Category Archives: Portable Radio

Radio Deal: Grundig Edition Eton Mini $26.10 shipped

Amazon.com has lowered the price on the Eton Mini shortwave receiver to $26.10 with shipping. This is about the lowest price I’ve seen for the Mini (a radio that makes a great stocking stuffer). Standard Amazon pricing disclaimer: this might not last long as they shift pricing without notice.

Click here to purchase via Amazon.com (affiliate link).

Rocky is pleased with the CC Skywave SSB

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor,Rocky Robello (KA7EII), who writes:

Just got my new C. Crane Skywave SSB radio. Same size as my wife’s C. Crane Skywave. AM, FM, WX and Airband all work just as well on the Skywave SSB as the regular Skywave.

So far, I am very satisfied with the SSB reception on the new Skywave SSB. It has one strange quirk – when you press the SSB button, it takes about 3 to 4 seconds to go into SSB mode. Five dashes appear on the display during this wait. After that, it is great.

I enjoy aeronautical communications and I get good reception of San Francisco radio and aircraft flying between the west coast and Hawaii. This is on the built in whip antenna.

Also been tuning through the ham bands and it does a nice job. There is an extra 0.5 KHz bandwidth on SSB mode so it is possible to do some casual CW listening. I like how the “Band” button works on shortwave.

When in AM mode, it cycles through the shortwave broadcasting bands. In the SSB mode, it cycles through the ham radio bands. It even selects LSB on 160-30 meters and USB on 20 through 10.

The only other receiver I have to compare it with (other than my wife’s Skywave) is my 18-year old Sangean ATS-909. The ‘909 is a bit more sensitive on MW AM broadcast band but selectivity is as good or better on the Skywave SSB.

FM sensitivity is great and the FM selectivity of the Skywave SSB beats the ‘909 hands down. Using the built in whip antennas, the Skywave SSB is more sensitive than the ‘909 on shortwave. Haven’t tried the included roll-up antenna on the Skywave SSB yet.

Having a squelch is really nice for monitoring the VHF Airband. One thing the Skywave SSB does that the regular Skywave does not do – you can scan 10 VHF Airband frequencies on the Skywave SSB.

So far, I am very satisfied with this new, tiny shortwave receiver.

Many thanks for sharing your mini review, Rocky!

I’ll also post a CC Skywave SSB review here hopefully by the end of next week–after Thanksgiving travel. My review has been delayed a as my CC Skywave SSB production units have had some QC issues: a very slight internally-generated noise in one and subpar sensitivity in the other.

My pre-production CC Skywave SSB is as Rocky describes: a gem of a compact receiver with sensitivity equal to that of its predecessor and relatively good noise characteristics.

C. Crane engineering is looking into the issues with my early production units and dispatching a replacement. I’ll post an update and review when I receive the replacement.

C. Crane CCRadio-EP Pro: a new enhanced version of the EP

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Troy Riedel, who notes that C. Crane has developed an enhanced version of the original CCRadio-EP AM/FM portable.

C. Crane includes the following description on their website:

The new CC Radio-EP PRO is an enhanced version of the original EP. It has the same simple controls and the same high performance with superior selectivity and sensitivity. The portable CCRadio-EP PRO could be considered a super radio; built for ease of use and outstanding long-range AM with our C. Crane patented Twin Coil Ferrite® AM Antenna. FM performance is excellent.

Great for listening to Talk Radio, NPR®, Music, and Sports. The EP PRO has a wide bass and treble adjustment range for defined music and accurate and lively voice reproduction.

A large, 5-inch speaker is combined with a hi-fidelity amplifier and a “Wide/Narrow” enhancement dial to give extra clarity to AM programs. The dial accuracy of the new EP PRO is superior to our original model. Weight: 3.1 lbs. (without batteries). Size: 11.4″ W x 7.3″ H x 2.75″ D. Runs on four optional “D” batteries (not included). AC adapter is included.

C.Crane lists a shipping date of March 30, 2018 or after.

Since I receive so many questions about affordable radios for mediumwave DXing, I’ll certainly review the CCRadio-EP Pro when it’s available. I look forward to evaluating out a radio with such simple controls!

Click here to check the CCRadio-EP Pro on C. Crane’s website.

The XHDATA D-808 shortwave portable: A variation of the Digitech AR-1780?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ivan, who shares the following:

In December, sales of this radio will begin. The seller promises to put the price of 60 US dollars. Radio of a level not lower than Tecsun PL-660 for such a small price is great! There is a video review on YouTube. Unfortunately in Russian. There is no more information on this radio on the Internet. I myself found out by accident.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Thank you for the tip, Ivan! I’m guessing this is yet another portable based on the Silicon Labs SL4735.

The display looks like that of the Digitech AR-1780 and the keypad configuration is nearly identical–the only visible difference being the shape of the SSB button which is rectangular on the AR01780.

The Digitech AR-1780 keypad.

The XHDATA D-808 Keypad.

The power buttons are also in different locations.

AliExpress has the D-808 in their catalog, but the price is listed at $2,000 per unit (!!!) with no shipping to the US. Perhaps the pricing formula changes if you place an order within Russia?

UPDATE: Ivan adds, “I talked to the seller of Xhdata D-808 on Ali about the crazy price claimed now. The seller replied that the price will be quite different and much more humane than what is now.”

Again, thanks for the tip, Ivan!

Post readers: If you have the XHDATA D-808, I’d certainly welcome a review. Please feel free to contact me about submitting one.

Tecsun PL-300 series modification: disabling soft mute

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Troy Riedel, who shares the following tip. Troy writes:

While surfing the Net I found the following procedure that is said to “disable soft muting in Tecsun 300-series radios”.

I have a PL-390 and this has indeed seemed to work on it but I didn’t notice a difference with my PL-365.

Since I just found & tried this, I don’t know if this procedure must be repeated each time you use the radio? Maybe [Post readers] have heard of this before and/or have experience with it?

Here is the “reported” [supposed?] procedure that worked for the PL-390:

To disabling “Soft Mute” on Tecsun 300-series radios:

1. Select a shortwave frequency, preferably where there is no stations transmitting.
2. Tune down the frequency range with the dial, don’t tune up or it won’t work
3. Press the VF Scan button to let it automatically tune down
4. Tune down with the dial to stop the automatic scan. If the background noise is higher, then the “soft mute” / “dynamic squelch” has been disabled.

Thank you, Troy! I was unaware of this modification, but it seems easy enough to implement.

Post readers: Anyone have experience using this mod across the Tecsun 300-series receivers? Please comment!