Dave’s review of the Sangean ATS-909X2

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who notes that Dave (N9EWO) has posted his review of the Sangean ATS-909X2. Click here to view.

I must admit: as I put the Sangean ATS-909X2 through the paces, I’m impressed with this fine machine. While no radio is perfect, the ‘909X2 has enthusiast-grade characteristics.

The ATS-909X2 truly smacks of a shortwave portable from the 1990s–the halcyon days of digital portables, in my opinion. I personally love the ergonomics, display, audio, tactile front panel, numerous connections, and the quality chassis. It’s a pleasure to operate.

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30 thoughts on “Dave’s review of the Sangean ATS-909X2

    1. bob

      Sangean already makes standalone FM/DAB+/Internet receivers and DRM is not worth it as it’s still too much of a niche market. VHF marine band ? What for ? Just buy a cheap scanner or hand held marine transceiver which are also quite cheap.

      The ATS-909X2 is primarily a shortwave receiver. Adding all that extra functionality mentioned above would push the price into premium territory and would also create too much complexity in a receiver.

      As for the 909X2 itself, it’s a capable receiver but nowhere near as good as the original ATS-909 when it comes to SSB monitoring. SSB is weak sounding and lacking in sensitivity and bandwidth. The Tecsun PL-880 beats it in this department.

      1. Marc Victor

        Sangean made effectivly DAB+ FM standalone receiver, but in Europ it should be a great idea that the flagship receiver of sangean have DAB+ too. More, the chipset to receive DAB+ are DRM capable, so a nice feature to have for a travel receiver . This receiver work with the Air am vhf band, to receive weather forecast marine vhf could be a plus. As ham many of my VHF UHF transceiver have air and marine band, but what a good idea to have a complete tool for travelers, the SDR structure of receiver today allow many thinks. For ssb on SW, the sensivity on the telescopic antenna is not good, you need a 9:1 balun, included in the tecsun 880 or old sony receiver. With an external 50 ohms antenna it’s fine.

      2. Jeff Stadt

        Actually I have no issues with SSB and can pickup anything with my setup. I hear so many bad things about SSB on the device. Ham bands are no problem along with number stations and others. Just picked up HM01 from Cuba and I am in Minnesota USA . I had the PL-880 and returned it for not having a decent memory management system were the Sangean does with alpha numeric labeling along with RDS. Overall excellent performance

  1. Ali Al Tomaihi

    After many reviews on YouTube and social media I bought this one from Amazon $280 I never liked modern radio like this from 2000-2021 it has five levels of bandwidth helps me to receive shortwave stations perfectly when I use auto mode and I liked other species.

  2. Keir Stanley

    Sangean 909 2x

    Has anyone here had a problem with the signal strength when connecting an external aerial to the 3.5 jack on the side of the radio. I have noticed that when I attach an external aerial the signal strength remains low and the sound disapears. This occurs on both my roof top and the external ariel rolled aerial that is included with the radio.

    Have I missed a setting?
    Could there be a problem with my roof top aerial (20 meter cable)

    Thank you for any information provided

  3. Lou

    Hey Sangean!

    I know you guys stalk these posts.

    What’s up with the continued unavailability of the 909X2 on the US Amazon site?

    I’m sure the ‘ol COVID-19 excuse might get rolled out but an official response would be nice versus just guessing. Maybe an expected restock date?

  4. John

    The lack of a selectable SSB filter is really the only main drawback with this receiver. Perhaps Sangean was not pleased with the other filters and decided to just compromise ? Then again, all the previous 909 series receivers (ATS-909, ATS-909X) only have one SSB filter so they probably thought that one was sufficient for people buying this receiver who would mostly use it for broadcast listening.

  5. Bill Hemphill


    You’re the first to review both firmware versions (70 vs 73).

    Can you give a rundown on what exactly is new in version 73?
    Is it worth it to send back to get the 70 upgraded?

    Did Sangean give any details on what they say has been changed/fixed in the new version?


    Bill WD9EQD
    Smithville, NJ

    1. Dan E

      I have the exact same question, Bill! I love mine, and would hate to be without it for a few weeks if the upgrade doesn’t fix something substantial.

    2. Bill Hemphill

      In Dave’s Review, just after the Pros and Cons, there is a box which has a link to the Sangean ATS-909X Software Version Change Sheet.

      I’m reviewing it, but not sure yet whether I’ll send my radio back or not.

      Bill WD9EQD
      Smithville, NJ

      1. Dan E

        Thanks Bill! I missed that the first time around – I see nothing on the change log that would prompt me to send mine in. I think I’m good.

  6. Paul

    Great review. Looks like there are serious shortcomings yet to be worked out (if possible, via new firmware). Wait one year before buying?

  7. James

    What I’ve been trying to understand from the reviews is the suitability for “bandscanning” – just turning the tuning knob at a slow clip and listening for signals. The mention in this review of a “detent” present behind the tuning wheel is a negative. Does the radio mute between frequencies while tuning?

    The only radios I know of in the last few years that are suitable for this type of listening are the higher-end Tecsuns.

    1. Dan E

      James –
      I’ve had the X2 since the end of Feb. I use it for band scanning all the time. No mute! The detent in the wheel does not bother me at all, but it might bother you. I’ve been a SWL since the mid 80’s and owned a ton of different portable receivers – the X2 is by far my favorite.

    2. DanH

      The 909X2 is perfect for band scanning as you describe it. The soft detents felt on the flat tuning dial knob are felt for each division that has been selected as a tuning step. You feel the detents with your fingertips and will not hear them. There is no muting between frequency steps. So, as you tune slowly across shortwave spectrum you will feel one detent every 5 kHz, 1 kHz or 10 Hz (for SSB) depending on the tuning step you have selected for the 909X2.

  8. Pat

    Hi there !

    Great review.

    What about the ‘Air band’ steps ? I read 25 and 5 kHz. Is it true ?
    I’m a bit worried with the 5 kHz choice, considering most european freq now use 8.33 step. 1 kHz would be a better choice (this is what the XH Data D808 provides).

    1. Thomas Post author

      Hi, Pat: It’s true that AIR band steps are 5 and 25 kHz selectable. I’ve checked but can’t find a way to change the steps.

      1. Pat

        Thanks for the quick reply Thomas. Though not redhibitory, it can be a problem with a very weak station, using 8.33 kHz step, thus ‘off-frequency’. You will have to use a wide filter, at the expense of a good S/N. Bad luck …

    2. Jake Brodsky, AB3A

      In North America we use 12.5 kHz spacing. Europe uses 8.33 kHz channel spacing. So what did Sangean choose? 5 kHz. It makes me crazy.

  9. Mark

    Excellent review!

    SSB filter is indeed too wide, why on Earth would they not allow the bandwidth function to work on SSB is just astonishing.

    Still, as pointed out ECSS works amazingly well which isn’t possible on the Tecsun PL-880/990x or indeed the S-8800 because the audio is just shockingly bad, apart from the distortion on the Tecsuns the audio is very muddy.

    I never noticed any overload on the 909 x2 even with my 134 foot long EFHW Antenna.

    If someone didn’t want to spend so much on a portable radio then I highly recommend the Tecsun PL-680, it’s not a dsp radio so it sounds really great and ECSS works really well too.


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