Need Advice re: purchase

Need Advice re: purchase

Post by Love2cam » Mon, 23 Feb 2004 07:55:57

I somewhat new to the shortwave listening hobby, but have always preferred the
AM to the FM band.  I have two radios now, and neither one really fits the bill
for me, so I'm trying to purchase one that will serve both purposes.

I have a CC radio, which is good for the AM (although the display went after
only a year) and have a Grundig Yacht Boy 400PE.  The Grundig sounds great on
FM, but the AM volume is about half of the volume when I'm listening to the FM
band.  It's just not good enough for moving around the room without feeling
like I'm straining to hear it.  If I turn the volume up any more, it sounds
awful.  It also has a constant hum in the AM band, no matter where in the house
I go.

So I see my choices are:  The Sangean 818ACS (like the tape idea, as long as
the speaker is still good), the Sangean 909, or the Grundig S350.

The 909 is probably the same size as the YB400, so the AM reception will be the
same, I'm guessing.  Don't know how the sound compares.  

The 818ACS - don't know how small the speaker is since the tape is built in.

The S350 would be the right one - but analog and no way to store stations.

I'd like a combo of the three...any advice or comparison info would be
appreciated between these three and my YB400.  Also - perhaps there's something
out there I'm missing.

Thanks!
Linda
Pennsylvania

 
 
 

Need Advice re: purchase

Post by Eddie Haske » Mon, 23 Feb 2004 08:00:59


I **LOVE** my Sangean ATS909. I take it on every out of town trip, listen to
HF and BC stuff with it. Makes a great travel alarmclock. It could use a
little more Bass on the FM band, but it sounds good with headphones. I use
it with NiMH batteries as it can be rather *** them...Eddie


Quote:> I somewhat new to the shortwave listening hobby, but have always preferred
the
> AM to the FM band.  I have two radios now, and neither one really fits the
bill
> for me, so I'm trying to purchase one that will serve both purposes.

> I have a CC radio, which is good for the AM (although the display went
after
> only a year) and have a Grundig Yacht Boy 400PE.  The Grundig sounds great
on
> FM, but the AM volume is about half of the volume when I'm listening to
the FM
> band.  It's just not good enough for moving around the room without
feeling
> like I'm straining to hear it.  If I turn the volume up any more, it
sounds
> awful.  It also has a constant hum in the AM band, no matter where in the
house
> I go.

> So I see my choices are:  The Sangean 818ACS (like the tape idea, as long
as
> the speaker is still good), the Sangean 909, or the Grundig S350.

> The 909 is probably the same size as the YB400, so the AM reception will
be the
> same, I'm guessing.  Don't know how the sound compares.

> The 818ACS - don't know how small the speaker is since the tape is built
in.

> The S350 would be the right one - but analog and no way to store stations.

> I'd like a combo of the three...any advice or comparison info would be
> appreciated between these three and my YB400.  Also - perhaps there's
something
> out there I'm missing.

> Thanks!
> Linda
> Pennsylvania

 
 
 

Need Advice re: purchase

Post by Jay Hey » Mon, 23 Feb 2004 09:18:19



Quote:> The 909 is probably the same size as the YB400, so the AM reception will be the
> same, I'm guessing.  Don't know how the sound compares.  

The stock 909 is not going to give you "room-filling" sound.  I have one
and generally like it, but the sound is rather lacking if you're more
than a few feet away from the radio or there is significant background
noise in the room. The audio goes into heavy distortion long before the
volume knob hits the stops.  http://www.radiolabs.com/ has a modified
909 available where they replace the stock speaker and tweak some other
parts of the audio. I've not heard one so I can't say if the sound is
significantly better.

Quote:> The S350 would be the right one - but analog and no way to store stations.

The sound on the S350 is comparable to the CCR, with maybe a bit better
fidelity.  On weak signals I find the volume to be a bit on the low
side. Turning the volume way up doesn't provide booming sound on the
weak stations. I've run mine only from rechargeable batteries; it could
be it sounds better run from the mains.

Quote:> I'd like a combo of the three...any advice or comparison info would be
> appreciated between these three and my YB400.  Also - perhaps there's something
> out there I'm missing.

You might want to take a look at the Grundig Satellit 800. It's quite a
bit bigger than any of the other radios discussed here -- not something
you're likely to want to drag from room to room -- but it's reported to
be a fairly serious SW receiver with excellent sound quality.

Another option, again without a high degree of portability, would be to
get some small self-powered computer speakers and connect those to one
of the radios you already have.

  -- Jay

 
 
 

Need Advice re: purchase

Post by Love2cam » Mon, 23 Feb 2004 10:14:59

Thanks, Jay, for the info.

Quote:>The stock 909 is not going to give you "room-filling" sound.  I have one
>and generally like it, but the sound is rather lacking if you're more
>than a few feet away from the radio or there is significant background
>noise in the room.

