I've become a fan of your site. I ended up ordering one of the Panasonic RF-562D radios I saw mentioned there. I thought I'd let you know my impressions.
It's a midsized portable, actually tending toward large by current standards. Heavy enough to feel solid, it is about 8.25 x 5 x 2.25 inches. It comes with a fake leather case which is very much of a 60s style; it covers the radio while in use, leaving the dial and controls exposed. There's a strap of some translucent brown plastic that threads through slots in the radio itself. The fake leather case is also cut away around those slots to let you use the strap with the case in place.
It uses two D cells. That, plus the analog circuitry, SHOULD give long battery life, but as I just got the set today I don't know yet. I certainly hope the batteries last, because this radio has no external power jack.
The telescoping antenna for FM and SW tilts but doesn't swivel.
Controls are an on-off-volume knob and tuning knob at the right end of the front and a three position switch deep in a hole in the middle of the back of the set. There is an earphone jack on the right side of the set. Plugging a standard stereo headphone into this jack silences the speaker and sends the sound to one side of the earphones. I suspect this jack might actually be mono, just as in the old days, but I don't have an old school earphone around to test this.
The radio feels solid, and the sound is good. It's deeper and richer than from my small digital sets, without some of their hissiness.
I don't know how to do a proper bench test of a radio, but my impression is that the performance is decent for a radio of this type. Compared to my Tecsun PL-390, I noted the following:
The Panasonic seems more susceptible to noise than the Tecsun. I would rather expect that, given that the Tecsun uses digital signal processing while the Panasonic, apparently, does not. The Panasonic also seems to be less selective, although this may be partly illusion; with the slide rule dial of the Panasonic, there's no way to avoid the noise between good signals the way you can with the digital Tecsun.
Sitting here at my computer desk they both pick up 27 stations on FM. Remarkably identical performance. I would have to give the edge in sound quality to the Panasonic. It has only one speaker, but it's a larger speaker and can put out quite a volume without distortion.
On MW, the Tecsun's resistance to noise seems better. I live in a somewhat remote area where there aren't many AM stations during the day. In the presence of noise the Tecsun received these better. Outside, away from the computers, the sets seemed about equal. The Panasonic covers, nominally, 530 to 1600, missing the US expanded AM band. On my set the top actual frequency is 1640.
The Panasonic covers approximately 4.5 to 18 MHz on shortwave, AM only of course. I was surprised that I was able to get essentially all the stations the Tecsun could, within that range. Some of these were faint enough that I'm sure the problem wasn't the set's sensitivity, but rather the difficulty of tuning it. The frequency ranges of the SW broadcast bands are shown by black bands along the bottom of the radio dial. The 60 meter band has about 5/16 of an inch of dial space; the 16 meter band, at the high end of the dial, between 1/16 and 2/16. You really need a safecracker's grip to tune in there. That said, if you do manage to fiddle that dial just right the radio seems to have pretty good selectivity.
If you want to DX unknown stations this probably isn't the set for you. But if you want to scan up and down the shortwave dial to find something listenable, it will do the job just fine.
This really is a throwback to the late 60s. I remember that difficulty in tuning, that safecracker's touch, that mystery of listening to a signal without any definitive way of knowing what frequency it was. This is a good set for recapturing the performance of a good set of that era, without having to do any electronic reconstruction first. It even smelled the same when I opened the box; probably that's the smell of the funky plastic they made the shoulder strap from.
It's a pleasant, good quality transistor set. And if you want to know how they did it back in the (pre-digital) day, this set is definitely worth your consideration.
By the way, I went back to the Royal Trading Company site on Ebay and saw they'd added a number of Panasonic shortwave tape recorders. Looks like about four of them, two mono and two more along the lines of a large boombox or small stereo set, yet including shortwave bands. There we're getting out of the 60s and into the early 70s. But as they wanted something like $60 just to SHIP one of the larger AM-FM-SW-tape recorder/player combos, I think I'll wait on those.
Thanks for your site.