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ANASONIC
RF-2200

 

 

This popular Panasonic portable from the 70's is considered by many to be one of the best analog portables and remains a favorite for MW DX'ers today. The radio is labeled as "8 Band Model No. RF-2200, Short Wave Double Superhetrodyne." The nearly all-black radio tips the scales at nearly 8 lbs. (with batteries installed) and measures approximately 12"W x 8"H x 4"D. A handle strap facilitates the movement of this hefty receiver.

Coverage
The RF-2200 covers the US FM band (87.5-108 MHz). The AM broadcast band is covered from 525-1605 kHz. Fortunately, I can cover right up to 1700 kHz on mine as there is no "Marine Band" coverage on the RF-2200.

The shortwave bands are broken up into six band segments. SW1 = 3.9-8 MHz; SW2 = 8-12 MHz; SW3 = 12-16 MHz; SW4 = 16-20 MHz; SW5 = 20-24 MHz; SW6 = 24-28 MHz.

Coverage holes on the RF-220 are from about 1.7 - 3.9 MHz and 28 - 30 MHz.


Front Panel

Front Panel Layout - Left Side
The left side of the front panel is dominated by the speaker grill. There are three switches in the upper left corner: Power on/off, Light (momentary), BFO on/off.

Front Panel Layout - Right Side
The tuning dial and knob are centered in the front panel-right side. The tuning knob has a finger hole for fast tuning. Band switches are located to the right of the tuning knob. The main switch is used to select either AM (MW), FM or SW. There is a 6-position switch to select any of the SW band segments. There is a mechanical visual indicator under the dial to tell you which band has been selected. There is a RF gain control at the lower right corner. The audio controls are to the left of the main tuning knob: volume, treble and bass.

The signal strength/battery life meter is located directly to the left of the dial. Like other Panasonic offerings of the day, the meter reads from right to left. A bank of 4 switches are located directly below the meter: FM AFC on/off; Bandswitch wide/narrow; 125 kHz crystal marker; 500 kHz crystal marker/calibrator.

Underneath the tuning dial is a fast/slow switch which enables the user to control the tuning speed of the tuning knob.

Right Side of Radio
No controls or jacks

Left Side of Radio
1/8" headphone jack
1/8" record out jack

Rear of Radio
- screw terminals for external AM/SW and FM antennas
- battery compartment
- socket for detachable AC cord

Top of Radio
A classic feature of the RF-2200 is the rotating gyro antenna for directional reception in the AM band. Rather than having to rotate the radio around for maximum signal or null, you simply rotate the gyro antenna on the top of the radio. A rotating whip antenna is provided for FM/SW. The 38" whip telescopes into the radio.

Tuning
The main tuning dial moves vertically.

AM/MW - Tuning is straightforward. A nice feature of the RF-2200 is that spacing is "even" across the band. A lot of analogs have wide spacing in the lower part of the AM band and then cram the upper segment frequencies very close together. Not so with the RF-2200. The dial is marked every 100 kHz (i.e., 600, 700, 800…). Every 20 kHz has a hash mark on the dial.

FM - Straightforward tuning. The dial is marked every 2 MHz (i.e., 90, 92, 94 …). There are 8 hash marks between each 2 MHz marker.

SW Tuning - For an analog, it's darn good. The main tuning dial has a numerical marker every 500 kHz (i.e., 6.0, 6.5, 7.0….). For more accurate tuning, Panasonic provided a 1000 kHz bandspread dial just above the tuning knob. By using the 500 kHz calibrator switch, you can accurately set the SW bandspread dial as you change bands. The 125 kHz marker can show you how close you are to be calibrated as you tune around. I find the system to be quite accurate. On the main tuning dial, approximately 5/8" of dial space is allotted for 1 MHz of tuning. The major SW bands are marked on the dial.

Performance
FM - Excellent. This is one of my top four FM DX portables (along with the RF-1150, YB-400PE, CCRadio). Mono reception. Very good audio.

AM/MW - Outstanding. The RF-220 was a prime MW DX portable in its day and is still prized by those who chase signals on the MW band. Excellent selectivity even in the wide filter mode. The gyro antenna system is superb for nulling/peaking signals.

SW - Very good for separating and copying SW AM signals. The excellent audio makes reception of SW broadcasters a pleasure. For reception of sideband and cw, I can only give the RF-2200 an average rating. If Panasonic had provided a fine tuning control, it would have made this a lot easier. I find that sideband/cw signals drift and the main tuning backlash makes it a chore to tune them in initially. You wouldn't want the RF-2200 to be your main receiver for sideband/cw reception.

Power
Runs for a long time on 4 D cells. Can also operate from AC (detachable power cord).

Conclusion
What a great analog radio! Excellent performance with the exception of sideband/cw reception. It's no wonder this radio was so popular and that it still goes for a pretty penny today ($200, +/- $50). For serious analog performance, this is the radio I turn to. The AM/MW reception and gyro antenna along make this a radio worth owning.

Irritations? An easier to read dial would be nice but at least the black print on the white background helps. Also, as mentioned previously, a fine tuning control for better sideband/cw reception would have been nice.

Best DX
Russ K3PI

 

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