Survey: What type of radio is your daily driver?

A little over a week ago, many of us participated in the 2023 Virtual Winter SWL Fest.

I enjoyed all of the presentations and the casual conversations many of us had in the hospitality lounge and various break-out rooms. Again, kudos to the Fest organizers and all of the volunteers who moderated the various rooms and forums–you all did an amazing job!

The one thing I always pick up when hanging with other radio enthusiasts is the type or class of radio they tend to operate the most.

Case in point: I noticed one friend is currently enamored with tube/valve radios–in past years he loved compact DSP portables. Another friend switched from using primarily a portable radio to a Drake R8 series tabletop radio.  I noticed that many others have been bitten the SDR bullet since last year.

Daily drivers

For many of us, the type of radio we use daily changes over time.

For example, when I first started listening to shortwave in my youth my daily driver was a portable radio. When I got my ham license I found that I enjoyed using my general coverage transceiver connected to a multi-band doublet. Later, with the advent of Software Defined Radios, I became an avid SDR enthusiast.

At present, I’m back to using general coverage transceivers (specifically, the Icom IC-705).

Of course, I always have portables and vintage radios on the air, but they’re not my primary, or “daily driver,” these days. 


I’m curious: what’s your daily driver?

I’ve created a short survey. If you’d like to participate, simply enter your answer in the form below, click the submit button and it will tally the results. Alternatively, you canclick on this link to open the survey form in a new tab/window. Of course, feel free to comment on this post as well! Thank you!

Spread the radio love

29 thoughts on “Survey: What type of radio is your daily driver?

  1. Nathan Wendland

    I have a Sony ICF-EX5MK2 Japan market version I listen to every day at work. At home, it’s usually an Eton E1 or Sangean 803A. and when i really want to play around, a vintage Grundig Satellit Transistor 6001 German market version. Antennas are internal, Grundig AN-200 tunable loop, or a 75 ft. longwire.

  2. Don Hosmer, W8SWL

    I use an Icom ICF-7200 transceiver in the shack. By my bedside, I use a Tecsun PL-990X that replaced the Sony ICF-2001 I had used for several decades till it crapped out. For travel I have a Tecsun PL-368 or XHData D-808 to choose from.

  3. W Rogers

    To be honest the radio I use most is a Sangean WR-50. This is a two-speaker tabletop set. I have it running music on FM in my background many days.

    However, due to electrical noise my AM listening for anything other than local is an Airspy SDR running a loop antenna I set up out on the balcony. Between the largeish outdoor loop and the Airspy’s various filters and noise blankers it can do a really good job of quashing noise. Also, obviously, that’s my main SW rig. The Sangean is MW and FM only.

    I love portables and I would prefer to run one, but the Airspy is just that much better on noise. I have to save my portables for listening on nights with really good reception and summertime picnic table duties.

  4. Hank

    Most of my listening now takes place between midnight and 2 AM when my neighbor’s Panasonic Plasma TV is off. He is a professional Sports gambler so his TV is only off from 11:30 PM to 7 AM.

    With the demise of SW, which I greatly miss, my “go-to” radio has become the
    older “analog” Sangean PR-D5,
    ( has the 2 black dots BELOW the volume control that ID that early model)

    It has the most sensitive weak AM signal capability,
    noticeably better than my Panasonic RF-2200,
    or the SiLab chip PR-D15, new version PR-D5, or PR-D4W.
    (Jay Allen writes that Soft Mute can be defeated on the Sangean PR-D15. If you know how please reply)

    I turn to the RF2200 when I need the wonderful analog Signal Strength meter and RF Gain control to precisely set my 2 Selec-A-Tennas, 2 Tecsun AN100 loops, or Kiwa Pocket Loop.

    From my grandfather I inherited a Motorola XP7CE,
    advertised as “The Radio with Reach”
    which with a loop (or sometimes two loops) is still a great performer.

    An offer from my grandfather at age 12 of
    “I will buy you any radio you choose since you are leaving to go to boarding school”
    got me a Llyods 9N24B-37A. which was my go to radio for 25 years.
    This grandfather was born in 1900, built a crystal set at 21 years old, and heard KDKA from 400 miles away in those low RFI days. He later ordered and built Motorola’s kit radio for automobiles, partly to start my father on the radio nerd path. This grandfather bought a younger brother a Sony CRF-5100 Earth Orbiter, who years later gave me that radio to keep his wife from selling it during yard sales. Its still impressive.

