Rob notes that shortwave radios are still on the shelf in St. Petersburg

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rob Gray, who writes:

Shortwave Radios in a St. Petersburg retail store
I took this snap today while visiting in St. Petersburg Russia for a few months. Not exciting radios by any means, but given this store was something like a Best Buy, I thought it was interesting that shortwave still has a small presence.

Thanks for sharing, Rob! I can’t think of the last time I visited an electronics retailer and found as many shortwave radios on the shelf. At least, not since the days of RadioShack.

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14 thoughts on “Rob notes that shortwave radios are still on the shelf in St. Petersburg

  1. The Professor

    This is nice to see. Even if they’re probably not stellar sets, they’re on the shelves. Radios for the people. I don’t know how somebody could find a way to say something negative about this.

    1. bill m

      “Just because they have it on the shelves, does not mean they are selling any.”

      Sort of like saying, “Just because they’re selling them, doesn’t mean they’re selling them!”

      Having been a manager in retail sales for the better part of a decade, I can tell you that products that don’t sell, don’t get shelf real estate. The fact that there are several models of these radios in the same shelf space tells me that these do indeed sell at this retailer’s location.

      1. Keith Perron

        I know one of the buyers for the German chain Media Markt who told me the SW radios they have are only because distributers try to unload them and if they give them self space they get discounts on more marketable items.

        He told me in a year for the Media Markt locations in Germany they shifted 2. He added they are now planning to get them remove as keeping the stock just ends up costing more money.

  2. Jason

    The reality is the radio enthuisiast / hobbyist has more choice than ever before right now, as the internet has broken down the traditional barriers of distance and economies of scale, however we also have more noise and less stations.

    As for places like the electronics shop in Russia, well Joe Public has an expectation that a decent radio shouldn’t cost more than $40 and approaching $100 is an expensive radio. At those prices you are not going to get a top of the line Sangean or Tecsun. Even the XH DATA D-808 is going to cost the best part of US $100 and would the average Russian on the street be prepared to pay that much?

    Here in Australia, anything over $100 and the average punter expects it to support DAB+ digital (even though coverage is limited to maybe 80% of the population (ie the suburbs of the major capital cities) right now.

    I’ve been out in regional areas, 400kms+ from the nearest DAB+ transmitter, and people see me using a tecsun and ask “is that digital radio”. The answer “no, digital radio doesn’t get out this far” always disappoints.

  3. Mario

    Thanks for that photo, Rob, sure looks like a Radio Shack store of yesteryear. The radio on the top right with the transparent speaker frame looks interesting.

  4. DanH

    The most expensive radio in that photo costs US $57.00. Just like Americans, Russian buy mostly cheap junk Chinese multiband radios with SW and whip antennas that don’t stand much of a chance of hearing distant stations during these low years of solar cycle 24.

    1. Michael Black

      But that’s a bigger market than “radio hobbyists”, though nowadays digital would seem to be the way to offer cheap radios.

      My first shortwave receiver, in 1971, was a Hallicrafters S-120A (the transistorised one), which cost bout $85 Canadian. It was awful, all the disadvantages of low end receivers, plus the disadvantages of a cheap transistorized receiver. Lots of people got into the hobby via such low end receivers, I couldn’t afford better, others probably wanted to sample shortwave before spending more.

      The nearby lunch counter/candy store where I got my comic books before turning to hobby electronic magazines had some generic multiband portables on display, something to drool over t age 11 but surely as much a disappointment as the S120A. Radio Shack had lots of those too, the more bands the better but likely performance went down as the number of bands went up. They all had similar schematics, just like the low end tube receivers before them. I got a Radio Shack portable at a garage sale for few dollars. few years ago, AM/FM and I think two SW bands. It felt and sounded like the S120A.

      Even the Grundig pocket SW radio I got cheap at a garage sale was an improvement, since it had ä frequency counter readout, and narrow bands to tune.

      But that low end is what the public is most likely to come across.

      But they were out there

      1. DanH

        Radio Shack offered good medium-priced portables during its heyday. In addition to inexpensive radios they sold $200 multiband portables from Sangean rebadged as Realistic radios.

        Here is a page from the 1993 Radio Shack catalog.

        Granted, these competent, top of the line Sangeans were not near the quality of Sony multiband portables of the day but they didn’t carry anywhere near the same price tag, either.

  5. Jackie

    We have a dedicated radio shop near me, Radio City in Mounds View, Minnesota. They have numerous ham radios but also at least a half-dozen shortwave models on their shelves. Really odd to see a dedicated radio shop these days (they also sell astronomy equipment. but radio is still their bread and butter).


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