I just completed my first round of tests of the Kaito WRX911 versus the Tecsun PL-200. To make it more interesting I decided to compare them with a few other inexpensive small portables...the Tecsun R-9700DX and the Sangean SG-622/Radio Shack DX-397. I used a Sony 2010 as a reference to find the stations initially and to have an idea of how these small radios performed overall. I will try to present my data in an organized and concise manner. Note that the PL200 is the only digital radio in this group other than the reference 2010. All the others are analog.
The analog radios are all similar in street pricing. I did some last minute price comparisons and came up with the following prices available right now (June 5th, 2004).
The Tecsun PL-200 is the only digital model so the $20 higher price seems reasonable. Since they are priced so closely you can virtually choose the model you like the best. They have different strengths and weaknesses. I want to also say that I was going to include two other small radios...the Sangean SG-711L and the Bell & Howell (no model number evident) but didn't as they were so miserable I couldn't consider them anything more than toys. They each sounded terrible even on relatively strong local am stations, and sw reception was nearly impossible to really listen to. I don't consider them serious radios.
The R-9700DX is the biggest at 7 x 4.5 x 1 inches
in between at 6 x 3.5 x 1.2 inches
They are all small compared with the Sony 2010 (see picture)
Then I went to a another medium strength (but slightly stronger) signal on 7465 KHz. At this frequency, the R-9700DX was the closest to the reference radio and they were very close. Then the PL-200, WRX911 and SG-622...all with reasonable reception and each very close to one another. It's interesting here that the SG-622 was best of the small radios on 15190 KHz yet the worst on 7465 KHz!
17640 - A weak signal on the reference. It came in well enough to hear on the SG-622 and the PL-200...considering how weak it was on the reference it was surprisingly good on the small radios. It wasn't there at all on the WRX-911 and the R-9700DX was having overload of some other stations which blanketed that portion of the dial so I couldn't find the signal at all. I tried shortening the whip just to the point where the interference stopped, but there was no trace of the weak signal at that point.
1250 KHz. Weak station. Here all the small radios did somewhat better than they did on 710 compared with the reference, except surprisingly, the R-9700DX had much lower ultimate volume. The signal didn't seem any noisier on it then the other small radios, but it just wasn't very loud at max volume. Strange.
Finally, 880 KHz. Medium strength station. Here the SG-622 was second to the reference, followed by the PL-200, the R-9700DX and lastly the WRX911.
Another point. During all these tests I really saw the advantage of digital tuning. After choosing a target station on the reference radio I struggled to find that stations on all the analog portables. Their dial calibrations all were only approximate and it sometimes took some time to find the station at all. In this respect I would choose the PL-200 as the easiest one to find a specific station on.
One more thing. I spent some time overnight checking selectivity on the AM band...I found all the radios could reasonably well separate stations adjacent to each other on the dial. There was some interference on all of them from time to time, but if the station is coming in reasonably well you will be able to keep it separated from an adjacent signal. All the radios have lots of stations all over the dials and seemed very good at night. You could have lots of fun with any of them. None of these radios have dual bandwidths you wouldn't expect that at this price range), so on sw you may have trouble separating some signals when they are crowded close together, but again, for general listening to signals that are coming in reasonably well, it usually won't bother you too much. None of these are dx ing receivers after all.
Comments or questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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