It was... OK, performance wise. It overloaded a bit too easily, and the synthesizer phase noise performance was about what you'd expect on a mid-80s consumer grade HF receiver. Where it shined was it's frequency coverage down to about 15 khz.

I mostly used mine to demux subcarriers on point to point analog microwave systems, which was even more fun than monitoring cellphones. It worked very well in that application.

It was obviously a consumer grade Uniden product, which isn't bad per se, but I won't hold it up as a standard bearer while wishing for something new to come along.
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
21,728
Location
Bowie, Md.
#13
That radio, along with the more-rercent BR330T, handheld were attempts that Uniden made likely with engineers that clearly really didn't understand HF at all. I seem to recall that Larry Magne reviewed this radio with rather poor remarks in a Passport issue. It could have been so much more had it performed properly. The market could have stood, at that time, a decently performing basic radio. But the Yaesu FRG7 knocked that right out of the park, particularly with the improvements that were offered at the time by both Radio West and Gilfer. I had one of those for a number of years. Brings back memories...Mike
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2017
Messages
179
Location
Naples Florida USA
#14
That radio, along with the more-rercent BR330T, handheld were attempts that Uniden made likely with engineers that clearly really didn't understand HF at all. I seem to recall that Larry Magne reviewed this radio with rather poor remarks in a Passport issue. It could have been so much more had it performed properly. The market could have stood, at that time, a decently performing basic radio. But the Yaesu FRG7 knocked that right out of the park, particularly with the improvements that were offered at the time by both Radio West and Gilfer. I had one of those for a number of years. Brings back memories...Mike
The DX-1000 was one of the first direct-frequency input receivers produced for consumers, along with the Kenwood R-2000 in 1983 with the ICOM R-71 and Panasonic RF-B600 in 1984. JRC's NRD-525 and Yaesu's FRG-8800 came along a year later. Sony's ICF-2001 (not the 2010/2001D) was the first a couple of years earlier. I never had those others so I can't comment on their performance but the Bearcat was indeed ambitious at the time, perhaps too ambitious. Synthesizer noise and overloading are it's two biggest flaws, along with poor performance on any amplitude modulated signal in the HF range, using ECSS for a broadcast station doesn't help too much. A preselector does wonders for it, however, and for utes/hams it does a very good job.

Based on features, the R-2000 never was on my want list after getting the Bearcat, it doesn't have a wide 12 kHz filter for clear LW/MW stations and particularly no fine tuning (50 herz at best), and no internal battery operation capability. The DX-1000 also receives VLF and is very sensitive in the LW region, unlike the Kenwood which lowers sensitivity below 2 MHz.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2007
Messages
5,939
Location
175 DME, HEC 358° Radial
#15
Based on features, the R-2000 never was on my want list after getting the Bearcat, it doesn't have a wide 12 kHz filter for clear LW/MW stations and particularly no fine tuning (50 herz at best), and no internal battery operation capability. The DX-1000 also receives VLF and is very sensitive in the LW region, unlike the Kenwood which lowers sensitivity below 2 MHz.
When I had mine, I did a lot of experimentation with active antennas and tuned loops. The preselection inherent to a tuned loop solved the overload problems, and the already decent sensitivity made it quite good for LW beacon chasing. But like I said previously, it really shined as a subcarrier demodulator. Even SCA carriers on FM broadcast stations, it was quite decent at demodulating. Having FM mode increased it's usefulness as a research tool of sorts.

I seem to remember the new cost was in the $600 range. I kept mine for about 20 years.
 
Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
2,604
#16
I think the manufacturers are a big part of killing off the desktop market themselves with building to a price point and all the performance cost-cutting that entails.

Things like proper shielding and grounding, using capacitors with the IF filters, using bipolar electrolytic caps, polystrene audio caps in the audio circuits, QUALITY switches and knobs.

Basically all the mods that we do should have been done at the factory FIRST.

