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Old 16th Apr 2018, 10:01 pm   #1
ottavio
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Default A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

Is this mission impossible?

(And I have deliberately posted on the Domestic forum rather than the Amateur & Military forum because I know there are excellent communication receivers for the Amateur market but they are very expensive)

In short what I'm looking for is a pre-digital tuning equivalent of modern day Degen/Tecsun shortwave receivers. I really hate the noise floor introduced by cheap and nasty digital tuning front ends (ok maybe I don't really know what I'm talking about but you get the idea, hopefully).

I want a half decent portable receiver with decent filters that can decode SSB and the occasional CW signal. Up to the 20m band is fine. I don't need the whole SW spectrum. MW + LW would be appreciated.

Do these devices still exist on the market? I've been looking on the usual sites but I couldn't find anything similar. If something pops up, it will be for parts or not working.

Where would I even start looking? My budget is about 100 or hopefully less.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 16th Apr 2018, 10:13 pm   #2
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Default Re: A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

I don't think anything like this is still made. An old Sony ICF-5900W would fit the bill, with a decent dual conversion tuner and built in BFO (though it has no LW). These are still quite common secondhand, and while they're not cheap you should be able to find one for less than 100. They don't share the reliability problems of the later (smaller) Sony SW sets which use surface mount components.

https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/sony_icf_5900w.html

The cheapest solution is to build a simple external BFO (one transistor and an IFT) and use it with any domestic radio with SW coverage, but it can be tricky to stop the BFO signal swamping reception.
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Old 16th Apr 2018, 10:44 pm   #3
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Default Re: A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

If you're open to a variety of models, something suitable should turn up before too long. A Panasonic DR22 -

http://www.shortwaveradio.ch/radio-e...c-rf2200-e.htm -

came my way quite recently for 35 delivered, and a DR49

http://www.shortwaveradio.ch/radio-e...c-rf4900-e.htm

a while earlier I think wasn't far north of 60, both working to what seems to me a pretty good standard.

Paul
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Old 16th Apr 2018, 11:06 pm   #4
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Default Re: A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

Working Yaesu FRG-7's seem to go for way under 100 occasionally from the usual auction site.

That'd give you 500KHz-30MHz USB/LSB/AM. Has fine tuning which makes SSB signals easier to resolve. Nice sounding receiver as well. Slightly non conventional tuning however.

Agree about the digital radios. I've got a Tecsun and a modern Yaesu rig and the things sound like someome letting off gas in a bin.
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Old 17th Apr 2018, 10:37 am   #5
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Default Re: A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

Remarkable performance can be obtained from several of the Soviet-made portables, especially those with turret tuners which appear on the usual sales sites now and then. The unfortunate thing is, none (AFAIK) have a B.F.O.. You would have to knock one up to resolve C.W. and S.S.B.. Simple enough to do, though.
The DR 22 mentioned by Paul RK is a very good performer, and well-constructed, too. I've worked on them in my job, and would consider one a good find, if there are any for sale. Tony
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Old 17th Apr 2018, 10:37 am   #6
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Default Re: A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

I picked up a used FRG 7700 from the place you mentioned for under 100 including postage last year. It works well, seems pretty sensitive with just a simple wet string aerial and there is plenty of info on the web if/when it goes wrong.
Mine has a some front panel damage but nothing that stops it working - switch shafts broken off but still working, was hoping to get around to replacing them but struggled to find replacements in the right size. Must try harder!
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Old 17th Apr 2018, 10:55 am   #7
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Default Re: A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

Mission very difficult, possibly impossible.

There were portable radios made with shortwave bands, but their target market was for travellers listening to World Service/VOA/Deutsche Welle etc. They fall at the 'decent filters' hurdle and either have inadequate frequency stability or digital tuning.

Looking for a set for amateur radio opens the door to a lot of radios, but few are genuinely portable. FRG7 and FRG7700 have been mentioned but they are tabletop jobs with carrying handles.

The nearest recent thing would by the Lowe HF125 and it's later version. They have digital tuning, but it's done well, you won't find it a limitation, but the price will be hard to find one at.

Older and rarer is the Barlow Wadley XCR 30 A true shortwave portable, analogue tuning reasonable selectivity and stability. Essentially it's a close brother to the FRG7 and the RACAL RA17.

I don't think you'll tick all those boxes at once unless you are very lucky.

David
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Old 17th Apr 2018, 11:17 am   #8
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Default Re: A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

Quote:
Originally Posted by boxdoctor View Post
Remarkable performance can be obtained from several of the Soviet-made portables, especially those with turret tuners which appear on the usual sales sites now and then. The unfortunate thing is, none (AFAIK) have a B.F.O.. You would have to knock one up to resolve C.W. and S.S.B.. Simple enough to do, though.
The Vega Selena series have excellent AM performance thanks to a tuned RF stage, but adding a BFO isn't straightforward because of the interaction with the set's AGC. The Selenas are also big heavy sets for portable or travel use.

