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Amateur bands receiver with a few broadcast bands added in.The version I had also had built in convertors for 6 and two metres. In Standard form the rig came with only one 2.5 Khz filter which was fine for SSB but made AM sound unpleasant.

Not often seen secondhand, there is also a digital readout version of this receiver.

There is a matching 101 transmitter for this set also. Not a set for the broaedcast band SWL as it is not general coverage.

Trio/ Kenwood9R59D 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old 'clunker' , Popular in the 70's.  A valve receiver, mine was deaf above 15MHZ, drifted too much to be a serious SSB receiver, MW reception was pretty good though, receiver didn't overload too easily. Analogue frequency readout meant lots of guesswork' when tuning! Not a suitable Rx for the serious listener today, though its probably ok as an introduction to Shortwave listening if you can get one cheaply. Personally I didn't like this receiver.

S/H Price £30-50

 

 

 

Trio/Kenwood R600

 

 

 

 

 

A nice compact receiver with digital readout. Nice audio, good stability and 2 AM bandwidths. Easy to use. Overloads easily if connected to a reasonable wire antenna but nowhere near as badly as the DX394- an ATU or preselector useful with this rx. Good SSB reception although tuning is a little coarse.Good starter rig if you can get hold of one.

First Impressions

A well constructed, solid receiver (Unlike the modern Lowe SRX100 also reviewed) with analogue S meter and LED digital display.

In Use

This receiver has a minimum of controls. Tuning is via the main rotary knob, the smaller rotary control changes the 1Mhz bands from 1-30.

A tone control is incorporated along with an attenuator button and noise blanker. Sockets for headphones and a tape recorder are also at the front.

The radio has two switchable bandwidths for AM, only the narrower of the two is available for SSB.

The radio's front mounted speaker produces nice audio.

The downside of this receiver is really its tendency to overload when connected to an reasonable external antenna, in this respect it is inferior to the Lowe SRX100 although and ATU and/or preselector would help.

Despite this I do like this receiver, its ideal for broadcast listening and works well on the amateur bands also. Placed side by side with the modern SRX100 its quality of construction is superior. 
  
  

S/H Price £100-150

 

 

 

 Kenwood R1000

 

 

 

I bought mine on Ebay for Around £70 some years ago and I still have it. This set is simple to use, no frills, built like a tank and works very well indeed. Two AM Bandwiths and a noise blanker but no memories or scanning (Who needs a scanning facility on shortwave?) I installed a DRM convertor in mine a few years back and it works well in that mode too, or as well as DRM can anyway! Audio quality is fine, works well on SSB too.Not as sensitive on the MW Band as the R5000 (or at least mine isnt)

This set is far superior to the likes of say, the Realistic DX394.

Highly recommend this receiver if you see one for under £100.

 

 

Kenwood R2000

 

  Classy looking set with nice audio from the front mounted speaker and a tone control.Also has the FM mode so OK for listening to CB or 10FM transmissions. Although it has more “facilities” (memories)than the earlier R1000 it is not as robustly made, neither is it  quite as good on receive in my opinion.

Not a bad set none the less, probably slightly better than the Yaesu FRG7700 as it has better laid out controls.

 

 

 

SONY ICF 2001D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little too large to be truly portable. Good stable rx with SSB, Sync detection, two bandwidths, FM/VHF and airband. Some reliability problems, memory loss due to the batteries working loose in the set . Regarded as a 'classic'. A reasonable radio for the serious listener. I doubt there are many around in use today however, overall these sets seemed fragile.

S/H around £?
  
  
  
 

 

 

Panasonic RFB60

 

 

An Excellent portable, reliable (Mine was in use for over 10 years). Nice Audio, S meter, 10 memories, Keypad entry of frequencies plus tuning knob,external antenna jack. No SSB facility.The later and almost identical RFB 65 had SSB facility.

First Impressions

A compact and well constructed receiver with a clear LCD display (Which is not backlit). The radio has a sleep timer and alarm facility and covers 150Khz-519khz (Longwave) 522Khz-1611khz (Medium Wave) 1615Khz-29.999Mhz (Shortwave) as well as the FM band 87.5Mhz-108Mhz.

