Looking for analog receiver suggestions (not necessarily modern nor ultralight)


h. garcia
 

Hello everyone,

Too long, wont read version ūüėä I'm looking for suggestions of ultralight or mid-sized analog portable receivers that you recall having very good performance in both AM and FM. Feel free to recommend models from 60-70-80s as well.

I really like to listen to AM and FM weak stations. My main receivers include an ultralight (C.Crane Skywave), a booksized one (XHData-808) and a car stereo (GM media center, lots of exciting findings commuting to/from work)

However, I'm a bit either nostalgic or bored with the digital VFO steps and DSP behaviour. At home, most of the time I end up using an analog Sony ICF-38. It's is a joy to the ears listening stations slowing and softly coming in and out of of the IF passband. ICF-38 sensitivity is very good, however its filter __wiiiiiiiide__ in AM and FM. Local stations easily obliterate 2 channels below and 2 channels above the nominal frequency. 

Stephen Grossklass ( http://stephan.win31.de/rx-eval.htm ) mentioned the Panasonic RF-B11 as a good analog receiver. It uses ceramic filters in both AM and FM sections Its competitor - Sony ICF-SW11 - does a good job on LW, MW and SW (tuned frontend+ceramic filter), but FM is subpar (Stephen explains Sony decided standard LC filtering in FM in SW11).

Have a great one!

pu3hag garcia


Hans Stam
 

Hi..

 

I have just bought the Tecsun DR- 920C

 

https://www.anon-co.com/index.aspx?pageid=2010170&chainID=217539&txtQuickSearch=920c

 

And I was surprised what you get for 24 dollar, a good small radio with excellent selective reception on the shortwave bands.
I use a long wire of 8 meters outside connected with a clip on the antenna

 

FM is also OK.

 

Best regards

 

Hans

 

Van: main@UltralightDX.groups.io [mailto:main@UltralightDX.groups.io] Namens h. garcia
Verzonden: donderdag 16 januari 2020 20:57
Aan: main@UltralightDX.groups.io
Onderwerp: [UltralightDX] Looking for analog receiver suggestions (not necessarily modern nor ultralight)

 

Hello everyone,

Too long, wont read version ūüėä I'm looking for suggestions of ultralight or mid-sized analog portable receivers that you recall having very good performance in both AM and FM. Feel free to recommend models from 60-70-80s as well.

I really like to listen to AM and FM weak stations. My main receivers include an ultralight (C.Crane Skywave), a booksized one (XHData-808) and a car stereo (GM media center, lots of exciting findings commuting to/from work)

However, I'm a bit either nostalgic or bored with the digital VFO steps and DSP behaviour. At home, most of the time I end up using an analog Sony ICF-38. It's is a joy to the ears listening stations slowing and softly coming in and out of of the IF passband. ICF-38 sensitivity is very good, however its filter __wiiiiiiiide__ in AM and FM. Local stations easily obliterate 2 channels below and 2 channels above the nominal frequency. 

Stephen Grossklass ( http://stephan.win31.de/rx-eval.htm ) mentioned the Panasonic RF-B11 as a good analog receiver. It uses ceramic filters in both AM and FM sections Its competitor - Sony ICF-SW11 - does a good job on LW, MW and SW (tuned frontend+ceramic filter), but FM is subpar (Stephen explains Sony decided standard LC filtering in FM in SW11).

Have a great one!

pu3hag garcia


Mike Sanburn
 

C.Crane seems to be pretty awesome these days.....I still have my old analog dial G.E. Superadio 2 that I bought in the 80s, it is a dx champ for the money....Its modern version is the RCA Superadio which sensitivity wise is not as good but does cover the entire X Band......My first ever ULTRALIGHT was a Sony M40W (no longer made) which lasted for 20 years (1989-2009) it was a hand held DX champ. (drawback again was it only tuned up to 1670 but the absence of the upper three new frequencies was more than made up on the rest of the band).   For many years Sony made the ICF2010 (digital) which had many bells and whistles and was a bit more pricey but a great DX investment.  Finally, when Radio Shack ruled, they had the little Realistic TRF small AM portable (analog) Super performance with tuned RF filter and I think it was in the $30 or less range. Maybe these are still making the rounds on eBay or flea markets.....Good luck and good DX!!!  73  

