Crowdsourcing A Shortwave Question

I haven’t had a decent shortwave receiver in forever but I once enjoyed listening more or less randomly to whatever popped up. I never paid attention, I just pretended SW was AM and turned dials. That was a long time ago.

I’ve just about decided that the Radio Shack AM/FM/Shortwave travel radio I’ve been noodling around with couldn’t pick up decent shortwave if I soldered it to a station’s transmitting antenna, stuffed cocaine in the battery compartment, and threatened its family with a knife. I even tried crudely running the audio through flidgi and nothing… as far as I’m concerned the display is “the matrix” and I’m probably listening to my fluorescent lights.

I don’t really want to go down the rabbit hole on this. I just want something brick stupid that will actually… you know… receive something. Hopefully easy enough that I can operate it without a lot of planning ahead; voice, audio, BBC, the final words of Fidel Castro, aliens, whatever. The words here are “cheap” and “easy”.

Any advice? I defer to folks who pay attention to this sort of thing.


P.S. A HAM transceiver of the correct configuration could work fine too. Right now all of my HAM stuff is set up for the wrong band. I’m just assuming a transceiver will cost more than a receiver and did I mention I was looking for cheap and easy. (Yes, I’m licensed… not that it matters if I just want to listen to the news or music.)

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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13 Responses to Crowdsourcing A Shortwave Question

  1. NEO says:

    Since you’re a ham (as am I), I’ve got a Hallicrafters and a Heathkit boat anchor tube type receivers, wish I could have afforded them when they were new 🙂 Good receivers, although not appliances like the new stuff. You might have to do a bit of work this winter, but I paid $10 for one and $20 for the other, they work fine although I think I do have some leaky caps in the Heath. But at about 10 cents a pound, how can you go wrong 😉

    Problem is, there ain’t much out there anymore to hear, it’s all on the internet now, someday its going to bite us where the sun don’t shine.

  2. Hank Curmudgeon says:

    Tiny sized but ssb-less Tecsun PL-360 or the ssb capable Tecsun PL-880.

  3. D. Augustyn says:

    Do you want it portable? Is a computer controlled SDR out of the picture? Are you planning on using an external antenna? What’s your price range?

  4. Bryan says:

    A Yaesu FT840 could be had relatively inexpesively and works as a gerneral coverage receiver

  5. Hans says:

    Portable: Tecsun PL-390 (no SSB) or PL-660 / PL-880 (with SSB). Home: a second hand Yaesu FRG-100 would be nice, or a Kenwood R-5000.

    Hans PD0AC

  6. Anonymous says:

    And when you find something meeting your specs, let the rest of us cheapskates know what it is. I’m gonna out myself here, 73 de KA9VSZ.

  7. grendel says:

    Not the cheapest, but I have a ccradio 2 with am/fm weather and shortwave. The refurbished ones are $80. I’m not a Ham, so I don’t know if the reception is relatively good or bad, but I can hear stuff on it sometimes.

    • Good point. That’s a model I was considering. I have a CCRadio Plus… a discontinued model with AM/FM/WX/and… TV. (The TV part is now basically obsolete. Who listened to TV anyway?) Aside from the TV going from analog to digital (which is not CCRadio’s fault) it’s been one of the best radios I’ve ever owned. For AM/FM/WX a CCRadio Plus has been simply excellent.

  8. PJ says:

    I got a pretty little Sony SW radio, an ICF-SW7600GR. I have been disappointed at how little it pulls in. I don’t know if that is the radio’s fault, or if I just need to rig a decent antenna, or if there just aren’t as many stations out there as there used to be when I was a kid. Probably all three. I have yet to catch Deutsche Welle on this thing, and it was hard to miss back in the old days.

  9. Historian says:

    My general coverage receiver is an ICom R75. I like it a LOT. Used, $225.

  10. Historian says:

    Small local hamfest. You can find these on Ebay for under $300 if you are patient. Really great receiver, worth twice what I paid for it. Brand new they are still only $600, and have been around for 20 years. The R10 is a pocket version I like too. The problem with the R75 is that it is not really portable, but the R10 and it’s brothers the R6 and R20 definitely are.

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