What’s in the shack here at SWLing Post HQ

The Mission RGO One transceiver is one model being evaluated for a review in The Spectrum Monitor.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Pete, who writes:

Thomas, I’m curious what radios you have in the shack now. I see lots of posts about various radios, but I wonder what’s in your personal collection and what’s being evaluated. You know what they say…”inquiring minds” and all that! If you don’t mind I for one would love to see even a basic list of your rigs.

Thanks for your question, Pete. Your’re right–I don’t really have an inventory listed here on the SWLing Post. In truth, my radio collection is pretty dynamic–radios come in and go out a lot due to testing, evaluations and reviews.

Here’s what’s in the shack at present. I’ll start with ones currently in my personal collection:

Transceivers

Icom IC-756 Pro Transceiver Dial

Receivers

Currently under evaluation

Vintage Valve/Tube Gear

Portable Radios

There are too many to list! (Ha ha!) In general, I keep any portable radio I believe represents the best in its price class. I rotate using and travelling with each radio as best I can, but honestly keep them in the shack for any new reviews as I’m always in need of comparison radios.   Here are some of the portables I believe I reach for most often (in no particular order):

  • Tecsun S-8800
  • Tecsun PL-880
  • Tecsun PL-660/PL-680
  • Tecsun PL-310ET
  • C.Crane CC Skywave
  • C.Crane CC Skywave SSB
  • Eton E1
  • Panasonic RF-2200
  • GE 7-2990

I also have a number of Handie Talkies, vintage solid-state portables, mobile radios and kit/homebrew radios and accessories like many radio enthusiasts.

This may seem like a lot of radios, but I have friends with collections that outnumber mine by orders of magnitude. In truth, if I didn’t evaluate and review radios, I’d have a much, much smaller collection because there’d be no need to keep reference radios on hand. I rely on comp models, however, to accurately gauge a radios performance when matched against a similar or “benchmark” model.

Thanks for your question, Pete.

So back to you!  Readers, please comment with what you have in your shack. “Inquiring minds” want to know! 🙂


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23 thoughts on “What’s in the shack here at SWLing Post HQ

  1. Chris

    Realistic DX-394
    Degen DE1103 (non-DSP)
    Tecsun PL310ET
    Radiwow R108
    Tecsun R1012
    Tecsun R911
    Matsui WR208S
    Steepletone MBR7 (x2)

    Transceivers
    Yaesu FT-817ND
    ICOM IC718

    Reply
  2. Bill Lee

    And how many hours of listening is involved. How much recording “tape” mp3 files are recorded from the major dozen radios.

    Do you ever sleep?

    (Do crumbs get into the radio workings at all? Or coffee spills?)

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      I did sleep once. It was pretty nice. 🙂

      I do treat my radios like babies so am happy to report they’ve never taken on crumbs or coffee (although their operator almost always has a cuppa’ Joe nearby!)

      Reply
  3. Davide

    Collins R392-URR
    Degen DE1102 (with audio problems)
    Degen DE1103 (old version without DSP)
    Eton Elite Mini
    Grundig Satellit 2000 (with a lot of problems after decades of heavy use)
    Kenwood R-600
    Kenwood R-1000
    Sommerkamp FRG-7
    Sony ICF7600DS
    Sony ICF7600GR
    Yaesu FT817ND (rtx, with CW filter)
    Yaesu FT7B (rtx)
    XHDATA D-808

    … coming soon, Barlow Wadley XCR-30 MKII (will be shipped after a professional re-alignment at the beginning of September)

    Reply
  4. Robert Richmond

    Off the top of head regarding HF-related radios:

    National NC-125 + NC-125TS
    Icom IC-735 (for if/when I ever get a license)
    Kenwood R-600
    Kenwood R-2000 (favorite in my collection)
    Yaesu FRG-7
    Si-tex 200
    Realistic DX-394
    3x Realistic DX-160 + SP-150
    Realistic DX-100
    Realistic Astronaut 8
    2x Radio Shack 2000629 (Sangean ATS-505)
    Grundig G3
    Grundig M400
    Kaito WRX-911
    2x RTL-SDR V3
    RTL-SDR E4000
    Soft66LC4 SDR

    Plus a couple or few inexpensive import portables like from Retekess and similar.

    Also toss in various preselectors, preamps, audio DSPs, antenna tuners, etc.

    Reply
      1. Robert Richmond

        Thanks Thomas. 🙂

        Not that I use it much right now, but I do note the 735 has a decent receiver despite the lack of some of Icom’s more advanced options. That said, it also has typical Icom communications-grade audio from the era, too, so it is a good candidate for an external speaker.

        My next significant receiver acquisition probably will be an Airspy HF+ dual-port.

        Reply
  5. Blues Dude

    Hi Thomas
    Nice radio collection! Your wife is obviously very, very supportive and understanding. ?
    I have a Tecsun 660 for traveling. Mostly, I listen online via my remote shack at the University of Twente. Got a great antenna there!

