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

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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11 thoughts on “Mornings with the Panasonic RF-2200

  1. 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

    Reply
  2. 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?

    Reply
    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 ShopGoodwill.com–you can get great deals sometimes but the units come with no guarantee and no testing.

      Reply
  3. Pingback: Guest Post: Repairing the National Panasonic DR22, the Panasonic RF-2200’s Euro-Sibling | The SWLing Post

  4. 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!

    Reply
  5. 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!

    Reply
  6. 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.

    Reply
  7. 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?

    Reply
  8. 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.

    Reply

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