Best Analog Shortwave / HF Receiver Ever?

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

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  1. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    And how does that compare with the part where you are steadily dissing the R-390A from decades earlier??? My comment was in reference to yours about some early 70's articles. Please stay on track and dont mix up the decades simply to make some point that has no bearing on the actual thread.

    BTW, one of my favorite experts has been Dr Ulrich Rohde, DJ2LR) who I interfaced with personally in the 80's over receiver IMD issues when he was already living in NJ.

    US and UK cooperation expanded greatly in the 80's after diplomatic wrangling which appears to have worked well. My last job before retiring was with BAE designing a part of the F-35 avionics. BAE had a huge part of that airplane.

    Here is an excellent paper on the a reference and which is not part of this thread.

    KK4NSF, W4NNF and NL7W like this.
  2. K2IE

    K2IE XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I like and still use the Drake R8B regularly. The syncrhonous detector is a big help when there is QRM on just one sideband of an AM signal.
    KA4DPO, NL7W and KK4NSF like this.
  3. N8ZL

    N8ZL Ham Member QRZ Page

    The SP600 jx17 gets my vote.
    KK4NSF likes this.
  4. AI3V

    AI3V Ham Member QRZ Page

    Do you know how the r-1051 "measures up"?


    We had some on the Midway.


    Had even more on Diego Garcia, some hooked to rhombics.

    KA4DPO likes this.
  5. WA2CWA

    WA2CWA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Several have pointed out the greatness of the Drake R7 receiver. If it was so great, why did Drake have to replace it with a R7A?:)

    Two of my "best" and "favorite" short wave receivers are the National HRO-500 with the LF-10 preselector and the McKay Dymek DR-33C. Both are excellent short wave receivers. With the DR-33C, you can dial in whatever HF frequency you want.


    PU2OZT, KM1H and KK4NSF like this.
  6. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have never seen any measured signal handling data for the R-1051.

    The intention was to create a better receiver than the R-390A,
    but it is hard to tell if the designers succeeded with the available early 60s
    solid-state state-of-the-art.

    But looking at the block diagram and schematics, where three mixers using
    low-current bipolar transistors can be found in the signal path, preceded by 40 dB of RF gain, it seems likely that blocking and cross-modulation problems may have been a concern in practical operation.

    At the input of the RF translator assembly, there is a limiter using antiparallel 1N3064 diodes, so even with ideal mixers and amplifiers "downstream", non-linear effects would have started to show already at around 5 mV input at the antenna.

    Probably some AGC became applied even without antenna input signal, so the gain decreased, improving the signal handling somewhat.

    It is interesting to note the influence of contemporary design practices, principles also found in the HRO-500, the RA-17 and the SRT CR1000 form part of the R-1051 synthesiser.

    AI3V likes this.
  7. AI3V

    AI3V Ham Member QRZ Page

    I believe its biggest selling point was the sailor proof tuning :)

    Simply set the dials. Impossible to do it wrong.

  8. KC3SWL

    KC3SWL XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    In order of what I have actually used I would say this.
    1. Motorola R390 non A version
    2.Kenwood TS870
    3..Drake R-4A
    4,Kenwood TS430
    5.Ten Tec RX320
    6. Sangean ATS803A/Realistic DX440
    7.Realistic DX380/Sangean ATS 808A
    8.Grundig G3

    The last three are portables and aren't as capable as the tabletops.
    The R390 came out on top based on three things.
    Recovered audio, signal capturing , and ability to separate noise from signal.
    The tuning is very simple and the choice of IF filters was pretty good and they had great shape factors helping to reduce interference. The audio was outstanding and the sharpness helped in DX conditions. The receiver had almost no circuit noise and was very quiet enabling the weakest of stations from South Asia or inner Africa to be heard on the tropical bands. Overall, it's the best rig I ever used.

    The Kenwood TS870 has the ability to recover signals from stations not even moving the S meter and the separation of stations is outstanding. The IF filtering is excellent and helps in reducing splatter from nearby stations. When I am using a pair of Kenwood HS5 headphones , I can copy the weakest of stations .The clarity is unbelievable on receive and various tools such as low cut and high cut shaping of the IF filter is outstanding .I wish I had this rig back in the 90's when I first got into SWL.It's my second favorite rig behind the Motorola. I use a lot on SWL and run the RX320 off the receive antenna jack for comparison or parallel frequency use.

    The Drake R-4A with the crystals for the SWBC bands was almost on par with the R390 based on it's unique receive circuitry which was able to pick up signals that were inaudible on other rigs.

    For an older analog HF rig , the TS430 has some good signal capturing ability but it's receive circuitry is a little noisy .

    The RX320 has analog circuitry but is computer controlled so it's a hybrid of sorts. It works well but it's not a Malaysian AM station grabber by any means, however I have heard a large amount of DX on it. Antennas makes or breaks this radio.
    KK4NSF likes this.
  9. NN3W

    NN3W Ham Member QRZ Page

    I really have an affinity for the Kenwood R-1000. It was designed and built in an era where good quality solid state receivers were being produced by Kenwood (along with the TS-830, the TS-530, and the TS-930).
    KK4NSF likes this.
  10. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've never seen the DR-33C. It does have a great 1970s -1980s look to i though. I'll have to look that one up on Google and see it's specs. Thanks

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