Tag Archives: Eton Elite Satellit

Video: Nick’s initial review of the Eton Elite Satellit

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Nick Booras, who writes:

I bought [an Eton Elite Satellit] on Amazon and received it today. Here is a link to my YouTube review.

I have made several radio videos on YouTube recently and your audience may enjoy them.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Many thanks for sharing your initial review, Nick! I look forward to seeing any comparison videos you might produce as well!

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Eton Elite Satellite Update (August 20, 2022)

Eton Elite Satellit HD

Eton Elite Satellit Update (August 20, 2022)

As many SWLing Post readers have pointed out, Universal Radio has posted the following update to their product page for the Elite Satellit:

Our initial allocation of radios arrived 08/17/22. Our Q/C testing detected a problem with the radio. We are working closely with Eton to find a solution to the issue. We will begin shipping radios as soon we are satisfied the radio fully meets specifications.

Some early adopters noted that the receiver controls freeze when engaging HD radio stations. We suspect this may be one of the issues.

Universal Radio will no doubt post updates as soon as they’re available. For now, though, they are not shipping the Eton Elite Satellit. We assume this will be the case for other retailers as well.

Internal Photos

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Noel, who shares the following internal photos he took of the Elite Satellit (click images to enlarge):

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Can the Eton Elite Satellit meet 2022 expectations?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, for the following guest commentary:


The Elite Satellit: Can Eton Deliver to Radio Users Who Expect Higher QC and Feature Standards?

by Dan Robinson

It’s been many years since the original E1 took the hobby world by storm. Everyone remembers the issues that plagued the E1, from the rubber coating that degraded over time, to display and encoder issues, and the calibration issues that frustrate some users.

In anticipation of the arrival of the Elite Satellit, I got both of my E1s out of storage — one in the 9xxx serial number range required a de-gooing session, accomplished quite well using Max Pro cleaner and 70% alcohol. It was interesting note, during that process, that the XM module on one side of the radio was more sensitive to color loss than other parts of the cabinet, reducing to an almost silver color when all was finished.

Original Eton E1 XM

Using the original E1s provided a reminder of how good these receivers were and still are, if you have managed to avoid display and encoder issues. The combination of PBT, triple selectivity and highly-effective SYNC was a blockbuster combination. The radio failed only in the area of quality control.

As Universal Radio and other distributors prepare to send out the first tranche of receivers, some thoughts are in order. The first is that one hopes Eton has lessons from the first go around regarding Quality Control. I have a sinking feeling about this based on my experiences in recent years reviewing receivers by Tecsun.

Eton needs to know that those who will buy the Elite Satellit, and that includes old-timers like myself but newcomers to the hobby, now have much higher standards specifically because of the features we have seen Tecsun and some other manufacturers put in portables.

Primarily, the presence of a recalibration capability really poses a challenge where the Elite Satellit is concerned. Discerning buyers no longer have to put up with a radio that has calibration and/or stability problems. This is why I am curious as to whether Eton included an adjustment function through software or an adjustment hole as with the original E1. So far, there has been no confirmation on this question from Eton or anyone else.

Original Eton E1 XM

With an older E1, tweaking of the master oscillator was possible through the small adjustment hold in the rear of the radio cabinet. This was tricky since in many units the hole was inconveniently located directly under one of the plastic ribs on the back.

I solved this problem by gently cutting a small section of one rib with a Dremel or similar tool, providing easier access. Still, adjustment has to be done carefully due to the sensitivity of the pot, and preferably with a non-metallic jewelers flat head screw driver. Even then, movements of the radio would often throw the radio back off.

But again, E1 users were spoiled by the recalibration capability which Tecsun included on receivers from the PL-880 to the 990x and 501s and even the PL-368, all of which provide a software method of zeroing frequency in SSB. Even Malahit SDRs have a fine adjustment setting in software.

If Eton has not taken this into account, and has not made any recalibration possible, I fear that it may face a good number of buyers who will simply return radios that suffer from significant frequency error. In short, a “good enough for government” approach by Eton when it comes to calibration QC is simply not going to be sufficient because for years now, Tecsun has been setting a higher standard.

Physical cosmetic issues too will also be an important indicator as to Eton’s attention to QC. If Eton learned its lesson from the rubberized cabinet fiasco, this should not be a major problem. But I would urge owners of the new Elite Satellit to examine your radio for QC issues, like LCD pixel problems, wobbly knobs and loose encoders, and issues with the telescopic antenna.

All of this becomes even more important because Eton is charging so much for this radio. Even taking inflation into account since the original E1 appeared, $599 for a radio that adds only HD and AIR band as features, but which still might suffer from QC problems is extremely high and I fear Eton may end up with numerous returns if the Elite Satellit fails in any key areas.

So, the clock ticks down to the moment when many of us will receive that box containing the Eton Elite Satellit. The question is will what is inside be able to meet the higher standards we have come to expect from a multi-band portable?

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Eton Elite Satellit Pricing and Context

As the Eton Elite Satellit comes closer to fruition, I’ve gotten a lot of questions and comments from readers about the price retailers are publishing. Here they are so far (all in USD):

Even the lowest price ($599.99 via Universal) is no trivial amount for most of us.

That said, the pricing doesn’t surprise me.

Back in 2005 when this radio’s predecessor, the Eton E1/XM, finally hit the market, it was sold for $499.95. Here’s a screenshot from Universal’s site in 2005 courtesy of the Wayback Machine:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statists, $499.95 in June 2005 has the same buying power as $751.33 in May 2022. If we add to that the recent elevated prices for many radio/electronic goods due to increased component cost and availability of chips, frankly I’m a little surprised Eton’s even able to release a new product this of all years. These aren’t easy days for electronics manufacturers. Then again, Eton has been producing radios for decades and obviously knows the manufacturing landscape quite well.

When I first learned about the new Elite Satellit, you could have painted me seven shades of surprised. With the advent of inexpensive high-performance SDRs, affordable DSP portables, and knowing full well the shortwave portable radio market is on the decline (in terms of customer numbers), I would have never guessed a new enthusiast-grade portable would be introduced.

My hope is that the Elite Satellit will deliver the performance we all want. I firmly believe that high-performance, quality gear enriches the hobby as a whole.

In terms of Elite Satellit specs and features, there’s a lot of confusion out there right now [great article, Guy!], but I’m sure this will be cleared up in coming weeks.

Many have also commented about Universal Radio especially since they officially closed their brick and mortar store near Columbus, Ohio in November 2020. Fred Osterman mentioned to customers at the time that Universal would still be selling books, parts, and some accessories online, but they would no longer carry inventory like ham radio transceivers.

Universal will be an authorized distributor of the Eton Satellit Elite and I wouldn’t hesitate purchasing from them. I suspect Fred and Barbara made an exception for Eton because they’ve been such a long-term distributor (dating back to the 1980s).  I also think Universal will continue being a limited online retailer at least into 2023 or even beyond. Eton will fully back a warranty from products purchased at Universal regardless.

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