Intro Here is a cool
little radio...the GP-4 marketed by County
Comm and manufactured by Degen. This is a very simple to use single
conversion AM-FM-SW radio with surprisingly good performance on SW.
The GP-4 is an analog radio with digital frequency readout.
is truly a pocket radio. The GP-4 checks in at 3.5"H x 2.5"
x .75" D. With 2 AA cells installed, it weighs approximately
5 ounces. Frequency coverage for FM is 80 - 108 MHz and MW is
520-1710. Shortwave is broken into two chunks. Per the manual,
SW1 = 5.95 - 9.95 and SW2 = 11.65 - 17.90 MHz. My unit was more
forgiving on the band edges and gave me approximately 400 kHz
additional coverage beyond the specs.
A small 40 mm speaker
is located at the top of the frontside of the radio with a digital
display window underneath it. With the radio on, the display shows
the frequency and the mode (AM or FM). When the radio is off, the
time is displayed in 12-hour AM/PM format. A red tuning LED is positioned
to the left of the display. The frequency reads out to 4 digits on
MW (i.e., 1110 kHz) but only 3 digits on FM (92.3 MHz) and SW (7.42
left side of the radio has an on-off slide switch and a 4-position
slide switch to change bands.
right side has a thumbwheel tuning control, another one for
volume, the battery compartment hatch and a DC jack (note -
adapter is not included). The top of the radio features a 10"
whip antenna that collapses into the GP-4 and a headphone jack
(earbuds are included).
The back of the
radio has 4 buttons that set the time and alarm. The alarm turns
the radio on to the last tuned in frequency. There is no beep
does it play? SW
- I was pleasantly surprised with very good reception of the major
shortwave broadcasters. The little telescoping antenna does a nice
job and it is easy to clip a little extra wire to the whip if you
wish. A minor frustration is that the frequency display only goes
out to two digits after the decimal point. So to tune in WBCQ at 7.415,
you have to tune to either 7.41 or 7.42 and tune for best reception...remember
this is an analog radio!
FM - Pretty good
performance. It picks up all of my area FM stations with relative
ease. Audio is adequate and what you might expect from the little
speaker. With headphones, there is much improved audio, in mono. The
headphone cord acts as an antenna on FM when you are not listening
to the speaker.
MW (AM) - No
doubt a very small internal loopstick antenna hampers performance
on medium wave. During daylight hours you will be able to hear your
local strong stations reasonably well. At night, when the band "goes
long" you can pick up the stronger reliable more distant stations.
My local hometown slopper did overpower the GP-4 and could be heard
as far as 80 kHz on either side.
What do I like? It does a nice
job of pulling in both shortwave and FM stations. I like the simplicity
of the layout, ease of operation and the fact that I can hold it easily
in my hand. For a lightweight pocket portable, it offers a nice value
at $20. I also like the marriage of the analog tuning and the digital
readout. The alarm is very intuitive, easy to set and turn on/off....this
is not true in many other radios. Maybe it's the size or the uniqueness
of how it looks (or both) but I just think this is a cool radio. The
aluminum face of the radio gives it a classy look.
Shortcomings Remember now
- this is a tiny $20 radio. If you need to receive MW stations beyond
your strong locals, you will want to grab another radio. Having the
"missing" final digit on the shortwave display would have
been nice (there is certainly room for it). I do notice some internally
generated hash on shortwave (from the display no doubt), particularly
on the "SW2 band" but it is not noticeable once you tune
in a decent strength station. This seems characteristic of the inexpensive
Degen radios. Additionally, I wish the coverage for shortwave began
at 5.0 MHz to include stations like WWCR at 5.070.
Other This GP-4 is sold as the Degen DE-202 in China. The 202
omits the extended MW band (above 1605 kHz). Note, there is a misprint
on the cover of the instruction pamphlet indicating that this is a
dual conversion receiver. Per County
Comm, it is single conversion - which is certainly what you would
expect at this price point.
is a cool looking fun little radio that would be perfect to take on
a hike or camping trip. It takes up virtually no space and will give
you lots to listen to. For just $20, this is a very good radio value.