What was/is your favorite shortwave receiver?

I had two. My first favorite was a Hammarlund HQ-140X. I wish I still had it. My second was a Kenwood R-1000.

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radio8z's picture

Signal Corps Radio Receiver BC-1004-C (made by Hammarlund cs 1943).  Been using this since 1969.  Recently recapped.  Highly selective, sensitive, and great audio.

Neil

 

Carl Blare's picture

Of the many different models in the Zenith Transoceanic series of receivers mine is the 2nd solid-state version, and still works today almost as good as it did in the early 1970s when it was new.

Now that the great age of shortwave is past (Deutsche Welle, Radio Netherlands, BBC, Radio Canada and heaps of others) I mostly ignore shortwave.

When I do check it there is an overabundance of christian commercials and maybe Alex Jones selling his male booster pills.

Let me grab this thread and turn it into a pitch...

At the earliest opportunity we ask the FCC to set aside a batch of shortwave frequencies for unlicensed hobby use with up to 30-Watts. There is no reason not to.

Carl Blare

radio8z's picture

I also have a Yaesu FRG-100 receiver which is a good radio but is not as sensitive nor selective as the BC-1004-C.  I bought this radio so I could listen to the BBC and other non US news stations.  Alas, most of them are gone now so the radio mainly gathers dust.  This radio is not very good for AM BCB DX because Yaesu included an attenuator for the AM BCB which cannot be switched off.  Presumably, this was to reduce adjacent channel interference.  Maybe a more selective receiver would have been a better approach but possibly since this radio is already over priced the added cost would have killed it in the market.

The BC-1004-C is excellent for snooping around the AM broadcast band and the dial calibration is spot on for indicating the exact station frequency.  No need for a digital display to do this.

Neil

 

wdcx's picture

That's a mighty fine looking receiver. Have you/ did you use it on the amateur bands? I wonder how it stacked up against my HQ-140X which like I said, I wish I still had.

Druid Hills Radio AM-1610- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC. We do not censor free speech and hide public information.

radio8z's picture

John,

I assume you are referring to the FRG-100.  No, I never used it for ham stuff.  I used it to receive BBC and other world news services since it was really interesting to hear reports with different perspectives from those of US media.  It is also handy for WWV and CHU time checks.  Alas, these uses are now obsolete.

There is a mod published which instructs on how to remove the BCB attenuator but I haven't torn into the radio to do this.  There is a noticable difference between the FRG-100 sensitivity and that of the BC-1004 on the BCB with the latter able to receive weak and distant stations which are not listenable on the former.

I think it is really stupid for Yaesu to solve a BCB overload problem (according to some web reports) in this manner.

Neil

 

wdcx's picture

Sorry, I was not celar. I meant how does the BC-1004-C compare to the HQ-140X and have you ever used it for ham radio operation.

Druid Hills Radio AM-1610- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC. We do not censor free speech and hide public information.

Thelegacy's picture

Have to comment just a little on Carl's opinion of making a few frequencies in the Shortwave band available to Hobby Unlicensed Broadcasting...This is what Alan Weiner wanted to propose to the FCC.  He does seem to have a little knowledge as to what the FCC would probably allow.  He was talking about 6.9Mhz-7Mhz or somewhere around there for this purpose.  And at 30 Watts you may be able to skywave when conditions are favorable as many Ham's have done quite well down there with that amount of power.

 

I'd also recommend AM as the allowedd form of modulation so you could get listeners to buy Radio's to hear you.

 

OK enough said about this I want to know has anyone tried the County Comm GP-5SSB or anything from them.  What about the Digitech SSB Radio's.  I want a portable I can use to monitor shortwave and one that has a DB meter on it to check signal strength on AM and FM too should I experiment with AM, need to adjust my FM, or want to listen to Ham's and Pirate Shortwave stations for fun.

Progressive Rock (Album Rock, Deep Tracks), Classic Rock

http://thelegacy.shorturl.com

More Power for Hobby Broadcasters

http://the-initiative.boards.net/

radio8z's picture

The primary use for the BC-1004 was to listen to shortwave news and propaganda broadcasts.  At the time there were some US programs on SW which I could not receive otherwise. 

The only ham related use was to tune in W1AW for code practice sessions.  Once licensed I used my Drake TR-3 transceiver for ham activities.

I have not used the HQ-140X but it appears very close to the BC-1004 in features and functions.  If you are interested in the inner workings of the HQ-140X you might enjoy this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kT57s0kCAk

Neil

 

wdcx's picture

Transmitting in SSB would be much better than AM.

Druid Hills Radio AM-1610- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC. We do not censor free speech and hide public information.

wdcx's picture

That's a great video!!