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      My wife is incredibly supportive. She’s even a ham now! At least, she has a license but really only gets on the air when we’re travelling outside the country. The PL-660 is one of my favorite portables.

      Reply
  6. Sergio Potes

    Congratulations on a fantastic collection of radios. I was wandering if yo compared the Airspy HF+ Discovery and RSP DX. What is your opinion on these t we o sdr’s
    Thanks for your postings

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      I love both of these SDRs. They offer amazing performance for the price.

      The Aispy HF+ Discovery would be my favorite of the two if you only plan to cruise the bands below 30 MHz. It’s optimized for those frequencies and works brilliantly. Its frequency range is much broader, but limited compared with the RSPdx.

      The RSPdx would be my choice if you’re looking for a wide band SDR covering from 1kHz to 2GHz. It’s amazingly versatile and also has excellent HF reception. From 2MHz down, it also has a “high dynamic range” mode that really makes MW DXing a lot of fun. I’d say it’s MW performance is similar to that of the HF+ Discovery. The HF+ Discovery may have a slight edge on the RSPdx on the HF bands.

      Reply
  7. Dean Bianco

    Current radios that make up my shack:
    Flex Radio 6400M—primarily used as my main general coverage receiver. (Recently acquired, replaces an ICOM R-8600)
    JRC NRD-515
    Sony 2010
    Tecsun PL-660
    C Crane Skywave SSB
    Grundig G6 Aviator Buzz Aldrin Edition
    County Comm GP4L

    Reply
      1. Dean Bianco

        Hi Thomas,

        Thanks! BTW, I am writing an on-line user review of the Flex from the perspective of an SWL. Look for it soon. I will let you know when and where it will be published, as I promised the site provider confidentiality.

        Dean

        Reply
  8. Rob L

    You have an impressive collection, Thomas! I’m only a listener so my primary rig for MW & SW is a Eton Sat750 with a MFJ loop above the roof. My Tecsun PL310Et works well for FM with a rooftop dipole. I also have various Sangean, Tecsun, Eton & Sony portables as well as numerous loops & random wires. My oldest radio is the Panny 2200 that I got in ’79. Looking forward to having more time to listen this Fall & Winter!

    Reply
  9. Doug Mein

    I am surprised you didn’t include the excellent Sangean WFR-28 in your list of portables! This is my main piece of kit and with the right batteries, I can probably get 12+ hours of operation before needing a recharge!

    I should also mention my 36 year old Sony ICF-2013 which still works perfectly. Amazing!!

    73 de Doug – VA3DM

    Reply
  10. Michael Meyer

    Well, in my shack my two main tabletops are:

    Yaesu FRG-100, which I have used for 8 years. I modified it with better IF filters and a Kiwa audio upgrade, which have turned it into a very pleasent receiver! Unfortunately, it have started having issues, generating noise on some frequencies, so I consider having it repaired, if I can find a repairer!

    Icon IC-7300 transceiver, which have been in use for two years as receiver only. I have finally decided to go for a HF-license, so hopefully I will be on air from December! IC 7300 is a very nice receiver with high audio fidelity and excellent tools for optimizing reception.

    Both are connected to a ALA 1530 magnetic loop and to an external JRC NVA-88 speaker.

    Of portables, I have a few:

    Sony ICF-2001D / 2010, which is at our summerhouse. Ideal for semi-portable use! Also fitted with better IF filters and a Kiwa audio upgrade!

    Tecsun pl-880, which is the main portable at home. Right now, I’m outside in the garden in the sunset, having a glass of rosé wine and (I’m not kidding:) listening to classical music from Voice of Korea – they do play nice music, but forget all about everything else!

    Tecsun pl-680, which is pretty much unpacked.

    Eton Satelite (Grundig edition), which I mainly use in the “shack” for quick monitoring of stations, before i maybe turn on the Yaesu or Icom. And I use it for FM-listening as well.

    Sangean ats-909X, which is the bathroom radio. It used to be my main portable, but I must admit the Tecsun 880 is more sensitive and with much higher audio fidelity, so it ended there.

    National Panasonic GX10, a true vintage receiver, which is powered up at times for listening to strong stations like VO Greece and Radio Austrias morning programs of classical music. And not to forget, our local hobby radiostation Radio OZ Viola, located just 4 km away from my house!

    Finally, a XH-Data 808, which I use at work. As paramedic, I have 12-hours shifts, so it’s nice to have a small radio for local listening. SW/AM is impossible at work, due to RFI 🙁

    So I have also collected a few radios over the years….

    Best regards, Michael from Denmark

    Reply
  11. Al

    I’m looking forward to your evaluation on the IQ32 from PCBLabs. I have 1/2 of that kit with their RS-HFIQ. It’s been on the shelf now for a couple of years. Online tech support (forum-based) them has slipped from what I can tell. Still, it’s a well built transceiver. I’ve just ordered a QCX+ 73 de WD4AH

    Reply

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