Grundig G5 via Blinq: Might want to pass…

G5While many SWLing Post readers have reported positively about their experience with the online discount retailer Blinq.com, several buyers have not been happy with the used/open box Grundig G5 units Blinq is selling for $45 US each.

Mike (K8RAT) noted that his G5’s “audio distorts when volume greater than 10 on the numerical read-out […] higher level sends the audio into oscillation.” Another buyer noted his G5 was nearly deaf on AM.

If you order a G5 from the Blinq, check out the radio thoroughly before tucking it away on a shelf somewhere. Or, better yet, just pass on this particular deal.

Fortunately, I’ve only received excellent reports of Blinq’s customer service. They’ve happily refunded consumers money for defective products in a timely fashion.

On a side note, I can only report negatively about the retailer 1Sale.com.  I’ve been trying for six weeks to receive a refund on a defective (non radio) item I purchased. I’ve still haven’t received a response from customer service. I’m sending my 6th request today;  I’ll never purchase from 1Sale.com again.

Radio deals: Tecsun PL-380, Grundig Mini 400, G5 and Satellite 750

Grundig-Mini400-RadioGrundig Mini 400

Discount retailer, Blinq.com is selling the Grundig Mini 400 for $15.09 US shipped.

I have a Mini 400; it’s a handy radio, though not especially sensitive. The built-in speaker is rather shallow as the radio is very thin–you can’t expect great audio fidelity.

Still, $15.09 is an excellent deal for a small radio that can be tucked away in your car’s glove compartment for impromptu SWLing.

Grundig G5

GrundigG5Blinq.com  is also selling a number of used Grundig G5’s via Amazon.com and via their website for $45.59 US shipped.

According to Blinq.com, these units are slightly used and may show some signs of wear. The Grundig G5 is a great, full featured radio that is no longer in production. The G5 is a sensitive and selective radio–certainly a great deal at $45.59. Note, however, that some G5’s have a rubberized coating that, over time, can feel sticky. We have a couple of posts that describe how to remove the sticky residue.

Grundig Satellite 750

Grundig-Satellite-750Blinq.com is also selling a number of used Satellite 750’s for $170.19 via Amazon.com and their own site. The ‘750 is a larger footprint portable shortwave radio that has above average performance. I like the large controls and analog signal meter. Audio fidelity from the 750’s built-in speaker is also top-notch. The 750 is surprisingly light weight for its size.

Keep in mind that all of the radios above are used units; most likely open box items Blinq.com acquired. If you purchase one, test it thoroughly and contact Blinq if you notice any problems. SWLing Post reader, Eric (WD8RIF), purchased a used DX-402 from Blinq.com two weeks ago–turns out his unit was defective. Blinq gave Eric a hassell-free refund within a couple of days.

Tecsun PL-380

My Tecsun PL-380 and the small Eagle Creek pack that also holds my Zoom H1 recorder, earphones, audio cables, external antenna, spare batteries and Kindle.

My Tecsun PL-380 and the small Eagle Creek pack that also holds my Zoom H1 recorder, earphones, audio cables, external antenna, spare batteries and Kindle.

The price of the Tecsun PL-380 was recently lowered to $41.99 US (shipped) on Amazon.com. Price includes a new unit with headphones, clip on antenna, and soft case.

As I’ve mentioned before, the PL-380 is one of my favorite compact travel radios. I’m very tempted to buy a spare one.

SWLing in Belize City: comparing the Grundig G5 and G3

G3AndG5BelizeFor the past week, I’ve been traveling:  this time, in the inner-city section of Belize City on behalf of Ears To Our World, where we’ve been working with ETOW’s partner organization, The Belize Council for the Visually Impaired (BCVI).  I had the honor of working with a group of visually-impaired and blind children, giving each a self-powered shortwave radio, along with instruction on its use.

One of our talented advisory board members, David Korchin (KC2WNW)–also an avid SWLer–met me on this recent adventure. One afternoon, we found a moment to pull out our portable radios.  Turns out, he had brought his Grundig G5 while I had my Grundig G3. So we sat back to listen: to broadcast stations (including RRI and REE), to ham radio communications, and to some medium wave stations, including Radio Reloj on 790 kHz. Some great radio listening, by the way.

It was interesting to observe that in almost every case, the G3 had a slight edge on the G5. The G3 noise floor was slightly lower, and audio characteristics slightly better, than the G5’s. Where the G3 really had an edge, though, was on single-side band, where its selectivity was far superior to that of the G5.