In Use

The radio can be tuned by either using the numerical keypad, using the up/down stepping buttons or the tuning knobs.

Tuning steps on shortwave can be set to either 5khz or 1khz steps. Although this receiver has only 1 AM bandwidth it seems to have fairly good selectivity and produces nice audio quality.

Sensitivity with the built in antenna is adequate but performance is greatly improved by adding a short external wire.

An excellent receiver , the only real drawback being lack of SSB facility for listening to utility stations or radio amateurs.  


  
 

S/H Price £30?

Drake R8A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A substantial, well constructed receiver. Useful stand for raising the receiver to a comfortable level.

Full range of controls on front panel with a 'real' analogue 'S' meter and large backlight LCD display.

SO239 sockets at rear for antenna plus terminals for wire antenna, two outputs for tape recorder and decoders etc. External speaker socket plus ability to switch external speaker off, internal speaker off or run both together. Computer control facility making this an extremely flexible RX. 
  
 

In Use

The tuning knob is not as smooth as perhaps you would expect , but the ability to tune in minute steps makes up for this. Rx comes with filters of 6khz, 4khz, 2.3, 1.8 and 0.5 which can be switched between AM and SSB/CW. There is also an FM mode filter. The IF shift control is very useful in dodging QRM and the notch filter can be useful against heterodynes though it is fussy to adjust. Personally I found that the AM Sync mode in this rig made little difference (It is not sideband selectable) and to dodge QRM its easier to switch to SSB.

The receiver produces very good audio and an external speaker improves this further.

The receiver doesn't seem at all prone to overload but I have noted some medium Wave stations braking through in the 1800-2000 khz band.

Connecting this rx to a computer allows the memories and scanning facilities to be greatly improved and allows the use of a database of SW stations to be used to automatically tune the receiver.

Overall this is the best receiver I've owned, I wonder if the R8B is much of an improvement? 
  
  
  
  
  

S/H Price Over £300
  
 

Lowe SRX 100

 

 

 

 

 

This receiver was also sold as the Target HF3

First Impressions 
  
 

This is a compact, lightweight receiver- 3 rotary controls- volume, clarifier and tuning. The buttons on the front panel control the single memory and switch mode from AM, USB and LSB . The LCD display is large and clear but there is no backlight. The display incorporates an 'S' meter made up of Segments.There is an attentuator switch on the rear of the receiver, along with a socket for headphones or external speaker and an antenna connector (A phono connector of the type more commonly found on Hi-Fi equipment. )

In use

The tuning knob on this receiver came as a surprise as it has a good, smooth action and can be 'spun'. The tuning rate however is difficult to control, the faster you turn the knob, the greater the rate but it is very easy to miss your mark and 'overshoot' the frequency you want until you get the hang of it. The receiver tunes in 1khz steps, this is ok for AM on the broadcast bands but when you want to listen to SSB you will need to use both the main tuning knob and the 'clarify' control. The frequency readout is around 3khz out on SSB

The receiver has a single bandwidth and is capable of producing reasonably good audio, its a lttle wide for SSB use but just about acceptable.

The receiver appears fairly resistant to overload yet is quite sensitive.  

S/H Price £75+ 
  
  
 

Grundig Yacht Boy 400

 


  
 

This receiver appears to be a popular one, well thought of by contributors of the rec.radio.shortwave newsgroup and one of 'Passport to World Band Radio's" favourite portables. The only other portable receiver I currently own is the Panasonic RFB60,a ten year old set. I bought the Grundig for the simple reason that my old Panasonic does not have an SSB facility. The Grundig also has an FM Stereo facility when used with headphones.

When I wrote this review I included some comparisons with the Panasonic RFB60 as I thought it would be interesting to see how the older set stood up against the YB400.I've identified these comparisons in yellow.

First Impressions

A compact and lightweight receiver, attractively styled with a clear display and a clock which remains on display at all times. The unit takes 6 "AA" type batteries or requires a mains adapter. 

