The new Sangean ATS-405 shortwave portable

Sangean-ATS-405[UPDATE: Click here for a full review of the Sangean ATS-405]

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Aaron Hyde, who reports that Sangean has a new travel radio on the market: the Sangean ATS-405.

Aaron writes:

“While looking around the internet today, I came across a new DSP shortwave radio called the Sangean ATS 405. The 405 looks a lot like its 404 predecessor except that it includes 3 bandwidths, 148 memories, a squelch control and comes along with some other interesting features.”

The ATS-405 came as very much a (welcome) surprise to me as Sangean hasn’t introduced a new shortwave radio in years. This radio is obviously based on a DSP chip and has three selectable bandwidths–I hope its AGC circuit is well suited for weak DX. I am a little disappointed the ATS-405 doesn’t have a tuning wheel. Still, I hope this will be a winner.

The ATS-405 owner’s manual (download here) lists the following features:

  • Full shortwave 14 meter bands
  • Five tuning methods-direct frequency access, auto scan, manual tuning, memory recall and rotary tuning
  • ATS (Auto Tuning System)-auto scan and preset stations
  • Shortwave meter band selection
  • 148 station presets
  • 2 alarm timers by buzzer and radio
  • Real time clock
  • Adjustable sleep timer
  • Tone control (Music/Normal/News)
  • 1 kHz fine tuning
  • Squelch function adjusts the receiving threshold and eliminate weak transmissions
  • Easy to read LCD display with backlight
  • Eco-friendly recharging function with LED indicator
  • Stereo/mono switch

I will plan to purchase an ATS-405 in the near future and review it in due time. Please comment with your impressions if you’ve purchased one!

The Sangean ATS-405 is available from the following sellers from $89.00 to 95.00 US:

Many thanks agin, Aaron, for the tip!

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33 thoughts on “The new Sangean ATS-405 shortwave portable

  1. V. Engelbrecht

    Sorry if i am wrong here but:
    I am completely stuck with the manual and operationg tht ATS 405.

    Manual does not clearly say how to switch between bands, e.g. from FM to Shortwave band. I think I followed the instructions given but couldn’t change band, i.e. no chance.
    Some how I managed to activate “shortwave meter band” shortening. Cannot remember exactly how. Now I am in one SW band but cannot return to FM!

    Reset doesn’t work for tuning etc.
    Expets:Please help!

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      To toggle between shortwave, FM and AM (mediumwave) simply press the band button. It cycles through each band.

      To tune to a specific frequency, simply press the “Freq/Time/Enter” button, type the frequency, then press the “Freq/Time/Enter” button again. The frequency you type in, of course, must match the band you’re in.

      -Thomas

      Reply
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  3. ¾ Blind

    I just wanted to chime in and “+1” concur with Avo’s and Thomas’ hope that the user selectable features on the ATS-405 trickle up to a ‘909X upgrade or successor. I also desire a larger form factor table radio for better fidelity. One work around for better audio is to use powered computer speakers which are becoming somewhat ubiquitous, but for best results the radio should have a line level auxiliary output and low distortion audio amp.

    On a side(band) note, if we can land a man on the moon, why is synchronous detection still rare on SW radios?

    Reply
    1. SWLer 22007

      I think there are three reasons as to why there haven’t been any new radios with synchronous detection. First of all, Sony, which was for two decades, the leader in implementing this circuit, is no longer producing shortwave radios. Secondly, despite the high demand from enthusiasts, companies no longer see that there is a need to put out shortwave radios costing over $200 when a 24″ television can be sold for almost half that. Lastly, the AGC from the Silicon Labs chips used in most modern receivers, has a tendency to fight the stabilizing factors of a synchronous detector, this can be seen by anyone who has used either an Eton Satellit or to a greater degree, the Tecsun PL-880. In summary, I agree that companies like Sangean, Kaito and C.Crane should be experimenting with this invaluable piece of technology, however, there are some reasons why these companies haven’t already implemented it yet.

      Reply
      1. SWLer 22007

        Correction to introduction: Ignore “I think there are three reasons as to why there haven’t been any new radios with synchronous detection” and read it as “I think there are three reasons as to why there haven’t been many new radios with good synchronous detection” because there have been quite a few models have synchronous detection that haven’t had it implemented properly like the Eton Satellit, Kchibo KK S500 and Tecsun PL-880. Sorry about the confusion.

        Reply
  4. pqs

    A couple of years ago, after reading your blog, I got interested in SW radio. I bought a Sangean ATS-404. The 405 looks like a very interesting evolution. I will consider selling my 404 on ebay and buying a 405.

    But, from the novice point of view, these radios lack ETM. I also bought a Tecsun 360 and I use it much more than the ATS-404 due to ETM. All novices should buy radios with ETM, as this helps a lot in finding interesting stations (unfortunately, there are not many). The Tecsun scans everything in a couple of minutes and then, I just need to rotate the tuning knob in order to listen to each one of the broadcasts.