Mike Sanburn
Lakewood CA


From: main@UltralightDX.groups.io <main@UltralightDX.groups.io> on behalf of h. garcia <pu3hag.l@...>
Sent: Thursday, January 16, 2020 11:57 AM
To: main@UltralightDX.groups.io <main@UltralightDX.groups.io>
Subject: [UltralightDX] Looking for analog receiver suggestions (not necessarily modern nor ultralight)
 
Hello everyone,

Too long, wont read version ūüėä I'm looking for suggestions of ultralight or mid-sized analog portable receivers that you recall having very good performance in both AM and FM. Feel free to recommend models from 60-70-80s as well.

I really like to listen to AM and FM weak stations. My main receivers include an ultralight (C.Crane Skywave), a booksized one (XHData-808) and a car stereo (GM media center, lots of exciting findings commuting to/from work)

However, I'm a bit either nostalgic or bored with the digital VFO steps and DSP behaviour. At home, most of the time I end up using an analog Sony ICF-38. It's is a joy to the ears listening stations slowing and softly coming in and out of of the IF passband. ICF-38 sensitivity is very good, however its filter __wiiiiiiiide__ in AM and FM. Local stations easily obliterate 2 channels below and 2 channels above the nominal frequency. 

Stephen Grossklass ( http://stephan.win31.de/rx-eval.htm ) mentioned the Panasonic RF-B11 as a good analog receiver. It uses ceramic filters in both AM and FM sections Its competitor - Sony ICF-SW11 - does a good job on LW, MW and SW (tuned frontend+ceramic filter), but FM is subpar (Stephen explains Sony decided standard LC filtering in FM in SW11).

Have a great one!

pu3hag garcia


Tony King <dx4me2@...>
 

Interested to read Mike and Garcias comments on  receiver suggestions. I own a Realistic TRF and forty + years ago it was the pick of MW rx. Also owned a GE Model 2 and 3 which were superb for MW above 1600 and logged many US stations ast taht time. Today my line up are Tecsun PL380 and PL606 coil-coupled to EWE antennas. Down at the 1 khz bandwidth they excel in logging US, Central American and SA DX.
I attach the EWE antena design. They are simple , directional, small, and very effective.

Regards Tony NZ


On Fri, 17 Jan 2020 at 12:30, Mike Sanburn <mikesanburn@...> wrote:
C.Crane seems to be pretty awesome these days.....I still have my old analog dial G.E. Superadio 2 that I bought in the 80s, it is a dx champ for the money....Its modern version is the RCA Superadio which sensitivity wise is not as good but does cover the entire X Band......My first ever ULTRALIGHT was a Sony M40W (no longer made) which lasted for 20 years (1989-2009) it was a hand held DX champ. (drawback again was it only tuned up to 1670 but the absence of the upper three new frequencies was more than made up on the rest of the band).   For many years Sony made the ICF2010 (digital) which had many bells and whistles and was a bit more pricey but a great DX investment.  Finally, when Radio Shack ruled, they had the little Realistic TRF small AM portable (analog) Super performance with tuned RF filter and I think it was in the $30 or less range. Maybe these are still making the rounds on eBay or flea markets.....Good luck and good DX!!!  73  

Mike Sanburn
Lakewood CA


From: main@UltralightDX.groups.io <main@UltralightDX.groups.io> on behalf of h. garcia <pu3hag.l@...>
Sent: Thursday, January 16, 2020 11:57 AM
To: main@UltralightDX.groups.io <main@UltralightDX.groups.io>
Subject: [UltralightDX] Looking for analog receiver suggestions (not necessarily modern nor ultralight)
 
Hello everyone,

Too long, wont read version ūüėä I'm looking for suggestions of ultralight or mid-sized analog portable receivers that you recall having very good performance in both AM and FM. Feel free to recommend models from 60-70-80s as well.

I really like to listen to AM and FM weak stations. My main receivers include an ultralight (C.Crane Skywave), a booksized one (XHData-808) and a car stereo (GM media center, lots of exciting findings commuting to/from work)

However, I'm a bit either nostalgic or bored with the digital VFO steps and DSP behaviour. At home, most of the time I end up using an analog Sony ICF-38. It's is a joy to the ears listening stations slowing and softly coming in and out of of the IF passband. ICF-38 sensitivity is very good, however its filter __wiiiiiiiide__ in AM and FM. Local stations easily obliterate 2 channels below and 2 channels above the nominal frequency. 