Druid Hills Radio AM-1610- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC. We do not censor free speech and hide public information.

DarkThirtyAM's picture

I use an SSR dongle with my android tablet, and I get pretty good signal on shortwave.

CONSPIRACY & CHILL

MRAM's picture

They're all favorites.

Currently I use my portables mostly; Grundig Traveler G8, Radio Shack 375 and 440

I have a few Hallicrafter S-120 AM-SW around (one upstairs, one in the shop, one at work.)  This was the first SW Mom got me for Christmas when I was about 10.  Still have it!

I have a Hallicrafter S-20R, a cast off refurbished to working condition.

There's a GE Super Tuner and a little portable regen great for camping.

I guess a favorite was a Hamarlund HQ-129X, my first Ham Novice receiver.  I had to let it go when times were tough.  It was a boat anchor but a great performer.  Hopefully someone, somewhere is still enjoying it...

by MRAM

Charter Member - Association of Low Power Broadcasters

Member Station - ALPB

jimhenry2000's picture

When I was in my early teens I first listened to SW on my parents' Blaupunkt AM/FM/SW/Phono console.  At the same time I did my AM BCB DX'ing on an old (even then) cathedral style radio on a 100' long wire antenna run across our yard. Later I went to a Radio Shack DX-160.  I wish I could find that.  I have the original box and manual but can't find the radio.  I replaced that with a RS version of a Sangean digital AM/FM/SW radio. Don't remember the model# but I still have that one.  Since I got into collecting and restoring antique radios though I've really taken to Zenith Transoceanics which is what I now use for SWL. I do have one fully restored solid-state RD7000Y that I sometimes use but my favoites are the tube based ZTOs. I currently have about 20 of them including a near museum quality restore of an A600 which unfortunately has recently come down with silver mica disease. Right now my main player is an unrestored Y600. Don't know why but I just seem to gravitate to Y600s.  I also have several H500s and a couple G500s.  They all get occasional use but due to the dearth of good listening on SW I use them all mostly for AM BCB DXing. 

Jim Henry HBR Radio 1610, serving Honey Brook, PA. and NW Chester County.

http://www.airpower.com/HBR.htm

radio8z's picture

When I was a wee lad about 7 or 8 years old I would listen to short wave on the family's console radio/phonograph.  I would hear a warbling sound (RTTY or fax) and would ask my father about this.  He said "That's the sound of a jungle.  They placed a microphone there so we could enjoy the bird songs."

Jamming was all over the bands then and once again my father had an explanation: "That is the sound of a sawmill.  They place the microphones there....etc."

No wonder a cousin, referring to my father, once stated "Who could believe anything he said?"

I can't really remember if I ever said the same thing to my kids when they heard the strange sounds but my grandkids will be here in a few days and maybe.....

Neil

 

Darsen the Third's picture

I cut my teeth on my dad's Hallicrafters S-20R. When I was a young kid and had to stay home from school on sick days, he'd put it next to the bed and let me dial around. Even without an outside antenna, I would pick up some amazing sounds in exotic languages. 

Later in my 20s came a hand-me-down Zenith Trans-Oceanic tube model with the detachable loop antenna. From my rented farmhouse in Massachusetts, I DX'd dozens of faraway AM stations and a bunch of SW. One night a dry resistor cracked open and the whole issue went up in a brown cloud. 

After that years later, a Sangean portable, an Icom PCR1000, and now a $25 SDR dongle on a Linux laptop. If I were offered any one of these again today, out of any of them, I would definitely take the S-20R followed by the Icom.

Darsen the III

THE DMV

MRAM's picture

Digital tuning is great.  SDR's are new and fun to play with.

But, there's just something about air variable tuning caps and vacuum tubes.  I just feel more connected to that distant voice

Yes, it may drift a bit with line voltage changes.  And, sometimes the band switch is a little noisey.  But, it still feels and sounds better.

The mention of Cathedral radios reminded me of three very old radios from my childhood that I played with for hours; Zenith, Philco and Spartan.

by MRAM

Charter Member - Association of Low Power Broadcasters

Member Station - ALPB

rock95seven's picture

My favorite had to be the Sangean ATS 818, I had the Radio Shack version "Realistic DX 390". It is/was a great receiver.

I have considered buying another one from Ebay, it was just a lot fun to tune around the bands with on a long wire antenna. It sure beats the Grundig G3 I have now.

The radio.

 Barry of 1200 AM BBR http://www.geocities.ws/bbrcomms/ - WQYY 664

Darsen the Third's picture

Okay, perhaps it's cheating, but right now Im a big fan of WEBSDR.ORG

Using it, I can tune in on any one of 160 SDR receivers peppered all over the world. I can hear stations I had never thought possible from countries I would never visit in my lifetime.

