The Realistic DX-440 has landed

I arrived in Huntsville, Alabama, yesterday to set up our booth for ETOW at the 2019 Huntsville Hamfest. The set-up process was smooth and the support staff were incredibly helpful.

After preparing the table, I had a little time to kill so thought I’d search for some friends spotted earlier setting up in the flea market area. Note that I had told my wife earlier “I wouldn’t be bringing radios home on this trip.” Turns out I was destined to be a big fat liar. 🙂

On one of the flea market tables I found this Realistic DX-440 (photo above) a fellow had just set out. It was marked $25–one of the best prices for a ‘440 I’ve seen in a long time.

If you’re a regular SWLing Post reader, you might remember that the DX-440 was my first digital portable and one I used when I lived in France as a teenager. No doubt, it has some serious nostalgic value for me.

I checked this 440 out thoroughly: clean battery compartment, straight antenna, all buttons, pots, and sliders worked, and it sounded wonderful when tuned to FM (AM and SW weren’t easy to check in the Von Braun Center). The chassis needs a little clean up, but it’s in overall good condition and the seller was the only owner.

I suppose I took too long looking it over, so the seller volunteered, “If you give me $20, it’s yours.”


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30 thoughts on “The Realistic DX-440 has landed

  1. Timothy E Johnson

    I still use mine a lot. I use it outside tuned to the AM band for talk radio when I’m working on my car or lawn work. It goes with us camping. A real workhorse with great sound. Enjoy the radio!

  2. Edward

    I have a question, try tuning in on long wave and set to around 450 to 460 Khz. I get a lot of feedback and howling when trying to tune in on the first IF frequency. Not sure if i have a shield missing or a grounding problem. How does your’s respond?


    1. Michael Black

      I think that’s pretty normal. Back when receivers had IF frequencies in the HF range, like 9MHz, it was common to see footnotes in fine print saying that one couldn’t count on the IF frequency. There’s even one receiver, something like the R390, which uses a different IF frequency in one range so the tuning range doesn’t go through the IF frequency.


  3. Gary

    Thats pretty cool….I use to have one!!! These days I mostly listen on my tecsun pl-880 and my sangean909x. I recently got a panasonic rf2200 off eBay extremely cheap and mint condition. I also have a realistic dx-160 for sale and 1940s philco.

  4. Mike (N8GBU)

    I know the feeling, having a second chance to purchase and use a radio from your early years in the hobby just brings a good feeling and alot of memories. Mine go back to Analog days, people wonder how I know how to read the dials.

  5. John

    I have one of these also and too an original owner. Just recently dug out of storage and put to use. Is a connection to my youth. A simpler time with a lot less distractions than today. Interesting that the excitement of finding and listening to a foreign station is still there.

  6. Art Jackson

    Congratulations on the find.
    I found one at an Antique store in Central Arizona a couple of years ago. The radio did not work and the display was barely readable. The manager said he had put new batteries in it, but it would not work. He said 25 bucks, it is yours. It had a 50 buck sticker on it. I said to myself, what do I have to lose?
    I pulled the batteries. The culprit was old corroded AA batteries for the memory. The D batteries were very weak (right.. new batteries). I had in my collection an old Radio Shack power supply. Put in new AA batteries, cleaned the insides and plugged in the power supply and wallah!!
    Other that a somewhat flaky tuning knob, it really hears. I enjoy MW & FM DXing with it.
    It is a bit heavy with the batteries in it, but it is always near me when I am not Hamming.
    Art K7DWI

  7. Thomas Post author

    Wow! Obviously a lot of folks own or once owned this excellent radio. Thank you all for sharing your comments.

    I will say that I plan to keep this portable for the long haul now.! 🙂

    Once I’m back home, I’ll give it a good clean up and perhaps take a few more photos.


  8. RonF

    I had a Sangean 803A for a while years ago. Nice enough little portable, though I remember it chuffing on tuning and the BFO being /very/ touchy.

