A trusted companion: The Panasonic RF-2200 never lets me down

One of the great things about sheltering at home during the Covid-19 pandemic, is I have time to complete some projects that would have otherwise waited until much later this year.

Lately, I’ve been making a serious effort to have our firewood cut, split and stacked so that it’ll have time to cure and dry before winter.

I’ve got a load of wood in my truck to process today so decided to take the Panasonic RF-2200 outside and do a little AM BC listening to make the splitting session pass a little faster.

The Panny ‘2200 is ideally suited for this task: it has robust sound and is one of the best AM DX portables ever made. I knew it would easily lock on to WTZQ 1600 kHz (some 25 miles away).

But as I sat the ‘2200 on the tailgate of my truck, I noticed that the power switch was already on!

My heart sank. The last time I had the RF-2200 out was well over a week ago and I was certain I had no D cells charged and ready to replace these.

But then I turned up the volume and there was static. I tuned to WTZQ and it sounded like it was one mile down the road. I turned up the volume a bit more when I heard Homeward Bound by Simon & Garfunkel.

Turns out, there was a lot of battery life left. The Panny ‘2200 never let’s me down.

The Panasonic RF-2200 is a Holy Grail Radio. Plain and simple.

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16 thoughts on “A trusted companion: The Panasonic RF-2200 never lets me down

  1. Daniel Theisen

    I was a peace volunteer in west Africa in the late 70’s and my fellow volunteer had one ….. since then I always wanted one finally after returning two bad ones I got good one on eBay for $160 and am very pleased


    9/21/2023. Going thru some of my late father’s stuff (he passed in 2010), I just found his Panasonic RF2200 that he purchased in circa 1977 when he was stationed in southern Italy. I still have memories of him, half-asleep, tuning-in to VOA to listen to the jazz show, Spain’s RNE, BBC World Service, the DDR transmissions in Spanish, ditto for the Russian stuff. He just listened to everything he could find.

    As for operational condition, it works fantastic in the FM band, but getting zilch in SW bands. The tuning speed knob is missing. The actual tuning knob sometimes hits a “bump” but then continues to work, other times you turn the knob and nothing happens. The power connection requires a little wiggle to make sure juice flows (still has the original power cord). Apart from that, but for a few slight scratches on one side, it is in pristine condition. The gyro antenna works perfectly with all its clicks. No experience with radio work except ordering the Radiomen to get back to work (:P). Will slowly try to learn a new trade. I found both the tech manual and the operational manual online. Wish me luck!

  3. TheZ

    I had to send my RF-2200 off to Vlado this year, and it came back as good as new. I have had mine since 1977 or 1978. When I first got the radio, I sent in the card that came along in the box along with $35, and I did get the companion tuner. If you have a long wire attached to the radio & listen to the SW bands, the tuner makes them come super alive – it greatly enhances what the radio can hear!

  4. Fernand marois

    I would like to get 1 Panasonic RF-2200 since a few years and suddenly,this past January 2020,I find one.That was the 2 colors version (first production).Arrived at home,I was so disappointed,the radio was altmost not working/very poorly and I decided to disassemble that radio.
    I unsolder all thoses switches from boards,disassemble, cleaned and lubricate thoses switches.Replaced 13 electrolytic capacitors.Perform alignement,reassemble and WOW !
    What a fantastic receiver ! Specially on AM
    I’ll keep that radio for the rest of my life !

  5. Mario

    I’ve done the same thing with my ‘2200, inadvertently left the power switch on for 12 hours or more. Not a problem since the radio seems to sip power from the 4 D batts. Been using mine even more lately to hear about goings on in other states as the radio is the king of DX.

    I am tempted to one day perform a complete realignment but I just can’t do without the ‘2200 for even a day. It’s pretty delicate surgery just separating the cases to get to all the alignment points, especially if the radio hasn’t been worked on since it left the factory over four decades ago. Maybe it’s time to buy a spare hihi.