The RFB60 also takes 6 'AA' batteries but the arrangements are better. There are two battery compartments. One taking two cells provides the power for the clock and memory facility, the other taking four cells provides the power for the radio itself. A good set of alkalines in the 'clock' section will last well over a year. This means that you will only need to replace four batteries regularly rather than 6 on the Grundig.

My unit came with a small wire antenna on a reel. The unit has no tuning knob so you must use either the 'up' and 'down' buttons to move in either 5khz or 1khz steps or enter the frequency on the keypad. There is a side mounted 'clarifier' knob to tune SSB signals. The set has 40 memories which should be more than enough for most users.

The quality of construction is not as good as the RFB60-the case appears more fragile, the set is certainly lighter (Although this may benefit the traveller) and the keypad doesn't feel as responsive or robust.

In Use

In use as expected the audio quality was good with the internal speaker and better with a set of headphones, the FM stereo is also a nice touch. The set appears to be fairly sensitive with its own telescopic antenna and the use of the little 'wire reel' antenna also brings about a worthwhile improvement.

On a side to side comparison with the RFB60 the YB400 was more sensitive , a weak signal being readable on the Grundig that was unreadable on the Panasonic.

The set in my opinion is too sensitive on the FM broadcast band and shows signs of overloading at my qth just using the telescopic. Although FM signals here are fairly strong there will be many areas with much stronger stations nearby and this set will run into problems on FM.

The RFB60 by comparison shows no sign of overload on FM

On shortwave I did not find any problems with overload although if you connected a reasonable outdoor antenna this might change.

The set produces nice audio on Shortwave broadcast stations. I found SSB stations to be very difficult to tune in at first, although after using the set for a while it became much easier, although it is still 'fiddly' having to constantly adjust the 'fine tune' or 'clarifier' control.This might be an obstacle for newcomers wanting to listen to SSB.

The RFB60 has no SSB facility.Audio quality is however on a par with the YB400 using the internal speaker, using headphones the YB400 has the edge.

The wide and narrow filter switching is also useful where there is interference or you are listening to SSB.

Yes, I like the set overall although why there is no tuning knob is a mystery! The Panasonic is still going strong and if that set had ssb then the Grundig would have very little extra to offer. I doubt the Grundig will stand up to wear and tear as well as the Panasonic but time will tell.




  

 

Pros

Cons

Good Audio

No Tuning Knob

SSB Facility

SSB tuning quite difficult at first

Lightweight

Construction not Particularly robust

 

 

 

 

Kenwood R5000

 

 I bought one of these secondhand a couple of years ago. In its day a top flight receiver. Visually the R5000 is very similar to the TS440 transceiver. Its currently the main RX in my Shack. Its capable of decent audio, stable and has the option of installing extra filters. It has two antenna inputs, an optional VHF convertor and scanning and memory facilities.The notch and IF shift facilities are useful too. Its not in my opinion the equal of the Drake R8A but it is a good receiver.Its relatively easy to use but cannot be computer controlled without the addition of a (no longer available) interface and I believe some components which have to be installed internally in the receiver.

The tuning knob has no finger indent or handle so isnt the best for band scanning. I have seen these sets recently advertised with an asaking price of in excess of £250. I didn't pay anything like that  and I think its way too much for a set of this age. The R5000 is known to have some problems that manifest themselves with age, the PLL going out of lock for one. I have been lucky  so far with my well used example.

Sony 7600 gr

 

Possibly the best portable receiver I have owned. Pretty sensitive, I found the audio to be fine and an easier set to use than the Grundig YB400 for SSB transmissions. Feels better made too. The only real downside of this set is the lack of a tuning knob.

Tesco RAD 108

AARGH!! Possibly the worst radio I have owned! Ok I only paid £10 at Tesco for it but its very poor. Medium and Longwave reception are awful. Add to this the poor frequency calibration of the dial and the spongy feeling tuning and you get the idea. Best used as a kitchen radio to listen to Radio 1 or as a doorstop but no much use as a shortwave portable.

 

Superdrug DM-906

The Cheapest Radio I ever purvhased!! Bought around 3 years ago, brand new for £2.99. Its not that bad either.Reasonable audio, runs off 2AA batteries and digital readout!! It works, its not very senstive an