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March 29, 2011

Comments

Gary

Jeff - I don't have one, but from what I've heard, the Tecsun PL-606 has excellent FM, and I understand that it's smaller than most of the other Tecsun DSP radios.

http://my.opera.com/markrobt/blog/2011/02/03/radios-i-have-known-you-cant-buy-just-one

Mark Roberts

Jeff, probably the best choice for an FM radio in a pocket-size form factor is the Degen DE1123, another DSP radio. It has AM and SW, too, but they're awful. The FM is very good, surpassed only by the Tecsun DSP units. The limitation is the antenna, which is way too short.

If you're willing to risk dealing with one of the lesser-known eBay resellers, the Tecsun PL-100 is very small, FM-only, and also a DSP radio. Problem is, mine has the tendency to go up or down in volume at random. So I don't feel I can recommend it.

The PL-606 is excellent, and I highly recommend it, but it's not really pocket-sized, unless your pockets are really, really big.

If you're willing -- or want -- mono reception only, the Panasonic RF-502, a vintage model from the late 1980s, is worth considering. It's not quite as big as a Tecsun PL-606 but still may be a tiny bit too big for pocket size. Even so, it has a speaker. It was recommended to me by a friend who's a broadcast engineer. It seems both sensitive and relatively free from front-end overload. It shows up on eBay every so often. I paid $10 + $7 shipping for mine. I should write an article on it someday soon....

Jeffrey McMahon

Thanks, Mark. I wouldn't want the 1123 with bad AM. Maybe the Tecsun 606. I don't need pocket; just something for bedside and easy to travel with, throw in a tote.

Ken K. in NJ

The one problem with something like the 606 as opposed to the Snagean DT series is that you need to extend the FM antenna for optimum performance.

For lying in bed (especially with a wife/significant other next to you) extending the antenna is a nuisance not to mention possibly dangerous. For that reason the DT-400 is my in bed radio. Actually I find it good enough on FM, and I tend to listen to low-end low-power college stations if I'm on FM.

Jeffrey McMahon

Ken, you're right. You can't extend a telescopic antenna while sleeping. That's a poked eye or a snapped antenna or both.

Mark Roberts

Jeff, that problem is solvable. Take the antenna wire that came with your DT-400W and plug it into the antenna jack of the PL-606. It may not be perfect (and, yes, it's OK to plug in a stereo plug into a mono jack; it's the other way around that isn't so advisable) and it won't give you the kind of reception a rigid antenna will get you, but it should be reasonable. The DT-200/400 FM sections are marginally acceptable, in my opinion. At least they're not Sonys.

Jeffrey McMahon

The DT-400 has adequate FM except for 89.3. When I'm up north in San Francisco visiting family I only listen to 88.5 FM and 810 AM and the DT-400 grabs those stations easily enough, so it's my best choice.

Mark Roberts

Since KQED-FM is a 110,000-watt (not a misprint) station broadcasting from Mt. San Bruno, it should be easily received in most Bay Area locations, except in some of the farther reaches of the East Bay.

Have you tried the weather band on the DT-400? Depending on your Bay Area location, you may able to get up to five Weather Service transmitters.

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