Chris suggests installing a shortwave receiver in your car


On the topic of shortwave radios in automobiles, SWLing Post reader, Chris, writes:

“Seven years ago, I purchased a Sony Car Stereo with a Shortwave receiver from the Shortwave Store in Canada. It works remarkably well especially on those summer trips to Northern Wisconsin and Michigan when I can get away from the city noise. Last summer while driving from Chicago to Copper Harbor Michigan (a 10 hour drive) I listened to Radio Australia, Radio New Zealand, Radio Havana Cuba, Radio Exterior Espana and the BBC (Ascension). It certainly made a long drive more enjoyable.

Below is a video I took last night of a relatively weak signal of Radio Exterior Espana (due to local electrical noise and weather) then followed by a nice strong signal of Radio Romania. The signals were recorded next to Lake Michigan in Chicago.

If you can’t afford a BMW with a Shortwave receiver or you don’t have an appetite for a Smart Car you can always install a receiver easily found for sale on Ebay.”

Click here to view the Pioneer DEH-X2650UI Shortwave Car Auto Radio on eBay.

Of course, the receiver is only as good as its antenna. Chris admits that, “the [radio] installation was a hassle and I had to install an aerial whip antenna (which required drilling).” Obviously, your investment in the whip antenna is paying off, Chris. I’m impressed.


I have created an eBay search string to search for shortwave car radios: Click here to search eBay for a mobile shortwave radio.

You can also search for the Pioneer DEH-X2650UI Chris suggested by clicking here.

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10 thoughts on “Chris suggests installing a shortwave receiver in your car

  1. Menahem Yachad

    I’m an electronics tech, with my workshop in Jerusalem Israel – CondorAudio.
    I have been selling the MidEast-spec Pioneer Shortwave Car Radios for well on 40 years; yes, even in the days of Becker and Blaupunkt, Pioneer was making superb Shortwave Car Radios!.
    The current model available is the DEH-X4850FD, and the DEH-X4950BT with Bluetooth.
    Available on ebay here:
    Any questions related to Shortwave, Electronics, Restoration and Repair are welcome!

    1. DL4NO

      I don’t know where you live. But here in Germany I am still looking for an afordable upgrade path to a FM/DAB+ radio. Shortwave in the car? Do it yourself!

      As a radio amateur I have a shortwave station in my car and my transceiver can hear nearly everywhere up to 52 MHz. But my antennas are extremely narrow. With my 7 MHz antenna I hear next to nothing on 6 MHz.

  2. Mohsen

    Hi, what was your Sony model you mentioned?
    Someone offered me a second hand Sony XR-F5100 which has also a shortwave receiver. What’s your suggestion?

  3. David

    I’ve thought about trying to find an acceptable car stereo with SW,
    but the more I think about it, the more I favour using a portable,
    possibly operating on car-adapter power, with an external antenna
    and connecting its headphone jack to the line input on a normal head unit
    so that the portable doesn’t have to try to overcome road noise all by itself.

    Yes, this is more “stuff”, and requires more effort, but if either the car unit
    or the SW portable had to be replaced, the process would be much easier.

    1. DL4NO

      About “external antenna”: You might consider to tap the radio antenna. But don’t try the obvious way:

      First you should be certain that you have an “active” antenna with an amplifier directly on the roof. Then you should consider whether you intend to loosen the car’s “heaven” below the antenna.

      If yes on both cases:

      – Remove the antenna from the car.
      – Open the foot of the antenna.
      – Get an idea of the circuitry.
      – Add an emitter follower after the (first) AM amplifier stage.
      – Connect a separate cable for your SW radio to the emitter follower.

      You might need to replace the existing antenna cable up to the first connector by RG-174/U so you can connect your SW radio to a second cable.

      The normal amplifier output is high-impedance. If you find any specifications you find for “output impedance” something like “100 pf load capacity max.” Additionally there is a lowpass filter between the AM amplifier and the antenna cable. So tapping inside the car is no really good idea.

      Besides the obvious advantage of no additional antenna those antennas suppress any interference from the car electronics quite effectively.

  4. Patrick

    I have these Sony shortwave car stereos for sale on eBay. My eBay seller ID is “joefan98”. The model is the Sony CDX-GT270MP. Just do a search on eBay for my seller ID and you will find my auctions. I am in the United States (Kentucky) and I have 100% positive feedback. I ship Priority Mail and you will not be disappointed.

  5. RadioFlynn

    Interesting. I am thinking about this for my camping trailer – I have better access to the cabling and antenna than one would on the average car. Only the Sony appears to cover the North American extended AM broadcast band, the Pioneer doesn’t.

  6. Alexander

    If your car radio offers AM reception and your antenna is on the back of the roof, you have an active antenna. “Active” car antennas for AM and shortwave are something special: Their output is high-impedance. If you get any real technical data at all you get something like “maximum load 100 pF”.

    Here in Europe most of these active antennas are specified at 150 kHz to 6.2 MHz. The high-impedance output allows hardly more. But it is quite easy to add a buffer stage. All of the antennas I had could be opened easily. The “only” problem is to remove the cabin roof 🙁


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