Mornings with the Panasonic RF-2200

It’s been a busy winter season here at SWLing Post HQ. Many of you might have noticed a slow response time if you’ve tried to contact me. I’m in the midst of a rather involved investment property renovation that’s consumed nearly all of my spare time.

Still, I’m keeping up with the Post and even managing a little one-on-one radio time in the early mornings/late evenings. Indeed, I’ve actually tried to turn my renovation project into an opportunity to play a little radio. The property is unoccupied and very rural, so there’s quite literally no RFI there. Woot!

Since I’ve been spending time evaluating the new CCRadio3 (click here to read my preview), I’ve also had the CCRadio EP Pro, Sony ICF-5500W and the legendary Panasonic RF-2200 nearby for comparison purposes.

All of these radios have their strong points, but the Panny RF-2200 is still the rig I reach for the most. That’s why I listed it as one of my daily drivers.

It also helps that my RF-2200 feels like a brand new unit after Vlado re-capped and cleaned it.


Band-scanning with the RF-2200 is such a tactile experience. The ‘2200 tuning knob is quality and almost feels like a weighted encoder you’d find on a proper tabletop receiver. The RF-2200 even has fast/slow tuning gears and you can calibrate the dial so easily. Though tuning on the shortwaves feels a little vague, I find mediumwave is incredibly accurate.

Speaking of the dial and logging scale, I think it’s one of the most attractive from the 1970s:

Since I’ve been doing most of my listening around sunrise and sunset, it’s been a lot of fun to fit in a little mediumwave DXing as well. I see why the RF-2200 was one of The Professor‘s favorites.

If you ever find a good deal on a Panasonic RF-2200, don’t hesitate, just grab it!  Occasionally you’ll find one on eBay, but also check your local hamfests and swap meets! That’s where I’ve had the most luck.

If you ever find a ‘2200 for less that $100-125 that’s in decent cosmetic shape, with the original antenna, clean battery contacts, and is in good mechanical shape (meaning the tuning mechanism and dial work as they should), buy it! If there’s an electrical problem, Vlado can fix that. In fact, if your RF-2200 still has the original capacitors, you’d probably want to re-cap it anyway to keep leaky caps from eventually harming the board or internals. Plus, a properly re-capped ‘2200 will play like a new one!

My takeaway?  The RF-2200 is a keeper! I suppose that’s why I even have a spare!

Do you have or would you like an RF-2200? Please comment!

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23 thoughts on “Mornings with the Panasonic RF-2200

  1. Arthur Smith

    I am blessed with the beautiful RF-2200 that began my journey in this hobby, on Christmas in 1977. Yes, my parents gave it to me as my first multiband radio. Vlado did a full recap and alignment/restoration on it a year or so ago. The radio is very sensitive, and i forgot what a truly great performer it is on mediumwave. I also forgot the set’s relatively mediocre stability on shortwave, which can make tuning in hams on SSB a wrestling match. Selectivity is very good, especially in Narrow. FM fidelity is superb. Especially when you engage that “hidden feature”, hitting the 125 KHZ or BFO on FM, which activates a Loudness control. Overall, the radio will always have a special place in my heart. And I still get to use it decades later, as if still brand new. The eBay prices, while insane, are so high because it truly is a great radio to use. And people in the community still know of its reputation.

  2. Rafael

    Buenas tardes ;tengo una rf -2200 y nunca fue abierta segun el dueño que me la vendio ,capta en todas las bandas pero en onda corta creo que le falta algun ajuste , ustedes me podrian informar al respecto .Desde ya muchas gracias . Rafael de La Plata Argentina.

  3. Lucian

    We are in August 2020 i just got one Panasonic RF 2200 and its in need of dr Vlado repair and proper contacts cleaning . I contacted dr Vlado via email, did not hear ever since. Does anybody knows if he is still in business? I really need to send my radio to him. Thank you

  4. Hal Prentice

    I’ve owned my RF-2200 since purchasing it new 1978. The radio had seriously deteriorated over the decades (corroded, dirty contacts, bad caps, etc.) However, this past month the rig was expertly repaired/restored by Vlado and it is like new (Vlado is a genius and an artist!). Anyway, my question is does anyone know what the original MSRP was when in production? I have the manuals, but the receipt has long since disappeared.

    1. Mike S

      Hmm. Wondering if Vlado would look at the aging Sony CRF-160 on my shelf, with tuning drum and slide-rule dials frozen solid from drying-out and corrosion….