With that said, if you purchase a G3, be sure to check out  your unit’s performance thoroughly–and keep your receipt. When Amazon last posted a sale on the G3, we had several reports of faulty units (check out the comment thread in this post). Though I cannot confirm this, I suspect these may be among the final units of the G3 production line.  Choose carefully, and you’ll enjoy a great radio.

By the way, I’ve always had good luck purchasing through Universal Radio.

Looking for Summer Shortwave Specials?

Since I review shortwave radios for SWLing.com, I’m always looking for great deals on popular portables.  This summer, I’ve noticed several exceptional values and thought I’d share them with you. Note that many of these deals are for the North American market, but if these models are available in your part of the world, you’ll probably find bargains where you live, too.

Grundig G4000A Special

Universal Radio has a limited time offer on the Grundig G4000A.  They’re selling this capable little radio for $99.99 and including a free Eton FR350 self-powered shortwave radio (a $59.95 value) and a Grundig AN200 indoor antenna ($29.95).

Wow.  What a deal–possibly the best I’ve ever seen on a new shortwave portable.  For those of you who don’t yet know, the Grundig G4000A is a classic little portable. It has very decent audio fidelity, good shortwave sensitivity, excellent SW coverage (1711 to 30000 kHz) and is a capable performer on FM and AM bands. It can also tune in SSB (Single Side Band) signals.

I am also quite familiar with the FR350, as it is one of the few self-powered radios (along with the FR200) that passed all of our rigorous tests for use with the classroom SW radio distribution project, Ears To Our World. (Kudos to Universal, by the way, as they are a big supporter of ETOW).

I have not used the Grundig AN200 AM broadcast antenna yet, but I have used similar antennas and must admit that they do improve AM reception. Great thing is, you don’t even need to hook this antenna up to your radio; just place it next to the radio and you’re ready for MW (AM broadcast band) DX.

Universal lists that this unique deal is available until the (updated) 30th of June 2010, or while supplies last.

Click here to download PDF mailer of Grundig/Universal promotion.

Prices have been falling recently on the G5 as Grundig makes way for their new G3 Voyager.

Prices have been falling recently on the G5 as Grundig makes way for their new G3 Voyager.

The Grundig G5/Eton E5

The G5 has been a choice radio amongst SWLers who want portable performance, and, along with many other reviewers, I have given this radio high marks.

There are some good deals out there on the G5 as Eton makes way for the much anticipated G3 Voyager (see previous post). Keep in mind that the G5 used to sell for $160. Below, I have listed some authorized retailers that carry the G5, and their prices as of the date of this posting:

The Sony ICF-SW7600GR is a great choice for the beginner and experienced shortwave listener. Its portable, yet has the features and selectivity of a larger radio.

The Sony ICF-SW7600GR is a great choice for the beginner and experienced shortwave listener. It's portable, yet has the features and selectivity of a larger radio.

The Sony ICF SW7600GR

Many believe that Sony is slowly pulling out of the shortwave radio market. That may be, but they have made some highly sought after radios over the years. The ICF-SW7600GR is no exception (see my mini review here). What sets this radio apart from the competition (at least until the G3 hits the market) is synchronous selectable sideband, a feature which is effective at reducing fading distortion and adjacent-channel interference.

I’ve noticed that prices on the ICF-SW7600GR are starting to fall and supplies are dwindling at retailers. Here are a few that still carry this fine portable:

C. Crane “Orphans”

C. Crane offers two radios that I’m quite fond of–the CCRadio-SW tabletop/portable and the ultra-portable CCRadio-SWP. I reviewed both of these on SWLing.com.

Like many manufacturers, C. Crane sells products that they refurbish and clean, and then guarantee them. They refer to these units as Orphans. Having purchased from C. Crane in the past, I can say that I wouldn’t hesitate to buy an orphan radio from them. It can save you anywhere from $5 to $20 on one of their radios.

Pricing and availability vary, so check out their Orphan page before purchasing new.

Two more Grundig Specials from Universal Radio

Get a free Grundig FR350 with the new Sattelit 750 at Universal Radio.

UPDATED 20 July 2009:

Universal is now offering a free Grundig AN200 antenna with the purchase of the much awaited Grundig G3 Globe Traveler ($149.99) and a free Grundig FR350 self-powered shortwave radio with the purchase of the new Satellit 750 ($299.99).   I believe these offers are exclusive to Universal Radio.

Click here to download PDF mailer of Grundig/Universal promotion.

Did I Miss Anything?

Please let me know if you discover another exceptional value on shortwave portables by leaving a comment. Also, subscibe to our RSS feed and I will post updates as they become available.