It lacks the charm of fiddling with dials and trimming antennas, but it works well and brings me the same world of wonder my Dad's old Hallicrafters did.

Darsen the III

THE DMV

MICRO1700's picture

I'm on my second.  Such quality after 

60 plus years.  It has held calibration

after all this time.

I've been fortunate to have used many

radios.  I also had an HQ-170C and

an HQ-100.

I kick myself for not buying that used

Japan Radio Company NRD-515 in

1983.  I could talk for hours about this

stuff.

Brooce

NOISE AND STATIC RADIO

MICRO1700's picture

Regarding the weird sounds

heard on the shortwave bands

- -  I heard jammers also.  A lot

of them

sounded like propeller driven

airplanes.  And that's what I thought they

were.  As if some guy was flying a plane

with the mike stuck in the transmit

position.  Decades and decades later

I did hear exactly that!  In the 108 - 136

MHz aircraft band late at night was the

sound of a real prop plane.  It sounded

like a big aircraft with 2 engines.  I could

hear the sounds of the motors phasing

with each other - I think.  I heard it for

a while - and rhen the noise just faded

away.

Brooce

NOISE AND STATIC RADIO

jimhenry2000's picture

Lately it's  still been the Zenith TO Y600.  Love good tube radios! 

Jim Henry HBR Radio 1610, serving Honey Brook, PA. and NW Chester County.

http://www.airpower.com/HBR.htm

wdcx's picture

Before I upgraded to a 140X I had a Knight Kit Ocean Hopper. It was a regen receiver and a very simple circuit. I only had money enough for the single AM band coil. I got gutsy enough to modify the coil based on coil windings from "How to Become a Radio Amateur." It worked! I was able to hear CW and decode SSB signals for the first time. I was 14 years old at the time.

Druid Hills Radio AM-1610- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC. We do not censor free speech and hide public information.

Oldie919's picture

My Dad built an Ocean Hopper back in the '50s....I was a bit young to help much, but did a LOT of watching as he soldered parts and mounted tube sockets....IIRC, this little unit COULD drive a speaker, but Dad used the (supplied??) single-element headset....

Dad had coils for all bands from BCB to 10 meters.....and a 50' long-wire antenna strung across the roof of our house made for some interesting listening...my first recollection was Radio Cologne -- they were playing the American Banstand theme song ("Bandstand Boogie" by Les Elgart).....this was 1958.....I was 6!!! Even at that tender age I knew radio was going to be more for me than just a box to listen to.....After nearly 30 years as an announcer and engineer I'm "semi-retired".....still running my Part 15 FM on weekends and - at the moment -trying to breathe new life into some vintage cart machines!!:)

wdcx's picture

I wish I still had my Ocean Hopper.

Druid Hills Radio AM-1610- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC. We do not censor free speech and hide public information.

Carl Blare's picture

Back in Post # 3 I talked about my Zenith Transoceanic Radio and I have two more things to say about it.

It is a very stable analog tuning radio with dial tuning and an pointer that sweeps from left to right pointing at frequency numbers. By "stable" I mean it doesn't drift. Well, sometimes it drifts just a little bit over a long period of time but here's why it matters to me...

When I DX, which means when I listen for station reception across the dial and on different bands, there's no thrill with digital tuning that is more like little windows that peer at limited chunks of dial but keep the listener outside of the experience.

With a vernier tuning knob it feels like you are there, in the experience, part of the ether. Much more worthwhile.

All three of the analog dial tuning radios purchased in recent years are junk because they drift by the minute.

There is a beautiful looking little Grundig AM/FM/SW that is so terrible on shortwave that strong stations come in at two places on the dial and when stations are tuned in they're suddenly not tuned in and have to be searched for all over again. On AM the stations need to be re-tuned every 5-minutes.

I got a large Grundig U1 Construction Site Radio that looks like a yellow gas meter with a 4-Watt audio amplifier which is wonderfully sensitive on both AM & FM but it needs to be re-tuned every few seconds and the drift has no relation to the ambient temperature.

And the final iteration of the fabled Super Radio available briefly from C.Crane sounds wonderful but tuning a station in takes frustrating patience because the thing jumps off frequency as it's just about tuned in, over and over again.

Now back to the Transoceanic which has one major disappointment... despite having many shortwave band selections, it does not tune to 13.560 MHz and that's the channel we use for Part 15 transmission!

The bottom line is, if the radios are junk the hobby falls flat.

I'm going away mad.

Carl Blare

MRAM's picture

I recently added a new Tecsun PL-600.  LW, AM. FM, SW with BFO for SSB and CW.

So far, seems to work very well.

by MRAM

Charter Member - Association of Low Power Broadcasters

Member Station - ALPB