    Great to hear how other ops are enjoying their their Panasonics. The companion tuner does come up for auction on EBay once in a while so do a search, save it and subscribe to the search. You’ll get an email when one pops up.

  6. Jerry H. Neves

    Hello to all RF2200 owners. I have owned the RF2200 for at least 20 years. Solid performer and spot on on its calibration. Last year all of a sudden it stopped working, except the FM band. Thankfully I read on line about Vlado, who works on these radios. Off it went to Vlado who completely repaired the radio and it’s back in full operation! Apparently he had to deal with some circuit board traces, etc. The job was fast and at a reasonable cost.
    Thank You Vlado.

    1. Musti

      I want to ask a question to all users of Panasonic RF2200:
      How can I learn the level of battery power on radio when it is on?….

  7. Ron

    This radio has been at the top of my list for a long time! I bought 2 of them on eBay but they both went back to the seller. Bad junk being sold as “solid performers”. Gotta be careful with some folks. I have a GE SR1 and it works as good as the day it was made. The only thing I have had to do is replace the whip antenna, an easy fix. I’m glad to hear the RF-2200 isn’t a battery hog. To me that’s a big plus. I look forward to owning one.

  8. Mike Cherry

    I bought my RF-2200 about 3 years from a local used radio/ham equipment seller who mostly does eBay sales. I got it for a good price & it was in full working order. However, as with any radio that is 45 years old, there was noise in all the pots & switches, the BFO switch did nothing & most of the SW bands were dead. Thanks to friend & local electronics technician/MW DXer Colin Newell VA7WWV, the radio has been fully restored. All the pots are noise-free & run smoothly. The BFO works & all the SW bands work as it was the 6-position switch that was the problem with no reception. The tuning dial is calibrated properly. Although the dial shows 1620 kHz as the end MW frequency, mine tunes up to & including 1680 & seems to tune down to 520 as evidenced by reception of NDB beacon ICW 525 kHz AK. Incredible radio which I cherish & enjoy DXing with alongside my other receivers. The king of MW analogs…good reception on FM too! PS – regular SWLing.com reader for many years now…really enjoy it!

    73 Mike VE7SKA

    1. Thomas Post author

      Excellent, Mike! And that’s brilliant that Colin got your ‘2200 back in shape. I never knew he had talents like that, although I shouldn’t be surprised! 🙂

      Glad you enjoy the Post!


  9. James Patterson

    Beutiful Radio/receiver.I still own my RF 28 & RF 31,the BFO on the RF 28 is not so strong anymore,and the RF 31 has lost it’s sensitivity and audio has become very dull.But the RF 28 pulls in AM stations very well and has a very good FM receiption. Two very fine Nationals in their day.I sold my “Black Beast” RF 49. It was the second one I had after the Band switch on the first one wore out all the brass sliders proveing the SW stage useless.Takeing the switching apart also proved it was unfixable. So I owned my last one for a year then decided befor the band switch wore out to part with it.Those oldies are very hard to find now,one thats still in full working condition. All the best with your RF 2200.Looks to be in fine order !!.

  10. Ed Strnad

    Jeff, We compared all the classic Pannies I believe… the RF-888, the 2800… I still have my RF-2600 and a few others from the same era. They were all “apex performers.” I did have several 2200’s but had to sell them. The only thing that comes close are the GE SuperRadios I and II.

  11. Mike Brooker

    I’ve owned a Panasonic RF-2200 since 1978. Got it at a discount photo shop in midtown Manhattan during a trip to New York in that summer between high school and first year university. Batteries seem to last forever. In 42 years I think I have changed the batteries only once. Still the standard by which all other AM DX rigs are judged!

  12. Sean Welsh

    I have owned mine since the first day of the Iran Hostage Crisis during the Carter Administration. It has never let me down, never needed service and is my “go to radio” when I need reliable portable reception. When not in use, the batteries come out and it goes on a shelf where it can’t be knocked over (by my cat). A fantastic radio but I wish I had the matching tuner that was offered with it at the time.


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