I'm just yearning for the days when blindfolded, I'd have a hard time telling a piece of high end Kenwood stereo gear from a piece of amateur gear. Smooth knobs and switches, heavily weighted vfo knobs, and that.

There was a pride of ownership that can't be explained. It's something you FEEL.

Heck, enough time has passed that a generation of listeners / amateurs might well dig the Feng-Shui of a black-krinkle case ! :)

There's decades of proven R&D that they could go back to, modernize, and if not cut short by cheaping out on the corners, could be revived and sold easily. Just go back and do it right this time.

Put the guts of an Alinco R8T inside an NRD case, and you'd have a hit - even if not the pinnacle of performance.

Understand I'm not a luddite. If I'm really nice this year, maybe an Icom IC-R8600 will come down my chimney. But put an NRD 515 next to the 8600 on a shelf at HRO, and watch which one invites you to play with it first: The NRD 515.
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
2,604
#18
I'll just use my empty wallet to soften the blow! :)

Seriously though, I'm hell on VFO's. I *like* to futz with all the controls. I have scanners for hands-off operations. On HF, I shift all the gears.

After blowing out the VFO's on other rigs so often, I'm frankly scared to operate the 8600. The first time I see a reverse direction, or warbly vfo jump, I'd be in tears.

I just know that Uniden knows how to do it right - as long as you put the bean-counters / performance killers in another room, and let the engineers determine performance first, and THEN find a price.

The gauntlet could be thrown down gently to ALL modern manufacturers: Could you produce a "modernized" version of say a Lowe HF-150, or even my NASA / Target HF3 that have a minimal number of controls? My first check would be the pots and vfo. If they tossed in some cheap crap there, then there's no point to doing it at all.

C'mon Uniden - you know what to do.
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2008
Messages
4,477
Location
San Francisco, Ca.
#19
I'll just use my empty wallet to soften the blow! :)

Seriously though, I'm hell on VFO's. I *like* to futz with all the controls. I have scanners for hands-off operations. On HF, I shift all the gears.

After blowing out the VFO's on other rigs so often, I'm frankly scared to operate the 8600. The first time I see a reverse direction, or warbly vfo jump, I'd be in tears.

I just know that Uniden knows how to do it right - as long as you put the bean-counters / performance killers in another room, and let the engineers determine performance first, and THEN find a price.

The gauntlet could be thrown down gently to ALL modern manufacturers: Could you produce a "modernized" version of say a Lowe HF-150, or even my NASA / Target HF3 that have a minimal number of controls? My first check would be the pots and vfo. If they tossed in some cheap crap there, then there's no point to doing it at all.

C'mon Uniden - you know what to do.
Nuh-uhh. No excuse. You're getting that R8600 mister. It's inevitable. I'm here to tell you, the VFO on the 8600 will take anything you can give it. It's darn solid on its axle or whatever. I can feel it. Not as much fun as spinning the giant main and spread VFOs on the SX-88 but it's fun in its own way.
Screw this pipedream of yours-it's the R8600 for you:) it's the only way to take you into your HF future and beyond!
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2017
Messages
300
Location
British Columbia, Canada
#20
After blowing out the VFO's on other rigs so often, I'm frankly scared to operate the 8600. The first time I see a reverse direction, or warbly vfo jump, I'd be in tears.
I'm not sure if you have or have had an R75, but if so, did you wear out its VFO as well? Mine's still smooth as silk and perfectly stable after 20 years of service. I use the VFO a heck of a lot, too. It's the thing I like most about the R75. I used to have a Hallicrafters look-alike by Lafayette that had weighted main tuning and bandspread controls. They moved nice and slick, and I was really impressed, until the stretchy dial cords started causing lots of backlash. The best receiver I owned before the R75 was a Hammarlund SP-600, but it had some tuning dial issues, too, so you can imagine how delighted I was when I got my R75.

Gerry
 
Top