“Uncle” Jock’s Pro Tip for using the scan function

The postman delivers a new radio for test.

So I unbox it, punch the ON button, start SCAN on AM MW band.

Scan works (yea!) but passes by really strong local stations. Sacred poop, I think, this thing is deaf as the proverbial post.

Is there some sort of space weather thing going on? I grab my Skywave and Tecsun . . . scan with both, and they both find those fat stations out there, as well as a bunch of others.

Does this other manufacturer not know how to build a radio?

Then I tune the radio manually to the fat stations . . . it hears them just fine.


Then a thought creeps into my fevered brain . . . could it be that this new radio is scanning at 9 kHz intervals?

I do the procedure for setting the AM MW intervals to 10 khz, punch SCAN, and Ta-Dah! the new radio is not deaf as a post; it is hearing lots of stuff just fine.

Operator error.

Soooo, if you’re testing a new radio or maybe one of your old radios suddenly decides it can’t hear much on scanning medium wave frequencies, you might want to make sure that it is set for the 9 or 10 kHz interval that is appropriate for your area.

Just sayin’,

Spread the radio love

11 thoughts on ““Uncle” Jock’s Pro Tip for using the scan function

  1. Mario

    Jock I like your term “fat” stations hihi. Are these, by definition strong signal stations easily heard, especially at night? Thanks.

    1. Jock Elliott


      ” strong signal stations easily heard, especially at night” — you nailed it . . . those are FAT stations.

      Cheers, Jock

  2. jack dully

    Just Saying Jock,Firstly HAPPY HOLIDAYS !.to Y’al.Good looking out on the AM tuning step dilema,atta boy ! Honestly,I don’t like using any auto tuning scan mode on any radio that I own & use.They miss “stuff”.Instead,I prefer Manual tuning,it’s good exercise for your fingers and hand,right ?.What I like is a variable tuning rate setting on some radios,so you can tune fast,medium or real slooow,as you please,kids.Auto scanning is just fine if you go to the fridge for a brewsky,walking fast !

    1. Jock Elliott


      Back atcha . . . . Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, or whatever you celebrate.

      I’m curious: what radios do you have with variable tuning rate setting? Sounds neat.

      Cheers, Jock

      1. jack dully

        The Tecsun 680 for one and the Eton E-1 XM for another. In addition with the E-1 you can add zeros to the display,in effect helping you to slow the tuning down and get to the best reception,whatever it is, for clear listening and lock it into the memory.The accuracy of the frquency readout on the display is really unimportant but you are listening clearly and for me that’s the bottom line.Of course there are other radios out there that may do the same but just a slow or fast turn on the tuning control can do something similar on any radio Ho 1 Ho ! Ho !

  3. Hank

    So – if a digital readout radio can be set to either 9 kHz or 10 kHz,
    does not that also imply that a simple programing tweak would turn that radio into tuning in either 1 kHz and 10 kHz? Or 5 kHz and 1 kHz.

    This might involve reprogramming and “re-burning” an EPROM chip.

    I have often wished that my original production Sangean PR-D5 (identifiable by black dots below volume control)
    could tune in 10 kHz and 1 kHz steps on its AM MW band.

    I also suspect that it could tune down into the LW band and “hear” 455 kHz for aligning old radios.

    1. Jock Elliott


      I did a quick check and, if I put in my CCrane Skywave SSB into SSB mode on the MW band, it will scan in 1 kHz increments.

      If you put the Skywave SSB into SLOW tuning mode on the MW band, it will manually tuning in 1 kHz increements, but if you use the SCAN function, it will revert to 10 kHz (or 9 kHz if you have selected that) increments.

      I will be reporting on my results with this new radio in a while.

      Cheers, Jock

  4. Frank

    Good points, Jock. The operator errors are always the easiest ones to fix 😉

    I tend to have my Tecsun 880 at 10 khz – in Europe – simply because now it won´t omit the “Dutch pirates band” 1620-1710 via the ferrite antenna (or skip that extended AM part totally).

    I have also found that simply narrowing the bandwidth, if possible, to 2 khz or even 1 brings better results: more stations and less doublets.

    1. Jock Elliott


      I think

      ” simply narrowing the bandwidth, if possible, to 2 khz or even 1 brings better results: more stations and less doublets”

      also qualifies as a Pro Tip. That’s a great idea, and one I am going to put into practice.

      Cheers, Jock

  5. Kris G8AUU

    Well it would work fine over here in Europe.
    Yes, we have our Medium Wave stations on 9 kHz spacing.
    What was the radio, where manufactured, what market was it built for?

    1. Jock Elliott


      The identity of the radio will remain “classified” until I’ve had a chance to review it thoroughly.

      It was manufactured in China and is intended for the US and Canadian markets, but could be used in Europe since it offers a choice of 9 or 10 kHz tuning steps in MW band.

      Cheers, Jock


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