    My father “abused” his sons in the 1970s by buying a TenTec radio scanner kit that after building required the user to convert frequencies into binary numbers to hold them in digital memory.

    A compact and light Sony analog 7600A
    (like Thomas was given and reviewed here)
    was my go to radio while traveling to China and South Africa on mining engineering business.

    A Grundig Yacht Boy 400 replaced the 7600A when it was given to a missionary to South America, who enjoyed it until a bottle of shampoo broke in her luggage.

    Around 1991 I bought an AOR-3000A “DC to Daylight” radio/scanner. A couple years later I bought a Kiwa MAP sync unit to pick up the 455 IF of the 3000A to improve AM and SW reception.

    Kiwa MAP so impressed I bought the Kiwa Pocket Loop.
    Pocket Loop antenna so impressed me that I telephoned Craig and asked:
    “I want to mod it so it can pick up FM band”
    and he literally started yelling No! No! No! on the phone.

    On a lark I bought a $60 Tecsun PL390 and like it for the digital S readout and S/N display, although the digital encoded volume control misbehaves. Great FM. Loops wake up AM. ETM helps discover stations quickly.

    I have a CCrane original EP (not Pro)
    Good when it was working, but slightly less sensitive on weak AM than analog PR-D5 or RF2200.

    Recently CC EP developed the problem of:
    Turning on and working fine for about ten minutes
    then suddenly tuned in stations disappear into a garble of multiple stations mixing,
    then after a few more minutes,
    just low volume static,
    even though dial light still works.
    Happens on batteries or AC adapter.

    Anyone fixed this ?

    CCrane will not sell me a Service Manual,
    which I think is a violation of the new “Right to Repair” federal law,
    not to mention that the Sanyo LA1260 “radio on a chip” inside the EP
    is out of factory production,
    so that particular chip must be desoldered from the many other cheap radios that internally use it.

  5. Robert Richmond

    Multiple SDRs here. Recently even the bedroom receiver has been replaced with a spare notebook and SDR connected to the existing HDTV.

    I get why people like spinning the VFO, as I used too as well, but my older Kenwood and Yaesu desktop receivers largely collect dust these days. Mostly I am tired of servicing them when a sub-$200 16-bit Airspy HF+ Discovery will typically “run circles” around most older desktops on HF and lower anyway.

    Even the entry-level 12-bit Msi2500 Msi001 SDRs on eBay, AliExpress, etc. are about $30 shipped. They are not exactly high-end receivers, so do not plan on serious weak signal work at the noise floor, but there tend to suffice for otherwise casual MW/HF listening assuming an antenna with decent SNR.

  6. Mario

    Panasonic RF-2200 and a County Comm GP7/SSB.
    The Panasonic’s four D batteries weigh more than the GP7, hihi.

  7. Robert Reeve

    I usually use two at the moment,a Kenwood R 2000, and a newly acquired ICOM IC-r72,both connected to homebrew jpole antennas which pulls in signals equal to and sometimes surpass the long wire antennas

    1. Bill


      Can you tell us a little more about your j-poles and what bands you are using them on? I’m curious to know about the performance. Thanks.

    2. Hank

      I am also a fan of J Pole antenna designs.

      I like the home built version of a “vertical” J Pole where there are only two parts A & B:

      Part A:
      BNC adapter that has
      a male BNC on one end
      and red/black “banana plug” terminals on the other end.

      ( I use a HH Smith 1688 adapter, which below its Banana plugs are two holes a distance 20 mm/.79 inches centerline apart)

      Part B:
      Wire, such as enameled copper “ Magnet Wire” about the diameter of coat hanger wire.
      The soft copper is easy to bend but you have to scrape off enamel insulation at each spot where the adapter is tightened down to make an impedance match.

      This diameter of enamel coated insulated wire is often used in motor repair shops for repair of the armatures of big DC motors.

      Aluminum wire would work.
      Stainless steel wire would work.
      In a pinch steel wire sprayed with Eezox gun lube & protectant would work counting on the impressive ability of the Eezox to hold off rust.

