Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

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Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by angelofwar » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:33 am

I have several radios for gathering intel during an "event". 4 Scanners, Grundig Field Radio, old SW radio, dedicated weather radio, 3 Etons, Weather Capable Etons, etc. My only issue is I can't find find a quality radio that covers ALL of them (AM/FM/SW, AND Weather). What are some quality radios that pick up all 4 bands? What do you have and what do like/dislike about it?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Re: Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by TravisM.1 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:12 am

Im interested also. Not looking to transmit, just to receive.
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Re: Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by TacAir » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:13 am

AM/FM/SW and NOAA is a tough one to find. I'll also assume you desire SSB functionality, good to excellent stability and sensitivity, battery power and portable if at all possible.

I've gone the route of AM/FM/NOAA with the SONY Walkman digital portable - single AAA and headphone only. It has consistently been rated as the 'best' in a portable radio for sensitivity and selectivity - it has a DX/local to avoid front end overload. Rugged - this is my primary BOB radio.

Shortwave - there are a large number of portables, I've owned several over the years, I decided to upgrade to SSB capacity a number of years ago - going with a Sangean ATS 909. It is selective and very sensitive, it is stable enough to provide 'armchair copy' of ham band and UTE comms. Runs from 4 x AA or universal power wart. It does need the aux roll up external antenna to provide the best reception.

The ATS 505 is the less expensive little brother to the 909 - and has SSB capability.

If you're not interested in SSB comms, an analog receiver will give you better battery life, and perhaps better sensitivity. Selectivity - the ability to separate stations that are close together - may or may not be acceptable.

When traveling, I carry a ICOM R5 AM/FM/SW radio that covers DC to daylight. It will cover NOAA and conventional FM comms - acting like a scanner as well. Due to recent changes, for example the switch to digital broadcasting, it no longer works to receive TV audio. The older version is the R2 and the newest is the R6. All are available used. It is very good at SW broadcast, but Am SW only. It requires at a 10 ft wire antenna to be usable on HF, otherwise the supplied rubber is acceptable for FM and V/UHF comms.

I've owned Sony, Eton and other brands of portables and have decided that the Sangean line represents the best value - cost vs performance - for me. ICOM portables provide what is commonly called prosumer (professional consumer) levels of performance - and the cost reflects that performance.

You can buy a cheap radio, or you can buy a 'good' radio - but I've never found the two together.

A FT-817ND will provide AM/FM/SW w/SSB and NOAA and do a very good job of that - but the cost for the rig is several hundred dollars. It is portable and can be powered by internal batteries - but I don't believe you are looking for an expensive ham radio rig.

Hope this is of some help.
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Re: Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by NT2C » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:15 am

angelofwar wrote:I have several radios for gathering intel during an "event". 4 Scanners, Grundig Field Radio, old SW radio, dedicated weather radio, 3 Etons, Weather Capable Etons, etc. My only issue is I can't find find a quality radio that covers ALL of them (AM/FM/SW, AND Weather). What are some quality radios that pick up all 4 bands? What do you have and what do like/didlike about it?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
A little more info please... What "SW" bands are you specifically trying to get? Actual frequencies would be a bonus.
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Re: Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by TravisM.1 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:19 am

TacAir wrote:
You can buy a cheap radio, or you can buy a 'good' radio - but I've never found the two together.
Im not opposed to spending money on something that'll do what its supposed to do, and last a long time.
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Re: Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by HurricaneDad » Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:59 am

AM FM SW Wx all in one can be found at http://www.kaitousa.com/radios.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; I own a couple of different (older) Kaito radios that I need to upgrade, since the TV bands have been changed. Look into the Voyager line.
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Re: Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by angelofwar » Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:42 pm

Thanks for all the info guys. Looked over all the reccomendations. As far as which SW bands, I'd just be looking for news but would also like to be able to pick up some ham talk. I'm leaning toward quality first...but to be honest, I'm not 100% sure on how the SW bands are broken down...I have a list that came with my Grundig field radio that list all kinds of people that use it, but I guess you would have to be in close proximity to catch anything from them. I also under stand that one band is better to listen to at night, and the other in the morning (SW1 and SW2). I want the one that will provide me the best info during a disaster. I have a scanner to monitor local response, but want the ability to monitor what's going on else where with out the grid (i.e. my tv). I can run battery operated items for months, which is why I want soemthing that will provide the most info.

I'm actually fine with out it having AM/FM, since I have plenty of those...just want soemthing that can combine SW/SSB, Weather, and Ham if possible.

Is the sangea's quality worth the price??? It looks interesting...could I pick up SSB/Ham with both models you mentioned?

