In recent years, RF-9000s in excellent to LNIB condition have sold for $10,000 or more.
A tour d’force of technology in its day, the 9000 featured room-filling main speakers and PLL technology that was advanced for its time.
The shortwave receiver section of the 9000 was plagued by PLL artifacts which prevented the radio from achieving what it could have had this problem not been solved in advance by Panasonic engineers.
A LNIB RF-9000 that I purchased for near $5,000 sold to a Hong Kong collector for $10,000 a few years ago. While I do miss its amazing FM quality and looks, the receiver ultimately lagged behind others, such as the SONY CRF-330K and 320 in performance.
The asking price for this 9000, which appears to have cosmetic issues, is in my view high.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Luke Perry, who writes:
Just [wanted to share] a little bit of shortwave good luck that I had when tuned to 3925 kHz. That is the frequency for Radio Nikkei 1 if I am not mistaken. They have a similar frequency that I can usually get at about the same time in 3945, but from my location in the Pacific Northwest the former usually comes in better until about 13:00 UTC or so.
To any SWL listeners on the west coast can tell you, there are not a whole lot of choices anymore for the listeners who like the exotic DX catches, whereas 20 years ago you had many choices like Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Radio Vladivostok on 5015 kHz that was a special station for Russian boats at sea, etc. These stations all played exotic and sometimes even current music, not to mention lots of ‘oldies’ and classics.
So I am left with the few that are left and I usually tune in late at night as the static lulls me to sleep.
Last night, I was listening to 3925 kHz at about 12:00 UTC or so and I got quite the surprise. Usually when I tune in at about 2:30 AM my time they are playing classical music or some other relaxing music. I think their sister station on 3945 kHz plays more of the current music and I believe that they even have a special hour or more that they play newish music. When I first tuned in it was their typical show where they start with about an hour or so of relaxing music and then the announcers come in with news, talk, or whatever? Truthfully, I don’t speak Japanese so I really can’t say! I do remember reading somewhere though that they broadcast horse races on that channel and sometimes it does sound like that.
But last night I still hadn’t fallen asleep for whatever reason so I kept hitting the ‘Sleep’ button on my trusty Panasonic RF-9000. After the announcers talked for a bit they played a few hard rock songs back to back. Quite a few of them but a couple that I remember off of the top of my head were “Smoke On the Water” and “I Remember You” by Skid Row. That kind of stuff and this went on for a good half hour or so uninterrupted so my ears were perked up at this point. What came next really blew me away and really made my staying up worthwhile.
They first started off with Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times”, and then proceeded to play the whole first Led Zeppelin album straight through! No interruptions and they went straight from Side A to Side B with only a moment pause. After that, they started in on Led Zeppelin III but after “Immigrant Song” the signal was really fading bad but I could still make out that it was the might Zeppelin. It kind of reminded me of old pirate radio stations on shortwave or even FM radio in the 70’s when they would play whole album sides.
So anyway, just a quick update on that station and for people who have given up on finding good programming on shortwave radio…it is still out there, but it takes a bit more time to find nowadays.
Thank you for sharing your listening experience, Luke! Yes, shortwave is still a medium for this sort of serendipity–a space where you can listen to broadcasts that are free of commercial breaks. I image Led Zeppelin must have sounded pretty amazing on that Panny RF-9000!
I actually just bought a RF-9000 from a Spanish Ebay seller. It might show up in the ‘completed auctions’, not sure. I made an offer of 2,000 Euros and he accepted. Of course I am like most of you who might have seen one in a magazine or book for over 20 years, but never dreamed of actually owning one.
My unit had a few imperfections like a couple of dings and the grille was not 100% with some slight discoloration but I cleaned it up nicely and got some Testors paint to fill in the dings. It came with the cover but with no documentation. Everything works perfectly and there are no dirty or inoperable switches or buttons. Even the lights all work which is a relief.
I can only really compare it to the Sony ICF-2010 and the Satellit 700, both of which I have owned at one time. I still have the Sony. The Panasonic is on a much different level as far as ease of use. And the tuning is super fast with absolutely no audio lag between channels if that is the right description. It is really smooth sailing all the way across the dial and you can go straight from FM into the LW band which is pretty cool.
Another nice feature is the band selection buttons actually have the corresponding frequencies also so there is no guesswork. The odd thing about the unit is that all of those cool buttons that you see pertain mainly to the clock and timer functions.
The shortwave side is fairly stripped down with just a 3-way bandwidth selector, a switch for a noise blanker, a RF gain knob, and a 4 position switch for USB, LSB, etc. That is pretty much it for tuning and knob twiddling and I would had preferred to have a few more knobs for antenna trim and other features to eek out faint signals. I guess I was expecting more I don’t know?
I personally find it to be the best radio I have ever used as far as audio and ease of use. I did some side by side tests against the ICF-2010 for sensitivity and it is about a wash. But for 1/10 the price the Sony wins all day long and you cant beat the sync detector! I find myself amazed that I would ever own a RF-9000 and consider it a great investment. I think this seller is dreaming if he thinks he can get that price for it though.
Thanks for sharing your review of the RF-9000! You certainly have a rare and classy receiver that actually performs–a keeper for sure. If I recall correctly, even the tuning knob feels perfectly weighted on the ‘9000.
Based on what these sell for, I don’t think you overpaid for your ‘9000–indeed, you got it at a bit of a discount.