Tag Archives: Radio Nostalgia

Let’s take a deep dive into a list of our favorite radios!

Over the past week, I asked the SWLing Post community if they’ve ever regretting parting with a radio, and then what radios they’ve owned that had the most “fun” factor.

The response from these two posts was pretty overwhelming.

I don’t actually check the SWLing Post viewer stats that often, but I was too curious: together, those two posts amounted to well over 20,000 unique pageviews in two days!

Obviously, I’m not the only radio nostalgic person around here!

These posts resonated so well, I didn’t want readers’ favorite models to be lost in the comments section. I decided to comb through the comments, make a list of all of the models, and link to sites and pages with more information and photos.

This is an interesting collection of radios since some are benchmark performers, while others much less so. Many were listeners’ first radios–the ones we cut our teeth on.

I would encourage you to read through the comments on our first and our second posts. Many great memories in there!

Below, you’ll find the full list of radios in alphabetical order, starting with receivers then moving to transceivers:


Receivers

AOR 7030

AOR AR8000

Drake 2-C (Photo: Eric McFadden)

Drake 2-C

Drake R8B

Eddystone 750

EH Scott SLR12B

Eton S350DL

Globetrotter V01

Grundig YB400

Hallicrafters SX-100 (Photo: Rick Post)

Hallicrafters SX-100

Hammarlund HQ-140

Heathkit GR-64

Heathkit GR-78

Heathkit SB-310

Icom IC-R2

Icom IC-R75

JRC NRD-515

JRC NRD-515

JRC NRD-345

Kaito KA1103/Degen DE1103

Kenwood R-1000

Knight Star Roamer

Palladium 949/469

Panasonic RF-2200

Panasonic RF-2200

Panasonic RF-2800

RCA AR-88

Realistic Astonaut 8

Rheinland 4953W

Realistic DX-160

Realistic DX-200

Realistic DX-300

Realistic DX-394 (Photo: RigPix)

Realistic DX-394

Realistic Patrolman 6

Realistic Patrolman 9

Sangean 803A/Realistic DX-440

Siemens Radio E309

Sony Earth Orbiter (CRF-5090)

Sony ICF-2001D

Sony ICF-SW1000T (Photo: Universal Radio)

Sony ICF-2010

Sony ICF-SW1

Sony ICF-SW1000T

Sony ICF-7600D

Sony ICF-SW7600

Sony ICF-SW7600GR

Sony ICF-SW7600GR

Sony ICR-4800

Unelco 1914

Wireless Set No.19 Mk III

Yaesu FR-50B

Yaesu FR-101D

Yaesu FRG-7

Yaesu FRG-7700

Transceivers/Transmitters

Heathkit HW-8 (Photo: Eric McFadden)

The Icom IC-735

Drake 2-NT

Heathkit HW-8

Index Labs QRP+

Icom IC-735

Marconi C100

National NCX-3 (Photo: Universal Radio)

National NCX 3

Yaesu FT-77

Yaesu FT-101B

Yaesu FT-817ND

Yaesu FT-857D


Many thanks to everyone who shared their favorite radios! I truly enjoyed checking out each of these models as I listed and linked to them. There were a number of unique models I had never seen before and many I had completely forgotten (like the Sony ICF-SW1000T)!

If you have more favorite models to share, feel free to comment here or on the original posts!


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Radios that may not be benchmark, but are pure fun–!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John R Palmer, who replied to our previous post about radio regrets with a question.

John asks:

Name a piece of radio gear that for some reason, technical, emotional, design etc. that you’ve gotten more fun using than you would ever have expected based on its price, maybe more so than other much more expensive radios you’ve owned. Just a piece of gear that really hit the spot and you’ve had a blast using.

That’s a tough question indeed, John. I hope readers will chime in with their replies–I’m very curious!

So I gave this quite a bit of thought and came up with two radios–one shortwave portable and one general coverage ham radio transceiver:

The Radio Shack DX-351

In 1996, I worked for a Radio Shack corporate store in Athens, Ohio. I believe we were getting ready for the Black Friday/Christmas season and the store manager decided to go through a pile of broken items customers has returned using their extended warranty. He had accumulated quite a number of returns in a box next to his desk in the back of the store. I stayed after hours to help him organize the shelves and prepare for incoming shipments.

Most of the items in his box were physically broken, but still covered by the extended warranty (to their credit, many RS store managers were quite flexible with extended warranty returns). He pulled out a Radio Shack DX-351 from the box.

The customer returned this portable because the AM/FM/SW slider switch was broken. My manager knew I was an SWL, so asked if I wanted it. He said, “If you don’t, it goes into the trash can because we can’t re-sell it.

How could I resist?

This DX-351 was “well-loved.” I can’t remember all of the details, but the AM/FM/SW band switch could not be fixed, but I didn’t mind because the receiver was stuck on the shortwave band and the other shortwave band switch worked perfectly.

The DX-351 was a joy to use and amazingly sensitive! It wasn’t particularly selective, but it served me well for many years living, primarily, in the glove compartment of my car. If I took a road trip, a lunch break at the park, or if I was simply waiting in a parking lot to pick up my wife, I’d pull out the DX-351 and tune in the world.

