Radio10's shack

Call-sign
-
Grid square
-
Website
-
Country
United States
Member since
Aug 02, 2010
Last updated
Aug 02, 2010
 
Role(s)
-

Previously owned rigs 0

Nothing here...

My reviews 16

Nothing else has this many features for $700.

ICOM IC-R75, Desktop HF/VHF Receiver

This is the receiver you want in a difficult RF situation: RFI from a neighbor, a noisy urban enviroments and times of high atmospheric noise. The R75 has a host a features & settings to make that weak signal readable -- when it's buried in noise on any other radio. People laud the Drake R8 for it's ability to "dig out" the weakest signals from noise, but, having owned both, the R75 is far superior for that. I also like the extended coverage to 60 MHz. Yes, it's still relevant in 2013 to Dx the VHF-low band. Not long ago I got the Missouri State Highway Patrol near 42 MHz -- I am in Virginia. With nothing but an indoor antenna on the R75. I also get plenty of 6-meter USB voice traffic between 50.1 and 50.2 MHz. I've had a lot of general coverage receivers and radios, but none of them can do what this one does.

Written by Radio10 on Jul 27, 2013

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Mint condition in 2008
USD 669.00

Frankly, it beats the Drakes. And costs less too.

Yaesu FRG-100, Desktop Shortwave receiver

I've had a few of these. One or two of them drifted slightly until 'warmup', the others didn't drift at all. I just thought that was interesting. But for flat-out utility Dx'ing I believe the FRG-100 is about as good as it can possibly get. Nice slimline appearance too, ala the Lowe receivers, but the FRG-100 has a slew of features that aren't immediately obvious upon looking at it. The famous Drake R-8 had stronger audio, but in no way was it better in catching the weak stuff. In fact the FRG-100 is better. I see now that the used price has gone way up for these, to around $450. Still worth it, all things told.

Written by Radio10 on Jun 22, 2013

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Mint condition in 2007
USD 305.00

A good SWL'ing portable.

Sangean ATS-505, Handheld HF/VHF Receiver

I've got a high opinion of this radio. It's the last of the 'decent-sized portables' left on the market. As of 2013. And with the little LED tuning indicator, which will either pulse or changes color in accordance with signal strength, it reminds me of the 'traditional style' SWL'íng radio like I started with back in the 1970's. How does it perform, you want to know? Well, once you connect a wire antenna, either directly to the extendable whip or into external antenna jack, this radio becomes a true shortwave receiving POWERHOUSE. And sounds good too. Otherwise its deaf on the extendable whip. So be sure to add plenty of wire. Don't be shy, the radio can handle it. It does great on SSB, that's what I mainly use it for. Don't let any crackpot tell you otherwise. Anyway, yes, I really like this radio.

Written by Radio10 on Jun 21, 2013

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Mint condition in 2013
USD 80.00

A real Steady Eddie that continues to work great.

Sangean ATS-505, Handheld HF/VHF Receiver

This unassuming radio with SSB capability has been on the market for over 13 years. Longer than most. You don't hear much about it, but obviously it continues to sell well enough for continuing production. Now, whether you praise it or condemn the ATS-505P depends on the reason you buy radios: (a.) you enjoy radios and their different personalities, or (b.) you like to rate the technical apsects of radios only to never use them again. If you're (a.) then I think you'll find the ATS-505P more than satisfactory. I do. You *must* use a decent length of wire for antenna on shortwave -- the radio is totally deaf on its telescoping whip. But the payoff is huge: when you do the amount of signals that come pouring in, across the entire shortwave spectrum, SSB included, will make your heart light up with joy. You'll want to throw away all your other shortwave radios. Not to mention the ATS-505P has a good, powerful audio stage. It really pushes the sound. True enough, there's no 'serious' selectivity, no I.F. filters to choose when using SSB, but it still doesn't detract from the experience -- when using a good wire external antenna. The sideband signals sound good, they come in strong, the BFO is almost completely stable, there's no real reason to gripe about a technical aspect. The radio is decent-sized, has a comfortable tuning knob (which now, on the newer version, doesn't mute or "chuff") and the display has very large, easy to see characters. In summary the ATS-505P is a great buy for the price. If you want save $40 then go to Radio Shack and get their branded model of the exact same radio, the 20-629. Its worth it. Unless you're total crank. Just be sure to connect a good length of wire to the radio for a shortwave antenna. You'll be glad you did.