    On the other hand, the Sangean is great at AM radio. At night, I often listen to France Info and some North-African radios on AM. I live in Spain. 🙂 The Tecsun, with the removable AM antenna is not very good at this. What a pity that there is now AM radio in Italy! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_radio_stations_in_Italy)

    By the way, I would have loved to listen to SW radio during the 50s-70s. Now, I often listen to the BCC, RFI and Medi-1 (sometimes I listen to radios in arabic that i can’t understand, the sounds are always interesting and exotic), but they broadcast only a few hours a day and they aren’t often coincident with my schedules. And I consider myself lucky, because I can listen to the transmissions from France and the UK aimed at Western Africa! I often travel to Vienna and there, I found much less to listen to.

    And this is what makes it difficult to justify new and better gear. How will the SW landscape be in 10 years? Unless, people discover that internet radio is very fragile, compared to SW. But is this going to happen? I should probably buy a radio with SSB (the GP5?), as I assume that there will always be interesting stuff broadcasted using SSB modes, even if it is not commercial radio. Maybe when my son grows older and I have more time again for hobbies.

    Reply
    1. pqs

      I’ve re-read my comment and i found some typos. Sorry, I’m not a native English speaker. The most important one is:
      * there is now – > there is no AM radio in Italy.

      Reply
        1. pqs

          Thomas,

          I don’t have much time for radio listening (work, children) thus I don’t need a very good radio (I can’t justify buying, for example, a Sangean 909X) but I’d like to have a good radio with SSB. I’m curious about the utility signals and the ham bands.

          As I said before, now I have a Sangean 404 and a Tecsun 360.

          Looking in ebay, I found the following deal:
          http://www.ebay.es/itm/Sangean-ATS909-Superb-Radio-Receiver-/231619591211?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item35ed9a7c2b

          It’s a used ATS 909 for about 100EUR (including shipping). This is my upper limit.

          This was a very good radio in 1996, is it still a good radio? In Europe, are there better radios at this price range (80-100 EUR)?

          Reply
          1. Thomas Post author

            I like the Sangean ATS-909 a lot, and that one is very clean, but I would personally spend that same amount of money on a Tecsun PL-660. It lacks a few of the bells and whistles of the 909–like RDS and multiple alarms for example–but the PL-660 has a sync lock and is a little smaller in form factor. Plus, you can buy a new PL-660 and it’ll still be under warranty.

            If you’re a big Sangean fan, though, that looks like a nearly new radio, so I’m guessing it’ll perform as such.
            -Thomas

          2. pqs

            On ebay.es the PL660 costs 140 EUR (including shipping). I can’t find anything cheaper.

            The PL600 is less than 100EUR, though. It doesn’t have sync, but it looks like a nice machine too.

            What would you buy, a used S-909 o a new PL-600?

          3. pqs

            I just wrote them to inquiry about possible import charges. Sometimes, border controls are tricky. I once had a surprise with something imported from the USA (I live in Spain).

  5. Keith Perron

    This radio has been out in Taiwan for sometime. This radio was planned for sometime and only started to be made when they ran out of parts for other models.

    The shortwave radio department at Sangean now is very small. SW radios now account for less than 5% of their overall sales. But when those at Sangean retire from this department they are no longer replaced.

    Reply
  6. Ante

    Any chance someone will soon review this radio, so we get the real feel for FM, AM, and shortwave reception :)?

    Reply
  7. Avo Ohanian

    Looking at the features on this radio based on the DSP chipset and I very much hope a revision on the 909x is on the cards.

    a) Soft mute adjustable
    b) AGC adjustable
    c) Tuning / Scan mute adjustable
    d) The one that interests me the most – Selectable FM bandwidth.

    Funny thing is that it doesn’t mention RDS on the product but the manual does. Clock set via RDS as well. I hope they do implement a revision change including these features onto the 909x……

    Reply
      1. Avo

        You know Tomas, if Sangean made a slightly larger unit with capacity for 6 AA cell batteries that would give sufficient voltage to properly run the rf circuitry using rechargeables. Maybe even C cells for better DC operating time? I always thought the 909 and 909x were a little small for a top spec unit. Sangean do have other smaller for factor receivers if portability is of primary concern, such as the 405….

        Reply
        1. Tomas

          C cells is for my grandmothers radio, noone wants that in a modern portable. It’s probably best if Sangean modernize their radio instead…

          Reply
  8. Mike Westfall

    Interestingly, the blurb at Universal Radio’s website says it can operate in “continous mode” from 1710 kHz to 30 Mhz. I didn’t see that in the user’s manual. Is it an easter-egg function?

    Reply
  9. Bill Levey

    I don’t see any mention of a BFO for CW or SSB reception. That would be a deal breaker for me … sigh.

    Reply
  10. Tomas

    Too bad with no LW support. The Sangean PT 80 actually has quite decent LW reception (but then that was a Grundig design or construction, very evident from the fact that it says “Yacht Boy 80” in the manual of the Sangean PT 80).

    Reply

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