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Best Analog Shortwave / HF Receiver Ever?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KK4NSF, Jan 25, 2020.

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  1. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The SX-88 which was designed about 70 years ago seems to be in high demand.:) Never had one, so can't comment from personal experience.

    But I did have an SX-28 which is somewhat older but also a boat anchor analog, tube-type receiver and must say for SW tuning and listening it was pretty amazing. Moving it around is really good exercise also.
    N8ZL, K4PIH and KK4NSF like this.
  2. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Both of those are great radios! My older brother had an SX-88 when I was a teen-ager. Compared to my own radios, it was the Cadillac of the Airwaves!
  3. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have myself not tested a 3o1oC, but it suffered from the usual 1960s design deficency of putting too much gain before the mixers and the main selectivity.

    According to my Norwegian colleagues that used the 3010C in coast station service it was in the league of the Collins 51S-1 but the R-390A was somewhat better in this respect.

    One of the toughest tests available during the 70s/80s was to connect an HF receiver to a large rhombic or log-periodic antenna beaming South from the Nordic countries during the afternoon and tune near the 7 or 9 MHz bands.

    The highest peaks correspond to an "S-meter" reading at 10
    MHz of S9+60 (or 110 dB above the noise) from a 15 dB rhombic antenna.

    Few "ordinary" receivers handled this satisfactorily.

    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
    N2EY, WA1GXC and DL6MAA like this.
  4. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    My vote goes to the R-390 as well, but Icom has made some terrific receivers over the years. :)
    KK4NSF likes this.
  5. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    My vote would have to go to the Drake R7 or the JRC NRD-545, they were hard to beat.
  6. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you ever come to connect an R-390A in parallel with a top
    performer such an E1800A to a large rhombic in Europe and listen to the same weak signal in a crowded band, you will find that the major efforts put in when designing these receivers really paid off.

    For overall performance in crowded band conditions the
    R-390A is quite overrated.

    The Cold War-era HF spectrum congestion situation in Europe forced a level of design sophistication that was above almost all produced in the US. Untold millions of taxpayer money went into design efforts at the major actors to produce "bulletproof" receivers.

    N2EY likes this.
  7. W9RAC

    W9RAC Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have had many, AOR's, Yaesu, and 3 or 4 R5000's and others. At the risk of being redundant with this statement of course, a decent outside antenna makes all the difference. I use a dedicated 75 meter dipole at around 50' for my shortwave receiver antenna hooked up to a R5000. I consider SWL being below 30 meg but lots of guys listen above so the R5000 without the converter would not be much use. I have had a 5000 with the converter but it does not cover the FM commercial broadcast band so to me they are not worth the price asked for them. The AOR AR5000+3 is a DC to daylight rig so you won't miss much. Problem is so much these days above 30 meg is digital. I look almost weekly at Ebay who has a vast selection of many vintage SW rigs just for fun, sure brings back lots of great memories of being a youth and listening all night. So my vote is the Kenwood R-5000 WITH filters AND dot and keyboard fixes. Enjoy, 73 Rich
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
    KK4NSF likes this.
  8. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    I love the R-5000. I use a TS-440s as a dedicated receiver for SWL surfing. It is very similar to the R-5000 regarding it's use of filters and so forth.... and it works great! (The R-808 has better performance, but it's a bit clunkier to use) Mine has a full compliment of filters, including a 4khz AM filter. The filters make all the difference.
    W9RAC likes this.
  9. W9RAC

    W9RAC Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I gotta say, over the years I have been very tempted to try out a JRC NRD 545 but I'm not really certain I would gain much if anything over the R5000 since I am a superficial SWL type guy. Still........very tempting, best Rich
    KK4NSF likes this.
  10. W3ATV

    W3ATV XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Choosing the "BEST" receiver is like choosing the "BEST" automobile. What are your needs?

    With cars you may need good fuel mileage. Maybe you need off road performance, good acceleration, braking, handling? Maybe you tow a boat or camper. Maybe you need superb reliability or are looking for the cheapest purchase price. No one vehicle meets all of these needs.

    Same with receivers. Are we looking for weak signal sensitivity? Selectivity? Bells and whistles? Wide bandwidth for Hifi AM or HiFi SSB? Contesting? Reliability? Outside, portable, mobile work? Price class?

    No one receiver does all of this well, especially when you take price into consideration.

    I own quite a few receivers. They are all the best in one way or another.

    Good luck on your "QUEST for the BEST" :)
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