LW ULR / Roberts R9924 review
(I posted this LW/Roberts R9924 review also on Herculodge last week)
Lately, I have become more interested in longwave listening. Living in the western part of The Netherlands, this is quite interesting, since there are a number of good stations to catch and to really listen to (BBC Radio 4 and RTE1 from Ireland in particular).
A good longwave radio has, in my experience, always been hard to find. Starting my radio hobby two years ago, I bought a Sangean ATS-909, which covers LW as well. However, the reception turned out to be rather 'hissy', most probably caused by the circuitry itself. After the Sangean, I really got bitten by the radio bug, and started buying some DSP-ultralights (Grundig G8 and Tecsun PL-310), all of which were, quite frankly, a joke on LW. Then I bought me a Sony SW11, which surprised me a lot with its relatively good LW performance. Much more hiss-free than the ATS-909.
A number of models followed, which had quite reasonable LW-reception. It turned out that the analog models proved to be better than the digital ones. For example, the LW-performance of the Tecsun PL-210 is not bad, but doesn't offer the sensitivity and clear sound of the Sony. I also have an analog Grundig WR5410, which has good LW reception, and lately I have fallen more and more 'in love' (is that possible, with a radio?) with my very small Roberts R9924.
The radio is quite small, and stands vertically oriented. The FM-section is surprisingly sensitive and selective. A few always-hard-to-gets come in quite well in my location. MW is nothing to write home about, that is by far the weakest section of this little radio. For example, almost all my radios get good reception of BBC5 on 693Khz, while this radio gets it rather weak, and on top of that suffers from interference of Radio Maria on 675Khz. What is very special about this radio, besides its full sound for its size, the excellent battery life, and being virtually drift-free, is its performance on longwave.
A few days ago, around sunset, I managed to receive 14 stations: Deutschlandfunk on 153Khz, France Inter on 162Khz, Deutschlandradio Kultur on 177Khz, Europe1 on 183Khz, BBC Radio 4 on 198Khz, Deutschlandfunk again on 207Khz, Radio Monte Carlo on 216Khz, Polskie Radio 1 on 225Khz, RTL on 234Khz, Kalundborg on 243Khz, RTE1 Ireland and Chaine1 Algeria, both on 252Khz, CRO1 (Czech Republic) on 270Khz and (most probably) Radio Belarus on 279Khz. During daytime, 153, 162, 198, 216, 234 and RTE1 on 252 always come in, with 162, 198 and 234 on 'local' quality, and 252 also quite good. I would say, not bad at all for a radio only 2.75" wide...
I'm still looking for the 'holy grail' on longwave. Currently I'm looking into the far bigger Roberts R9927, also an analog model. However, nobody in the Roberts company can tell me what size the ferrite loopstick is:(. Perhaps I'll just take the plunge and see whether it's an improvement over the R9974. Still on my wishlist is Iceland on 189Khz, which I have never been able to pull in yet.