A new old cool ultralight radio


Dennis Gibson <wb6tnb@...>
 

I've been away for quite awhile but unfortunately for all of you I'm back. :)

In 1981, right after the first Sony Walkmen came out (and before CD's!), I paid over $200.00 for a Sony SRF-80W. It was a hot little AM/FM stereo radio with headphones that could be used separately or fit into a slot between two amplified speakers, turning into a fun little and very decent (for its size) sounding boombox. I used to DX with it and it was hot. It pulled off tough splits with no problem and nulled very well. The volume control is set up so both channels go up at the same time or they can be changed independently of each other. I lost track of it when I moved ten years ago. Guess what I found?

Three AAA and four C batteries later it's sitting in the windowsill on 1230 and is keeping up with the best I've got including my Sony ICF-2010 and properly aligned (by Gary of course!) SRF-39FP prison radio, one of my favorites. Lots of great 1980's DX'ing memories are filling my head. Unfortunately I can't compare it to my stock Sangean DT-400W. I have a local on 1250 and selectivity is where it falls down. Is anyone still doing a selectivity mod for it? The last time I looked it was expensive. I don't take things apart. They never work as well as they did before. Here's a YouTube video showing the Sony in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SolhPqzthaU

I saw a small Sangean prison radio on Amazon recently and one should be here in a few days. I got the last one! I have no idea if it's any good or if they'll be getting any more but will be fun even if it's not great.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000LUW84K

I haven't kept up with what's hot these days. My birthday was a couple of weeks ago and I got $$ for gifts. I sure don't need any more radios but that's never stopped me before. Any suggestions? I think the last time I was paying attention some relatively inexpensive Chinese radios with DSP were coming out. I have a Grundig G8 but I have three low power locals a mile away and the DSP does weird things in their part of the band.

73


Ken Kizer
 

Dennis Gibson writes...

I've been away for quite awhile but unfortunately for all of you I'm back. :)

In 1981, right after the first Sony Walkmen came out (and before CD's!), I paid over $200.00 for a Sony SRF-80W. It was a hot little AM/FM stereo radio with headphones that could be used separately or fit into a slot between two amplified speakers, turning into a fun little and very decent (for its size) sounding boombox. I used to DX with it and it was hot. It pulled off tough splits with no problem and nulled very well. The volume control is set up so both channels go up at the same time or they can be changed independently of each other. I lost track of it when I moved ten years ago. Guess what I found?

Three AAA and four C batteries later it's sitting in the windowsill on 1230 and is keeping up with the best I've got including my Sony ICF-2010 and properly aligned (by Gary of course!) SRF-39FP prison radio, one of my favorites. Lots of great 1980's DX'ing memories are filling my head. Unfortunately I can't compare it to my stock Sangean DT-400W. I have a local on 1250 and selectivity is where it falls down. Is anyone still doing a selectivity mod for it? The last time I looked it was expensive. I don't take things apart. They never work as well as they did before. Here's a YouTube video showing the Sony in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SolhPqzthaU

I saw a small Sangean prison radio on Amazon recently and one should be here in a few days. I got the last one! I have no idea if it's any good or if they'll be getting any more but will be fun even if it's not great.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000LUW84K

I haven't kept up with what's hot these days. My birthday was a couple of weeks ago and I got $$ for gifts. I sure don't need any more radios but that's never stopped me before. Any suggestions? I think the last time I was paying attention some relatively inexpensive Chinese radios with DSP were coming out. I have a Grundig G8 but I have three low power locals a mile away and the DSP does weird things in their part of the band.
I just bought a Tecsun PL-390, the dual speaker model. I've been
impressed in several ways. It has an amazing list of features for a
~$70 radio.

All the bands seem clean of birdies and other IM mischief. It has 5 AM
bandwidths and good selectivity. It tunes in several ways, has tons of
memory, and I've read it corrects a more aggressive auto-mute on
slightly earlier Tecsun models. And a lot more.

Downsides? All the above, and it's still not quite as sensitive as a
Superadio II, though that may not be a fair comparison. I use a
Grundig AN-200 loop with it, which sometimes boosts the signal quite a
bit. I got the dual speaker model because it's supposed to have bigger
antennas (than the PL-310 or 380, for instance).

Ken

73


Dennis Gibson <wb6tnb@...>
 

Yes; I think comparing older analog radios with those with more modern circuitry such as DSP is a bit like comparing apples and oranges. I have a couple of Superadio II's and a Superadio I. I can't think of the last time I used either one.

I just pulled out my trusty Realistic 12-655 TRF; no slouch. The Sony is about the same. I think using a graveyard frequency is good because the signal levels are fairly steady. At least 1230 is here on the West Coast. I just compared it to another good one; the Kaito KA-1103. The Sony is slightly more sensitive. That Kaito is a real sleeper. Nick Hall-Patch reviewed it for IRCA a number of years ago and was impressed.

73 de WB6TNB

--- In ultralightdx@..., cfa@... wrote:

I just bought a Tecsun PL-390, the dual speaker model. I've been
impressed in several ways. It has an amazing list of features for a
~$70 radio.

All the bands seem clean of birdies and other IM mischief. It has 5 AM
bandwidths and good selectivity. It tunes in several ways, has tons of
memory, and I've read it corrects a more aggressive auto-mute on
slightly earlier Tecsun models. And a lot more.

Downsides? All the above, and it's still not quite as sensitive as a
Superadio II, though that may not be a fair comparison. I use a
Grundig AN-200 loop with it, which sometimes boosts the signal quite a
bit. I got the dual speaker model because it's supposed to have bigger
antennas (than the PL-310 or 380, for instance).

Ken

73