Author Topic: Broadcast FM Portable Radio Mega-Shootout  (Read 3220 times)

Offline Alan Georges

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Broadcast FM Portable Radio Mega-Shootout
« on: May 27, 2017, 08:25:31 AM »
Broadcast FM is almost always line-of-sight, limiting the usual range to something around 60 miles.  That's boring compared to AM and SW.  Still... in emergencies you've got to have it.  When things are going bad, having some boring reliability is good!  Just as he earlier did for AM receivers, Radio Jay Allen's put together a comparison compilation of FM receivers here:
https://radiojayallen.com/fm-portables-mega-shootout/

If you're looking for the similar thread on the AM radio shootout, it's still here:
http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=53926.0

Offline Carl

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Re: Broadcast FM Portable Radio Mega-Shootout
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2017, 10:11:04 AM »
  Great post,with some surprises. Price does not always equal capability.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Broadcast FM Portable Radio Mega-Shootout
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2017, 12:21:24 PM »
Pleasantly surprised to see the C. Crane CC-2E do well on FM, in addition to its excellent AM performance.

It's my go to radio, gets used everyday, mostly on FM, and it's worth every penny.  Whether plugged into the wall, or running outside on 4 D cells, it's a joy to use and listen to.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Broadcast FM Portable Radio Mega-Shootout
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2017, 12:25:14 PM »
Thanks Carl.  The good thing about broadcast FM is that even a cheap radio works pretty darned well.  Can't say the same about AM or SW.

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Broadcast FM Portable Radio Mega-Shootout
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2017, 06:16:33 PM »
I just got the Tecsun PL-380, which is not part of the linked review.  I am not a radio nerd, just an average consumer.  But this seems like a great value for the $41-$47 price.  Good Am/Fm reception so far in suburban Portland, still have to take it out a ways to try remote reception.  I like the 100s of memory presets available, and the ability to easily add/remove/scan presets, as well as browse either frequencies or presets.  It is near-pocket size and weight, very portable and uses 3 AA batteries, and has a micro-USB port for recharging. I get all the local Portland FM stations without extending the antenna.  While the speaker is acceptable for a radio this size, the earbuds greatly improve the bass.  Some reviewers on Amazon complain the controls are too complex.  But they work in a consistent manner (short press/long press) and is easy to learn if you READ THE MANUAL. :)  For me the SW capability is a bonus; I have not tried it yet and I am happy with this as a travel and around the shop AM/FM radio.

https://www.amazon.com/Tecsun-Radio-PL-380-Stereo-Receiver/dp/B0035X1EC2/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1496966884&sr=1-1&keywords=tecsun+pl-380


Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Broadcast FM Portable Radio Mega-Shootout
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2017, 07:18:26 PM »
They're good radios, NWP, and at that price it's a can't-miss.  Congratulations!

Quote
Some reviewers on Amazon complain the controls are too complex.  But they work in a consistent manner (short press/long press) and is easy to learn if you READ THE MANUAL. :)
+1 for RTFMing from the get-go.

Tomorrow's exercise (assuming you get home from work in time): listen to the one decent blues show on the air, on shortwave 9350KHz at 6pm CDT (I think that's 4pm PDT?).  Only comes on on Fridays.

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Broadcast FM Portable Radio Mega-Shootout
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2017, 04:44:45 AM »
Hey thanks for the frequency tip, Alan!  That will give me something to try out on the SW.  Since I am mostly retired I'll have plenty of time to hunt this down.

I gave my old Magnavox to my 9 yr old grandson.  I told him if he can take care of it and learn to use it (simple AM/FM) this year then next year I will get him a PL-380, too so he can explore SW listening.  I also gave him 4 Enloop AAs and a simple charger so he will have endless battery life for it.  He is already becoming the class computer geek so I guess radio/SW might be right up his alley, too.  In the mean time I will help him learn about the PL-380 features and give him time to explore on his own when he visits in the afternoons after school.

If we both enjoy the SW listening then maybe we'll get a bigger set later next year and really dig into the HAM technical side.  I think there is a lot to learn even without getting into transmitting yet.  As I said, I have never gotten into radio beyond being a consumer, but this would be a blast if it is something my grandson ends up enjoying.  He has been very persistent "borrowing" my wife's pocket radio and asking more questions.  You and Carl have a lot of knowledge that I am sure we will be picking away at over the next several months.  Thanks to you guys for sharing your wealth of hard earned experience.

ETA:  This was part of my radio upgrade for the year.  I got the PL-380 to have the speed and precision of digital tuning, plus added a RavPower battery pack (16750mAh, which houses five of the 18650 lithium batteries and has two USB ports of 2.1A and 2.4A), and a 16W RavPower solar charger.  Well, and to upgrade 1980s gear to the 21st century! The battery pack also will do double duty for charging our phones when camping and traveling, or for disaster/power outages.  I already have  2000W Honda generator, some deep cycle batteries and an inverter for lager stuff.  Something as important as communications though (phone+radio) I thought should have its own dedicated and more portable power set up.  The solar panel will also test out practicality for running a charger for all my 18650 and AAA/AA Enloops for flashlights and FRS radios.  My plan is to have my deep cycle batteries charged by AC or generator for the home, an inverter run off each of my vehicles for travel and house backup, and then smaller lithium battery packs for mobile devices such as laptop, phones, flashlights and various types of radios.  For some reason this little AM/FM/SW radio seems to kind of tie it all together. Or at least be the seed for bringing those disparate efforts into a focused plan.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2017, 05:05:36 AM by NWPilgrim »

Offline Soladaddy

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Re: Broadcast FM Portable Radio Mega-Shootout
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2017, 11:55:16 AM »
Just picked up the Sangean PR-D4W mainly to use in an office at work. Back in the 80s I had a GE Superradio. Little did I know it was the benchmark for FM radios.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Broadcast FM Portable Radio Mega-Shootout
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2020, 11:53:55 PM »
Just picked up the Sangean PR-D4W mainly to use in an office at work.

That's an excellent radio with good performance at a high value price, competing with the much more expensive CCRadios.