Which portable radio has the best AM/FM reception?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by dead of night, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. dead of night

    dead of night Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northern Va, usa
    Hi, under $500, which portable radio has the best long distance AM/FM reception, and the best selectivity and sensitivity?
  2. R. Totale

    R. Totale The Voice of Reason

    Location:
    Eastern USA
    The bargain target was always the GE Superadio, now sold as the RCA RP7887 Superadio III (since RCA bought that GE division a few years ago). With $500 to spend you can maybe do better, but for under $70 you probably can't.
  3. head_unit

    head_unit Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles CA USA
    My buddy is into DXing when he goes out camping. Strings out long cords through the trees to try and find remote stations. He swears by this joint:
    www.ccrane.com/
    who did have a quite good HD Radio antenna we used when others did not work.
  4. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    Zenith Trans-Oceanic up to D 7000-Y model. And hand wired, transistors in socket USA made Chicago build quality at the very best extant.
  5. carrolls

    carrolls Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin
    I have used this for over 18 years. And On Saturdays I used to be able to get Radio Australia on Short wave. AM/FM are near perfect too. Amazing set.
    sony.jpg
  6. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    CCrane is mainly tailored for talk radio. Sound quality is lacking. Zenith miles better.
  7. tribby2001

    tribby2001 Forum Resident

    Run, don't walk for the Sony ICF-SW7600GR

    [​IMG]
    I have personally heard trans-Atlantic AM radio stations from France on this receiver using this Terk loop.
    [​IMG]
    The Sony's FM reception is equally amazing.
  8. *Zod*

    *Zod* Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    I have a CCrane and I think the reception itself is overrated, but I never realized the value of the radio until a 12 day power outtage......the thing was an absolute champ throughout on battery power.
    My Tivoli PAL has better AM reception, but if you drop it on a wood/tile floor, all bets are off.
  9. dead of night

    dead of night Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northern Va, usa
    Tribby, can you give me some tips about how to use the SSB on the Sony? When I put the switch on SSB and scan the dial, all I get is regular SW stations, on the SSB band. I don't hear ham operators having conversations with each other.
  10. tribby2001

    tribby2001 Forum Resident

    I'm not exactly sure I understand what you are asking so...

    First off there is no such thing as "SSB band". SSB (Single Side Band) is a transmission mode like AM and FM is a transmission mode.

    What is unique about SSB is that you can listen to an AM transmission in the SSB mode. An AM signal is generated by a carrier and two side bands (LSB + carrier + USB). The side bands are designated Upper Side Band (USB) and Lower Side Band (LSB).

    It can be helpful to switch to SSB when you are trying to hear a weak AM station or to avoid a powerful flame thrower on an adjacent frequency. Of course you also can listen to hams transmitting in one of two SSB modes (LSB or USB).

    If you are interested in listening to ham ops you need to tune into one of their allocated frequency bands:

    http://ac6v.com/frequencies.php

    for example http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Hambands_color.PDF

    Also keep in mind while tuning that hams use LSB under 10 Mhz and USB above 10 Mhz.

    If you want to hear some action extend the whip antenna all the way out and start tuning upwards in USB mode from 14.150MHz [14150KHz] during your local evening.
  11. dead of night

    dead of night Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northern Va, usa
    Thanks tribby, you helped me understand SSB a little better. Right now, I'm torn between the Tecsun PL660, the Kaito 1103, and the CC Radio 2. I want the best AM reception possible, with superb FM reception.

    I like the Tecsun because I love synch detector, and the ability to use the USB or the LSB. I like the Kaito because it's a classic and has a great reputation. I like the CC 2 because expert reviewers rate its AM as the best in any portable.
  12. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    For AM DX, the only thing much better than a Zenith Trans-Oceanic or any of their pre 1970 portables weighs over 200 pounds and is called a URR 390 spook radio. FM is selective on a good Royal 3000 TO upwards. And audio quality is very nice and sensitivity is very good. Tandberg portables are superb too. Zenith TO beats any C. Crane radio on audio quality, sensitivity, and selectivity. Long Distance, baby.
  13. Vidiot

    Vidiot Faded to Black.

