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Author Topic: What radios are remaining domestic HF listeners using?  (Read 817 times)

Offline n2avh

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What radios are remaining domestic HF listeners using?
« on: April 03, 2024, 1807 UTC »
While most domestic non-novelty (so non-US/Europe) HF broadcasting has gone away, there are still a handful of Peruvians, Brazilians, one Colombian and Bolivian and Mexican, a ton of Chinese, and miscellaneous others (Solomon Islands, Tajikistan...), and I'm wondering what radios their alleged listeners are using.  Surely they're not holding on to whatever they used 40 years ago, and (almost) equally surely they're not using Tecsuns. What does that leave?  I suspect that the remaining Latin Americans, which are almost all evangelical (except R Tarma, R Educación, R Nac Amazonia and R Brazil Central), are running on donations from abroad to the point where they don't especially care if they have listeners or not, but maybe that's just me being cynical.
Big into SWDX late 70s through early 90s, then forgot about it and when I returned via SDRs it wasn't at all what I remembered, but I'll deal with it. Grumble, grumble. All SDRs acknowledged, nothing is from my own radio.

Offline RobRich

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Re: What radios are remaining domestic HF listeners using?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2024, 1258 UTC »
Lots of portables out there. There is a reason C. Crane, Degen, Kaito, Tecsun, Sangean, etc. keep turning out new models.

That said think more like inexpensive portables offering AM shortwave reception instead of more radio enthusiast-oriented models. Look at basic models from Retekess, Radiwow, and related (re-)brands. There are various basic shortwave-capable portables for around $10 to $15 even on the US marketplace via Amazon, eBay, etc.

Some of those models are even decent performers. For an example check the reviews for the ~$10 XHDATA D219. Single-chip ICs like the Si4825 have really pushed down SWL radio manufacturing costs.

On a personal note, think I paid around $15 for a tiny Kaito WRX-911 several years ago. It is just a very basic single-chip, single-stage superhet. It worked okay enough for receiving many of the large SWL BCB stations, especially with a 10'-15' wire simply clipped to the antenna.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2024, 1906 UTC by RobRich »
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Offline n2avh

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Re: What radios are remaining domestic HF listeners using?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2024, 1744 UTC »
Thanks for your reply! This is all news to me, since all I see are the too-expensive-for-poor-people models they advertise in QST (not sure what the market is there) and magazines for people who aren't in those countries. I am glad to hear they have options for cheaper radios, and I'm not surprised I haven't seen them.
Big into SWDX late 70s through early 90s, then forgot about it and when I returned via SDRs it wasn't at all what I remembered, but I'll deal with it. Grumble, grumble. All SDRs acknowledged, nothing is from my own radio.

Offline MDK2

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Re: What radios are remaining domestic HF listeners using?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2024, 2050 UTC »
Regarding China, they have tons of domestic oriented broadcasts, so I imagine folks there can afford Tecsuns or better. Exterior services are intended for whomever is listening, whether it's poor folks who'd get cheap receivers or people like us. What the actual listenership is like anywhere, China or beyond, I couldn't say.
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Offline BoomboxDX

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Re: What radios are remaining domestic HF listeners using?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2024, 0941 UTC »
Tecsun, XHDATA, and the Sangean 909X2 are most of what I see being mentioned. Having two of the small XHDATA's (the D-219 and D-328) and a Tecsun PL-398, I understand why these portables with DSP chips are so popular. Relatively inexpensive, and good performance as well.

Much better than the equivalent that was available in the 1970's and 80s (often Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese made transistor multibanders that had varying performance. The modern DSP portables are terrific comparatively, especially when considering the price point. DSP really sounds good, for the most part. Although if the AGC is tight, yeah, it can get pumpy. But then, so is my DX-398.

When i first heard Radio Australia in the very late 1970s it was on a three band portable, using a 60 ft wire. It was heterodyne city. If I'd had a Tecsun, or the digitally tuned XHDATA back then, I would have heard so much more.

So even though there are less stations, varying propagation, etc., the receivers available are really good for the hobby.

The other receivers getting a lot of mention are the various SDRs, and small radios that seem to resemble SDRs, like the Malahit and Belka-DX ones. I see them being mentioned a lot. There's a relatively new radio based on an NXP 'TEF' chip that is getting popular, the Qodosen something or other.

There really are no affordable tabletop / portatops anymore. That ship seems to have sailed. But I would stack my XHDATA D-328 against my FRG-7 for raw, SWBC receive performance any day -- especially when one looks at the cost of each one, accounting for inflation.

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Offline n2avh

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Re: What radios are remaining domestic HF listeners using?
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2024, 1003 UTC »
I just saw a page about a solar-powered radio that's being distributed in third-worldy places to listen to religious stations (AM/FM/SW).  Fixed-frequency, so a little creepy in a North Korean way, but I guess faith-based organizations dependent on donations don't especially want their radios used to listen to nasty things :)

https://sonsetsolutions.org/sonset-radio-features/
Big into SWDX late 70s through early 90s, then forgot about it and when I returned via SDRs it wasn't at all what I remembered, but I'll deal with it. Grumble, grumble. All SDRs acknowledged, nothing is from my own radio.

Offline RobRich

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Re: What radios are remaining domestic HF listeners using?
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2024, 1848 UTC »
A 5v USB connect solar panel in the 4-6 watt range is $20 or less. Add whatever affordable USB-powered/rechargeable receiver. Like ~$40 total. :)

At a slightly higher price, I am partial to the Tecsun PL-330 for a current-generation SSB-capable HF radio. Lots of features for a decent price. On the downside its SSB tuning does have its highpass audio filter set rather jhigh, like most SI473x-based SSB receivers, thus do not expect much bass response like for listening to SSB pirate radio.

The Tecsun PL-368 is about the same radio but in a neat vertical handheld format. It seems to be quite popular with outdoor enthusiasts.

If you do not care about SSB support, then the prices really come down. Some of even the more affordable models even support the NOAA VHF weather band, Bluetooth, MP3 playback via SD card, and/or more.
Tampa, FL USA | US Map Grid EL88
Airspy HF+ Discovery | KiwiSDR 2 | 2x Msi2500 Msi001 | 2x RTL-SDR V3 + NE602 | 2x RTL-SDR V4
148' Loop-on-Ground | 31' Vertical | 18' End-Fed Vertical | 9' NCPL | PA0NHC MiniWhip

Offline R. Comeau

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Re: What radios are remaining domestic HF listeners using?
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2024, 1952 UTC »
Still using my trusty (32 years and still going) Drake R-8, with a 60-ft longwire antenna.