Portable digital receivers that don’t mute between frequency steps?

The Grundig G5 and G3: two prime examples

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ken Keese (K5KGK), who writes:

Hello Thomas! Thanks for all the GREAT info you post for us! It is tremendously helpful.

Do you have a list of shortwave receivers that do not mute the audio when the tuning knob is turned? This is a really important feature for me in my decision to purchase a radio. I like to manually search frequencies for activity and it’s difficult if the radio is muted while I turn the “big knob”.

Thanks a bunch for your help.
Ken Keese

Thank you for your question, Ken–it’s a very good one. Many late-model DSP portables do indeed mute between frequency changes.

Early in my SWLing career, I couldn’t afford high end receivers, so all of my digital portables (the RadioShack DX-440, and Grundig YB400 most notably) would make a “chugging” sound as one would tune.

I also remember how pleased I was with the Grundig G5’s fluid tuning when it was first introduced! The Tecsun PL-600, PL-660, and PL-680 were all models that had no nuting between frequency steps.

Many higher-end modern DSP portables like the PL-880, PL-990/x, H-501/x also provide an analog-like band scanning experience.

A little help, please?

I would like to turn this question over to our readers because I believe their input will be more valuable and more comprehensive. Well, that and Ken if you wait on my to write up a full list, you might not get a reply for months with my current schedule. 🙂

SWLing Post readers: Please comment with digital display portable models you can confirm have no muting between frequency steps! Thank you.

Oh, and Ken? Thank you for the kind comments about the SWLing Post!

Spread the radio love

20 thoughts on “Portable digital receivers that don’t mute between frequency steps?

  1. johan

    I have Tecsun PL680 and there are no long breaks when you change frequency, but you can definitely notice the “steps”. I would say it’s pretty good but not as smooth as an all-analog receiver.

  2. Ken

    Thanks Thomas & all the folks who have posted info to the SWLing blog! It’s a great help to all of us! I’m going to go with the Belka DX when I can find one. Ken

  3. Paul Rawdon

    The Kaito KA 1103 doesn’t mute it’s going back a bit, I imagine the Degen DE1103 would be the same. I don’t know about the latest incarnation of the Degen receiver.

    1. Peter Atkinson

      Be careful in buying the 1103. Degen/Kaito has gone to DSP circuits on more recent iterations of the 1103. These newer DSP models DO mute on tuning. I have a model from 2005 that doesn’t mute, but my 2018 model does.

  4. Ronnie

    I have both the Sony ICF-7600G and the 7600GR. They both have tuning buttons of the same configuration. For shortwave the steps are -5Khz, -1Knz, +1Khz, +5Khz. The 7500G does not really mute and is a pleasure to tune. Holding the + or – 5Khz starts a scan with silence in between what it finds and that is not useful for detecting weak stations, however holding the + or – 1Khz changes without scanning and does not silence reception so is good. The 7600GR mutes on all the tuning buttons and actions (memory, frequency entry, band change, ..) and is annoying to me. However there is a fairly simple “fix” for the muting which then allows the 7600GR to tune continuously like the 7600G. The “fix” introduces a “squeal” entering a frequency, changing bands or recalling from a memory but it is worth it IMV. There is no squeal going up or down frequency with any of the step buttons and the audio is now continuous so its ideal for me with the fix. http://stephan.win31.de/sony76-5.htm#7600gr_mute

  5. KPC

    XHDATA D-808:

    – on SW/MW/LW – a brief mute and then ‘fade-up’ effect on each manual tuning increment. It would be less of an issue if only the short mute and not the subsequent ‘fade up’ effect occurred, it would be quicker to notice weaker signals especially.

    on FM – there is a mute for just a very tiny fraction of a second on each step, it is not much of an issue, you can manually tune along the band and notice what is there.

    on its VHF-AIR band – no muting at all with manual tuning (except when going over the top and back to the bottom band edges (or vice versa), which you would expect)

  6. Tha Dood

    Goin’ back a few years, but the Sangean ATS-803A / Realistic DX-440, and the Eton E10 don’t either. However, that’s never really bugged me, like it does some people. That newer DSP portable, the Yorek YK-901, certainly does mute in tune. Huh… I can’t remember if the Sony ICF-SW100S portable does, or not.

    1. Kevin

      Don’t know about yours but my DX-440 goes blip blip blip when I spin the tuning dial. Very annoying. Why oh why do engineers include this “feature”?

      The TECSUN 990 and 330 seem to be the same radio. The 990 tunes like analog and the 330 tunes like picket fence. Ugh.

  7. Rob

    I believe that some radios can be modified to avoid the muting during tuning. So some research would be in order for a particular model.

  8. Don S.

    The Sony ICF-7600GR will mute/chug on the 5khz steps but not on the fine tuning 1khz button if you keep holding it down. That’s a pain on the Sony not having a wheel to tune but it does tune smoothly which I do use quite often.

    I don’t recall my old Tecsun PL-600 having any issues with smooth tuning. I would assume the 660 would be the same.

  9. Pedro Moreno

    That is a really good question.

    My two portables does not make any noise when scanning frequencies: Sangean 909 ATX and Grundig G7 Aviator.

    There are more, for instance Tecsun PL600, PL660, PL680, PL 880.

    1. rtc

      The Sony 7600G does not mute but the GR does.
      Don’t think the G5 does but if so it’s very short.
      Muting is enough to drive you sane.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.