Stephen Grossklass ( http://stephan.win31.de/rx-eval.htm ) mentioned the Panasonic RF-B11 as a good analog receiver. It uses ceramic filters in both AM and FM sections Its competitor - Sony ICF-SW11 - does a good job on LW, MW and SW (tuned frontend+ceramic filter), but FM is subpar (Stephen explains Sony decided standard LC filtering in FM in SW11).

Have a great one!

pu3hag garcia


Paul Blundell
 

That was a very interested read.

Paul

On Fri, 17 Jan 2020, 7:02 p.m. Tony King, <dx4me2@...> wrote:
Interested to read Mike and Garcias comments on  receiver suggestions. I own a Realistic TRF and forty + years ago it was the pick of MW rx. Also owned a GE Model 2 and 3 which were superb for MW above 1600 and logged many US stations ast taht time. Today my line up are Tecsun PL380 and PL606 coil-coupled to EWE antennas. Down at the 1 khz bandwidth they excel in logging US, Central American and SA DX.
I attach the EWE antena design. They are simple , directional, small, and very effective.

Regards Tony NZ


On Fri, 17 Jan 2020 at 12:30, Mike Sanburn <mikesanburn@...> wrote:
C.Crane seems to be pretty awesome these days.....I still have my old analog dial G.E. Superadio 2 that I bought in the 80s, it is a dx champ for the money....Its modern version is the RCA Superadio which sensitivity wise is not as good but does cover the entire X Band......My first ever ULTRALIGHT was a Sony M40W (no longer made) which lasted for 20 years (1989-2009) it was a hand held DX champ. (drawback again was it only tuned up to 1670 but the absence of the upper three new frequencies was more than made up on the rest of the band).   For many years Sony made the ICF2010 (digital) which had many bells and whistles and was a bit more pricey but a great DX investment.  Finally, when Radio Shack ruled, they had the little Realistic TRF small AM portable (analog) Super performance with tuned RF filter and I think it was in the $30 or less range. Maybe these are still making the rounds on eBay or flea markets.....Good luck and good DX!!!  73  

Mike Sanburn
Lakewood CA


From: main@UltralightDX.groups.io <main@UltralightDX.groups.io> on behalf of h. garcia <pu3hag.l@...>
Sent: Thursday, January 16, 2020 11:57 AM
To: main@UltralightDX.groups.io <main@UltralightDX.groups.io>
Subject: [UltralightDX] Looking for analog receiver suggestions (not necessarily modern nor ultralight)
 
Hello everyone,

Too long, wont read version ūüėä I'm looking for suggestions of ultralight or mid-sized analog portable receivers that you recall having very good performance in both AM and FM. Feel free to recommend models from 60-70-80s as well.

I really like to listen to AM and FM weak stations. My main receivers include an ultralight (C.Crane Skywave), a booksized one (XHData-808) and a car stereo (GM media center, lots of exciting findings commuting to/from work)

However, I'm a bit either nostalgic or bored with the digital VFO steps and DSP behaviour. At home, most of the time I end up using an analog Sony ICF-38. It's is a joy to the ears listening stations slowing and softly coming in and out of of the IF passband. ICF-38 sensitivity is very good, however its filter __wiiiiiiiide__ in AM and FM. Local stations easily obliterate 2 channels below and 2 channels above the nominal frequency. 

Stephen Grossklass ( http://stephan.win31.de/rx-eval.htm ) mentioned the Panasonic RF-B11 as a good analog receiver. It uses ceramic filters in both AM and FM sections Its competitor - Sony ICF-SW11 - does a good job on LW, MW and SW (tuned frontend+ceramic filter), but FM is subpar (Stephen explains Sony decided standard LC filtering in FM in SW11).

Have a great one!

pu3hag garcia


--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX


Todd
 

Hello All,

I own the following portable radios:

Panasonic DR-22 (Australian version of the RF-2200).
Tandy Realistic TRF radio.
Tecsun PL-380 / 390.
Sangean PR-D3 (Australian version of the Crane CC 2E).
Sangean PR-D15.