Written by Radio10 on Jun 17, 2013

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Mint condition in 2013
USD 79.99

Its decent but not really for Dx'ing.

Kenwood R-1000, Desktop Shortwave receiver

I've owned a couple of R1000's. The rig has a 'regal' reputation (5-stars almost every where you look) that I don't believe it deserves. Its ok, its decent, but definitely isn't one of the quieter receivers you can have. Seems to have much white noise coming from the synthesizer. As a result weak utility stations usually don't come through too well on this radio. Selectivity is ok -- not bad but nothing to rave about either. Overall sensitivity is fair to good. The R-1000 has its die hard fans, but if you want a no frills receiver that's high-performing I honestly think the Lowe HF-150 is a better choice.

Written by Radio10 on May 3, 2013

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Good condition in 2007
USD 225.00

Good, but.

Palstar RC30, Mobile VHF Scanner / receiver

Reasonable sensitivity, decent sound, a cool slimline appearance, but mine drifted. Even a so-called warm up period didn't alleviate. The instability was much more noticeable on sideband than in AM mode. Perhaps I got a lemon model, with all that drift, but I'd certainly be cautious about buying another one for $400.

Written by Radio10 on May 1, 2013

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Good condition in 2009
USD 405.00

Outstanding for the price.

Tecsun PL-600, Handheld HF/VHF Receiver

This radio does exactly what Tecsun intended: gives decent single sideband (SSB) reception in an affordable, $72 AM/FM/SW package. It does this well enough to ably fill in for a dedicated communications receiver. Of course, this might not be immediately evident to the 'new' shortwave radio user, who doesn't yet know the subtleties & tricks of receiving sideband. But I spend hours on this radio listening to aeronauticals, Hams, marine transmissions and other utilities. The PL-600 is far superior in this regard than, say, the more expensive Sangean ATS-505P. I claim that with certainty, having owned both. The radio's selectivity is adequate for its type, Narrow is 4 kHz and Wide seems to be 7 kHz. It also features a 3-step gain control (DX, Normal, and Local) which often needs to be used, at least on certain bands, when attaching an external wire antenna. It serves the intended purpose well, when its needed. I only use about 10 feet of the (supplied) 23 ft. wire antenna. What you need to use at your location could vary. On medium wave the PL-600 gets strong reception (except at the extreme band edges), peaks and nulls are sharp when rotating the radio, and the circuitry is amazingly quiet, especially when using batteries. More quiet than the classic Sangean ATS-803A, and this is major plus when going for DX in the daytime. In summary the PL-600 is an outstanding Dx'ing radio for the price. I know of no better bargain in world band radio.

Written by Radio10 on Apr 28, 2013

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Mint condition in 2012
USD 72.00

Good sturdy portable, its very capable.

RadioShack / Realistic DX-400, Portable HF/VHF Receiver

Surprisingly good SSB reception and sound. Its better than the more well known DX-440 in this regard. The DX-400 was only on the market on for a year and-a-half or so before being replaced by the DX-440. This is the superior radio, I've owned both, however it does not have a tuning knob. Keypad only tuning.

Written by Radio10 on Jan 19, 2013

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Good condition in 2013
EUR

Ok to have as a backup.

RadioShack / Realistic DX-394, Desktop Shortwave receiver

The only value it has is either as a bedside stand radio, or an inexpensive backup HF receiver when your main rig is sent out for repair. Yes, its pretty sensitive and hence has a small legion of loyal fans, but its audio is the absolute worst I've ever heard on any radio (sideband is so muddy its literally unintelligible), and, its filters are ridiculously wide. The only thing to recommend it, aside for sensitivity, is that it does have a decent amount of user features (fine tune, RF gain, noise blanker and keypad) in case you do want to Dx the shortwaves with it. But I wouldn't recommend it as a first line receiver for that. In fact I'd advise against it. You'd be far better off spending the extra $50-$100 for a Yaesu FRG-7700 or a Kenwood R-1000.

