Tag Archives: AN200

The Professor reviews the RFA200 external ferrite antenna

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, The Professor, who shares the following review of the RFA200 external ferrite antenna:


The Tecsun R-9012 and RFA200 MW antenna (Photo credit: The Professor)

A Quick Review of the RFA200

The Professor

I’ve considered saying something here about RFA200, as I bought one of these not long after its existence was announced on this blog a few months ago, but I’ve been hesitating because I didn’t have much good to say about it. A couple of times I’ve placed it up snug up against the the top of the two Tecsun sets I have handy (the PL-310ET and the PL-880) and found that despite a lot of knob turning it had little or no effect on improving signal on medium wave stations. I was not impressed.

But I guess I’ve kind of changed my mind on that. And oh yeah, I bought another radio. It’s funny how you can talk yourself into things when you’re talking someone else into something. But after I had mentioned to a reader here the other day that the very inexpensive Tecsun R-9012 was a worthy analog DX portable, I decided to drop twenty and pick one up for myself. After all, it was about the same price as a fancy Brooklyn hamburger. It arrived a couple days ago.

So, I have been playing with it a bit over the last few days. It’s as good as the other ones I’ve had which are the same basic radio (I’d mentioned that the bandswitch slider broke in a couple of mine). It’s single conversion. The bandwidth is a little wide, but it’s a very sensitive and simple analog set.

Yesterday I was going through the AM band and remembered that ferrite from Greece, and I pulled it out recalling that in my experience some radios are more susceptible to reception improvements using passive loops than others. Maybe this ferrite bar might be similar. And sure enough, the antenna made a notable difference this time. By placing it up against the R-9012 and tuning the thing I could certainly increase signal a bit. And I could even see it in the slight brightening or steadiness of the tuning light.

So, not a total waste money after all. I would emphasize that the difference in reception doesn’t seem to be as dramatic or sustaining as you might hear with a tunable loop antenna next to your radio. But it’s not junk either. Then again, for fifty dollars shipped it is a little pricey. Twice as much as a Tecsun tunable loop antenna, and two and half times more expensive than the R-9012 itself.

I found the best way to use this antenna is to tune the radio separately first and when you find a weaker signal you want to improve physically go ahead and rotate the radio until the signal is strongest and THEN put the antenna along the top of the radio and adjust the tuning knob on the antenna. Focus in on strengthening the signal you actually hear, going back and forth until it gets strongest. If you seem to be pulling up other stations it’s because the antenna adjustment will bring in adjacent stronger stations if you move it too far either way.

I’m surely not able to pin down the science involved in exactly how these things work, but perhaps somebody can chime in on this. I’m wondering if analog radio tuning in particular is better suited to the use of these tunable passive antennas, as opposed to PLL and DSP radios?

If you buy one of these be prepared to wait. At least mine took weeks to get here from Greece. And don’t expect miracles. But it seems rather well constructed, and will probably work with some radios. The seller has a 100% rating on eBay and has all sorts of interesting antennas for sale. I’m glad to see people succeeding in that business.


Many thanks, Prof, for sharing your fine review of the RFA200! Thanks for also mentioning the Tecsun R9012–I purchased one a couple years ago with the intention of reviewing it, then gave it to teenager who expressed interest in shortwave. I don’t think I actually put it on the air myself. I do enjoy simple old school analog radio–especially when making band scans. 

Click here to view the RFA200 antenna on eBay.

Looking for Summer Shortwave Specials?

Since I review shortwave radios for SWLing.com, I’m always looking for great deals on popular portables.  This summer, I’ve noticed several exceptional values and thought I’d share them with you. Note that many of these deals are for the North American market, but if these models are available in your part of the world, you’ll probably find bargains where you live, too.

Grundig G4000A Special

Universal Radio has a limited time offer on the Grundig G4000A.  They’re selling this capable little radio for $99.99 and including a free Eton FR350 self-powered shortwave radio (a $59.95 value) and a Grundig AN200 indoor antenna ($29.95).

Wow.  What a deal–possibly the best I’ve ever seen on a new shortwave portable.  For those of you who don’t yet know, the Grundig G4000A is a classic little portable. It has very decent audio fidelity, good shortwave sensitivity, excellent SW coverage (1711 to 30000 kHz) and is a capable performer on FM and AM bands. It can also tune in SSB (Single Side Band) signals.

I am also quite familiar with the FR350, as it is one of the few self-powered radios (along with the FR200) that passed all of our rigorous tests for use with the classroom SW radio distribution project, Ears To Our World. (Kudos to Universal, by the way, as they are a big supporter of ETOW).

I have not used the Grundig AN200 AM broadcast antenna yet, but I have used similar antennas and must admit that they do improve AM reception. Great thing is, you don’t even need to hook this antenna up to your radio; just place it next to the radio and you’re ready for MW (AM broadcast band) DX.

Universal lists that this unique deal is available until the (updated) 30th of June 2010, or while supplies last.

Click here to download PDF mailer of Grundig/Universal promotion.

Prices have been falling recently on the G5 as Grundig makes way for their new G3 Voyager.

Prices have been falling recently on the G5 as Grundig makes way for their new G3 Voyager.

The Grundig G5/Eton E5

The G5 has been a choice radio amongst SWLers who want portable performance, and, along with many other reviewers, I have given this radio high marks.

There are some good deals out there on the G5 as Eton makes way for the much anticipated G3 Voyager (see previous post). Keep in mind that the G5 used to sell for $160. Below, I have listed some authorized retailers that carry the G5, and their prices as of the date of this posting:

The Sony ICF-SW7600GR is a great choice for the beginner and experienced shortwave listener. Its portable, yet has the features and selectivity of a larger radio.

The Sony ICF-SW7600GR is a great choice for the beginner and experienced shortwave listener. It's portable, yet has the features and selectivity of a larger radio.

The Sony ICF SW7600GR

Many believe that Sony is slowly pulling out of the shortwave radio market. That may be, but they have made some highly sought after radios over the years. The ICF-SW7600GR is no exception (see my mini review here). What sets this radio apart from the competition (at least until the G3 hits the market) is synchronous selectable sideband, a feature which is effective at reducing fading distortion and adjacent-channel interference.

I’ve noticed that prices on the ICF-SW7600GR are starting to fall and supplies are dwindling at retailers. Here are a few that still carry this fine portable:

C. Crane “Orphans”

C. Crane offers two radios that I’m quite fond of–the CCRadio-SW tabletop/portable and the ultra-portable CCRadio-SWP. I reviewed both of these on SWLing.com.

Like many manufacturers, C. Crane sells products that they refurbish and clean, and then guarantee them. They refer to these units as Orphans. Having purchased from C. Crane in the past, I can say that I wouldn’t hesitate to buy an orphan radio from them. It can save you anywhere from $5 to $20 on one of their radios.

Pricing and availability vary, so check out their Orphan page before purchasing new.

Two more Grundig Specials from Universal Radio

Get a free Grundig FR350 with the new Sattelit 750 at Universal Radio.

UPDATED 20 July 2009:

Universal is now offering a free Grundig AN200 antenna with the purchase of the much awaited Grundig G3 Globe Traveler ($149.99) and a free Grundig FR350 self-powered shortwave radio with the purchase of the new Satellit 750 ($299.99).   I believe these offers are exclusive to Universal Radio.

Click here to download PDF mailer of Grundig/Universal promotion.

Did I Miss Anything?

Please let me know if you discover another exceptional value on shortwave portables by leaving a comment. Also, subscibe to our RSS feed and I will post updates as they become available.