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April 22, 2011



I don´t take this review as definitive, as it is very poor implemented, poor detailed (specially when talks again comparisons with other receivers) etc.
Also, it starts with a prejudgement, telling that the 909 (old version) is a deaf radio..not agree at all, specially on MW it proves to be a very capable radio (I´ve played with one a time ago and I can tell that). Sometimes more noise is related to a "hot receiver"..big mistake. Signal to noise ratio is one of the most importants aspects for me regarding a good receiver.
A more detailed, more "in depth" review will be welcome..


Jeff, a couple of self-serving plugs here, but I'm selling a couple of radios on ebay right now:

The first one, the Zenith 12-A-57, should have some fireworks on Sunday, over 90 watchers, most hopefully with some strong e-snipe bids set.


The second one, I have at high price, but this is as perfect conditions as you can reasonably get (without a time machine) for a 1968 Zenith solid state transoceanic. I sold one at Xmas for $510 that wasn't as clean as this one. Anyhow, thanks for looking.



Sounds like it may be a good table top but not a portable. I wonder what the battery life is. The original 909 was suppose to have poor battery life. I hope Radio Labs makes a super 909x. Then I may be interested.


As I recall, Keith Perron reported on DXer.ca that he had two bad samples of the 909X. He said that there was a problem with the earlier units that Sangean corrected in the later units. The third one he got was fine. I'm not sure if this is the case with Jay's 909X, but I thought I should mention it.


I had a feeling...

Bob C.

First of all, I got to the end of the review and went hunting for page 2. And was surprised that there wasn't one - because the article seemed incomplete.

Furthermore, when Jay refers to the PL-310 as "lowly", it tells me that he has certain biases and the credibility of his review is immediately questioned. As a radio geek, I have many of the models that he has referred to and the PL-310 matches up pretty well with any of them on AM and SW (sans BFO, of course). Barefoot, the PL-310 can pull in some stations that the Sony ICF-SW7600GR has difficulty with.

So, I don't know where he comes off by making such a cheap shot here. Take it with a grain of salt folks, it's no more credible than the raving accolades that we see on Amazon.


I used to be a 909 fanboy until I discovered how deaf it was compared with many much cheaper portables, and the 40 Hz tuning steps on the 909 were too coarse for ECSS as well. ECSS (Exalted Carrier Single Sideband) is a fancy name for a simple thing: listening to an AM broadcast while using the SSB mode on your radio. Doing so is a great means for reducing fading distortion on AM broadcasts, especially in a radio with no synchronous detection.

The 909 didn't handle fading distortion well at all and was fatiguing to listen to. The 40 Hz tuning steps prevented me from satisfactorily zero-beating any Ham or AM station; the subsequent Donald Duckitis made any music program especially unlistenable.

I was hoping the 909X would offer 10 Hz tuning steps (which is fine enough for ECSS on an AM station) or synchronous detection. I was sad to see it offered neither, while still clinging to the extremely high price point of the 909.

Jay's 909X review was poor by RadioIntel standards, but I'm not surprised if his 909X is as deaf as my 909. And if the 909X is having the QC problems of the Eton E1 or Grundig G3, then shame on Sangean.

Today I use the Ten-Tec RX320D (1 Hz tuning steps, 34 bandwidth filters, and other PC-radio features such as tuning from sortable frequency lists which are updated daily [as with Shortwavelog,] decoding data modes [DRM, WeatherFax, RTTY, PSK31, ACARS, NAVTEX, SYNOP, SSTV, GMDSS, DGPS,] and hosting the radio online so people around the world can tune it,) the Eton E1 (10 Hz tuning steps and great synchronous detection,) the Grundig G5 (excellent sensitivity and sound in a small portable,) the Tecsun PL-390 (the handy ETM found 103 SW stations a few mornings ago,) the Zenith T/O H500 (legendary sound quality,) the Yaesu FRG-7 (triple conversion with accurate analog tuning,) and even the Grundig S350DL (for MW and problematic FM reception while I'm cooking or washing dishes,) while my 909 gathers dust; I've barely touched it in years, and when I do it fails against the competition.

I considered the RadioLabs upgrade for the 909, but moved on to other receivers instead. The upgrade is not currently available: http://www.radiolabs.com/products/receivers/super909.php


In my brief stint as a radio hobbyist I have learned two truths:

1. Almost every new radio has problems with "early production runs" (e.g. Grundig G3, Tecsun PL-660, Grundig S450, etc.). Why don't they test the radios before they sell them?

2. The difference between high end portable receivers and entry level receivers is really very negligible. 99.9 percent of consumers will not be able to tell the difference between the performance of a Tecsun PL-606 and a Sangean ATS-909x.


I have followed radiointel reviews by Jay and Russ for over 5 years. For me, these guys are the Last Word, gospel, THE definitive judgment.

Doug T.

I don't think you've correctly characterized their review, which I saw as being positive (ellipsis in original):

"It does however respond very well to external antennas…even the included 23 foot reel-up antenna gives a huge increase in SW performance and a small loop perks up the AM nicely."

"But the big news is the greatly improved sound quality. The new radio is crisp and clear and sounds much better than the original 909…very satisfying for this size radio. Ergonomically it is superb as well and it is eye-popping visually. It is also loaded with features which have been well documented."

Obviously, this is not really a pop-in-your bag radio like a Sony SW100 (or even 7600GR) or a Tecsun. It may be worthwhile to someone who wants to use it a Portatop (I have external antennas attached to my Eton E1, for example).

I'm not going to buy it (I really expect synchronous detection at this price point -- and I may have enough radios now -- and I am hoping against hope that the AOR 7070 will come out someday.)

Jeffrey McMahon

For me, Jay Allen's review is damning: Built-in antennas and still bad AM and SW. At this price point, you shouldn't have to add external antennas to increase performance.


I have my strong reservations about the review itself and about the reviewer. He recommended strongly the Grundig G3 in his review, on RI...what a radio fiasco.
He also started the poor review of the 909x with a premise that the 909 (old version) is a lemon, and the Passport to World Band Radio (and hundred of users) gave it a 5 stars review..
If the review was at least the half of some others he did, maybe I can trust more on what he wrotes..


There's been a fan-base for the 909 for years, though many of the favourable reviews include something to the effect of "just add an external antenna and it becomes a real radio!"

Sampling the competition dispelled any notion of the 909's greatness for me. The only unique thing it offers is RDS, which only a few FM stations in my town even implement, and it's not a feature I find useful. Everything else it does is equaled or bettered by cheaper radios.

Jay Allen

I didn't mean to insult the PL-310, arguably one of the best Ultralights currently available. I only meant that the PL-310 is considerably less expensive than the ATS-909X (much less than half the price) and one would expect the two be in different categories. I did not mean to insult the PL-310 one bit...it' a great radio!

Jay Allen


Please, oh please could someone tell me of or make one-- and I've been trying to find this elusive (if it exists) online critical comparison of Grundig G3 and Sangean ATS 909x. I want a really nice portlable for international travel out in the middle of nowhere and I don't want a bohemoth... Narrowed down to these two... Seems like every other commentator takes biased sides based on some seemingly minor points and they mostly compare with some outdated versions--which is kind of useless for someone in the marketplace right now.
Some positives/negatives along with superior/inferior/ extra features-type-of-presentation would be nice.
Thank you so very much!

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