Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Steve Lebkuecher, who writes:
I was a little surprised to see a batch of new Grundig G3s selling for $79.99 on eBay. Given the quality issues with the G3 it may be a bit of a risk but what a great deal if you could get one that works. I have enjoy mine but ended up having to return the first one I bought due to issues with the sync.
Thanks for all you do, I always appreciate your website!
Many thanks for the tip, Steve! You’re right, if this batch of new, un-opened radios is from the last production run of G3s, there could be inconsistency in quality control. The seller, hileydeals, has a 99.6% positive rating and offers, “14 days money back or item exchange, buyer pays return shipping.” So, if you purchase a G3 and feel it’s not performing up to spec, then you could return for a full refund within 14 days, but you’ll be out your return shipping.
I’ve owned a total of three Grundig G3s over the years and have never been displeased with one. I may have simply been lucky. In fact, the G3 was my go-to travel portable for quite a few years. I gave two G3s away and still have one here in my collection. It’s a sensitive little radio and certainly worth the $79.99 price (if not one of the faulty units).
Not really a surprise, but I’ve confirmed that the Grundig G3 has been discontinued. They are still available, for the moment, from Universal Radio and online sources like Amazon.com. I would not advise buying from Amazon as I’ve received numerous complaints that they’ve shipped faulty units. Universal Radio, on the other hand, is testing each an every G3 leaving their shop.
With the exit of the G3, this leaves Grundig with the following selection of shortwave portables:
I agree and I do feel cautiously optimistic about the Tecsun PL-880. Could it be my new travel radio? Though I still happily travel with the Grundig G3, Sony ICF-SW7600GR and Tecsun PL-380, a guy can’t have too many radios to choose from!
I’ll plan to review the PL-880 once it’s available. I’m particularly interested in seeing how it stacks up against the venerable Tecsun PL-660.
For the past week, I’ve been traveling: this time, in the inner-city section of Belize City on behalf of Ears To Our World, where we’ve been working with ETOW’s partner organization, The Belize Council for the Visually Impaired (BCVI). I had the honor of working with a group of visually-impaired and blind children, giving each a self-powered shortwave radio, along with instruction on its use.
One of our talented advisory board members, David Korchin (KC2WNW)–also an avid SWLer–met me on this recent adventure. One afternoon, we found a moment to pull out our portable radios. Turns out, he had brought his Grundig G5 while I had my Grundig G3. So we sat back to listen: to broadcast stations (including RRI and REE), to ham radio communications, and to some medium wave stations, including Radio Reloj on 790 kHz. Some great radio listening, by the way.
It was interesting to observe that in almost every case, the G3 had a slight edge on the G5. The G3 noise floor was slightly lower, and audio characteristics slightly better, than the G5’s. Where the G3 really had an edge, though, was on single-side band, where its selectivity was far superior to that of the G5.
With that said, if you purchase a G3, be sure to check out your unit’s performance thoroughly–and keep your receipt. When Amazon last posted a sale on the G3, we had several reports of faulty units (check out the comment thread in this post). Though I cannot confirm this, I suspect these may be among the final units of the G3 production line. Choose carefully, and you’ll enjoy a great radio.
I received my $52 Grundig G3 today. Unfortunately, it appears to have been a re-sold defective unit. The whip antenna is bent, MW AM sensitivity is far worse than my Sony 7600GR, there is lots of internal noise on MW AM, and sync locks only on the strongest stations (and 1 kHz low).
Well, when I got to it it was up to $59 but that’s still a great deal so I snagged one. It arrived today. I suspect like Gary (above) that it was a returned unit. Lots of scuffs and signs of use. So… I’ve sent it back to Amazon asking for a replacement. We’ll see what shows up. I see now that it’s selling for $96. I would hate to think that Amazon would be selling off returned stuff at a discount and yet presenting it as new.
Gary and Dave, I certainly hope that Amazon replaces your G3s with new-in-box units; I expect they will. These G3s were certainly advertised as new and sold by Amazon.com (not anther vendor). Let us know if you get a proper replacement.
Any one else experience the same problem from this Amazon sale? Please comment.
It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been over three years since I published my first review of the Grundig G3 shortwave radio. My initial impressions were mostly positive, and since then, the G3 has become a staple in North America and a fixture in my radio collection. I bought one of the very first G3s in production in the summer of 2009, and about a year ago, I replaced it with a current model.
So, what do I think of it now? After having two different production-run models and traveling with my G3s for over three years?
The G3 now
I have to admit, I continue to love this radio. In fact, if you write me an email inquiring about a good portable shortwave radio in the $100 price range, you can bet that I will still recommend the G3.
The G3’s biggest competitors (roughly in the same price range) are the Sony ICF-SW7600GR and the Tecsun PL-660. I may very well review them all side-by-side in a portable showdown in the near future–but until then, it’s worth noting that the G3 is the least expensive in this crowd, and is simply an excellent performer for the price. So I just can’t hesitate to recommend it.
Why do I like the G3?
Quite simply, the G3 features the following:
Superb shortwave sensitivity and selectivity for this class of portable
Effective sync lock (that is, if you adjust the frequency 1 kHz below the actual frequency with sync engaged)
Tuning is simple, fast and ergonomic
Adaptive tuning wheel–mounted on the right side–keeps speed with your thumb; it’s a band-scanning demon!
Simply put, the G3 functions as a portable shortwave radio should. It’s easy to tune, great to listen to, it functions well, has SSB and line out, has an external antenna jack, has two well-apportioned filters (wide/narrow), and still manages to be relatively inexpensive.
Perfect? Well…almost. Though I never use the Air band, and I rarely use the MW (medium wave) band (mainly for DXing), many reviewers and critics of the G3 point to less-than-stellar performance in these areas.
I’ll admit, the Air band is a nice add-on, but is certainly no reason to buy the G3. I find MW listening quite pleasant and I’ve certainly heard a little DX on it, but it probably doesn’t compare to some of the well-known ultralight radios which handle the MW amazingly well.
And a couple of years ago, some reviewers complained of quality problems; I assume these were associated with specific production runs. As I’ve had two radios from two different production runs and have never experienced a quality-control issue, I must have been luckier in obtaining solidly-produced units.
Perhaps it was my recent review of the Degen DE1129 that made me realize that many of the newer, smaller portables add features, but toss out many of the basics I expect from a shortwave radio. In other words, the things that make a radio pleasant to use, like ergonomics, performance, and an intuitive design. The G3 has these in trumps.
So, if you’re sitting on the fence about a $100 shortwave radio, I would snag the G3. I did–and haven’t looked back.