By Michael Stevenson
| During 2002, an old friend of mine broke his favourite old Sony portable (if you could call it a portable), it was the huge and very overweight Sony CRF-330K. I told him it was not repairable in it's current condition, the plastic dial gears split and fell apart so the radio could not be tuned, he had tried to fix it and glued the tuning assembly which did not work, so, he gave the radio to me.
This old Sony had a rotary analogue tuning dial as well as a red LED digital readout for shortwave, it also had two separate analogue dials for LW/MW and FM. The shortwave section is synthesized digital tune with a VFO and dual conversion, there is no direct frequency entry or button or scan tuning. This old radio comes from the late 1970's, it is very large, very heavy, runs on mains or battery voltage, has a large 5 inch speaker and bass and treble controls, RF gain, narrow and wide AM and LSB/USB/CW switching, there are two very long telescopic antennas as well as antenna terminals on the rear, there is also a built in cassette recorder, an old style analogue clock and timer.
I nearly had to wreck the dial and tuning to get the glue off, the tuning knob fits back on the VFO shaft but there is no analogue dial anymore, only digital for shortwave. It also did not work until I serviced it and direct wired some worn plugs and sockets, it then sprang to life but was intermittent and static at times, nothing that a good bash up the side wouldn't fix! Funny enough, this old Sony was a pleasure to use with it's big tuning knob and non stepped tuning (even though the frequency readout is only to the nearest 1 kHz), it was quite sensitive too as well as selective especially in the narrow AM mode.
It also worked very well on SSB too and was reasonably stable for such an old and battered radio, in fact, it was slightly more selective than the Kiwa modified Sangean 909 but not quite as sensitive and was a little more prone to overloading compared to the Sangean, but, this old Sony CRF-330K made me want to get a better table top receiver with a large tuning knob.
This same old friend that give me the Sony also had a Kenwood R-2000 communications receiver which he wanted to sell, so, I bought this from him, it was corroded on the top metal cover and did not work too well either until I blew all the dust out of it and gave all the switches and controls a service, it sprang to life and has not missed a beat since buying it earlier this year.
The R-2000 is a very nice triple conversion receiver with a 4 inch forward facing speaker with very good audio quality and plenty of volume. It has a green fluro digital display with readout to the nearest 100 Hz, it has three tuning speed steps in 5 kHz, 500 and 100 Hz.
|It has narrow/wide switching for AM but only one filter selection for SSB and CW, it also has FM built in and the plug at the rear for the optional VHF converter (which I don't have), I guess that the FM would work for the 10 metre Ham band if they were using FM transmitters. The Kenwood is a very sensitive receiver and in the narrow mode, very selective too, far more selective then the Kiwa Sangean 909 and the 100 Hz tuning helps to isolate most QRM and heterodynes. Unfortunately, the 100 Hz tuning is not quite good enough for resolving SSB as clearly as the 40 Hz SSB tuning on the Sangean, I guess you cannot have it all! The Kenwood has an audio tone control, slow/fast AGC, noise blanker which works reasonably well on pulse type noise, a 10, 20, 30 dB switched attenuator (I would prefer a variable rotary RF gain control) but I rarely have to use this unless Radio Australia is melting the antenna, the R-2000 also has a good analogue S meter which read from S-1 up to +40 dB over S-9, it also has two clocks and a timer with proper recorder and line out sockets. It also has ten preset buttons for memory and different types of scan tuning, it also has Mhz up/down buttons which have a very loud annoying beep attached to them, unfortunately, it has no direct frequency entry, however, I use the memory buttons for the start of each shortwave band, this coupled to the 5 kHz stepped tuning rate allows for very high speed tuning across the bands, I can tune to a frequency faster than I can punch it in directly with the Sangean so I do not miss the direct frequency entry.
The Kenwood R-2000 performs extremely well and allows me to hear stations that the Sangean can't even hint at, especially if they are on odd frequencies with QRM or heterodynes, the Sangean just is not sensitive or selective enough, the Kenwood has allowed me to hear domestic stations in the tropical bands which I would not have heard with the Sangean, so, I have been very happy to have the Kenwood in my DX shack this winter, this coupled with the NES10-2 DSP noise reducing speaker has been invaluable, the 17 metre longwire antenna which is higher and on a different angle also helps over the 15 metre longwire.
I am a very happy DXer and SWLer at the moment except for the fact that I would like more time to be able to listen, once again, I guess you cannot have everything!
This concludes my 35 Year Receiver History, I hope you have enjoyed this series. I currently like the Kenwood R-2000 very much, but, there are two receivers that I would like to own again and that is the Kenwood R-5000 and the Drake R-4C, maybe one day I will be able to afford to pick them up and enjoy these radios once again!
Chapter 6| Chapter 7| Chapter 8| Chapter 9A| Chapter 9B| Chapter 10| Chapter 11|
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