    Wonder how it stacks up against its current equivalents e.g. the Tecsun PL-660 & 880, and the various C.Crane models? Thomas, you’ll have to do a shootout sometime!

  9. david ricquish

    I have one for sale $US25. Plus shipping from New Zealand another $15. Proceeds to pay by Paypal and send shipping address. Allow me time to organize everything as I am now disabled and my partner will have to handle all details. Radio was bought in LA in 1990 from memory. Just 1 owner. Needs cleaning and batteries.

  10. Joe Patti KD2QBK

    My second digital portable (first was the Sony 6500W, not true digital, but the display was there). Got it badged as the “Ambassador 2020” from the old EEB (Electronic Equipment Bank) before Sangean started selling them under their own name. Remember using it with a pair of powered speakers for stereo FM as well as for SW. I now have a ‘440 to take its place, having given away the 2020 years ago…

  11. Ron

    Hi Tom, it was good to see you and your family at Huntsville. That’s a good buy on the DX 440. There seemed to a number of older portable sw receivers at the hamfest.
    Looking forward to Shelby!
    Ron WB4OQL

  12. Marty

    Congrats on a great radio buy!
    If you bring your wife a big bouquet of flowers when you get home, she probably won’t notice the radio.

  13. James

    DX-440 was my first digital portable…I bet that’s true for a lot of folks. I miss Radio Shack – they put tech like this within reach of so many in the US, where you could actually walk into a store and look at a thing.

  14. Curt Schwarzwalder

    The 440 was my first PLL portable as well. I remember listening to news of the first Gulf War on it. It’s stored in a former cassette tape case in which the radio fits perfectly. I take it out and put batteries in it one in a while. Still works like a champ.

  15. Julio Cesar Pereira

    The DX-440 “Voice of the World” was my very first PLL radio with digital LCD display. In fact, it was the first in many ways, for my old Philco Transglobe B-481 didn’t have many of its features such as bfo, gradual rf attenuator, independent bass and treble controls, memory, etc. I got it from a workmate who had lived in the US and wanted to listen to Brazilian stations on shortwave. Unfortunately, it was stolen. But, I have another one and it came from New Hampshire. Better use it with an external antenna for shortwave listening or build a balun to improve sensitivity with its very long telescopic antenna. No need for that for FM and obviously for MW. It has very good and loud audio.

  16. Ciro Saito

    The main problem we have today very few stations in SW compared to 70-80s. And propagation in the deep cicle. 73 and be patient. SWL since 1958 in Brazil. Also PY2.

      1. RonF

        > “For DRM receivers see

        Been a while since I looked there. They used to suggest radios that haven’t existed for years (e.g. the Newstar DR111) – sometimes a decade or more (e.g. the Technisat MultyRadio, Morphy Richards DRM 27024, and Himalaya 2009) – and, in quite a few cases, had never been released (e.g. the MsWay MDR-S100, several Himalaya models, and multiple Sangean/Roberts prototypes).

        Now they’re suggesting a mix of radios which haven’t yet been released (the Titus II & Starwaves prototype), a radio which seems to be no longer available anywhere (the Avion AV-DR-1401) – and one, the Gospell GR-216, which is difficult to get unless you buy it as the very expensive and misleadingly-branded ‘Tecsun Australia’ (not related to actual Tecsun) Q-3061.

        Guess not everyone can afford to buy an Indian car just to receive DRM…

        (And before someone mentions “blah blah SI Labs blah blah blah” … yeah, wake me when they start appearing in radios…)

  17. 13dka

    I think that was my first digital portable too, in its “Siemens” labeled form. Certainly a steal for $20! Maybe you need to become a bit inventive in terms of “declaration”: “No, that’s not a radio…that’s…umm…a radio shaped paperweight with a built-in electromagnetic spectrum measurement and demodulation device and look, it doesn’t even turn on! ” Don’t forget to take the batteries out before you come back home. 🙂

  18. David

    You should have insisted he take $25 and not a penny less!!! Then as you walk away with it he’d starting thinking that he got ripped off and should have asked for more 🙂


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