Ed gives this Realistic DX-440 a bath!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Edward Ganshirt, who shares the following:
I found this critter [a Realistic DX-440–see photo above] at a flea market. At first I pondered as to when I had my last tetanus shot before handling it, then again it had something that I see rarely in these portable radios … a BFO..!

I always said that a shortwave radio without a BFO is like a Harley-Davidson with a top speed of 25 mph, so I bought it. On the way home I could smell a barnyard aroma. I ruled out chicken and hog but I think it could have been sheep or goat. So I decided to see how well it works. It took a little bumping around with loose connections to get it working. But first since it was going to be taken apart to service the case and knobs would get a nice hot bath in a sudsy ammonia citrus cleaner with a bristle brush. Also the PCB’s would get brushed down with a mixture of denatured alcohol and acetone.

Now for the hard part: finding the rickety connections. This turned out to be simple, just inspect each wire at attachment point. I found 3 broken wires that were re soldered. Now it is together I am looking for a 9 inch antenna. The one here is not original it extends 66 inches.

As to it’s performance, This Hogg can go up to 75mph now that I have the plug wires on. The user interface speaks to me as a lab instrument more than a daily listener which I think will become its role.

Absolutely amazing transformation, Ed!

I’m especially pleased to see you’ve given this level of TLC to a Realistic DX-440. I regret having ever sold mine as it accompanied me across the ocean when I studied in Grenoble, France, for a year just after high school.

The DX-440 and I did a lot of travel and a lot DXing together! I hope your DX-440 takes you across the globe, Ed!

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7 thoughts on “Ed gives this Realistic DX-440 a bath!

  1. Brian

    I had a DX 400 for YEARS and it was a spectacular radio. I have a DX 398 right now as my portable, but I would love to have my DX 400 back…such is life.

  2. RonF

    “Also the PCB’s would get brushed down with a mixture of denatured alcohol and acetone.”

    Err … yeah … OK.

    Don’t know if I’d be letting acetone anywhere near it, except in a very localised way. Acetone will attack plenty of the plastics & epoxies used in components & the boards themselves – everything from the paint/insulator used on TH resistors, through capacitor & semiconductor bodies, right down to the silkscreen & resist on the boards. Even, in some cases, the board material itself.

    It – and denatured alcohol too – also won’t dissolve many organic & metal cruds, so in the end doesn’t clean terribly well anyway…

    You’re much better off scrubbing with a 70:30 mix of isopropyl alcohol & distilled water (aka “rubbing alcohol”), followed by a clean with distilled water, and a final clean & rinse with 99% isopropyl (mainly to remove the water & dissolved/suspended crud). You can even use distilled water & mild dish-soap as the first step, if you wish. Shake dry afterwards, and put it aside for a few days to completely dry.

    Save the acetone for _very_ limited spot-cleaning of anything that remains. And keep it well away from any paints, plastics, or epoxies…

  3. Robert

    Great job, and thanks for bringing life to this classic radio. It deserves it! Mine was purchased off eBay some years ago, and folks were right to brag on it. While it is not the smallest or lightest radio – it does have room-filling sound and a great “feel” to it. It is nice to have a few radios that can reproduce sound powerfully!

  4. Tim

    WOW! Nice and Clean. The DX-440 is a great radio, I still use mine often, usually outside as it has a great speaker that travels. And yes, BFO is a requirement. It’s a lab instrument that’s a great daily listener too!
    Have fun with it,


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