My Panasonic DR-22, and Realistic TRF radios are insensitive compared to the other Tecsun and Sangean radios. Moreover, I don't bother using any radio that doesn't feature digital frequency readout to minimum 1 KHz steps. They are both packed away in storage.

My favourite radio for general MW DX reception from home is the Sangean PR-D3. When used 'barefoot' it is the most sensitive of all six radios. From a single 5 inch diameter speaker, it produces the best overall audio fidelity. As expected the CC Crane 2E reportedly also sounds excellent. The 200 mm length internal ferrite rod couples well to external air core loops. It features nominal 6 KHz wide, and 3 KHz narrow bandwidths. The SiLab 4734 3 KHz narrow bandwidth setting improves weak signal S/N. Narrow bandwidth also assists when peaking loop antenna. Optimal inductive signal pickup is when the radio is placed to the side centre of an air core loop. It doesn't suffer from any overload in my city area. Selectivity is good, but not as good as the PR-D15.

My next MW favourite is the Sangean PR-D15. Its main attribute is high MW selectivity when attempting to receive split channels (e.g. weak 1580 KBLA California next to strong Australian 1584 KHz), or a 9 KHz weak signal adjacent to a strong local. Selectivity is better than all six radios. SiLab 4731 chip default selectivity is ~ 4 KHz. The 200 mm length internal ferrite rod couples well to external air core loops. Fair audio quality. Optimal inductive signal pickup is when the radio is placed to the side centre of an air core loop. Signal overload rejection is better than all six radios.

Tecsun PL-380 / 390 are mainly used for their excellent digital signal strength meter. Potential applications include determining relative ambient RF noise on blank channels. Internally generated spurious hets are a disadvantage unique to these two radios. None of the other four radios generate signal spurs. Audio quality via the speaker is arguably relatively poor. Quality headphones would improve this. Shorter length internal ferrite rod inductive signal coupling is fair to air core loops.

FM:

The most sensitive radio: Sangean PR-D3.

The most selective radio: Sangean PR-D15.

Regards,

Todd
Sydney, AU


Paul S. in CT
 

As for analog radios I have found these two are of good quality, good reception, and have LOOOOONG battery life (400+ hours). Each one US$20 or less depending upon vendor. For about US$25 you can add a Tecsun AN-200 Passive Loop to improve AM reception.

Tecsun R-9012 (Own this one about 3 years)
Tecsun R-911 (Owned one for 11 years, just replaced)

Both of these models have been in production a long time about 15 years. Similar models at a higher price include these 3, but may not be easy to find (usually US$25-30).

Kaito WRX-911
Tecsun R-9710
Tecsun R-912

Regards
Paul S. in CT fn31nl


Paul Blundell
 

Excellent information Todd.


On Fri, Jan 17, 2020 at 10:40 PM Todd via Groups.Io <toddemslie=yahoo.com.au@groups.io> wrote:
Hello All,

I own the following portable radios:

Panasonic DR-22 (Australian version of the RF-2200).
Tandy Realistic TRF radio.
Tecsun PL-380 / 390.
Sangean PR-D3 (Australian version of the Crane CC 2E).
Sangean PR-D15.

My Panasonic DR-22, and Realistic TRF radios are insensitive compared to the other Tecsun and Sangean radios. Moreover, I don't bother using any radio that doesn't feature digital frequency readout to minimum 1 KHz steps. They are both packed away in storage.

My favourite radio for general MW DX reception from home is the Sangean PR-D3. When used 'barefoot' it is the most sensitive of all six radios. From a single 5 inch diameter speaker, it produces the best overall audio fidelity. As expected the CC Crane 2E reportedly also sounds excellent. The 200 mm length internal ferrite rod couples well to external air core loops. It features nominal 6 KHz wide, and 3 KHz narrow bandwidths. The SiLab 4734 3 KHz narrow bandwidth setting improves weak signal S/N. Narrow bandwidth also assists when peaking loop antenna. Optimal inductive signal pickup is when the radio is placed to the side centre of an air core loop. It doesn't suffer from any overload in my city area. Selectivity is good, but not as good as the PR-D15.

