My earlier shortwave post, written during a fit of rage at my frustrating, useless $35 Radio Shack box of disappointment, was short on details. Lets add some sideboards:
- Price: Price range of $100 – $200. If I can get sufficient quality/features at $50 I’ll buy whomever recommends the right solution a beer as a finder’s fee. I’d love a $400+ HAM transceiver but it isn’t in the budget. If I spend in excess of $200 I will find myself sheepishly apologizing to Mrs. Curmudgeon for my my wastrel foolishness. Who needs that kind of pressure?
- Price / Bacon: I’m willing to trade up to 1/2 pig’s worth of pork for a very awesome transceiver. It would have to be pretty impressive ’cause bacon is way cool. For a good deal I’ll deliver. (Road trip!) I’m just puttin’ it out there.
- Used: If it’s certain to work I don’t mind used.
- Old: I’m old, I can live with tubes and/or desk systems.
- Ugly: I’m ugly too. I can live with that.
- Portability / Size: I’m flexible. If it’s lighter than a bowling ball and smaller than a ream of paper it’s golden. It doesn’t have to fit in a shirt pocket. If there’s something dirt cheap and/or super awesome (tubes?) I can live with a behemoth that requires a fork lift.
- Truck Radio: Why don’t they come in configurations like a CB or dash radio for my truck? Ever listen to FM on a long trip? It kills brain cells. I’ve never had much luck with a portable SW tossed on the passenger seat but it would be cool if it worked.
- SDA: I’m not allergic to software defined radio but I only do Linux and computers piss me off. If a SDA can be configured on a laptop and used without a laptop tether I might give it a shot. If it’s dirt cheap or super cool I’m all ears.
- Speaker: I’d prefer at least one speaker integrated in the case but it’s not a deal breaker. Cheap external powered PC type speakers and a headphone plug may be good enough.
- External Speaker: If it doesn’t have a plug for external speakers I can’t run it through my truck’s dash radio or plug it into my computer for Fldig. That would suck.
- Power: The best solution would be plain old batteries (or rechargeable) with a plug for charging/running on AC. I’m not ruling out a deep cell “grid down” backup but that’s rather extreme. I am not impressed by hand cranks.
- Antenna: I’d like something small that’s attached to or carried with the radio and a plug for when I get off my ass and string X meters of longwire across the pig pen. If it has no plug that’s a bad thing.
- Rugged Case: If it’s tough enough to toss in the passenger seat of the truck without falling apart that’s good enough. It doesn’t have to be waterproof.
- AM/FM: Required so I can sneer at Rush Limbaugh and retch at NPR.
- WX: Not required but appreciated. Bonus points for alarm.
- 2m: Bonus points if it can pick up 2 meter band. Not required.
- Transmit: If it can transmit that’s cool. My price range may be too low for that.
- MP3: A timer that will record a broadcast in the middle of the night is “neat” but I’m not sure I’d use it much.
- Digital: A tenkey to type in a frequency is pretty nice.
- Dials: All men like to turn knobs and dials.
I really do appreciate all recommendations. Unlike politicians I’m open to the idea of making better choices with the benefit of other people’s experiences. It might take several weeks before I muster the funds for a purchase but once I buy something I’ll post a picture; then I’m putting a bullet through the pathetic Radio Shack portable.
P.S. Who is the euroweenie that decided to call “shortwave” by the utterly uncool marketing term “worldband”? Is that new? I was not informed. “Worldband radio” smacks of African children singing socialist propaganda in Esperanto. WTF?