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.
For the last two years I have taken upon my self the task of repairing the more popular receivers from SONY. The SW55, SW77 and the ICF-2010 are the most common to be on my work bench. I am not a repair shop and do this mainly as a hobby service for my fellow SWLs. This way I keep my prices low and I treat this as a passion for the hobby.
Here is a link to a few videos I have made of my repairs on You Tube....
I'm thinking of offering my services to Universal Radio as the repairmen of the SONYs are getting fewer. Enough of that.... I enjoy reading you blogs on short wave radios and seems to me you are right up there with most of the latest. I made a purchase of the Grundig G3 based mostly on what I have read on your blog, as it turns out I have a pretty good example and bought it cheaply from Radio Shack on the Black Friday sale.
Rod, if you want to leave your contact info, so readers can contact you for some advice, please let us know.
Greg, a reader from Ann Arbor, Michigan, was kind enough to Fed Ex me his Grundig Satellit 750, which has a Kiwa speaker upgrade. Therefore, I have to assume the stock 750 speaker sound has less fidelity than the one I'll be using by my bedside for the next two weeks.
As I will be using the 750 as a bedside radio, I'm not too worried about fidelity since I'm not cranking the thing up by any means. All that I ask is that its AM sound not be as harsh and punishing as my C.Crane CSW. Thankfully, the 750 is easier on the ears.
When I took out the 750, I was amazed like other Tecsun radios at how light the radio is (Tecsun makes many Grundig and Eton radios, including the GS750). I prefer my radios to be heavy like tanks, which is why several months ago I went on a vintage radio spree, getting my grubby hands on some classics so that I could use them as a point of comparison for some of today's radios.
Here's the bright side of the GS750's light weight: It makes a very good portable radio, much better than I initially thought. It's easy to handle and not as big in person as you might think. If you're a camper or do a lot of outdoor radio listening, I can recommend the GS750.
One thing I like about the 750 is the way it looks on my bedside table. Its cockpit control styling makes me feel like a little kid on a toy airplane or flying in a pretend rocket to Mars.
The 750 by your bed says boldly, "You have arrived at the Mothership." Before I geek-out too much, let me transition to function and performance.
The learning curve for time controls, direct key entry, and presets is fairly easy. It took me about five minutes to comprehend the manual; however, I have toyed around with Tecsun radios before, so I am fairly familiar with their functions.
As a bedside radio, it's nice that you can toggle through your stations with the up and down arrow buttons.
I haven't used this radio at night yet and doubt it is illuminated sufficiently without my needing a pen flashlight. Clearly, the 750 is more of a general table radio than a clock radio, but I'm using it by my bedside because that is where I listen to radio most often and I want to get as many hours in as possible during my two-week loan.
What about performance? Excellent on FM and AM. I was able to eliminate birdy on weak AM stations by rotating the rotational antenna, called a Gyro on vintage Panasonics.
The FM antenna is huge and can be rotated 360 degrees. There is also an FM antenna button that gives you varying degrees of attenuation to maximize reception.
I'd say FM was as strong as my current FM champion, my C.Crane CSW. Better yet, the GS 750's AM sounds much better.
Truth be told, I am more impressed with the GS750 than I thought I'd be. I love its look, its performance is excellent, its functions and options are plentiful without being too busy.
I think if I were to buy one on Amazon for their sale price of $220 and free shipping, I'd have to put it in the workout room and move the Boston Acoustics Horizon Duo, a completely different kind of radio, in my bedroom. The question is will I buy a GS750? Hard to say. For about $150, I should be able to get a C.Crane CCRadio 2, which may be a better fit in my bedroom. While I am confident the CCRadio 2, made by Sangean, will match the GS750's AM performance and have richer speaker sound, I am not convinced that its FM will be able to compete with the GS750's.
Update: After several weeks and comparing it to my $70 Sangean PR-D5 on AM, the GS750 sadly lost that AM battle (and I should add in this re-post, that I like my AM sound on Sangean U3 even more than my PR-D5). My conclusion: The GS750 is a good but not great radio.
Some readers have pointed out that the GS750 has very strong SW. My lack of SW experience doesn't do justice to the GS750. SW listeners may be well served by this radio.
My black Grundig S350DL is amazing with no problems, much better than the red one I had a few years ago. The model surely suffers from quality control problems evidenced by Jason's Grundig S350 adventure:
I went back to Radio Shack last night intent on getting a GS450 and returning the Grundig G6 I bought on clearance a few weeks ago. I just did not like the rather tinny sound and weak shortwave on the G6 (The G8 seems better and I think that the ATS on the G8 is much, much better). Surprise, surprise - they show the GS450 in stock but cannot find it anywhere in the store and, even bigger surprise, the S350DL is still there and still marked at $49.
I weigh the otpions - dealing with the drift on the 350 vs. possibly having the FM crap out on the 450. I end up going with the S350DL. They ring it up and it comes up to $99. They have mislabeled the price on the shelf but give it to me at $49 anyway!! So, for the one year replacement, batteries and radio plus $10 coupon - I trade in the G6 and the 350 only costs me $2.22! I'm thinking - what a deal - since I had read reviews of the awesome FM on this model plus the great sound on shortwave and AM. I get it home and the tuning is an absolute mess.
The drift on AM was terrible! After 10 minutes, it is jumping all over the place - if you touch the radio, the sound mutes and the display goes nuts. I pack it up to take it back but then I decide to google the problem and find this: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Grundig-S350/message/4644 I do exactly what he says - I pull off the cover after unscrewing all of the screws (including the 2 in the battery compartment).
Only the speaker is attached to the front. I remove the three screws from the display and then tighten the two screws on the tuning wheels. They were barely loose - almost not noticable - so I was not too optimistic. I carefully got it all back together (the plastic pieces that hold the fabric handle on only go back on one certain way and were sort of a pain!). I cross my fingers, plug it in, and wow - a brand new radio. The tuning is perfect. Zero drift on FM and AM. AM sounds excellent.
I listened to Radio Australia here on 49 meters this morning and it was nice and strong just using the whip. Hardly any drift on SW - and I couldn't hear the drift - I only noticed it when I looked at the display. The sound is room-filling. I ended up listening to a fairly low-power FM station about 35 miles away that I typically have to listen to on the internet and it sounded just like it does in the car. I ran the radio for several hours just to make sure it would not warm up and go completely drifty or haywire and it is still perfect. I am very impressed and now I don't have to worry about the FM going bad. I'm not sure how often I will have to tighten those screws. The board appeared to have a manufacture date of 2007 so maybe the sitting around all of this time was the problem. We'll see.
I would like the memory pre-sets of the 450 but I don't think it's worth the $50 or the risk. Plus, the fast tuning on shortwave will allow me to quickly mine out the bands for signals and then use my KA-1103 as a companion for serious DX and SSB. I am lucky that Radio Shack honored the displayed $49 price on the 350DL but if they do end up going on clearance once the 450's are out every where, I think it would be a deal that is hard to beat.