My next MW favourite is the Sangean PR-D15. Its main attribute is high MW selectivity when attempting to receive split channels (e.g. weak 1580 KBLA California next to strong Australian 1584 KHz), or a 9 KHz weak signal adjacent to a strong local. Selectivity is better than all six radios. SiLab 4731 chip default selectivity is ~ 4 KHz. The 200 mm length internal ferrite rod couples well to external air core loops. Fair audio quality. Optimal inductive signal pickup is when the radio is placed to the side centre of an air core loop. Signal overload rejection is better than all six radios.

Tecsun PL-380 / 390 are mainly used for their excellent digital signal strength meter. Potential applications include determining relative ambient RF noise on blank channels. Internally generated spurious hets are a disadvantage unique to these two radios. None of the other four radios generate signal spurs. Audio quality via the speaker is arguably relatively poor. Quality headphones would improve this. Shorter length internal ferrite rod inductive signal coupling is fair to air core loops.

FM:

The most sensitive radio: Sangean PR-D3.

The most selective radio: Sangean PR-D15.

Regards,

Todd
Sydney, AU



--
Paul


--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX


radiojayallen
 

Todd,

I have a question and a comment. The question: Does the PR-D3 have any soft muting...can you slightly tune off center on AM and not lose any volume?

The comment: I agree that the CC-2E and the OEM version PR-D3 as well as the PR-D15 are hot radios but it's too bad your DR-22 is not...that clearly is not right. It should run neck and neck with your top radios. I know it is packed way in storage but tell me - do you recall if it is only slightly less sensitive or grossly so? I would think that if it was working properly you would love it. Can you or do you know someone near you who could bring it back to its full glory?

Jay
https://radiojayallen.com


Todd
 

Hi Jay,

The Sangean PR-D3 does produce a degree of soft muting (probably equal to the Crane CC 2E). This is most noticeable when the PR-D3 is used 'barefoot'. Most non-DXer listeners use their radios without any additional antenna. Mainly fringe area listeners would receive somewhat compromised reception of weak AM signals. However, the situation with DXers is different. They know that serious DX reception is highly inefficient without at least a medium size loop, or FSL antenna used with a sensitive portable radio. 

When a medium size size loop antenna is tuned to resonance, and the radio is positioned next to the loop at the optimal distance, the soft mute feature is completely negated. The loop antenna high signal signal pickup effectively acts as the first RF stage. This is especially true with larger higher gain loop or FSL antennas. A faint signal reading 0 bar strength can dramatically increase to full bar strength when a loop is tuned to resonance. The most sensitive 'barefoot' portable radio in the world will be greatly outperformed by an average sensitivity radio inductively coupled to a high gain loop. This is why small differences in 'barefoot' RF AM sensitivity are not important for serious DXers. Selectivity, and overload-desensitization performance is more important.

I was able to compare the 'barefoot' RF sensitivity differences by tuning to a weak stable distant groundwave AM signal noon. The best time to do this testing is when there is a major power blackout where all house and street light power is temporarily off. Remote rural areas without power poles are also ideal. Not very practical, but ideally there should only be QRN (natural noise) when doing sensitivity comparison testing.

There is a drop in signal when even tuned only 1 KHz away from the center wanted AM channel. I assume this also applies to the Crane CC 2E. This is a disadvantage when attempting to 'slope tune' in order to obtain a better signal within the selectivity curve. The 1 KHz tuning offset signal drop is not as great on the Sangean PR-D15.

Again like the Crane CC 2E, the PR-D3 AM memory preset stations on AM will sometimes not optimally tune the twin-coil antenna system, hence the rotary 1 KHz step knob needs to be re-tuned back to get full signal. This slight inconvenience is worth tweaking to obtain the strongest signal.

The PR-D3 front display is exactly the same as the Crane CC 2E. The weather and two meter ham band markings are on the display, but of course do not light up.

The Crane CC 2E auto-alignment feature also works on the PR-D3.

Compared to the more bullet-proof superior RF MW design of the Sangean PR-D15, the PR-D3 and CC Crane 2E more easily desensitize when a loop is aimed towards a local MW transmitter site. This desensitization factor requires loop placement further away from the radio. Optimal inductive coupling varies with frequency. Higher frequencies such as 1575 KHz require closer loop placement. Optimal loop placement is obtained by trial and error for every unique mix of factors.

