New price 1985 in the US: $349.95
The Heathkit SW-7800 is a rather obscure shortwave receiver. Some stated a poor receiver and another stated a horrible receiver. However, I disagree after owning about 50 vintage receivers with some in the same price class. On the other hand, a few simple modifications makes for a fine entry level receiver. (Google SW-7800 modifications).
The modifications includes shielding the frequency counter ribbon cable and a resistor easily soldered on the audio driver resistor. Do not replace the detector diodes per some posts. Audio response is poorer. (Google SW-7800 mods).
For lower audio frequency response, replacing a few capacitors performs well. But, this is not necessary.
The SW-7800 is an analog design with a frequency counter. The analog design makes for no phase noise and the IF is fairly quiet. I owned a Kenwood R-2000 and frankly was miserable to listen to on AM due to PLL phase noise and a noisy IF section. I prefer the SW-7800 for AM SWLing. And, although missing a noise blanker, I never needed it on this receiver for AM use.
Doe to the SW-7800 using an analog tuning capacitor, about 1-2kHz drift is present at warm up. After about 20 minutes drift is minimal. The frequency display is far superior to an analog dial for finding shortwave stations.
The built-in speaker sounds good and performs well in the voice frequency range. Two AM filter sections are available on the front panel of 6kHz and 2.5kHz. For the most part I use the 2.5kHz ceramic filter on AM. The wider filter skirt design does provide good quality receive plus reduced band noise.
Compared to a restored and aligned tube type vintage Hallicrafters SX-43, the SW-7800 is superior. A random wire antenna of 20 feet was used in the test.
If you get a chance to pick up the SW-7800 in the `$75-$125 range, but it.
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