Author Topic: Suggestions For SW radios  (Read 791 times)

Offline AL_as_needed

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Suggestions For SW radios
« on: December 18, 2016, 02:20:22 PM »
Been playing around with a Montgomery Ward Airline 8 Band, works well enough and on a good day in a decent location can pick up some pretty far flung places. Over the last few weeks I think it has exposed me to a new bug....amateur radio. (great, another collectible ::))

So....I need some wisdom, any recommendations on a particular brand/type of radio that has some better range? Bands on the airline seem limited in terms of band frequency width (not sure if that's the right term).

TWinbrook7

Offline TelePlay

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Re: Suggestions For SW radios
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2016, 02:42:37 PM »
How much money do you have or want to spend?

You will get a lot of advice and replies from members who are or have been HAMS.

I've always been intrigued by short wave and a couple of years ago, after a lot of looking and deciding what I wanted, I bought a very nice Yaesu FRG-7 analog receiver off of eBay from a guy who refurbishes them and sells them with original manuals and schematics, and as warranty that it will work for some period of time. I think I paid about $250 plus shipping.

The newer FRG-7 variants are digital.

I like it. With reasonable external antenna and good ground connection, I have fun pulling in stations from around the world, government, commercial and HAM. But this is just my opinion and I have only one radio, ever. Other will be able to give you better advice.

I do have one of the early Zenith Trans-Oceanic Wave Magnetic Shortwave Tube Radio that I found in an antique store for $90 that I've been wanting to electronically update, for historical reasons. This was a portable or AC powered radio and can be seen on one of the early MASH episodes - the history of this portable short wave radio, why it was created, when it was put into production and where it was used, is a fascinating read as part of radio history.

Both of my radios are in much better condition than the images below, grabbed off of eBay as example only.
            John . . .

              

Offline AL_as_needed

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Re: Suggestions For SW radios
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2016, 02:50:00 PM »
For myself the money issue is two fold; While i dont have a money tree in the back yard and would rather find something affordable, I also understand the overall value aspect (just as in phone collecting).

I have read around and have seen sets from 40$ up to 4,000$ and I would not mind saving up for a set that will last a long time, easily repaired, and work well. To put into phone terms as I'm very new to the world or radios, a WE 500 equivalent in the radio world be my "ideal", even if the price is well over 100$.
TWinbrook7

Offline rdelius

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Re: Suggestions For SW radios
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2016, 07:31:54 PM »
Sangean makes many models Aviod the slide rule multi band sets.Some older Sony or Radio Shack portable sets can be bought also.There are old Hallicrafter sets around but they have analog tuning.I used to listen alot on my Hallicrafters SX 28 set or my military R290a but the bands are rather boring with Radio Moscow,R Netherlands etc gone.i think China is still on the air along with Cuba.Ham call was Ka4psn

Offline TelePlay

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Re: Suggestions For SW radios
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2016, 08:11:39 PM »
You might enjoy reading through this 10 page topic that started with an interesting USB dongle that started the topic and morphed into adding a Ham-It-Up box to make your computer an all band receiver, visually, which makes it easy to find "on-air" signals and tune into them rather than scanning an analog or digital receiver for activity.

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=14816.0

DavePEI started it and I duplicated his set up. Initially it was to track airplanes overhead using the ADS-B software with a unique antenna. Then came the Ham-It-Up conversion box and a whole 'nother venture into radio reception. There is nothing like tuning an old radio to pick up stuff but this computer version "shows" what's out there making the search more understandable.
            John . . .

              

Offline AL_as_needed

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Re: Suggestions For SW radios
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2016, 10:39:13 PM »
A lot of mention of those Hallicrafters sets has been coming up in my research, and analog tuning isnt a turn-off per say.

Teleplay, am i understanding correctly that this hardware scans all bands at once? The  just displays whats coming in?
TWinbrook7

Offline Fabius

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Re: Suggestions For SW radios
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2016, 10:59:32 PM »
For a classic receiver I use the Hallicrafter SX-130.It receives AM and 1.725 to 31.5 MHz.
Tom Vaughn
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Offline TelePlay

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Re: Suggestions For SW radios
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2016, 12:13:42 AM »
Teleplay, am i understanding correctly that this hardware scans all bands at once? The  just displays whats coming in?

No, it has a software selector for say 20 meters and then displays the spectrum of all signals in that range. You can move the cursor to what appears to be a signal, a peak, to see if it's CW, AM, SSB, teletype or whatever. After using it a while, you can tell the difference between these just by how the peak is pulsating. It is possible to scan between popular pre-set band. You can also adjust the bandwidth seen on the screen to widen are area of interest to zero in on the peak and then select USB, LSB, AM or other as needed to hear the transmission.

Here is an example of what is seen over the spectrum selected (from that 10 page topic), 20 meters - the shift factor was not entered in this first image.



Here is an example of the spectrum I was seeing in 20 meters from that topic while listening to whatever the conversation was at 14.260 (note the shift factor of -124.998.200 to get the actual reading). There were 13 or 14 HAMS on the air in this screen capture.



At that point, if I had a short wave radio, I could tune it to 14.260 and hear it that way. The computer shows everything out there is a selected spectrum, makes it a lot easier to find something interesting other than just scanning a digital or analog radio. It's a lot of fun both ways. Just something about hearing SW on a old radio that is more satisfying but it's a lot easier to listen to a lot of stuff by changing to a specific active frequency with the computer software. DavePEI says some radios have the spectrum capability but they are expensive. I think the computer set up totaled about $100 including buying the box to house the Ham-It-Up, building an antenna and getting the proper cabling. It runs off of USB power.

DavePEI is much better at explaining this than I am so, Dave, if I made an error, please correct me.
            John . . .

              

Offline 19and41

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Re: Suggestions For SW radios
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2016, 05:17:23 PM »
For a straight communications receiver, I got a Hallicrafters S-107 and went through it and replaced the paper and electrolytic filter capacitors.  It is a very good performer in both the broadcast and shortwave bands.  I also regularly listen to my Magnavox 153B console that has both broadcast and shortwave.  Setting up a decent outdoor antenna and ground rod has enhanced the reception over trying to use indoor antennae that mainly gets various power supplies in the house.
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