Eton’s New Elite Satellit HD – Consistently Inconsistent (Or… Is There A Proofreader in the House?)

by Guy Atkins

As reported yesterday by Dave Zantow N9EWO and in the SWLing Post, the Eton Elite Satellit HD receiver has left the vaporware zone and arrived in production. Universal-Radio started taking orders on June 28th.

Any new receiver is cause for celebration, but the closer I inspect the available manuals and marketing materials, well, the more questions I have!

I’m sorry Mr. Eton, but it appears your marketing materials are very confused. I’ll need to send you to a proofreading specialist.

I began comparing Eton’s product page for the new receiver, with their own datasheet and owner’s manual… as well as Universal-Radio’s catalog page and photos. The deeper I dug, the less certain I was of the feature set and specifications of this “revival” version of the Eton E1/E1XM receiver.

How best to describe what I was finding? I decided to create a table showing the inconsistencies between the sources / materials.

You can download a PDF version of the above chart here: ELITE SATELLIT HD CHART 
Note that the PDF contains links in the header to the sources of information on Eton’s web site and Universal-Radio’s catalog page.

I’m sure there are more mysteries and puzzlers lurking within the documents and pages referenced above. The biggest question of all, in my opinion, is the circuitry itself. Is the receiver a superheterodyne design as in the original E1/E1XM (with three discrete ceramic I.F. bandwidth filters), or is it a DSP circuit, a la SiLabs-based portable radios with additional (but poorly performing) bandwidths?

I personally hope Eton’s new flagship includes filters that are a copy of those in the original E1/E1XM. They have better shape factors and ultimate rejection prowess than the filters in DSP portable radios on the market today. Coupled with selectable synch-AM and Passband Tuning, they are a powerful combination for fighting interference in a portable receiver.

What do you think about all the conflicts as described in the above table? Perhaps it’s just a jumble of preliminary prototype specs and final features. I hope Eton will take steps soon to bring clarity and consistency to their materials. Also, as Eton’s leading–or only–USA dealer, Universal’s web page should match too.

Please leave your comments below!

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

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21 thoughts on “Eton’s New Elite Satellit HD – Consistently Inconsistent (Or… Is There A Proofreader in the House?)

  1. Denis Allard

    Hello all. First, as a former owner of three E1s, I read these postings with particular anticipation as I look forward to this release. If the new radio adds features to the E1 (and not bastardize some of it), this radio will be a gem, especially with HD. No SDR will match the fun of trotting this thing around. The more features the merrier right? Too bad they’re ditching the ferrite rod because it some noisy indoor situations it served a purpose.
    But then again, the Eton came out 17 years ago and I have purchased multiple radios since then in an attempt to fulfill the needs of the band traveler that I am. But nothing compares, nothing comes close. Thinking out loud, no radio on the market, especially Tecsun, can qualify as high-end, maybe in the world with nothing better yes but in the real sense of it, forget it, these radios, all of them except maybe the (Eton circa 2009) DX360 are extremely noisy, SSB is a joke and AM Sync is a notion that got forgotten over time.
    Here’s to hoping the current crop of designers at Eton remembers the E1 and does not spec the radio just to top what’s out there. It just won’t cut it. I got rid of everything I own (two Tecsun P90x and H501x were easy to part with) towards the Elite Satellit.
    And to those youtube reviewers who are speculating on what Synchronous AM (truly) is, I mean, get your hands on an E1 or an old Sony and start from there. Our US$600+ dollars desserve no less. Sadly enough, this is probably the very last analogue radio I spend money on. I hope it doesn’t melt in my hands (literally).

    Reply
  2. John Figliozzi

    HD on FM is definitely an upgrade. But Eton missed the boat, in my opinion, by not including Bluetooth capability. It would’ve have made the Elite Satellit a true “world radio” and an up to date modern one by opening it to Internet radio linkage via a smartphone which almost everybody has these days. The discrepancies you point out, Guy, and the massive number of them at this late date is very troubling. After all, this radio was first “announced” 3 years ago! There was plenty of time to get the manual and publicity materials right. The fact that they still aren’t makes me wonder about the radio itself. I guess we’ll just have to see it, use it, hear it.

    Reply
  3. Guy Atkins

    One thing I’ve noticed about this receiver’s owners manual, as seen on Eton’s web site, is that very little information is given about the Menu button choices. The original E1’s manual is extremely thorough in this regard.

    Universal-Radio’s images of the menu screens are interesting, but they may be from 2019 when the Elite Satellit HD was first announced; so, the info on the screens may not be current.