      You calculate the length of a quarter wave section of your frequency of interest with the familiar:
      123 divided by freq in MHz

      Cut a length of wire 4 times as long as above calculation
      plus another roughly 1 inch/ 25.4 mm for the width apart of the stub wires.

      Now begin making one side of a
      “shorted quarter wave stub”
      out of this original 4X length wire
      by making the first ninety degree bend at the distance (123/F)

      Now move roughly 1 inch further down the wire
      and make another 90 degree bend
      keeping the wires in the same plane and parallel,
      with the width between wires as near as possible to the 0.8 inch
      distance apart of the holes in of your version of adapter
      in order to smoothly slide the wires into the adapter’s two holes just below each banana plug jack.

      You may want to practice making the two 90 bends on a scrap piece of wire to get the spacing needed.

      It does not need to be perfectly exact because in practice you never slide the BNC adapter all the way down to the bottom of the shorted stub, which would be a case of “zero impedance“ match.

      Saw cut notches in small blocks of plastic, or rubber hose sections, to hold wires apart and parallel.

      The quarter wave stub section can even be bent into a large circle, as long as the adapter can still slide.

      Above the stub the half wave length of wire can be bent to nearly any angle.

  8. Adi

    At bed side I have ICF-7600G since I sold the ICF2010 25 years ago.
    in the living room I have AIWA-NCX-V20 that only it’s radio part still working.
    On my computer I use VLC with streaming links or a receiver from KIWIsdr, or the D808.

    ** The survey should have an open option like “What receiver you would like but can never have”

  9. Roy Ramdeen

    No one has mentioned it so It will. The Belka -Dx. For the seize, portability and ease of use, the Belka is an amazing allmode receiver.

  10. Zack S

    Everyday I wake up to a Sangean HDR-14 tuned to 97.1 for the news on WWJ 950 simulcast on HD2.

    Also have a Sangean HDR-16 in the bathroom for when I am taking a shower and shaving. Usually have WWJ HD2 on or WUOM NPR news from Ann Arbor MI.

    When I go to bed I use a CCradio 2 to fall asleep to. Usually listen WCBS, WBZ , WSM or CFZM with the sleep timer set to 15 minutes.

    But my wife and I spend a lot of the day in our living room. We have a Denon AVR-S900W stereo receiver that has an internet radio interface (vtuner) built in. Using that we listen to WFCC (great callsign!), KRVM, BBC World Service, WQXR, BBC Radio 2 and WOMR daily.

    Last of all I have a Sony XDR-F1HD HDRadio tuner hooked up to the Denon. I use that everyday to listen to CBC Radio 1 (97.5 FM) several times a day as the CBC has great programming. I could listen to CBC via the internet tuner in the Denon but for some weird reason I like hearing it directly over the air. Fun geography fact; I live just north of Detroit MI and the CBC station I listen to is directly south of me. So I live in the US and Canada is south of me

    BTW the Sony XDR-F1HD is an amazing receiver as it has NO hiss on FM. If it can hear it, even weak signals they sound like they are nextdoor. When there is FM DX going on it is a great performer paired with my 5 el beam. Some say that it is the greatest FM receiver ever made. I got one modified from the XDRguy

    1. Hank

      I have the much cheaper
      Sony XDR-S10HDiP HD Radio with iPod dock
      with a near identical Sony chip inside
      and I agree that Sony chip makes for an impressive AM/FM HD radio.

      For an AM antenna I use an ancient Selec-A-tenna.

      I have read a single turn of wire loop 8 foot in diameter is impressive on AM
      but have not tried that myself.

      The Sony chip has some limited auto antenna impedance matching.

      search eBay for picture and prices

    2. Mike S

      I have two XDRguy-modified XDR-F1HD. Dave’s work is impeccable, and with the improvements he offers this tuner becomes one for the ages.

  11. Ward

    My daily radio’s used to be the PL-600 for SW &
    PR-D4 barefoot for MW.
    Now I’m using PL-330 for SW & Eton Elite 750 with MLA-30+ for MW.