I've seen the voyagers on a lot of web pages, but I think they are the "most afforable" option, and not the best...how's the craftsmanship on the voyagers?

I also like the idea of a HH Ham...I do plan on eventually getting my liscense, once I get my EMT training out of the way.

Thanks again for all the help!
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Re: Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by williaty » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:58 am

I looked hard at this question over the last month and the conclusion that I came to is that it simply doesn't exist in a reasonable package for a reasonable price. For instance, those Kaito/Degen radios that were brought up? Sufficient reports of them simply falling apart to warn me off. Most other brands lack the NOAA WX. About the only thing that can definitely do it all is a "general coverage" receiver, usually found in the guise of a "DC to Daylight" ham radio, at quite a high cost. The problem with most of the DC>Day receivers, though, is that being so broadbanded makes them pretty poor receivers compared to dedicated units. In the end, it seems to me that the best solution is to have a couple of radios to cover all the different uses. For instance, the Sony ICF-S10MK2 is an absolutely astonishingly good US AM/FM broadcast receiver that's just bigger than a pack of cigs, runs 45 hours off two alkaline AAs, and costs only $11. For NOAA WX, I have a Midland jobby that I don't remember the model of. For covering things on the longer wavelengths, the Sony ICF-SW7600GR seems to be the decade-long reigning king of "I just want to hear the broadcast, I don't care if it isn't Hi-Fi".

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Re: Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by angelofwar » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:03 am

Thanks for the insight williaty. That Sony looks like the right canidate I'm looking for. Exactly what HAM tx's can you pick up with SSB? Who uses it? What would I be missing on the HAM bands with an SSB capable radio, that I could pick up with a dedicated ham receiver?
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Re: Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by Krustofski » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:22 am

x
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Re: Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by williaty » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:25 am

angelofwar wrote:Thanks for the insight williaty. That Sony looks like the right canidate I'm looking for. Exactly what HAM tx's can you pick up with SSB? Who uses it? What would I be missing on the HAM bands with an SSB capable radio, that I could pick up with a dedicated ham receiver?
In theory, with what the 7600 can do, you shouldn't be missing any voice or morse code ham stuff within the frequency range that receiver can cover. With FM, AM, and SSB, you can receive 90% of signals out there. You'd only be missing digitally encoded transmissions that require a connection to a computer to work with. However, the biggest single thing you'll gain from a "proper" receiver rather than a little travel box like the Sony is the ability to clearly receive faint signals and the ability to clearly receive signals in the presence of other strong signals and interference. The latter is a MUCH bigger deal than most people expect, especially for SHTF usage. Most people will go "Well, I'm not going to be into ham radio contesting, so I don't need a radio that can help me isolate a single signal even when the airwaves are a chaotic mess". Sure you do. What do you think 10 minutes after the formal announcement of a pandemic is going to sound like? It'll sound like the big international ham radio contests, where weak receivers get swamped and overloaded and can't sort any one thing out from the other.

I will say that my solution to the listen-only to broadcasts problem is the Sony 7600 for short and medium wave, the little Sony AM/FM radio I mentioned (it's much better at that job than the 7600), and a Midland weather radio. All of them are small enough to be thrown in a bag and taken with me, which is part of why I wanted them. For a situation where I'm bugged in, I have a mid-range Kenwood HF ham radio, which works both for the ham bands (obviously), CB (as listen only, obviously), and all worldwide shortwave broadcast bands, and has the filters and processing in it to really dig signals out of the crap. Then I have a Kenwood VHF/UHF mobile that covers the ham bands (obviously) as well as NOAA WX, all the non-digital emergency and civil services, the FRS/GMRS bands, and commercial aviation (not sure how that one could be useful.

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Re: Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by angelofwar » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:15 am

Thanks again williaty...your time and insight is much appreciated. I'm looking a dedicated ham unit in addition to the SSB capable radio (think I might go with the 76000)...what do you think about this number (linked below) for a portable ham rig? Not looking for anything fancy on the ham side (yet), just want something to start with to gt a feel for the usefullness of it. I know I can't tx on it until I get my liscense (or a true emergency), but I just want something relatively cheap to feel it out, and then I can flip it when I decide to upgrade.

http://www.amazon.com/Handheld-Amateur- ... +ham+radio
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Re: Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by NamelessStain » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:40 am