If size isn't an issue then one of the older (208 series?) Grundig Satellits would fit the bill, but they really are large, heavy sets.
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Old 17th Apr 2018, 12:09 pm   #9
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Default Re: A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

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Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
If size isn't an issue then one of the older (208 series?) Grundig Satellits would fit the bill, but they really are large, heavy sets.
Yes, I'd wondered whether to mention the Satellits: affordable enough on occasion, big but with the compensation of superb sound quality if general listening is a concern at all. No inbuilt BFO, though, until the 1977 Satellit 3000 and the more often met with 1978 3400 Professional, and those are even bigger and heavier than the models that went before. Bits break off the late '70s- early '80s sets very easily - knobs and control levers - tending to reduce the price: my own 3400 is in good general shape except for the BFO control spindle snapped off at its base and missing, together with the knob of course.

Paul

Last edited by Paul_RK; 17th Apr 2018 at 12:17 pm.
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Old 17th Apr 2018, 12:13 pm   #10
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Default Re: A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

Sorry, I thought the earlier ones had a BFO. I don't actually own one so must be misremembering.
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Old 17th Apr 2018, 12:16 pm   #11
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Default Re: A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

There was a plug-in BFO unit as an optional extra for several models, but it seems to be a relative rarity.
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Old 17th Apr 2018, 1:43 pm   #12
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Default Re: A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

The Realistic DX-150 and DX-160 could show up within the 100 limit. These are not exactly small sets, but will run on 12V so are "portable". I have a DX-160 (kindly gifted from Hybrid Tellies) and these are entry level SW sets; better than most broadcast receivers, but not up to the standards of a real communications receiver. Lots of info on Google, including various mods.

B
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Old 17th Apr 2018, 2:37 pm   #13
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Default Re: A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

I have a Grundig Satellit 210, 6001. 9 short wave bands but sadly no BFO
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Old 17th Apr 2018, 3:02 pm   #14
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Default Re: A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

General coverage short wave radios (rather than ham bands only) tend to be marketed not as 'short wave' radios, but 'world band' radios so a search under that heading might yield something. However if you want something in current production, the requirement for an analogue dial will narrow the field somewhat, and a BFO would narrow it still further. The Sony 7600, (no longer available), had a BFO, but a digital dial.

Good luck in your quest.
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Old 17th Apr 2018, 4:29 pm   #15
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Default Re: A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

If I remember the Sony 7600, the main tuning was in 1kHz steps and you had to continually mess with a 'clarifier' fir fine tuning. I tried one once and found it very tedious.

David
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Old 17th Apr 2018, 6:55 pm   #16
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Default Re: A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

I have a 7600; it's a radio you might take on holiday to listen to World Service, but that's about all. The push button tuning and edge-wise BFO control make it tedious for general "tuning around".

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Old 17th Apr 2018, 8:32 pm   #17
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Default Re: A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

I have a NordMende Globtrotter 808 which has full SW coverage and BFO as standard. There is normal LW, MW, 3 SW bands covering 1.6 to 18MHz, superb FM coverage and performance, plus separately 9 SW bands on their own turret tuner each with a 6MHz first IF stage. Most of the earlier Globetrotters lacked the BFO, but I don't think this was the only model including it. Varicap diode tuning for FM, all the rest conventional "old school radio" method.
Some of the older Grundig Satelits had the optional BFO (Sat 2000, 2100, 3000 I think); the later models such as my Satelit 600 include BFO, but these are digitally tuned.
Les.
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Old 17th Apr 2018, 10:35 pm   #18
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Default Re: A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

I have a Sony ICF5900 which is in good condition and working order. The review "Shortwave Receiver Sony ICF-5900 W" will give you a good understanding of the receiver and of course, no digital noise. Whilst it wasn't originally on my list for sale, I will pm you with what I believe to be a fair price. Should this be acceptable, this allow you to enjoy the quality of design and features the Sony will give you.

Chris
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Old 18th Apr 2018, 9:37 am   #19
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Default Re: A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
The Vega Selena series have excellent AM performance thanks to a tuned RF stage, but adding a BFO isn't straightforward because of the interaction with the set's AGC. The Selenas are also big heavy sets for portable or travel use
Along with most 'broadcast shortwave' receivers of the era they are pretty useless for modern amateur-band reception: something like the 14MHz band occupies a few millimetres of the tuning scale and a quarter of a turn of the tuning-knob. Unless you've got micrometer-accurate fingers you'll have a real pain tuning SSB/CW even with an add-on BFO.

Local-oscillator stability's really not up to CW/SSB reception either.

There were some portable "scanner" type radios around a few decades ago which included HF-band coverage with CW and SSB capability: ICOM did one. Yes, they're digital but at least they don't drift 100Hz off your chosen frequency when you take your habd away from the tuning-knob.
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Old 18th Apr 2018, 9:53 am   #20
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Default Re: A relatively cheap portable SW receiver with SSB/CW and analogue tuning?

The Sony ICF5900 has bandspread and also a Xtal marker, it'll resolve CW/SSB good enough for most:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtVBkZdXYdo

Lawrence.
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