For shortwave and broadcast listeners, general coverage transceivers can double as both a ham radio transceiver and as a broadcast listening receiver. I often suggest a good general coverage transceiver as an option for shortwave listeners as there are many more transceivers on the market than there are dedicated tabletop receivers.
Note that general coverage transceivers could have some limitations compared with a dedicated broadcast listening receiver:
- Since they’re designed for ham radio use, sensitivity may vary outside the ham radio bands
- Some may lack AM mode
- Some may have narrow AM filters
- If you’re not a ham, you will need to disable the transmitter in case of accidental operation (this is incredibly important for those using amplified receive-only antennas)
With that said, most general coverage transceivers are very capable broadcast listening receivers.
If you’re looking for a transceiver and don’t need more than 5-15 watts of transmitting power, QRP transceivers are an excellent option to consider.
Advantages of a QRP general transceiver:
- They tend to be lighter weight than a full power transceiver
- They tend to also be more compact since many are designed for field use
- In receive mode, they are more frugal with battery use
- They’re often (not always) more affordable than an equivalent full-power transceiver
We have beta tested and reviewed a number of QRP general coverage transceivers on the SWLing Post and QRPer.com. The following is a comprehensive list of all general coverage QRP transceivers on both the new and used market. If you see that we’re missing a model, please contact us and we’ll add it.
Click on the model name to view our product review which will includes links to the manufacturer and other user resources. For models we have not reviewed, we link to Universal Radio’s product catalog, or the manufacturer’s product page. Each listing contains links to eBay, QRH.com and QRZ.com classifieds.
- KX1 2/4 Band transceiver (note: RX 5.0-9.5 and 12.0-16.5 MHz SSB): eBay, QTH.com, QRZ.com
- KX2 80M-10M transceiver: eBay, QTH.com, QRZ.com
- KX3 160M-6M transceiver: eBay, QTH.com, QRZ.com
- uBITX V6 80M-10M transceiver (no AM mode and we wouldn’t generally recommend this radio for SWLing): eBay, QTH.com, QRZ.com
- IC-703/703+ 160M-10M/160-6M Transceivers: eBay, QTH.com, QRZ.com
- IC-705 160-70cm Transceiver: eBay, QTH.com, QRZ.com <-FUTURE
- Argonaut II – Model 535 160M-10M: eBay, QTH.com, QRZ.com
- Argonaut V – Model 516 160M-10M: eBay, QTH.com, QRZ.com
- Xiegu X5105 160M-6M Transceiver: eBay, QTH.com, QRZ.com
- Xiegu G90 160M-10M Transceiver: eBay, QTH.com, QRZ.com
- Xiegu G1M 80/40/20/15M Transceiver: eBay, QTH.com, QRZ.com
- FT-817 160M-70CM Transceiver: eBay, QTH.com, QRZ.com
- FT-817ND 160M-70CM Transceiver: eBay, QTH.com, QRZ.com
- FT-818 160M-70CM Transceiver: eBay, QTH.com, QRZ.com
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