Written by Radio10 on Jan 19, 2013

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Good condition in 2009
USD 200.00

It isn't half bad but it is half good.

Ten-Tec 1254, Mobile Shortwave receiver

When built correctly this is a decent little general coverage receiver. I've owned 3 of these. Its not especially sensitive -- Ten-Tec claims 2.5 uV in AM mode & 0.5 uV in SSB mode -- I say its more like 3 uV AM & 0.8 SSB. But regardless: (a.) Its a quiet radio, no signal-burying noise like you'll get on the Kenwood R-1000. (b.) Its mosly stable, SSB has a very slow drift, probably the slowest drift I've ever seen on a radio that does. (c.) The audio is quite good. For maximum enjoyment take a moderate length of wire & run it through a good preselector. I use the Yaesu FRT-7700. It lays nicely on top of the 1254 and gives a major boost to signals. Also, do the "Cholakian processor upgrade" -- its easy, just a matter of replacing Ten-Tec's chip with the Cholakian one, no soldering -- this will allow you tuning steps of 0.01, 0.1, 1, 5, 9, 10 and 100 kHz, and also makes the radio even quieter, somewhow. This cute litle receiver (almost exactly the same size as the Lowe HF-150) is sometimes found on eBay, assembled, for around $200. I highly recommend that you buy one. I would not, however, suggest you purchase one at a price of $250 or more. No matter what kind of sales pitch is used.

Written by Radio10 on Dec 7, 2012

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Mint condition in 2009
USD 170.00

Its ok to have at the right price.

Yaesu FRG-9600, Desktop VHF/UHF Scanner / receiver

This compact wideband receiver from the 1980s got a load of negative press, primarily concerning its slow scan function. Well, there's a tip for you: don't buy it as a police scanner. Regardless I personally found it to be a good quality VHF/UHF receiver - which I'm sure was its actual intention. Sensitivity is good, the audio great and the overall feel of the rig is nice. As I recall this radio is quiet, not drenched in band noise requiring a shovel to find the signal. My only concern was the detented tuning (light clicks), I prefer smooth free-wheeling VFOs. Today I'd say the FRG-9600 is a good value at $150 - $200, tops. Don't let some corny eBay salesman get you for any more than that.

Written by Radio10 on Nov 26, 2012

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Good condition in 2008
USD 200.00

Good quality SWL set.

Yaesu FRG-7700, Desktop Shortwave receiver

A really good, basic SWL set similar in design to the Kenwood R-1000. It almost requires a tuned antenna though, and in fact Yaesu made a complementary preselector-tuner for this radio. When used as such (just an indoor tuned loop is fine) the FRG-7700 really sings - you'll be in for an SWL joy ride. Good punchy audio, great stability, ease of use and fairly good filter selectivity on sideband (2.7 kHz). Its a desktop rig that doesn't do too much, but doesn't do too little, and delivers the goods in fine fashion. I prefer the FRG-7700 over the: - Kenwood R-1000 - Kenwood R-2000 (w/o VHF converter) - Drake SW-8 - Yaesu FRG-8800 The FRG-7700 doesn't usually sell for a lot - it shouldn't - I'd say a perfect, unblemished version is worth $300, tops, not a penny more.

Written by Radio10 on Nov 26, 2012

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Okay condition in 2012
USD 195.00

Its ok to be a kid again.

