Chapter 9 - Part 1
By Michael Stevenson
|The year is 1999 and I had not really been thinking about shortwave listening, I had not seen a shortwave radio for many years nor read any books or magazines related to the hobby of radio, then......it happened again. I was in an opportunity shop one day when I saw this old National Panasonic portable multiband radio sitting in the corner with a note on it, "does not work on batteries but is OK on mains power"! The price was $4, I just could not pass it up so I bought it, I do not remember the model.
After getting home with my new VERY EXPENSIVE purchase, I plugged it in and tuned through some of the bands, medium wave was working with our local station and this grand large portable had a really terrific sound with two speakers, one being a 5 1/2 inch and one 3 inch, there was bass and treble tone controls and a very good powerful audio section. This radio had two shortwave bands, 3 to 7.5 MHz and 7.5 to 22 MHz, there was a fine tuning knob in addition to the main tuning dial, a very tiny meter for signal and battery, a nice long telescopic antenna which worked reasonably well and it also had an external antenna and earth socket at the rear and already came with a length of antenna cable and earth wire plugged in through banana plugs. There was also a rotary world clock time converter on the back which you turned to see the time anywhere in the world in relation to GMT (UTC).
This old National was fairly sensitive on the shortwave bands and picked up a number of stations very well, however, selectivity was almost non existent and many stations were merging into one another. It also suffered badly from images below and above the shortwave bands and the dial was terribly inaccurate but I enjoyed very much listening to some shortwave stations again and of course this was the third time the shortwave bug bit me, after a couple of months of listening (and suffering the terrible performance) to this old National Panasonic radio, I just had to find a better receiver (especially since my last radio was a Kenwood R-5000 which was the best radio I have ever owned and used to date).
Found a Kenwood R-1000 advertised by an elderly Amateur who lived in a small village only 15 minutes drive south of here, went to have a look and bought the radio for $150. The condition was only fair with a slightly corroded case and years of dirt and grime, took the thing completely to bits and cleaned it all up, resprayed the case, soldered up some bad connections, did a quick realignment and cleaned all the switches and controls and hey presto!!
|The Kenwood R-1000 now looked really good and even worked very well as a bonus!
The condition was only fair with a slightly corroded case and years of dirt and grime, took the thing completely to bits and cleaned it all up, resprayed the case, soldered up some bad connections, did a quick realignment and cleaned all the switches and controls and hey presto!!
I began to buy the Trading Post and Radio and Communications Magazine to keep an eye on what second hand receivers were available for a good price.
I erected a simple 15 metre longwire antenna and set about tuning in loads of stations, it was great to have a sensitive, selective dual conversion receiver again with an accurate digital readout. The R-1000 worked very well indeed although I was a little annoyed by the old fashioned tuning system which was slow and you could never be in a hurry to tune quickly across the bands, not having memory presets or direct entry tuning was also frustrating but for a good basic radio the Kenwood fitted the bill perfectly.
Late in 2000 I saw an advert in Dick Smith Electronics for the Sangean range of radios and they were also in the WRTH books and seemed to be getting very good write ups as being very good performers with lots of features.
I decided to purchase the 909 which was the top of the line portable, it was $399 which I thought was a very good price. Getting it home and switching on, I was very pleasantly surprised by it's performance, it worked as well as the Kenwood for sensitivity, selectivity, image rejection and overload and had the convenience of direct frequency tuning, scan tuning and hundreds of presets, the stepped tuning was a bit of a pain as was the muting every time one hit the tuning button or knob which also was a pain, but , I loved the direct frequency entry and the presets, one could very quickly speed straight to the desired frequency and not miss anything. It had wide/narrow bandwidth, a variable RF Gain control which worked a treat (in comparison to the Kenwood's switched variety), there is 3 timers, a record and timer control socket, ext antenna in, H/Phone etc. There is also a world clock with the world time in various cities being displayed at the touch of a button, really cool!!
The Sangean works really well and I am very happy with it, the 909 is an excellent performer and I am still using it everyday to this day although with some modifications now to improve it's usability, this will be the subject of my next part as well as picking up another receiver or two!!!
Chapter 6| Chapter 7| Chapter 8| Chapter 9A| Chapter 9B| Chapter 10| Chapter 11|
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