This morning, I was attempting to troubleshoot some problems with another portable. I ended up doing a backyard performance test of several portables just to establish baseline.
The targets for testing were:
WSM, Nashville 650 AM. About 200 miles distant. Their 50KW signal means they are a fairly easy daytime DX target.
WJOX, Birmingham 690 AM. Local pest station. Their 50KW signal means wall to wall signal.
Test were conducted outside the house, in the quietest spot in my suburban RF hell.
Radios tested were:
CC Crane Skywave
The results were interesting. The clear winner was the heavyweight Sangean PR-D5. WSM was easy copy. Not armchair strength but certainly strong enough to listen to a game or your favorite song. With the local, it could null their signal deep enough to allow traces of another station underneath.
Second would have been the CC Skywave (on 1KHz bandwidth setting). Able to copy WSM well enough to pick out a song or ID. Deep null on WJOX but not deep enough to completely bury the signal.
The Tecsun PL-380 received WSM about as well as the slightly smaller Skywave, but could not achieve quite as deep a null. Again, using the 1KHz bandwidth.
Then the lightweight of the division, a true ultralight. The Sony SRF-T615 could not detect any audio from WSM 650 but did achieve the 2nd best null on local WJOX. It put their signal into the mud, almost completely gone. At night, this ability comes in very handy.
When it comes to performance, I wonder if we’re not also “weighting” results based on those seeking TA and TP targets. Searching for those stations, the 1KHz DSP bandwidth is critical for success, but for those chasing domestic targets, it’s not as much of a factor.
The Sangean PR-D5 has a fixed bandwidth and beautiful sound. It’s big and heavy compared to the others but it’s a great radio for AM DXing.
The Sony SRF-T615 is a true ultralight, fitting easily into a shirt pocket. Used with headphones, it’s a wonderful machine to take when walking the dogs. Searching for domestics, both are quite capable. The Tecsun and Skywave are probably better choices for DXing TA and TP targets.
Fun test. Should have thought of it sooner. All of these have been in the house for months or years. Maybe we need weight classes or two scales—one for TA/TP Performance and another for Domestics.
Les Rayburn, N1LF
121 Mayfair Park
Member WTFDA, IRCA, NRC. Former CPC Chairman for NRC & IRCA.
Elad FDM-S2 SDR, AirSpy SDR, Quantum Phaser, Wellbrook ALA1530 Loop, Wellbrook Flag, Clifton Labs Active Whip.