That would be a problem, then.  While I realize that no portable radio is going
to really full and great at the other end of the room, I don't want to strain
to hear it.  The sad thing is that my Yacht Boy 400 is great on the FM band; if
the MW sounded anything like that I'd be thrilled.

Quote:>The sound on the S350 is comparable to the CCR, with maybe a bit better
>fidelity.  On weak signals I find the volume to be a bit on the low
>side. Turning the volume way up doesn't provide booming sound on the
>weak stations. I've run mine only from rechargeable batteries; it could
>be it sounds better run from the mains.

So you have the S350?  Have you read its review in the new Passport to World
Band Radio?  Being a novice, I bought a copy of that book recently.  It has a
really lengthy review, and talks quite a bit about drift.  I'm starting to
wonder, though, if that radio would best meet my needs.  What's this I read
about the "on" button only allowing the radio to stay on for 90 minutes???

The Grundig Satellit 800 would be a blast - but it's out of my budget.

Thanks-
Linda

 
 
 

Need Advice re: purchase

Post by Jay Hey » Mon, 23 Feb 2004 18:29:00



Quote:> So you have the S350?  Have you read its review in the new Passport to World
> Band Radio?  Being a novice, I bought a copy of that book recently.  It has a
> really lengthy review, and talks quite a bit about drift.  I'm starting to

I have the Tecsun BCL-2000. With the exception of MW stopping before the
X-band and having a built in 220V transformer, it's identical to the
S350.  I'm no expert at this, but my feeling is the "drift" comes from
three different sources.  The S350 is an analog radio with a digital
readout. The tuning is controlled, literally, by some strings and
pulleys.  Most of the "drift" comes from backlash and tension in the
strings.  You turn the dial to the point you want and let go, but
there's still tension on the string. When that tension is equalized, it
sometimes pulls the radio slightly off the point you've tuned to. The
effects of this depend to a large degree on what band you're in and what
part of the band you have tuned. Overcoming this aspect of drift is
largely a matter of getting used to the way the radio works. If you
overtune slightly and then back off in the opposite direction a bit it
relieves most of the tension in the strings and it stays centered
better.  

The second thing is that the digital readout is produced by a frequency
counter. I have no real evidence to back this up, but my feeling is the
frequency counter is somewhat temperature sensitive and may change
readings slightly as it warms up. This isn't necessarily a change in the
tuning position, just in the way the radio reports that tuning position.

Third would be real drift in the tuning circuitry, primarily due to
temperature fluctuations. The newer models contain engineering changes
to combat this by always keeping the circuits warmed up, though only
when the radio is running off the mains.  This approach would be much
too *** the batteries so it's not used when running on battery
power.  I've used mine exclusively on batteries so I can't say if
running off the mains makes a noticeable difference.

Frankly, after having grown accustomed to the tuning mechanism, I don't
find the drift to be that much of a problem. The tuning is a bit fussy
and I'm sure it's not as rock solid as most of the digitally tuned
radios, but I think it's still a pretty good radio for the price,
particularly the Tecsuns available on ebay.  (I got mine for under $70
delivered.)

Quote:> wonder, though, if that radio would best meet my needs.  What's this I read
> about the "on" button only allowing the radio to stay on for 90 minutes???

Allegedly, all Tecsun models manufactured since spring of last year have
a timer defeat feature. You just hold down on the power button for a few
seconds when you turn it on and then it stays on until you turn it off.
Unfortunately, it has taken quite a while for these newer models to work
their way through the Grundig supply chain. (It's not clear if the
engineering changes weren't put into the Grundig models until later or
if they simply had a huge lot of radios to work through before getting
to the newer ones.)  Most of the people buying from large retailers that
move a lot of product are reporting the recent Grundigs do have the
timer defeat feature. There have also been reports of people recently
getting older models from one of the ebay sellers of the Tecsun models,
though I bought mine from the same guy and definitely got a newer one.

The S350 is far from a perfect radio. It has a number of quirks and can
be a challenge to get tuned properly on the upper end of the shortwave
bands.  But I rather enjoy the "retro" look and have been having a lot
of fun with it.  Listening to major broadcasters, the sound from the
S350 is going to be better than anything short of the Satellit 800 or
the GE Superadio 3.  (If you're interests are primarily MW, the SR 3
would be a good choice. There's still nothing in the portable market to
beat the sound from the 2-way system in the SR 3.)

  -- Jay

 
 
 

Need Advice re: purchase

Post by Love2cam » Wed, 25 Feb 2004 00:12:26

Thanks, Jay, for the interesting info re: drift.

I do believe that I've decided against the S350, though, and I'm now in a
quandry between the Sangean 909 and 818ACS.  I know that built in tape recorder
would be useful-tape those shows I love and always miss and listen later.

BTW-as I go through the web comparing prices, some companies show the 818ACS in
black, and some in silver/titanium, all with the Sangean name.

BTW- I live in northeastern PA, outside of Scranton.  Nowhere I know of nearby
to actually see and try these radios in person.

Linda
Pennsylvania