Critical reviews of the $37 HanRongDa HRD-737 shortwave radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Glen and James Fields who shared their experience after  publishing a post about the HannRongDa HRD-737 portable radio.

Glen writes:

I received one Saturday I had ordered from Aliexpress. In one word, avoid. The performance is really terrible everywhere except the FM broadcast band. Reception there is OK, but it is prone to overload more than my other radios. Aircraft reception is terrible. Only very strong shortwave signals are present. Same with AM broadcast. VHF performance is abysmal. To illustrate, my closest NOAA transmitter is so strong it trips the “close signals” quick scan in my Whistler TRX-1. On the HanRongDa, the NOAA signal is present, but it’s weak. All my other weather band receivers can get signals on all 7 frequencies. The HanRongDa hears only the very close one. This is easily the worst receiver I’ve ever gotten. Perhaps it’s defective. Eager to hear experiences from anyone else.

James Fields writes:

Received mine yesterday. Have only tested in my office which is a challenging, RFI-rich environment, so trying to withhold final judgement. However so far my experience matches Glen’s. Can only pick up the strongest shortwave signals. MW AM so far terrible. FM broadcast passable but not at all remarkable, and most stations have a LOT of hiss in the background. Have yet to pick up AIR band transmission on frequency that I can get on every other receiver I have. Nothing on CB yet. Cannot receive any NOAA frequencies, including two that I get solidly on other radios. Interestingly I can receive local police dispatch frequency pretty well.

Construction is pretty cheap.

Positives? I got mine for $37 shipped from a reseller on Ali Express . If I had paid over $40 I would feel worse about the value. And it really is a shirt-pocket portable. Super small and light.

At this time I cannot recommend this for anyone, for any purpose.

Thank you for sharing! I think I’ll pass on the HanRongDa HRD-737!

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16 thoughts on “Critical reviews of the $37 HanRongDa HRD-737 shortwave radio

  1. Stephane Schmitz

    My first hrd-737 was defective. There was bleeding everywhere, it was totally deaf on most vhf bands.
    The second one is working as expected and I have to say it’s a surprising receiver. Receives very well on MW and SW as well as FM. Very sensitive. I’m not listening to the other bands.

  2. ezra

    Using it for fm and I’m satisfied. Don’t care about the other bands. Good headphones for the price, A lot of volume from a small speaker. I use the alarm clock. I like its small size. Easy to recharge the battery.

  3. Bob Geis

    Radio worked well but it’s junk. The on/off button has collapsed. If you buy it it won’t last longer than a few months!


    Hi, HRD 737 lovers!
    I have a good news!
    I modified ( I became brave enough) my 737.
    I tried reverse engineering- but I gave up. No numbers on IC-s. I found specification about the analog switches ( one for each band ) and found information about the transistors around those analog switch IC-s. Nice, 1 GHz fT transistors, all SM ( surface mount)
    So I gave up that line.
    I found an NPN silicon SM transistor in a damaged TV remote. It is only a 300 MHz transistor but
    I have no better than that, So I started to build a little antenna amplifier circuit, wide band and simple.
    I lost a few SM capacitors during the soldering but I have plenty of those.. So the 1/4 square inc size circuit board was ready last week. I tested it with an external 3 volt battery and I found it good working. Today ( 07-27-2019 ) I opened up again the 737 and wired it into the radio.
    The result is much better than I expected. 737 became a good shortwave radio! When I touch the built in antenna by my finger, radio is sensing the touch and station comes in. This effect was not there before. Radio became more sensitive on CB band than my Realistic DX392.
    I have a youtube channel ( type in the name:of my youtube channel: imre olajos ) and I will show you the little, ugly but great working circuit in the radio. I took photos .Later on next week I try to record some video of the shortwave reception and post up it on the same youtube channel.
    I am a shortwave lover since 50+ years and I will be very happy to share the good news with others. Now I can listen my Greek music on this little radio, on 9420 kHz. Yes, radio became so sensitive what I have not hoped .
    You can see my other shortwave radios on my youtube channel too,
    Have fun and never give up the hope!

  5. Neon

    I’ve been using this radio for a few weeks now and cant stop. I have been able to hear everything its capable of such as local CB chatter, Air traffic reports, NOAA, many AM stations from the USA (Im in NB Canada), University Security, FM from cities over 100 km away and all the usual SW favorites I pick up on my other radios. The included random wire antenna makes a substantial difference and works even better when wrapped around the radio itself, I just wish it had its own dedicated port instead of the alligator clip. My major complaint is the cheap housing shared with the cheaper AM/FM version of this radio that can be had for $6. The built in antenna is as thin as a syringe at its thinnest point and is very flimsy. I’m a big fan and find myself carrying the radio everywhere!

  6. John B

    Thank you, Mark! Two “reviews”; two snide remarks.
    I ordered one of these on a whim, not expecting a lot. Then I read these comments, and figured that I had thrown my money away.
    Then it arrived. I tried it out in a suburban location, internal antenna only.
    FM was first. Quite good for a pocket portable, with decent selectivity and sound. FM stereo through headphones!
    AM is about what you would expect for a one inch internal antenna. Nevertheless, it received all my local stations, a few out-of-towners, and works well at night. I didn’t notice any overloading.
    SW is good for an 11″ telescopic antenna. All the big boys come in, plus WWV and CHU. There is a nice, clip on antenna supplied, but I haven’t tried it yet.
    AIR is marvelous. It will receive everything that I can get on my airband only Yaesu HT, sometimes a little better. And there is a switchable squelch that works just fine.
    I haven’t done a lot with the VHF, but it will receive about 4 NOAA stations here, as many as any other radio I have with a comparable antenna length.
    I have started taking the radio with me on car trips, and listen to the CB band on it. About 1 mile of range, which is pretty good. The squelch works there, too.
    It’s rechargeable, and runs a long time. It is pretty intuitive to use. Has a nice display, many memories, and an RSSI display.
    In my opinion, it is a heck of a value for $37. It’s not an Icom R30 by any means, but you can buy 16 of them for the price of the Icom. I may buy a few more!

    1. MIke

      I agree. I’m glad I read your review and am glad for this low-cost shirt pocket marvel. BTW it comes with a SW antenna and decent headphones.

  7. Mark

    There are only two reviews here and no mention is made of antennas (so I’m presuming the built in antenna was used). When comparisons are made to ‘other receivers’, do these comparisons take into account antenna type? (I.e., was the same type antenna used for the comparison?)

    Of the two reviews, one was tested in an office environment yet makes comparisons to other receivers. Were the other receivers also tested in the same office environment?

    I’m not saying that the reviews are wrong, but they are not proper reviews to begin with.

  8. Eddie

    Take it to the beach with you. If the sea gulls take it, thank them for the disposal service. If not try skipping rocks. Give a review of how well it skips on the water.


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