      1. Melvin

        Hi I’m Melvin got mine for ten dollars. I sent it to Vlado he got it playing like new.
        It pick up radio stations I didn’t know existed. A great radio . Mine looks like new.

  5. Benjamin W Clark

    Hello, I have an RF-2200 for sale now. It’s in excellent condition as it was my step father’s and he was Whitehouse communications officer back in the day. Anyway for information email me. [email protected]

  6. laurent

    Belive me or not but i found this radio RF 2200 yesterday at my local waste collect center. I imediately took it and clean it at home. it works perfect and looks good. 2 monthes ago at the same place i found a wonderfull Telefunken HIFI studio 1 in perfect condition with amazing sounds…My only problem is that i’m living in Switzerland and that in fews years it will b only possible to use DAB radios in my country. I hope some peoples will find some filters or a way in view to continue to use vintage radios…. I’m happy to save these beautiful vintage radios and i guess a lot of local peoples abandon it as they think it wont works due to DAB….

  7. Keith Kromer

    I am looking for an aerial for the
    Panasonic RF 2200. Do you have any suggestions as to where I can purchase one?

  8. James Smith

    I have a like new RF 2200! Traded old radio ( got back in another deal.) Plays great 100 percent like new! I cleaned it with contact cleaner, however I prefer NOT to recap! No leaks etc. What you suggest 73. James

  9. Leslie Shamel

    Hi,I keep seeing these great reviews of the RF-2200.So now I am looking for one for myself,what’s the best place to look for one besides e-bay?

    1. Thomas

      Besides eBay? I would try local hamfests. In a way, it’s a shot in the dark, but you’ll likely get a better bargain there. Also, try–you can get great deals sometimes but the units come with no guarantee and no testing.

  10. David

    I had one of these radios in the late 1970s. Seeing yours brings back memories. In a series of trades, I would up with a Sony ICF-2001. I never regretted it because the Sony was and is a great performer. I still have mi 2001 plus an Icom IC-7100 and an ICF-7600. I like them all. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Marty

    I would love one of these! I think you are on point with your suggestion of swap meets and ham fests. After purchasing a Sony ICF-SW100 off eBay that looked great in pictures but had some issues I am pretty leery of spending that kind of money again. In case anyone is wondering my ICF-SW100 has the cracked battery housing issue. Seems to be common. Buyer beware!

  12. Mario

    The RF-2200 and it’s Euro cousin, the National Panasonic DR-22 are my all time favorite radios. Both were bought used and work well. One of them I chose to realign without changing any capacitors. This may be the lazy way out, but the number of electrolytics in these radios is voluminous and very time consuming to replace. Just disassembling the unit is very painstaking… The radio was apart for weeks as I went through the alignment procedure; not something I’d want to repeat in the near future.

    In short, the alignment went well and one day I’ll tackle the other radio, but am in no hurry. It receives well (AM/FM/SW) so why poke a 40 plus year old sleeping bear? When performance suffers then I’ll realign.

    Both these radios are used on a daily basis. There’s an appeal that they possess, perhaps because they take me back to a time (’70’s) when radios still had knobs, toggle switches, D’Arsonval S-meters, analog VFOs, large batteries, large speakers, weighed a ton, had crystal calibrators, and had a command presence due to sheer mass and weight. The eventual miniaturization of radios over time with their soft keys, digital readouts, tiny speakers, SMT boards, bar-type S meters and “chuffing” VFO’s hold no appeal for me but that is only my opinion and not to be taken as a criticism.

    Thomas this was a great post, any information about this radio is always interesting. Did you know that this radio was also marketed as the “Cougar 2200”? So for those wanting more info there’s Yahoo group devoted to this. I posted some pics on their site when I was performing the realignment. The inner workings of these radios, both electronic and mechanical are very intricate.

  13. Tom Laskowski

    I’m going to send mine in for recapping/cleaning later this spring. Even though mine is in great shape, I might benefit from having it gone over by Vlado. Is there a way to tell when this radio was made by looking at the serial number?

  14. Peat

    I don’t own a RF-2200, but I’ve always wanted one. eBay prices rise far above my comfort level for a sight-unseen radio, especially when sellers will not accept returns (understandably). I’ve recently “settled” on a C Crane 2e and I’m quite pleased with it, but I think I’ll always have my eye out for a RF-2200.


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