The Sangean PR-D15 (and possibly PR-D5) is exceptionally selective on AM. You may want to verify this for documenting on your website. A simple test is 10 KHz adjacent signal readability for a skywave signal next to a strong local.

Most portable radios should be operated by DC batteries for the lowest RF noise floor and associated higher sensitivity. AC power operation introduces a slight continuous buzz on the PR-D3. The PR-D15 buzz is much more dramatic.

I found the Panasonic DR-22 at the front of someone's house. It was thrown out with some other AM/SW portables. The DR-22 RF sensitivity is way down, hence needs alignment or switch contact clean maintenance. I don't know anyone near me that specializes in restoring old radios. I may someday attempt to align it using the service manual. But I don't see the point of using an old radio that doesn't offer accurate digital readout down to 1 KHz steps. 

Regards,

Todd

https://www.canohm.com.au/products/radios/sangean?view=article&id=593#downloads

https://www.canohm.com.au/images/product-ranges/Sangean/Sangean-AR-pdf/PR-D3G.pdf

https://www.canohm.com.au/images/product-ranges/Sangean/Sangean-AR-pdf/PR-D3_Manual.pdf


mediumwavedx
 

Check out the Panasonic RF-562DD. Newer, outstanding sensitivity, Some drawbacks though.

Check out my extensive review at RADIO-TIMETRAVELLER.

https://radio-timetraveller.blogspot.com/2019/03/review-of-panasonic-rf-562dd-receiver.html

Bill


Paul S. in CT
 

In the world of digial/DSP receivers there is ONE that stands above all the Tecsun radios of $US75 price or less, and that is the Sangean ATS-405. This radio, especially after reading the previous link to the Panasonic RF562, shines for two important reasons.

1.) Soft Muting can be switched OFF
2.) AGC can then be set to 30/Auto/50 slew (50 is best for weak, 30 for strong, and Auto for general listening).

There are also a few more options BW, Squelch, 1kHz tune, etc., but no SSB. I have seen this receiver recently at amazon for under $US70. I paid about $85 for 1st release.

If going digital DSP, though not an UL, this is a good choice.

Regards
Paul S. in CT fn31nl


h. garcia
 

Hey Bill.

Awesome article! Looking at the picture, it seems they used 2 ceramic filter for the AM section.

You reported about dial stiffness or tightness. I could not find the article, but I remember another colleague complaining about it and how he got it solved: it seems you can move dial string off one of the anchor posts or pulleys. This gives just the exact amount of looseness that keeps the tuning knob lighter and proper traction at the variable capacitor wheel.




On Tue, Jan 21, 2020, 01:38 mediumwavedx <desertbilly@...> wrote:
Check out the Panasonic RF-562DD. Newer, outstanding sensitivity, Some drawbacks though.

Check out my extensive review at RADIO-TIMETRAVELLER.

https://radio-timetraveller.blogspot.com/2019/03/review-of-panasonic-rf-562dd-receiver.html

Bill


mediumwavedx
 

Thanks for that tip h.garcia. I'll look into it.

Bill.


Michael Schuster
 

Despite its more fully realized DSP feature set, I find the ATS-405 to be a mostly average receiver for the price. For one thing, its relatively high noise floor limits the useable sensitivity on MW/SW.


Rik
 

DEFINATELY take advantage of Jay Allen reviews and excellent information! And since he posts here, he may answer questions after you read his reviews-


https://radiojayallen.com/am-portables-mega-shootout-2019-update/

Also read his article about the RCA globetrotter portables for AM DXing which are my favorite classic analog portable for DXing which is not an expensive model because of excellent selectivity.

In his reviews you will see a number of currant Sangean AM FM portables DX very well. I have a PR-D7 modified to add a antenna jack by PK loops AU. When connected to an outside antenna, it beats the other Sangeans coupled with any external coil I have to the same antenna. If you can wind a coil on the ferrite inside one of the other Sangeans Jay recommends, it should be even better if you use external antennas. -FARMERIK

Barefoot just go with Jays recommendations.