    The best AM tuner section I ever heard in terms of sound quality was the McIntosh MR85, which was stellar. That, coupled with Mac's own RAA-1 external AM antenna, delivered amazing performance for me in the 1990s. I gave up on AM radio a long time ago, but that would be what I'd choose if cost were no object today.

    For portables, the GE (now RCA) Superradio is the way to go:

    [​IMG]

    http://www.amazon.com/RCA-RP7887-Su...=1343966392&sr=8-1&keywords=rca super radio 3

    $51 on Amazon. This and my cats and my partner are the only thing I got out of my house 5 minutes after the 1994 earthquake. All my neighbors on the street gathered around my radio and listened to the quake coverage on the news... from a San Francisco AM station, more than 300 miles away! All the LA stations were knocked off the air for awhile.
  14. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    The SuperRadios are good, if you get a good one. Alignment on many was iffy from the factory. QC on them is hit and miss.
  15. tribby2001

    tribby2001 Forum Resident

    A Synch Detector can be invaluable and Sony made the best.
    The 7600GR is a Sony afterall and is Made in Japan.

    http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/1534
    http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/9935/
  16. tribby2001

    tribby2001 Forum Resident

  17. Great thread.
  18. dead of night

    dead of night Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northern Va, usa
    McLover, I have no doubt Zenith makes extremely well-made, beautiful, and highly functional instruments, but they haven't been made for 30 to 40 years?

    I imagine buying one would be almost as easy as buying a well-loved Stradivarius.
  19. dead of night

    dead of night Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northern Va, usa
    Tribby, I own the Sony 7600GR. At this point I guess I am looking for the "next radio" to add to my collection.

    I am also looking hard at the Grundig S350 Deluxe, also getting very good reviews at eham.
  20. dead of night

    dead of night Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northern Va, usa
    Vidiot,
    The GE Super Radio I and II are considered classics, the RCA Super Radio III not so much. This is from what I research only.
  21. dead of night

    dead of night Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northern Va, usa
    After days of research I have narrowed my field to four radios:

    1. The Grundig S350 Deluxe- a modern version of the analogue Super Radio with superb AM/FM reception and an added SW band.

    2. The CC Radio 2- best current in production AM reception on a portable, superb FM reception, good sound quality.

    3. Kaito KA1103- a classic shortwave radio in its field with great SW, AM, and FM reception. "Herculodge" called this the very best FM portable in current production.

    4. The Tecsun PL660- this one may be the first I reject. However, it gets good reviews.
  22. shucky ducky

    shucky ducky Active Member

    Location:
    Arizona
    I plan on picking up my third CCRadio sometime this year. I gave one to my mom earlier this year, so I will replace that one with one of the newer CCRadio 2's. The CCRadio is nice because of the well thought out design, such as the handle built into the back of the radio. Also the big buttons are well spaced out from each other, make it easy to use, even with your eyes closed. Digital presets are very nice if you switch between stations a lot during the day. The speaker sounds very nice, and you can shape the sound with separate bass and treble controls. And lastly, the twin coil ferrite antenna makes reception a breeze. Ohh yeah, I forgot to mention other cool features I often use, like the aux input and the sleep timer.
  23. dead of night

    dead of night Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northern Va, usa
    David,
    I really like and am intrigued by the CC Radio 2's twin coil ferrite AM antenna which takes a few seconds to "fine tune" to any AM station you turn to. This is a very nice feature and I would take much pleasure from watching the radio do this, knowing the radio is "taking care of me" almost with a mind of its own.

    I may buy the CC Radio 2, the Kaito KA1103, and the Grundig S350 Deluxe all at the same time. For a little over $300 for all three, that's a lot of hardware for the money.
  24. tribby2001

    tribby2001 Forum Resident

    Oh, I see. You're collecting :) Nothing wrong with that.

    If I could've afforded one during their day I would have picked up a Drake R-8 or JRC NRD-545 DSP, or a portable like the Sony ICF-2010.

    When I was into AM DXing during the last solar cycle minimum I was seriously considering one of the Software Defined Radios (SDR) like FlexRadio or Perseus SDR. State of the art receiver there and certainly portable. http://www.bamlog.com/cmmc2.htm

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