Ed Reviews the Panasonic RF-1115 and Confirms What Radio Insiders Have Known All Along
Although recent ebay sales of this RF-1115 model have fetched up to $200, I got this one in excellent condition for just $52. It has been compared on this blog to the RF-2200. I'd say it is "almost" as good ...it's got most (85%?) of the big-brother 2200's performance in a a smaller package, sans a few bells and whistles. The family resemblance to the RF-2200 is clear, in cosmetics and performance. However, it is a smaller portable than the RF-2200, and instead of Shortwave it has a UHF band (450-512 MHz) and a "PSB High" band (136 - 174MHz) which includes the Weather Band.
I find the UHF and PSB bands to be the most interesting features. I don't own another radio that has both bands. There are local repeaters in my LA area (2 meter hams) and also some police and fire frequencies are active. It is missing a plug-in circular loop UHF antenna, but seems to pick up stations OK without it. Tuning is easy, and the Squelch Control works well to cut out the inter-transmission static.
On AM, it is very sensitive, perhaps TOO sensitive, in fact,---and unlike the RF2200---it does not have an RF Gain Control, so there is some imaging from the strongest station into other frequencies (ie, 1070 into 1150).
It uses 4 "C" cells and and can also be powered from AC, so it should have good battery life. While the 3" or so speaker cannot produce wide-range sound, it is augmented in the low end by a "Loudness" boost switch, much like that on the RF-888. But overall the sound is on the crisp, bright side, which can be tamed somewhat with the single Tone control. But it is not as quiet as the RF2200. The Tuning meter is easy to use for that old sweet-spot analog tuning, maybe better in acttion than the 2200's, and it has a Dial light. The brushed-aluminum faceplate, the flip switches, and the chrome and black plastic parts are solid, very exemplary of high quality 1970's Japanese design.
For the non-shortwavers among you, who still like a taste of secret and clandestine transmissions on the UHF and PSB bands, the 1115 may be for you. You could save a lot over a 2200, which commonly sells for $200-250, and still enjoy most of its legendary performance on its little brother, the RF-1115.