AM/SW/FM Portable



This may be the "coolest looking" radio of my current herd. When you look at it, it says, "Yeah, I was made in the 70's and I'm proud of it!" My guess is that the 1150 was the "poor mans RF-2200" of the day. It shares some of the same features.

Visually, the appearance of the radio is striking. The black switches, knobs and round speaker grill are offset by the brushed aluminum colored front panel. It's a handsome radio.

The RF-1150 checks in at approximately 9.5"H x 9.75"W x 3.5"D. With the batteries (4 D cells) installed, the radio weighs about 7 lbs. A handle strap is provided for easy carrying.

This analog receiver covers the following radio bands:

FM (88-108 MHz)
AM (525 - 1605 kHz)
MB (1.6 - 3.9 MHz)
SW (3.9 - 30 MHz)

The shortwave bands are split into two segments. SW1 spans 3.9 - 12 MHz. SW2 covers 12 - 30 MHz. Additionally, the CB frequencies are split out (26.8 - 28.4 MHz) and have their own dedicated "bandspread" space on the dial.

Front Panel Controls
It's a pretty basic set up. The speaker dominates the center of the front panel. The upper left section hosts the controls for volume, bass, treble, light, power on-off and a combination signal strength/battery life meter. The light is a momentary switch. The dial light only will illuminate when the switch is pushed down.

The upper right of the front panel features the analog dial which operates vertically. Next to the dial is a switch which functions as an AFC on/off switch for FM and DX/Local on AM-SW. Underneath the dial is a BFO on/off switch, CB on/off bandspread switch and the 5-position band switch.

Left Side
The left side features three 1/8" jacks: MPX out, Rhythm In/Rec Out and Earphone.

Right Side
There are three control knobs on the right side: main tuning knob, fine tuning and a 120 minute mechanical timer. The main tuning knob has a short "crank handle" on it that enables the user to tune quickly.

The RF-1150 can be powered by either 4 D-cells or AC (via a removable power cord).

Screw terminals are located on the rear of radio for connecting an external antenna for either FM or AM/SW. A 41" pivoting whip antenna is provided for FM and SW reception. The whip telescopes into the radio. A classic feature of the RF-1150 is the rotating gyro antenna for directional reception in the AM band. Rather than having to rotate the radio around for maximum signal, you simply rotate the gyro antenna on the top of the radio. The gyro antenna folds down which allows for full rotation of the whip.
A minor annoyance of the RF-1150 antenna layout is that the gyro antenna, in the up position, will physically block the pivoting action of the whip.

AM Performance
The RF-1150 performs admirably on the MW bands. The receiver is relatively sensitive and the gyro antenna is very effective in peaking/nulling signals. I am impressed with the selectivity of my unit. I can easily separate weak stations at 1410 and 1460 kHz from my local pest at 1440. It is not the equal of its' analog big brother, the RF-2200, but it is a solid performer nonetheless. I find that my unit tunes up to 1650 on AM. By switching to MB, you can work the rest of the broadcast band. The gyro is not very effective in the lower region of the MB, so you'll need to rely on the whip.

FM Performance
I think this is the strongest aspect of the RF-1150. This radio is in my top 4 for pulling in weak FM stations. It fares very well against the RF-2200, Grundig YB-400PE and the CCRadio. Reception is in mono, however the sound delivered from the large speaker and the bass/treble controls is excellent.

SW Performance
As Dorothy pondered upon landing in Oz, you will find yourself asking the question, "Where am I?" (or was that, "Where are we, Toto?). Anyway, with only about ¼" or so separating a full MHz of SW spectrum, slow deliberate tuning is critical. I would describe the frequency markings as approximate at best. For regular SW listening, plan on keeping a log where you can correlate frequencies with the logging scale on the 150.

Actual reception of SW broadcasters is quite good with just the whip antenna. Audio from this radio makes listening a pleasure. I found good sensitivity and decent selectivity in both SW1 and SW2.

I do not recommend this radio for regular listening to sideband or cw (code) signals. Tuning these stations requires the skills and patience of a safecracker…even with the use of the fine tuning control. Once a signal is tuned in, they tend to drift on sideband/cw. Leave the BFO off and use a more suitable radio for this purpose.

Bottom Line
The RF-1150 is a neat radio. You get excellent FM performance, very good MW/AM reception and solid reception of average to strong SW broadcasters. The audio is superb and the gyro antenna is a feature found on few radios.

Like many analogs, knowing exactly where you are on the radio dial can be a challenge. Another minor irritation is the legibility of the dial. Panasonic used a "florescent green" print for the dial markings against a black background. Users would have been better served with basic boring white or perhaps a bright yellow.

These radios don't show up very regularly on the swap boards or EBay. If you find one at a reasonable price - grab it!

Best DX
Russ K3PI

P.S. - Wizard of Oz update....a visitor to the website has e-mailed the correct line from the movie. "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore. We must be over the rainbow."

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