U

COUNTYCOMM
GP4
Pocket Sized
FM/MW/SW
Portable Receiver

Sold In The USA By:
CountyComm.com

 

 

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.

This 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 kHz).

The left side of the radio has an on-off slide switch and a 4-position slide switch to change bands.
GP4
The 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 feature.

How 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.

Conclusion
This 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.


Best DX
Russ Johnson K3PI

Photos © RadioIntel.com

 

doteasy.com - free web hosting. Free hosting with no banners.

 

   

| Disclaimer | Feedback | About | This page was last updated: July 6, 2004 |
Copyright ©2002-2006 Radio Intelligencer. All rights reserved