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May 03, 2013

Comments

StarHalo

I was looking into getting a Superradio II just this weekend; they're currently around $150 on EBay, which is too rich for my blood..

Gary

Jay Allen's "AM Portables Mega Shootout" is always a good place to check the performance of many different radios on MW AM.

http://radiojayallen.com/am-portables-mega-shootout/

Keith Beesley

Vintage portables with good-to-excellent AM performance are not at all uncommon, or expensive, you just have to know where to look for them: thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales, online auctions if you happen to spot a good deal. Most of my favorites for AM listening are 20 years old or more.

Bill

It's a heck of a lot of work, but maybe the best AM dx receiver ever made was the GM Delco car radio from the 1970s. After all, they were made to pull in signals far out on lonely highways. They were also built to take heat, cold, shock, and vibration as a matter of course. Finally, since your friendly Chevy dealer charged a couple of hundreds for them (back in the era of 25 cent McDonands hamburgers, or was it still a dime?) they could certainly afford the best piecesparts to put in them. You'd need to rig a 12 volt power supply and add an external antenna, of course, and put some kind of box around it if you don't want to look at industrial grade stamped and punched sheet metal.

I had one I messed with for a while, but I ended up with a Panasonic RF-2200, so why bother? The only problems with the RF-2200 are that it is too big to be reasonably portable, has no sleep timer (the only gee-whiz high tech radio feature I use at all regularly) and, since I couldn't replace it, it's just too precious to me for me to risk hauling it around away from home the way I used to.

herculodge

Ed gave me a GE SRIII, a cheap radio with very pleasing AM sound. I'm sad I gave mine away several years ago after listening to it again. While it's not as solid as the iconic RF-2200, it's good for lugging around.

Dave P

I absolutely love sitting outside at night listening to baseball. There's just something about baseball on the radio, it's hard to explain. If you love it, you know what I mean, if not, describing the feeling is futile. Although I was never really a DX'er, I had a couple radios that I loved, and seemed to pull stations really well. Then, about 5 years ago, I was bitten by the radio bug. Shortly after, I bought my first Superadio 1 from a seller on the website Bonanzle (now Bonanza). Just like that I went from having a choice of 2 or 3 games to listen to, to 6 or 7 on a good night. I couldn't believe the difference, it was a revelation. Over the last 4-5 years, I've picked up a few radios here & there that come close, but nothing equals my Superadio so far. Well, actually, I do have one that I consider as good at pulling distant AM. It's a 1937 Philco 116x console that belonged to my great grandfather. Needless to say, that one has never seen the backyard.....;-) (If anyone's interested, I'll try to get a few pics uploaded. She's definitely a beauty.

Ken K. in NJ

I don't agree with that statement at all. The S-350 has been my backyard radio for 10 years now. It's got good loud sound for when I want to hear it while gardening, and I use to to listen to Baseball at night in summer. I've also gotten some very good DX from it while bandscanning outdoors on warm summer evenings around sunset.

And I still love its red Field Radio look. Its one of my favorite radios. True, it doesn't match my RF2200 or SR2, but its just fine for what I use it for.

Sailcat

Dave P said, "I absolutely love sitting outside at night listening to baseball. There's just something about baseball on the radio, it's hard to explain."

Well put, Dave!

Ed S

Let's not forget the great Panny RF-888, arguably the best-sounding portable AM-FM radio

StarHalo

It has occurred to me that you could just take any receiver you already have that sounds good through the headphone jack and connect it to a single studio monitor speaker - presto, an ultra-fidelity table radio. Getting a GE Superradio II, or any of the excellent above-mentioned vintage radios, would be a much simpler solution, except they have all increased in price so much that they now cost more than the receiver-and-monitor idea..

brandon

Bill - I started a conversion project several years ago but for the past year or so its been in my closet collecting dust. I'd like to finish it up this summer. I'm using a Delco AM Stereo/FM Stereo with 5-band EQ that I bought on ebay several years ago in pristine condition which somebody added an Aux. input to it. On AM, the Stereo button doubles as a Wide/Narrow bandwidth giving it full bandwidth when stereo mode is on even on mono stations. I'm using some speakers I found at a garage sale for $5 and for a battery I think I'm going to use a 12v, 10AH LiFePo4 battery. I'll post more about it when I finish it, still quite a bit of work to do.

Dave P.

You definitely don't have to spend a fortune to land a vintage Superadio. All it takes is patience, and a bit of vigilance. If you keep an eye out on eBay, you can find bargains quite regularly. Granted, some go pretty high, but I've seen countless go for $60-70...or less. They're out there, for sure. I nabbed one for right around $40, all it needed was a replacement whip antenna. Luckily, I learned how to use a screwdriver decades ago...hahaha. Funny thing is, can't remember the last time I actually switched it to FM anyway.

StarHalo

Dave - would normally agree about FM, but I've been listening to public stations when in the kitchen lately (especially on the weekend; This American Life, Radiolab, Wait Wait, etc.), and aside from their awesome musical interludes, a better fidelity speaker can be heard over the usual kitchen sounds, like the sink, the dishwasher, etc.

Gregory Mosher

Hey Bill,
Any specific Delco models to look for? I've got a hankering to give this a try.

As for inside radios - a 1940's Hammarlund HQ129x is hard to beat for AM Dxing - portable, however, it is NOT!

Put a good external antenna on Eton E1 and it's hard to beat w/ that sync control.

A nod goes out to the Tecsun PL310 or 390 - with their 1khz bandwidth settings and easy mulling via rotation they do a darn good job - unfortunately build quality on these is not great.

Gregory

Bill

Gregory, I have no idea what Delco models. The one I have is the more deluxe model AM only radio you could get in a 1970 Chevrolet Nova. The less deluxe model didn't have the preset buttons. Talk about basic!

Even today, though, car radios can be pretty good. The radio in my car now can routinely get listenable signals from stations most portable radios can barely detect. The only one I have that is better is the Panasonic RF-2200.

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