A while back I wanted a radio for my INCH with SW receiving ability. Eventually I got a Grundig G8, which now Eton makes: http://www.amazon.com/Traveler-Digital- ... grundig+g8" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The only real down side I've had so far is that it's AA and the rest of my electronics are AAA. So I pack an extra set of rechargables for it.
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Re: Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by TacAir » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:51 am

angelofwar wrote:Thanks for all the info guys. Looked over all the reccomendations. As far as which SW bands, I'd just be looking for news but would also like to be able to pick up some ham talk. I'm leaning toward quality first...but to be honest, I'm not 100% sure on how the SW bands are broken down...I have a list that came with my Grundig field radio that list all kinds of people that use it, but I guess you would have to be in close proximity to catch anything from them. I also under stand that one band is better to listen to at night, and the other in the morning (SW1 and SW2). I want the one that will provide me the best info during a disaster. I have a scanner to monitor local response, but want the ability to monitor what's going on else where with out the grid (i.e. my tv). I can run battery operated items for months, which is why I want soemthing that will provide the most info.

I'm actually fine with out it having AM/FM, since I have plenty of those...just want soemthing that can combine SW/SSB, Weather, and Ham if possible.

Is the sangea's quality worth the price??? It looks interesting...could I pick up SSB/Ham with both models you mentioned?

I've seen the voyagers on a lot of web pages, but I think they are the "most afforable" option, and not the best...how's the craftsmanship on the voyagers?

I also like the idea of a HH Ham...I do plan on eventually getting my liscense, once I get my EMT training out of the way.

Thanks again for all the help!
FWIW, I use the ATS 909 as a back up for my FT817 when out in the RV. It lets me monitor a second frequency while working someone on the primary rig. It has proven to be be stable enough to monitor nets and long rag chews without having to fiddle with the tuning controls.

It isn't a 'true' portable being larger than you can hold in your hand.

The Sangean ATS-909 packs features and performance into a very compact and stylish package. Coverage includes all long wave (153-519 kHz), medium wave (520-1710 kHz) and all shortwave frequencies (1711-29999 kHz). FM and FM stereo to the headphone jack is also available (87.5-108 MHz).

Shortwave performance is enhanced with a wide-narrow bandwidth switch and excellent single side band performance (SSB tuning to 40 Hz steps via fine tuning). Five tuning methods are featured: direct keypad entry, manual tuning, auto scan, manual up-down tuning, memory recall or manual knob tuning.

The alphanumeric memory system lets you store 306 presets (260 shortwave, 18 AM, 18 FM and 9 longwave plus priority). The three event clock-timer (3 different times on 3 different frequencies) displays even when the radio is tuning and has 42 world city zones stored. The large LCD display also features a signal strength and battery bar graph. The ATS-909 will also display RDS on PL, PS and CT for station name and clock time in areas where this service is available. The left side of the radio has: Record Out jack (3.5 mm mini), Recorder Activation Jack (sub-mini), earphone jack (3.5 mini), antenna input jack (3.5 mm mini) and the 9 VDC input jack. A fully adjustable AM RF Gain knob is also on this side of the radio. The right side of the radio has: the main tuning knob (VFO), volume knob plus these switches: Wide/Narrow Selectivity FM Stereo/Mono, MW step 9/10 kHz, Time Set Manual/Auto and Tone News/Norm/Music. The rear panel features a flip-out tilt stand.

The ATS-909 includes: AC adapter, ANT-60 wind-up antenna, stereo ear buds, carry case and Factory Preset Frequency Chart. 8.5 x 5.4 x 1.5 inches 30 ounces (216x140x38mm 907 g). The case is titanium colored. Requires four AA cells (not supplied). Made in Taiwan.

The older 909 vs the newest 909x are found used at decent price points. Also sold by Radio Shack as the DX 398. The Radio Shack models, identical other Sangeans, typically sell for less on the used market.

Several on currently on flea-bay for about half of a new unit.

An older unit, the ATS 803/Radio Shack DX440 is also a quality radio often seen used
(http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/2814" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;)

The Sangean a bit more than mainland Chinese radios due to, I believe, being a higher quality radio made with quality components.
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Re: Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by williaty » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:31 pm

angelofwar wrote:Thanks again williaty...your time and insight is much appreciated. I'm looking a dedicated ham unit in addition to the SSB capable radio (think I might go with the 76000)...what do you think about this number (linked below) for a portable ham rig? Not looking for anything fancy on the ham side (yet), just want something to start with to gt a feel for the usefullness of it. I know I can't tx on it until I get my liscense (or a true emergency), but I just want something relatively cheap to feel it out, and then I can flip it when I decide to upgrade.

http://www.amazon.com/Handheld-Amateur- ... +ham+radio
That TYT will only monitor the VHF ham bad plus US broadcast FM. Well, it's going to cover a little of whatever is immediately above the 2m ham band, which I'd have to look up. It's not going to cover very much for you at all.

