A traveler’s review of the Grundig G6 shortwave radio

The Grundig G6 makes for an excellent travel companion

Last week, I traveled to New York City by air and used trains, taxis and buses en route to Philadelphia. All the while, I carted along my luggage–and it’s a good thing I like to travel light.

Indeed, I almost never check in luggage, no doubt a remnant of my days as an expatriate, when I was required to travel throughout Europe at a moment’s notice. But I love traveling with only one bag. It’s incredibly liberating. I revel in the challenge of fitting everything I need into one Eagle Creek convertible backpack/suitcase.

This latest trip was no exception, and I planned to do a little shortwave and medium wave DX along the way. So which radio did I reach for? Oddly enough, none of those I listed from my travel radio suggestions, my usual stand-bys. This time, I chose my Grundig G6.

Keypad for direct entry and as with most Grundig radios, the G6has a logical, simple key combination for entering frequencies.

I have had a mini Grundig G6 review out for a couple years now in which I praise it highly. I am surprised to find that many other reviewers only give it a lukewarm rating. I believe a lot of this stems from the fact that the radio’s aircraft band (117-137 MHz) is not terribly sensitive or selective. Since purchasing the G6, I’ve only used the aircraft band once–during review. I leave aircraft and VHF/UHF listening to a proper scanner, preferably one with triple-conversion circuitry.

Yet I find that the Grundig G6 performs quite well on the shortwave and medium wave bands. Last week, while in NYC and Philadelphia, I was surrounded by big signals and didn’t hear many instances of overloading or imaging. Sure, larger portables (like the Grundig G3, Tecsun PL-660, Sony ICF-SW7600GR, Sangean ATS-909X) will outperform the G6 on SW and MW, but none of those radios can comfortably fit in my pocket. In fact, the G6 is so small that it can get lost in my suitcase–oh, there it is, tucked among my socks. The portables mentioned above, though reasonably sized, will need some dedicated space.

The placement and orientation of the tuning knob on the G6 is genius. My favorite ultra-portable radio for band-scanning

There’s another plus about the G6. It feels good in your hand. I have big, clumsy fingers, yet I still manage to punch in the frequency correctly every time. Having the (smooth) tuning knob in the upper left corner of the radio where it’s accessible both on the side, and (more importantly) on the face, was a stroke of ergonomic genius by this little radio’s designer. I wish more manufacturers would do this. It’s so easy and comfortable to band scan using your thumb on the face of the tuning wheel, which is great when you’re sitting around a campfire or listening to FM on a bumpy bus ride.

Don’t get me wrong: if I were going on a DX vacation where I needed top-notch filtering, sync-detection and SSB, I would not pick the G6. For the odd business trip, though, it’s the perfect little radio.

The G6 even has an external antenna connection.

Pros:

  • Small, affordable and full-featured
  • Shortwave and medium wave reception are comparable to others in price class
  • Two bandwidth choices
  • Direct keypad entry of frequencies
  • Fluid and well-placed tuning knob
  • No chuffing/muting during band scans
  • Includes SSB (see con)
  • Great audio for a tiny speaker
  • Excellent ergonomics (especially for such a small package)
  • Aircraft Band (see con)

Cons:

  • SSB reception is mediocre–fine tuning is difficult
  • Volume button increments a little too steep (between 8-12) with headphones
  • Keypad not backlit
  • Some image problems on aircraft band

The Grundig G6 has been on the market a long time, in a consumer electronics life span. I would not wait to purchase one. Occasionally, RadioShack (in the US and Canada) will close out their stock of shortwave radios and the G6 can be found at bargain prices. Universal Radio currently has a promotion where if you buy a Grundig Satellit 750 for $299.95, you will receive a free Grundig G6. You get both a large portable/tabletop radio and a pocket-sized one in the same deal. That’s great value!

Want specifications and other reviews of the Grundig G6? Check out our G6 entry in the Shortwave Radio Index.

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10 Responses to A traveler’s review of the Grundig G6 shortwave radio

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  2. Paul says:

    Radiogenesis.com has this radio for $40 + $16 shipping.

  3. Kf4ukb says:

    Nice spam Paul. It’s a sight that lists 6 stations in Florida airing the same AM crap that is quickly killing radio. They don’t sell this radio, or any others.

  4. natalinopt says:

    I had this radio for 2 years before it broke down. Thomas is right. The airband on this radio is a serious disappointment, not because you expect it to be good, but because this radio is named AVIATOR and endorsed by BUZZ ALDRIN. You expect it to be good. This is the one that should be named TRAVELER. Besides that, I’d like to add some cons to this your review in order to explain the lukewarm ratings.

    It is indeed a very small SW radio with continuous range from 150KHz to 30 MHz and usable SSB reception. This means that you can take it anywhere and listen to everything! But it has various problems with its firmware that render the memory and alarm system completely useless. Then the MW has no sensitivity, the FM has no selectivity at all, and the AIRBAND plasters FM stations all over the spectrum and doesn’t have a scan function.

    It is a radio for a maximum of 50USD, like the Kaito KA 1103 or the Tecsun PL 660. Not 100USD like it used to cost 3 years ago. It was a radio for 4 out of 5 stars.

    And then all AM died. Meaning that my G6 now only has its so-so FM right now. I suspect that “poor static protection on the exterior antenna connection” could also be added to the “con” section. I’d give it now 3 out of 5 stars.

  5. Jasorama says:

    i picked up my G6 for $29.99. it is an okay radio. the air band receive is complete hogwash, SSB is okay not great. i wonder if the G3 is better than the G6?

  6. Blake says:

    Very good review of this radio. As far as pocket radios go I know of none better. The tuning wheel as the reviewer says is a stroke of genius. No muting or excessive cuffing so you can have great fun band scanning. Especially good for those new to SW. Fine tuning on SSB is a challenge but with practice I have gotten very good at it. Just be ready to collapse the antenna if you get overloading. If only this radio had a Aux Line-in it would be my travel radio. I have a video on my YouTube channel snowpuppy77 comparing this radio to the Tecsun PL-606.

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