    A feature of the E1 that I very much hope is present on the new radio is “Enhanced SSB”. This is the first option under “Radio Settings” in the E1’s menu. Enhanced SSB apparently increases the opposite sideband rejection of the E1/E1XM in SSB. It’s a useful feature for DXing, although I don’t know why it was designed to be disabled with an ON/OFF toggle option.

    From what I can tell, the Elite Satellit HD does *not* include the Enhanced SSB feature (check out the “Radio Settings Menu” in Universal’s screen photos of the receiver). I hope I’m wrong, as its omission would be a downgrade from the E1’s performance. (Unless of course the SSB circuit itself is an improvement over the E1… time will tell).

    Reply
  4. Guy Atkins

    More interesting discrepancies keep popping up for this radio.

    In one of Eton Corp’s web page photos, the folding cover shows front panel openings with the radio’s volume and tuning knobs protruding through. However, the case photo on Universal-Radio’s web site shows no knob opening. Also, the corners are rounded on the case in Universal’s photo, but square corners are showing in Eton’s photos.

    I’d prefer NO cutouts, as what good is a cover if it doesn’t protect all knobs from scuffing, along with protecting the rest of the radio?

    Reply
  5. Mike in Knoxville

    Personally, I’m baffled at the USD700 MSRP. It’s nice that Universal is giving a USD100 pre-order discount, but I think at USD600 the radio is still grossly overpriced.

    Reply
  6. Mike Bennett

    It’s good to see (?), that this earthshaking radio will receive Air Band! As long as this radio is on (better!), then the Sony Icf-2010, then it’s OK! Why are there so many challenges to this Sony classic, when ALL that had to be, was to continue/improve with the times, and ALL is OK!
    There should a market for retro radios…Panasonic RF-B65, Rf-2200, Sony SW-100, Grund Satellite (1960’s), etc., instead of trying to invent the holy grail, which has been invented some time ago!

    Reply
  7. mangosman

    Does the HD mean it will receive HD radio®? If that is the case, it needs 20 kHz filter bandwidth to pass the digital signals in the 530 – 1700 kHz band, 200 kHz for FM broadcast and 400 kHz for HD in that band. I don’t know what bandwidth is used for Air band.
    Xperi charges receiver manufacturers a royalties on each radio produced.
    HD radio® & DRM need the synthesiser to accurately tune the radio, if it isn’t miss-tuning causes excessive errors making the radio mute.
    Since this is an Indian radio why doesn’t it receive DRM particularly in MF, HF and VHF bands.
    Remember that HDRadio® is not designed for HF bands, where as DRM can produce high quality, noise free stereo sound over thousands of km.
    To sell radios in Europe and Australia you need to add DAB+ which means adding 174 – 230 MHz and it can the same decoding firmware as DRM.
    SiLabs have sold their communications division to https://www.skyworksinc.com/en/Products/Audio-and-Radio/Si4791x-High-Performance-Automotive-AM-FM-Radio-Receiver-and-HD-Radio-DAB-DAB-DMB-DRM-Tuner-with-Au/Si47912 will receive all modes
    There are switchmode boost/buck voltage regulators which can increase the DC input voltage, but in such receivers they will need shielding and good electronic filtering, otherwise the receiver will receive the interference produced.

    Reply
    1. Guy Atkins Post author

      Hi mangosman, the Elite Satellit HD does receive FM HD radio, as shown in the manual. However, no mention is made of AM HD. The FM HD reception is categorized as Main Program Service (MPS+) or Supplemental Program
      Services (SPS1+, SPS2+, SPS3+, etc.).

      It also picks up DAB+, but that is described in the datasheet as “outside of North America”.

      I’ve not heard where the receiver is manufactured. I suspect it is from China, like the Eton Executive series. It may not necessarily be India where the original E1/E1XM was built.

      Reply
  8. Guy Atkins Post author

    Ha! I noticed another discrepancy… on page 3 of the manual, the “Snooze/Sleep” and “Light” keys are mixed up. the numbers in the diagram and the legend do not match.

    Which brings up another feature that may operate differently than the original E1/E1XM. There is no mention of being able to dim the new radio’s backlit display. There is only a description of how the button can control the “on” TIME in seconds or minutes.

    I really hope a dimming feature is available– it makes using the radio in low room lighting so much more pleasant.

    Reply
  9. Dan

    Fred Osterman of Universal acknowledges, in a note to me, that there are errors and omissions in the manual and says he has sent suggested corrections to Eton. I’ll let him respond here himself, if he wants to, to the other questions and points raised here.

