Author Topic: portable SW/AM/FM mini-review roundup  (Read 1051 times)

Offline Alan Georges

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portable SW/AM/FM mini-review roundup
« on: December 02, 2018, 12:44:48 PM »
Just up today (and in time for Christmas), a roundup and quick reviews of the SWLing Post's favorite portable radios:  https://swling.com/blog/2018/12/best-of-the-best-reviews-of-some-of-my-favorite-portable-shortwave-radios/

They're broken out into price categories, $25-$50, $50-$100, $100-$200, and $200+.  He doesn't go < $25, but in that range something like the Kaito KA321 for $20 over at Amazon is a good pick.  Not really that much on shortwave these days, between state-owned broadcaster budget cuts and poor HF propagation, but everyone needs a decent battery AM/FM radio and at these prices you might as well get SW coverage too.

Offline leadeye

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Re: portable SW/AM/FM mini-review roundup
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2018, 09:42:34 PM »
thanks for the info. I've been looking to step up from my County Comm GP5.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: portable SW/AM/FM mini-review roundup
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2018, 06:29:33 AM »
Please don't let politics leak over into the comms forum.  Many of us here have found useful preparedness-related comms information at that site, and I at least have never noticed any overt political slant to the postings there.

Offline armymars

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Re: portable SW/AM/FM mini-review roundup
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2018, 08:55:53 AM »
leadeye,
  I like my GP5. I use it with my Super Tuna][ Plus for QRP. If you find another radio
radio with better AGC though I would like to see it.

Offline Pabrides

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Re: portable SW/AM/FM mini-review roundup
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2018, 09:23:08 AM »
leadeye,
  I like my GP5. I use it with my Super Tuna][ Plus for QRP. If you find another radio
radio with better AGC though I would like to see it.

Kool Kombo, armymars.  I was thinking along the same lines, except I bought a DEGEN and a pixy 40 meter.  Sure, I own a Yaesu 897 just for looks, but QRP combinations like yours really make ham radio a kick in the pants.... Have fun, mate.

Offline armymars

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Re: portable SW/AM/FM mini-review roundup
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2018, 10:26:42 AM »
OT?  The agc is weak in the GP5 SSB. The 680 with BFO looks good for CW. I need to keep looking.

Offline leadeye

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Re: portable SW/AM/FM mini-review roundup
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2018, 10:03:44 PM »
If I ever get past my tech. license I might try the Super Tuna. I like the GP5 which gives me access to the CB channels as well as ham and SW. I've been thinking about the tecsuns to see if they have better performance but ultimately it's probably more about the antenna and propagation.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: portable SW/AM/FM mini-review roundup
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2018, 06:11:43 AM »
leadeye, the one gripe I hear about the GP5 is that it doesn't have a keypad so it takes a while to hop between stations at known frequencies.  After that it's the same Si Labs chip on the inside as a lot of radios costing a good bit more, so you're right, it's more about the antenna.

I hate to hear that the AGC could be better though, armymars.  Is it bad, annoying, or just something that's mildly noticeable?  I keep thinking of getting one of these to take  backpacking.  At 85g, it's much lighter than my PL-660.

Finally, I've got to comment on an older post I made:
Please don't let politics leak over into the comms forum.
If anyone's wondering, it's a scar left over from some earlier unpleasantries that the mods deleted.  (Thanks!  :))  Doesn't apply to anything that's going on here now.

Offline leadeye

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Re: portable SW/AM/FM mini-review roundup
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2018, 01:34:15 PM »
It's a shame to here they have the same chip. I have gotten used to the button function on the GP5 even though it takes time. I do wish they had a plugin for an antenna but overall I like it. After the holidays I'll be playing around with antenna to see how I can improve on reception.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: portable SW/AM/FM mini-review roundup
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2018, 08:45:10 PM »
Spoke too soon.  Here's the SWLing Post's earlier review of the GP5, which has some sound clips that highlight the AGC problem: https://swling.com/blog/2014/12/a-review-of-the-countycomm-gp5ssb-portable-radio-a-great-emergency-portable/; search on "agc" and you'll get right to them.  You can hear the problem and it's definitely there, but it's not that bad. 

I need another radio like a hole in the head, but 85 grams and 89 bucks, and I know I'll regret it if these things sell out before I snag one.  Meh, wait until after the 1st and the holidays are all over, then I'll decide.  Mmmm, comes in tacticool gray and I've already got a reel antenna....

Offline armymars

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Re: portable SW/AM/FM mini-review roundup
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2018, 06:45:36 PM »
leadeye,
  You can plug in your Ham or SW antenna into the GP5 where you plug in the AM bar antenna. All is good.