National / Panasonic RF-4900, Mobile HF/VHF Receiver

This huge box loaded with dials & knobs: if you get a mis-aligned, poorly treated one you'll swear (literally) that its the biggest piece of junk ever made. But if your RF-4900 is tuned up then you'll have a difficult time turning it off the first time using it. When properly aligned it pulls in signals almost magically with just a short piece of wire. It is fun to use. The massive size is a plus in my opinion, although the offical reviewer here apparently feels otherwise. Its a mighty good MW (AM broadcast band) receiver just utilizing the rear-mounted loopstick. Shortwave, well what can I say? Its pulls them all in - easily. I do use this radio on sideband. A good time can be had there as well, provided that your antenna isn't too much and you manage to find yourself in an RF noise free setting. Yes, it does drift on sideband, but the instability can be mimimized to neglible by (a.) using battery or external DC power and, (b.) keep the dial lights off. This isn't a serious Ham receiver. There will be noise and likely some drift. Don't be deadly serious all the time. Enjoy yourself. Buy one for $150 - $250 used. Keep your fingers crossed that its not a badly out of alignment unit.

Written by Radio10 on Nov 13, 2012

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Good condition in 2010
USD 230.00

It might look cute but its no toy.

Lowe HF-150, Mobile Shortwave receiver

This small metal box with a tuning dial has its loyal fans, but also a few detractors as well. Probably the latter is because it commands a high price on the market, yet offers none of the perks normally associated with serious Dx receivers. Well, for whatever the HF-150 is not it certainly is a really good radio receiver. I'm suprised and impressed by its sensitivity across the spectrum. It hears well, no hint of deafness anywhere. For a quick comparison the HF-150 is leagues more sensitive than the similarly priced Drake SW-8. Most people rate this radio as a broadcast receiver, but I'm primarily a sideband utilities and longwave & MW Dx'er. The HF-150 won my confidence in these regards very quickly. And yes its true what you probably read elsewhere: the audio is good. Once you get over what this little receiver doesn't offer - passband tuning, noise blanker or notch - once you get past that point then you'll definitely appreciate what it does do splendidly. Hear.

Written by Radio10 on Oct 28, 2012

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Okay condition in 2012
USD 400.00

In its own league.

Drake R8, Desktop HF/VHF Receiver

The R8 sells for a rather luxury price, used, usually around $600-800. People could (rightfully) debate the bang-for-the-buck aspect, but it definitely isn't your average consumer general coverage/SWL rig. Its a serious receiver, has a host of options useful to the Dx'er - 5 excellent bandwidth choices, a passband adjustment control and manual notch, to name a few - yet it also has fantastic audio. Often in the radio world there's an inverse relationship between serious performance and great audio. The R8 manages to do both. If you absolutely can't stand the harsh sound that typical communications receivers give then chances are you'll really appreciate the R8.

Written by Radio10 on Oct 18, 2012

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Mint condition in 2012
USD 850.00

This vintage rig has some muscle.

Lowe SRX-30, Desktop Shortwave receiver

Supposedly in 1980 the SRX-30 was a competitor to the Yaesu FRG-7 & Radio Shack DX-300, its price point lying in between those 2 models. I just bought an SRX-30, used and for a decent price. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect. Well...I plugged it in & was copying CW and also the WWV time station -- before I even connected an antenna. No lack of sensitivity on this radio! To be brief: the SRX-30 is one of those 'just a short stretch of wire out the back the radio' type of rigs. It really pulls them in, from MW to 10 meters. My biggest surprise is that its stable. I mean completely stable. Within 20 minutes of connecting a wire I had excellent SSB copies on 80, 40, 20 meters and the aeronautical & marine bands -- and I never had to touch up the BFO (clarifier). I didn't expect this level of stability at all, I was in fact expecting drift. Which I thankfully didn't get. This radio has a powerful audio stage, so be careful with the volume control. Medium wave broadcast stations sound excellent, just enough tone to be comfortable on the ears, none of that shrill stuff. Yes, some outside trash does break in on certain parts of certain bands, but that's pretty normal for a lower priced rig of this vintage. Regardless of that I'm extremely pleased with this older, somewhat rare rig. I do not hesitate to rate this an excellent value for the money spent.

Written by Radio10 on Oct 16, 2012

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Good condition in 2012
USD 185.00
This shack was viewed 2279 times since 2010-08-02 13:12:54