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Re: Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by ZH10950 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:37 pm

Dude, don't worry about weather. My alarm clock gets NOAA... It has automatic alert too and runs on an AC and battery backup.

There are a lot of good combo radios out there. Visit a shop and see what's in the range of your budget.
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Re: Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by angelofwar » Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:00 pm

Well, I'm a "Gotta see/touch/feel what I'm buying" guy, so, after stopping by the local Radio Shack, I grabbed the Grundig G3.

It doesn't have weather, and I tried dialing in directly to the wx frequencies, but, I'm not too sad...it does plenty of other stuff. I was able to pick up some HAM chatter on the 20meter band first night I used it, and was able to get a call sign.

Image

Overall, quality is better than previous Grundig products..this is the most solid to date. The controls are a bit complicated for normal users, but nothing more than scanner controls, if yer used to those.

Any tips/tricks? What are some of the better "meters" to listen in on? Any good reliable frequencies that tx on a regular basis? Thanks everyone for all the help!
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Re: Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by Grant » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:58 pm

Nice choice! I have two favorites. The cheaper end is a Grundig G6 aviator, the smaller version of the G3, which gets everything you want EXCEPT weather, and the SSB isn't the best. The G3 is a lot better. I can understand SOME ham talk on my G6 but it doesn't tune very well in the ultra-fine ranges.

The best highly portable receiver I have is actually my TH-F6A triband ham transceiver. Without the antenna it's actually smaller than the Grundig, can run on four AA's if you need to, and receives most anything. However, it does not do well on shortwave or HF unless you use a long wire antenna on it, the rubber duck or external antennas for 2m/440/220 are great for using it as an analog scanner, the air band, and weather as well as the three ham bands, but are useless for shortwave. I have, per the recommendations on this board, used a binding post adapter and a pigtail to connect a long bit of wire when I want shortwave. Works better than anything else I have.

Then again, I don't have very much...
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Re: Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by TacAir » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:04 pm

angelofwar wrote:Well, I'm a "Gotta see/touch/feel what I'm buying" guy, so, after stopping by the local Radio Shack, I grabbed the Grundig G3.

It doesn't have weather, and I tried dialing in directly to the wx frequencies, but, I'm not too sad...it does plenty of other stuff. I was able to pick up some HAM chatter on the 20meter band first night I used it, and was able to get a call sign.

Image

Overall, quality is better than previous Grundig products..this is the most solid to date. The controls are a bit complicated for normal users, but nothing more than scanner controls, if yer used to those.

Any tips/tricks? What are some of the better "meters" to listen in on? Any good reliable frequencies that tx on a regular basis? Thanks everyone for all the help!
The HAARP site has a 'waterfall' display of the HF spectrum, it will show what is hot and not.
http://www.haarp.alaska.edu/data/spectrum2/www/hf.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

They also have an active riometer - and most importantly - a chirpsounder
http://www.haarp.alaska.edu/cgi-bin/dig ... latest.cgi" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

This display. in conjunction with the magnetometer, will give you an idea of the state of the ionosphere.

ETA - Grundig radios sold in the US are made in the same factory as Eton products - TECSUN in Dongguan, China. They're are also the OEM for several other "American" brands, like GE.

Have fun.
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Re: Good Quality COMBO Radio (AM/FM/SW/Wx)

Post by SouthernForkway26 » Tue May 28, 2013 12:10 am

http://www.radioatticarchives.com/radio.htm?radio=26
I purchased a vintage Aircastle 162F1H multiband radio from ebay for $30 including shipping mostly because I was interested in shortwave. This radio has turned out to be MUCH better than I had anticipated.

The unit weighs around 10 pounds, so it's not a radio for the BOB. It is well built as it is 50 years old and in great shape. All of the bands are able to pick up reception. Even thought I bought the radio for its shortwave, I find that surfing the AM stations is a better experience with this radio.

The AM reception on this radio is phenominal. I can pick up a station almost anywhere I set the dial. Often I can hear two stations on the same frequency, who are operating on opposite sides of the country. With a LIGHT touch on the fine tuning dial I can sometimes even seperate stations on the same frequency. The vintage analog sound is unique too. Its like a smoother, silkier sound that just flows from the radio. Its as if the speaker is designed primarily to play analog AM broadcasts.

The cons of a radio like this are that it is an analog tuner, so there is no modern scan feature that would be useful for some bands. Also the portability is somewhat limited because of its bulk. It contains a battery compartment, but I would only recommend batteries during the times when the electicity is out. Also you need to memorize where your NOAA frequency is so you aren't frantically searching for it during an emergency.

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