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Russ' MW Portable Radio Olympics

For fun, I decided to put my collection of MW portables in a head-to-head performance shootout. Yes, the results are somewhat subjective. No test equipment was harmed (or even used) in these tests.

The Competitors

GE P780A
GE Superadio II
GE Superadio III
Grundig S350
Grundig Satellit 700
Grundig YB 400PE
Kaito KA1101
Kaito KA1102
Panasonic RF-2200
Panasonic RF-65
Realistic 12-655 TRF

Radio Shack / Realistic DX-375
Radio Shack / Realistic DX-396
Sangean ATS-606 / Radio Shack DX-399
Sangean ATS-803A
Sangean ATS-818/ Radio Shack DX-390
Sangean ATS-909/Radio Shack DX-398
Sangean CC Radio plus
Sangean DT-200V
Sony ICF-2010
Sony ICF-7600G
Tecsun PL-550

My objective was to see how they performed both from a sensitivity and selectivity perspective. To try and keep the competition fair, no external antennas were used. If the radio had a narrow filter, I used it. Synchronous detection was not used.

My test conditions were to see how well each radio could receive a weak TIS station about 10 miles away at 1610 that has no adjacent channel interference. This was a sensitivity test. For selectivity, I was interested to see which radios could receive a moderate strength station at 1460 in the face of adjacent channel interference from my local slopper at 1440. As a test of both sensitivity and selectivity, I also checked reception of a weak station at 1410, only 30 kHz away from the fierce interference. Each radio was compared in the early afternoon hours of July 25, 2004.

My grading scale is the one used by Gerry Thomas of RadioPlus. He has used the same scale when comparing radios. The scale is:

5 - Local-like (all background noise "quieted")
4 - Easily readable but not local-like
3 - Readable with effort
2 - Intermittently readable
1 - Present but not readable
0 - Not detectable

Radio
1610
1460
1410
Avg.score
 
Weak TIS Target (In The Clear)
Moderate Strength Target (w/ Adj. Channel Interference)
Weak Target (w/ Adj. Channel Interference)
 
Panasonic RF-2200
4.00
3.75
3.75
3.83
Sony ICF-2010
3.50
3.50
3.75
3.58
Sangean CCRadio plus
3.75
3.50
3.50
3.58
GE Superadio II
4.25
2.75
3.50
3.50
Grundig S350
3.75
3.00
3.50
3.42
Grundig YB 400PE
3.00
3.00
3.00
3.00
Sony ICF-7600G
3.00
3.00
3.00
3.00
Sangean DT-200V
2.50
3.25
3.00
2.92
Sangean ATS-909/Radio Shack DX 398
3.00
2.50
3.00
2.83
Panasonic RF-65
3.00
3.00
2.00
2.67
Radio Shack / Realistic DX-396
3.00
2.75
2.00
2.58
Realistic 12-655 TRF
4.00
0.00
3.50
2.50
Radio Shack / Realistic DX-375
2.50
2.50
2.50
2.50
Kaito KA1101
3.50
2.00
2.00
2.50
Sangean ATS-803A
2.00
3.00
2.00
2.33
GE Superadio III
4.00
0.00
2.75
2.25
GE P780A
NA
1.75
2.00
1.88
Kaito KA1102
1.00
2.50
2.00
1.83
Grundig Satellit 700
1.00
2.00
2.00
1.67
Sangean ATS-818/ Radio Shack DX-390
1.00
2.00
2.00
1.67
Sangean ATS- 606 / Radio Shack DX-399
0.00
1.00
0.00
0.33
Tecsun PL-550
1.00
0.00
0.00
0.33

Conclusions

The clear winner is the RF-2200. It has the highest average and either the highest (or tied) score
on each measurement. A very sensitive radio that can fight off adjacent channel interference as well. The gyro antenna allows for precise pointing

The CCRadio and Sony 2010 tied for second. The CCRadio's performance was a surprise given less than excellent results in the past in selectivity. What I noticed is that it performs better outside (where this test took place) vs. indoors. Also, getting the CCRadio manipulated to null out adjacent interference can be challenging. The "sweet spot" is very narrow. The 2010 synch detector was not used for this test. Between these two I would give the nod to the 2010.

The GE Superadio 2 ranked the next highest. However, one of its rankings was below "3." For this reason, it doesn't make my final top 4 list. The Grundig S-350 is the remaining radio with an average score higher than 3. It scored 3 or higher in each category.

The Winners Are

1st Panasonic RF-2200
2nd Sony ICF-2010
3rd Sangean CC Radio plus
4th Grundig S350

Honorable mentions go to GE Superadio 2, the Grundig YB-400PE, Sony 7600g and the amazing little Sangean DT200v pocket radio.

Note - this represents findings in one location only on one day of testing. The station creating the adjacent channel interference is a 5 kw station about 3 miles away.

My biggest disappointment was the Grundig Sat 700. This is a really good portable for shortwave single sideband reception. It was a poor performer in this test. Other disappointments for me were the Sangean 803A and the Kaito 1102.

Misleading numbers. Although the Realistic TRF failed one of the selectivity tests, it is a wonderful MW portable - it shines everywhere else on the MW band here (no expanded band coverage however).

Best DX
Russ K3Pi

 

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