The thing was pure fun to tune.

The Icom IC-735

In the world of general coverage ham radio transceivers, the Icom IC-735 would be my choice.

The IC-735 was my first ham radio transceiver. I used my hard-earned savings (from working at Radio Shack!) to buy a used unit via the now closed Burghardt Amateur Radio Center in South Dakota. My friends, Eric (WD8RIF) and Mike (K8RAT), believed a used IC-735 would serve me well. They were right!

What I really loved about the IC-735 was that it had all of the features and modes I needed. It was easy to operate and, while I couldn’t call its receiver “benchmark” by any means, it was amazingly sensitive and selective.

I logged hundreds of hours on this radio in both SSB and CW, working DX across the globe.

But I spent even more time SWLing. Turns out, the IC-735’s general coverage receiver did justice to shortwave broadcasts. The AM filter was wide enough to produce wonderful audio (especially via an external speaker or headphones). For years, the IC-735 was my go-to shortwave radio because it performed so much better than any other radios–mostly portables–I had at the time.

The IC-735 was so much fun to use.

I did eventually sell it, if memory serves, to purchase my first Elecraft K2 transceiver.

What are your choices?

So what are the radios you’ve owned that may not sport the best performance, and may not have been terribly expensive, but were pure fun to put on the air–? Perhaps you still own one? Please comment!

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Have you ever regretted saying goodbye to a radio?

A lot of radios come through SWLing Post HQ each year.

Over the years, I’d like to think that I’ve become immune to the effects of giving away, trading, or selling radios that have been in the shack for a while. But let’s face it: I’m just fooling myself!

I sold both my Hammarlund SP-600 and Hallicrafters SX-99 at the Shelby Hamfest.

As I’ve said before, I find it much easier to part with modern portables, transceivers, and SDRs than I do with vintage gear.  With modern gear, I feel like there’s always something new around the corner, thus it’s easy to justify. Plus, I take in so many units on loan for evaluation and review, I see them come in the door and go back out. Occasionally, I like one so much I buy it, but there’s not a lot of attachment. I’m not a “fan boy” of any modern company either, so I don’t intentionally collect rigs.

Ah, but the vints…

I’m a nostalgic guy, so vintage gear comes with more emotional attachment.

Over the years, I’ve had to part with a number of boat anchors because, frankly, I always need a clear space in the shack for evaluating gear and my shack is rather compact. (For example, at one point last year, I had three transceivers here for evaluation all at the same time.)

My Hammarlund SP-600was a very tough one to let go of. I justified it by selling the big girl to my good friend Charlie (W4MEC) who had actually helped me replace some of her capacitors at one point. The SP-600 was simply too deep and too large to fit even on my over-sized radio shelves–especially if mounted in a chassis. Charlie has a much better setup for rack-mounted “heavy metal.” She’s got a good home now.

The Scott Marine Radio Model SLRM

There are two vintage sets I’ll never sell: my Signal Corps BC-348-Q and my Scott Marine SLRM (photo above). How much do I love these radios? My wife has strict instructions to “put’em in the casket with me!”

There are only two portable radios I regret selling: my original RadioShack DX-440 and my Grundig YB400.

I did snag this DX-440 last year at the Huntsville Hamfest

No doubt, I miss these radios because they both served me for so many years. We traveled many countries together both on the ground and through the airwaves.

Parting is such sweet sorrow…

A number of readers have confessed that they regretted selling their RF-2200.

Have you ever regretted parting with a radio? Please comment with the model and why it was special to you. I’d also love to hear about the models you currently own and would never consider selling or giving away.

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Pentti Stenman’s impressive collection of SWL recordings, QSLs, and pennants

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who writes:

Just ran across this guy’s site Pentti Stenman, who is in Finland.
Check out his audio and QLS, pennants as well…

http://www.penan.net/dx-kuuntelu

Pentti’s collection is impressive indeed! Since he’s in Finland, some of his site is in Finnish, but it’s still quite easy to navigate and you can have Google translate it into any language.

I have pasted direct links below to Pentti’s various galleries.

QSL Gallery

Pennants

Recordings:

Thanks again, Dan, for the tip!

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Radio West catalog at American Radio History

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Zack Schindler, who writes:

Oh this brings back memories. I bought a lot of stuff from Radio West. Here is their catalog from 1983. Had them install a Collins mechanical filter in my Kenwood R-1000.

Click here to download Radio West Catalog 5 (PDF).

Thanks for sharing this bit of retail nostalgia, Zack!  This download is one of thousands available at the excellent American Radio History website.

Any other patrons of Radio West?  Please comment!

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CQ Serenade – Very Cool!

This link was forwarded to our Amateur Radio Club by a member (who is quite proficient in Morse code, unlike me!) and I just had to share it with Thomas and the SWLing gang!

https://www.on6zq.be/w/index.php/Audio/CqSerenadeFr

There is both a French version and an English version of the song, so enjoy them both!

Robert Gulley, K4PKM (formerly AK3Q), is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.       Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

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Back when Superboy encouraged kids to build radios with razor blades

Talk about hitting all of my nostalgia points! Hat tip to SWLing Post reader, Mitch, for sharing this ad from a 1960s comic book:


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