I have gone through the SWRI and tagged all portable shortwave radios that are considered “ultralights” by the ultralight “Definitions Committee.” Note that “ultralight dxing” is primarily a Mediumwave hobby, but you will find that many of the best performing ultralights are also capable, if not best-in-class shortwave receivers.
What are the attributes/guidelines for a radio to be considered an “ultralight”? Per the definitions committee:
- It is a simple shirt pocket-sized radio of not more than approximately 20 cubic inches.
- It is an entertainment-grade radio, as opposed to enthusiast’s radio. As such, it will usually not have AM synchronous detection, SSB clarification or other specialized features.
- It is readily available to the hobby in new or used markets at the time of its approval.
- It costs no more than $100 retail at the time of approval.
- It is primarily a radio. While it may have other features as well (MP3 recorder, etc.), the design and function should have radio reception as its focus.
- It is not a “novelty radio” such as Coca Cola Can radio, Mr. Potato Head, etc.
Each radio is individually approved before it is considered an ultralight.
The Tecsun PL-310, PL-380 and C.Crane CCRadio-SWP are three shortwave ultralights that I regularly use and are considered fine examples of ultralights.
Want to know more about ultralight dxing? Check out these resources:
- The Utralight DX Email Group – This is where all of the ultralight DXers communicate. There are loggings, radio reviews, hints and kinks all to be found here.
- DXer.ca’s Ultralight Shootout – Excellent, authoritative reviews of many ultralights.