    Ward Elliott, 73

  12. Jason

    I’ve never used anything other than portable (usually handheld) radios. I have smart speakers and Bluetooth headphones I use with mobile phones, but if I’m going camping where mobile coverage is spotty then I pack a radio. I use them around the house too.
    If I’m going for a long walk (over 30 minutes) or I’m getting public transit for some of the journey then it’s my phone and headphones. A walk to the local store? That’s a radio with a speaker.
    If I’m going to stay in a hotel, I’ll either take a DAB radio (if it’s available there) or I’ll use my mobile phone. It all depends on the situation.
    Contrary to popular belief, I listen to more radio now than I ever I have, especially while on holiday, and my mobile phone has enabled a lot of that, but yes like everyone else, I almost never watch live TV.
    For context I live in Australia

  13. Mark 2E0ECN

    My weekday radios are the IC-7200 and FT-891, but need more portability for the weekend field trips so use the CommRadio CR1a

  14. Frank Ireland

    My Tecsun PL-660 is my daily driver because it does not mute while tuning, digital display does not jump around when tuning quickly like my PL-990X does, and it’s basic and simple. My PL-990X is what I like to use when I want to hook up my MLA-30 and do medium wave and shortwave DXing.

    1. Gabriel B. Garcia

      I am about to go to work. No time to find the model #, but I listen to my AM news on a piece of radio tube built in 1938 Emerson

  15. Jacky

    hello to all, my main radio is the belka for its portability and its performance and in the evening, I listen on ft 818..73´

  16. Jacky

    bonjour à tous,
    ma radio principale est la belka pour sa portabilité et ses performances et le soir, j’écoute sur ft 818..
    73 ?

  17. Jake Brodsky, AB3A

    My daily driver from home is an Airspy HF+. However, when I travel or when I’m just sitting by the fire pit in the evening in my back yard, I’ll take an ATS-909X2.

    I have a PL-680 which is about 1/3 the price of the 909, so if there is any chance that it may get beat up or damaged, I’ll take it instead.

  18. Mark

    “Due to it’s size and wide coverage, the 818 is not my daily radio, I’ll use it during the day and in the evening when I don’t want to go to the shack.”

    I meant the 818 is now my daily radio.

    Pity we can’t edit posts on this site.

  19. Mark

    That’s a tough one, depends on my mood lol.

    Sometimes I use my FT-891 which has a remarkably low noise receiver and amazing audio via headphones.

    Sometimes I use the Tecsun H501x though don’t like that DSP related distortion or low frequency cut off on SSB. Thinking of selling it to be honest.

    Sometimes I listen via the Tecsun PL-680, another great analogue radio, ECSS is a pleasure on this portable radio because there’s none of that DSP related destruction to the audio.

    Another radio I use is the wonderful FTDX-10. That has an amazing receiver. I use it both for transmitting and SWL.

    And I also have the PL-330, handy due to it’s size but SSB is ruined due to the usual DSP issues. But the ETM mode is convenient and it has 2 memories for scanning in the day and the night and when you recall these memories it will recall those based on a day or night scan, pretty neat. Manual tuning is horrible due to that tuning mute.

    The Belka DX is another, it’s tiny but sadly filter only goes 4 Khz wide but it’s an excellent performing radio. ECSS sounds good even with the 4 Khz filter limit.

    Next is the original Malahit DSP 2, amazing little SDR, really amazing audio, I always use an external antenna and don’t get any screen related noise that I can notice.

    I wish the Malahit team would make a radio in a bigger box like the tecsun H501x with good speakers and some buttons and knobs. The DSP 3 will have some upgrades.

    Last but not least I recently got the little FT-818nd, probably one of the last new ones available. I really like that little radio and due to it’s wide coverage receiver I am using it every day now.

    The IC-705 is a nice radio and all that but I got the 818 for sheer ruggedness and it’s really compact + a lot cheaper, I was amazed at how big the 705 is compared to the X6100 for example.

    The audio from the 818 speaker is surprisingly good and as I come to expect from yaesu it’s got a low noise floor and it’s really nice to listen to.

    Due to it’s size and wide coverage, the 818 is not my daily radio, I’ll use it during the day and in the evening when I don’t want to go to the shack.

    1. Michael Meyer

      Hi Mark.

      I’m also owning the Belka DX. If I understand it right regarding it’s filters, their walues in kHz are for each side of the carrier. So 4 Khz for most SDR’s corresponds to a bandwith on 8 kHz on a traditional receiver.

      Best regards, Michael


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.