    Reply
    1. Chuck Rippel

      Same here but only after having to remove significant amounts of “cabinet goop” from the exterior of the radio.

      Reply
    2. jack dully

      I am looking forward to comparing the new model with the E-1 XM like yours and mine from India on a side by side basis.Sharing the same dipole on the same freq. and the same exact settings. I will then see/hear if my senior citizen E-1 XM has aged gracefully or not,I suppose.one thing for sure is it will be interesting and fun quality time

      Reply
  10. Mark Irish

    My question as an owner of E! and E1XM, that despite the contradictions indicated in the table – having this all prepared and organized by Dave Zantow is much appreciated – does this appear to be an improvement over the EX1 and EX1M? i compared photos and at the least the exteriors of the EX1 and this radio appear to be identical

    I certainly hope that Eton will address the discrepancies and concerns raised by Dave Zantow. That would be the right thing to do.

    Reply
    1. Guy Atkins Post author

      Hi Mark,

      Yes, I’m hoping that my article and it’s table will encourage Eton to update their materials. Thomas’ SWLing Post site is very widely read by many, including manufacturers of HF, ham, and other radio gear.

      Regards, Guy

      Reply
      1. Mark Irish

        That’s good to know. I certainly hope that the inconsistencies here are not indicator of mechanical issues with this radio given that Eton has been representing that this radio would be available for around a year now (correct me if I am wrong about that).. I also contacted Universal Radio and asked them what the difference is between this radio and E1,I have not heard back from them.

        Reply
      2. Chuck Rippel

        I’m certain your comments will contribute to unraveling these rather significant questions on the radio. I wonder it they again, covered the exterior with that coating which degraded so badly?

        Chuck Rippel

        Reply
    2. Scorpio

      If it is using the Silabs digital filters with the narrow bandwidths it will not be able to perform like the original .

      HOWEVER – the passband tuning would not be able to function with the Silabs Chip – so the three original bandwidths of filters which are discrete filters would need to be present for passband , right ?

      I used to use the passband tuning to get very low static signals on the E1 I had for awhile.

      The different color backlights must mean there are LEDS now …right ?

      Reply
  11. Robert Lonn

    • It does not have an internal ferrite antenna, relies 100% on the built in whip..
    • It has some interesting Memory Slots, many have the Country Name built in, but you have to enter the frequency of that country..
    • Most Modern Radios have the ability to Upload Memory channels with a desk top computer, makes it easy, so even
    • if someone in the USA or Europe took the time to create a data base, no way to get it into the radio easily.
    • The radio does not have a USB connection on the radio, So Does That mean there will NEVER be a software Update available???
    • It may be that without software updates, whatever BUGS you get you will have to live with them??
    • It may be that the radio needs to be returned to the factory to get a Bug Fix???? Not Good!!!!
    • Or as with other radios on the market, the Newer Later Productions get new software????
    • I saw no way to tell what software is installed in the radio????
    • The radio operates off of 4 batteries, 6 Volts, but the external DC input is just 5 Volts… How much AUDIO can one get with this low voltage?? Probably just average??
    • Selectable Bandwidths: 1.0,1.8,2.0,2.5,3.0,4.0,6.0 kHz,, Most ham radio SSB operation is 2.7 KHz, or 600 Hz for CW, the options are either to wide or to narrow for clear sound.

    Reply
    1. Guy Atkins Post author

      Hi Robert,

      If you’ll notice in my article the table makes mention of the “6 VDC” clearly marked on the left side of the radio. It’s the manual itself that says “DC IN 5V socket”. The original E1 and E1XM run from four “D” batteries as does this new model. However, to recharge the 4X NiMH batteries you would need a charger putting out 5.64 volts at a minimum. That’s why I think the “6 VDC” on the radio panel is correct, and the manual is incorrect.

      I can think of a few radios I’ve owned which get quite loud with just 5 volts input– the Tecsun H-501x for example. It’s 5V USB power input charges the internal 18650 lithium batteries (3.7V). If the Elite Satellit HD’s circuit is based on the E1/E1XM though, 5 volts is too low. It would only be appropriate for a DSP design like the Tecsun has.

      One reason I HOPE the Elite Satellit HD does not take a 5V adapter is because that could imply SiLabs DSP-based circuitry inside. My preference is strongly for an update that retains the original superhet, analog approach.

      I do not see this receiver as a new radio in terms of a brand new design inside. It’s more properly a “revival” radio, which by definition is a slight refresh or upgrade of the original. There are so many aspects of the E1 & E1XM which were done right, and I think it would not do justice to the original if the internals were drastically changed.

      Reply

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