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Good / Best all around modern SWL receiver

Discussion in 'Scanning & Shortwave Listening' started by scoobis, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. scoobis

    scoobis New Member

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    I'm looking for some good candidates for an all around good MODERN swl receiver. I've seen similar threads but they always digress into peoples favorite old radio, or some high end radios no one can afford. with the computer age, and the dying out of many international broadcasters, one of the attractions on radio are digital communication modes, and LF i'm sure people can list more things but my point is that a modern receiver shouldn't have problems letting you explore those easily.

    with all the recent advancements, pulling signals out of a tight band, pulling out week dx signals, and not being overloaded by powerful stations should be minimal expectations.



    so i set up a few ground rules for listing a good modern radios for modern SWL use.

    1, digital readout for frequency ,,, lets get into the 21'st century
    2. easy interface to a computer for all digital modes - no major hacks needed (built in is fine too)
    3. frequency coverage preferably 150khz-30mhz to include LF hobbyists.
    4. no major receive issues, imd issues, imaeges, birdies, overloading, and so on with usable selectivity and sensitivity, bandwidths etc.
    5. shouln't break the bank, though we would all love there are some great 5000 dollar recievers, for msot of is, its not plausible. that dosn't preclude listing high dollar receivers, just keep in mind, it should be hobbiest accessible. Champagne performance on a beer budget is a plus
    6. transceivers with general coverage receive are ok to list

    so in example, using a rtl-sdr dongle with a upconverter would fit except for the image issues and other artifacts and also issues with overloading. so not a device id recommend for the serious swl hobbiest as thier main receiver.

    the receivers / transceivers can be new or discontinued, can be desktop tabletop, sdr, protable, dosn;t matter as long as the performance is good and it meets the above criteria.

    so i will start with somthing i recently acquired, an airspyHF+
    specs are out on the net. but my personal experience is its got good sensitivity and selectivity, and interfaces with most programs for the digital side. and upside and downside is that it is an SDR so, its 100 percent computer controlled. so far no bad behavior, and has yet to overload or .have any spurs etc.

    What have you found that works for you, please lisit it!
     
    #1 scoobis, Jan 7, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018

  2. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    IMO there are two classes of "modern" SW radios and neither meet your expectations. One class is the cheaper portable versions that rarely even cover SSB so that eliminates digital modes and the other class is the really high end receivers costing $$$$. Long gone are the days when many manufacturers made really decent table-top SW receivers that just plain worked well. I started in SWL about 40 years ago and have seen a steady decline in both quality and quantity available on the market. The best best is probably look for a decent amateur radio with general coverage receiver but depending on your budget that may be out of the question. The best bet is to look for something older but high quality. I would love to have pretty much anything made by JRC or Drake. If and I stress the word IF, you can find a Kenwood R-820 grab it..............then sell it to ME :D LOL. It would go nicely with my TS-820S transceiver. They are one of the best older SW radios there is. Digital modes can be monitored via an audio connection to a computer as with any radio.
     
  3. BJ radionut

    BJ radionut Supporting Member and 6m addict

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  4. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    Gary......I see the external antenna input on that is labeled AM EXT ANT so I assume that is for the standard broadcast band only. Does it extend down to LW as well and is there a provision for an external antenna for SW? Also how does the radio perform with a long wire attached? Most portable radios such as that overload badly when a good longwire is attached which is one of the main reasons I dislike them.
     
  5. 2RT307

    2RT307 Sr. Member

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    I run a Tecsun PL-660 for portable, mostly hf ssb reception, and it works quite well. You might take a look at the SDR Play Rsp-1a and Rsp-2. You can catch the 1a for 99 bucks on sale from time to time at HRO, and its performance is pretty impressive, with filtering built in. Rsp-2 has seperate antenna inputs, and good performance as well, but the price point is around 170 dollars. 200+ for the pro version with a metal case.

    73,
    Brett
     
  6. 338_MtRushmore

    338_MtRushmore Well-Known Member

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    I also have the tecsun pl-660, and it actually works quite well. The major issue I have is the UI is not very intuitive, and it makes me angry when I haven't used it in a while.

    It sounds like you are wanting an SDR, or a transceiver. I think it would be near impossible to find a receiver that would outperform those for less money.
     
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  7. scoobis

    scoobis New Member

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    [QUOTE="Captain Kilowatt, post: 612124, member: 39". If and I stress the word IF, you can find a Kenwood R-820 grab it..............then sell it to ME :D LOL. It would go nicely with my TS-820S transceiver. [/QUOTE]

    I have to say, owning a ts-830S i am highly impressed with its receive. i didnt know there was an r-830
     
  8. scoobis

    scoobis New Member

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    Anyone own a tecsun s-2000 id think with its 455 if out, it would open up some interesting possibilities.
     
  9. sp5it

    sp5it Master of puppets

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    Portable or base use?
    For serious base use I suggest Racal 1772 or similar.
    For portable/home I would go for http://www.afedri-sdr.com/ or similar.
    Mike
     
  10. BJ radionut

    BJ radionut Supporting Member and 6m addict

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    http://www.wb4hfn.com/KENWOOD/SALES-FLYERS/R-820 FLYER.pdf
    Good Luck finding a working model...In the last 30 years I have seen maybe 2
    R1000/R2000/R5000 Kenwoods were all pretty good also...but getting old...no parts available.
    All the Best
    Gary
     
  11. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    I have to say, owning a ts-830S i am highly impressed with its receive. i didnt know there was an r-830[/QUOTE]

    There isn't. I said an R-820. It would mate perfectly with my TS-820S.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    Yup. I have an R-1000 and it is pretty good but lacks a good notch filter. I missed a nice R-820 on Ebay about two years ago when it went for a stupid amount of $$$. :( They are out there from time to time but the prices on them are high and most do not have the proprietary interface cables allowing it to function as a separate rx or rx VFO when interfaced with the TS-820S.
     
  13. BJ radionut

    BJ radionut Supporting Member and 6m addict

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    CK: I have used that Ant input a few times...it seems to function on all bands BUT FM.
    However I normally just take about 30 ft of wire when camping and just clip lead it to the plug, I made up and it works for me just fine.
    It also has an RF gain control and a "FAIR" fixed AGC circuit which seems to slow any real overload issues(never really noticed anything bad overload wise) so just MHO.
    All the Best
    Gary.
    PS: Sounds pretty damn nice on SSB/CW using the narrow filter...Not like my FTdx3000D...but for a portable OK...
     
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  14. scoobis

    scoobis New Member

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    what about a JRC nrd-545 - maybe a bit high on the price scale,
     
  15. 2RT307

    2RT307 Sr. Member

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    They made some great stuff, and the specs are impressive on that receiver. But, for that kind of money, getting a used rig from a company that has not done amateur gear since 2002 (support?), I would either look at an hf rig with general coverage, or a higher end dsp. But that's just me. If you like knobs, dsp's aren't necessarily the way to go without adding some doo-dads. But once you have played with a dsp and panadapter, and the ability to see signals on a screen, it's hard to go back to a traditional rig and spinng that vfo all day to find something to listen to.

    73,
    Brett
     

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