What was/is your favorite shortwave receiver?

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What was/is your favorite shortwave receiver?

I had two. My first favorite was a Hammarlund HQ-140X. I wish I still had it. My second was a Kenwood R-1000.


Signal Corps Radio Receiver BC-1004-C (made by Hammarlund cs 1943).  Been using this since 1969.  Recently recapped.  Highly selective, sensitive, and great audio.



Zenith Transoceanic

Of the many different models in the Zenith Transoceanic series of receivers mine is the 2nd solid-state version, and still works today almost as good as it did in the early 1970s when it was new.

Now that the great age of shortwave is past (Deutsche Welle, Radio Netherlands, BBC, Radio Canada and heaps of others) I mostly ignore shortwave.

When I do check it there is an overabundance of christian commercials and maybe Alex Jones selling his male booster pills.

Let me grab this thread and turn it into a pitch...

At the earliest opportunity we ask the FCC to set aside a batch of shortwave frequencies for unlicensed hobby use with up to 30-Watts. There is no reason not to.

Carl Blare

Another SW Radio

I also have a Yaesu FRG-100 receiver which is a good radio but is not as sensitive nor selective as the BC-1004-C.  I bought this radio so I could listen to the BBC and other non US news stations.  Alas, most of them are gone now so the radio mainly gathers dust.  This radio is not very good for AM BCB DX because Yaesu included an attenuator for the AM BCB which cannot be switched off.  Presumably, this was to reduce adjacent channel interference.  Maybe a more selective receiver would have been a better approach but possibly since this radio is already over priced the added cost would have killed it in the market.

The BC-1004-C is excellent for snooping around the AM broadcast band and the dial calibration is spot on for indicating the exact station frequency.  No need for a digital display to do this.



That's a mighty fine looking

That's a mighty fine looking receiver. Have you/ did you use it on the amateur bands? I wonder how it stacked up against my HQ-140X which like I said, I wish I still had.

Druid Hills Radio AM-1710- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC and our Resident Hobby Agent.  

SW Receiver


I assume you are referring to the FRG-100.  No, I never used it for ham stuff.  I used it to receive BBC and other world news services since it was really interesting to hear reports with different perspectives from those of US media.  It is also handy for WWV and CHU time checks.  Alas, these uses are now obsolete.

There is a mod published which instructs on how to remove the BCB attenuator but I haven't torn into the radio to do this.  There is a noticable difference between the FRG-100 sensitivity and that of the BC-1004 on the BCB with the latter able to receive weak and distant stations which are not listenable on the former.

I think it is really stupid for Yaesu to solve a BCB overload problem (according to some web reports) in this manner.



Sorry, I was not celar. I

Sorry, I was not celar. I meant how does the BC-1004-C compare to the HQ-140X and have you ever used it for ham radio operation.

Druid Hills Radio AM-1710- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC and our Resident Hobby Agent.  

Have to comment just a little

Have to comment just a little on Carl's opinion of making a few frequencies in the Shortwave band available to Hobby Unlicensed Broadcasting...This is what Alan Weiner wanted to propose to the FCC.  He does seem to have a little knowledge as to what the FCC would probably allow.  He was talking about 6.9Mhz-7Mhz or somewhere around there for this purpose.  And at 30 Watts you may be able to skywave when conditions are favorable as many Ham's have done quite well down there with that amount of power.


I'd also recommend AM as the allowedd form of modulation so you could get listeners to buy Radio's to hear you.


OK enough said about this I want to know has anyone tried the County Comm GP-5SSB or anything from them.  What about the Digitech SSB Radio's.  I want a portable I can use to monitor shortwave and one that has a DB meter on it to check signal strength on AM and FM too should I experiment with AM, need to adjust my FM, or want to listen to Ham's and Pirate Shortwave stations for fun.

Progressive Rock (Album Rock, Deep Tracks), Classic Rock

More Power for Hobby Broadcasters

Reply to Post 7

The primary use for the BC-1004 was to listen to shortwave news and propaganda broadcasts.  At the time there were some US programs on SW which I could not receive otherwise. 

The only ham related use was to tune in W1AW for code practice sessions.  Once licensed I used my Drake TR-3 transceiver for ham activities.

I have not used the HQ-140X but it appears very close to the BC-1004 in features and functions.  If you are interested in the inner workings of the HQ-140X you might enjoy this video:



Transmitting in SSB would be

Transmitting in SSB would be much better than AM.

Druid Hills Radio AM-1710- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC and our Resident Hobby Agent.  


That's a great video!!

Druid Hills Radio AM-1710- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC and our Resident Hobby Agent.  

SDR with Android

I use an SSR dongle with my android tablet, and I get pretty good signal on shortwave.


They're all favorites.

They're all favorites.

Currently I use my portables mostly; Grundig Traveler G8, Radio Shack 375 and 440

I have a few Hallicrafter S-120 AM-SW around (one upstairs, one in the shop, one at work.)  This was the first SW Mom got me for Christmas when I was about 10.  Still have it!

I have a Hallicrafter S-20R, a cast off refurbished to working condition.

There's a GE Super Tuner and a little portable regen great for camping.

I guess a favorite was a Hamarlund HQ-129X, my first Ham Novice receiver.  I had to let it go when times were tough.  It was a boat anchor but a great performer.  Hopefully someone, somewhere is still enjoying it...

by MRAM 1500 

Charter Member - Association of Low Power Broadcasters

Chairman - ALPB

SW receivers

When I was in my early teens I first listened to SW on my parents' Blaupunkt AM/FM/SW/Phono console.  At the same time I did my AM BCB DX'ing on an old (even then) cathedral style radio on a 100' long wire antenna run across our yard. Later I went to a Radio Shack DX-160.  I wish I could find that.  I have the original box and manual but can't find the radio.  I replaced that with a RS version of a Sangean digital AM/FM/SW radio. Don't remember the model# but I still have that one.  Since I got into collecting and restoring antique radios though I've really taken to Zenith Transoceanics which is what I now use for SWL. I do have one fully restored solid-state RD7000Y that I sometimes use but my favoites are the tube based ZTOs. I currently have about 20 of them including a near museum quality restore of an A600 which unfortunately has recently come down with silver mica disease. Right now my main player is an unrestored Y600. Don't know why but I just seem to gravitate to Y600s.  I also have several H500s and a couple G500s.  They all get occasional use but due to the dearth of good listening on SW I use them all mostly for AM BCB DXing. 

Jim Henry HBR Radio 1610, serving Honey Brook, PA. and NW Chester County.

Stuff on Short Wave

When I was a wee lad about 7 or 8 years old I would listen to short wave on the family's console radio/phonograph.  I would hear a warbling sound (RTTY or fax) and would ask my father about this.  He said "That's the sound of a jungle.  They placed a microphone there so we could enjoy the bird songs."

Jamming was all over the bands then and once again my father had an explanation: "That is the sound of a sawmill.  They place the microphones there....etc."

No wonder a cousin, referring to my father, once stated "Who could believe anything he said?"

I can't really remember if I ever said the same thing to my kids when they heard the strange sounds but my grandkids will be here in a few days and maybe.....



My Favorite Radios

I cut my teeth on my dad's Hallicrafters S-20R. When I was a young kid and had to stay home from school on sick days, he'd put it next to the bed and let me dial around. Even without an outside antenna, I would pick up some amazing sounds in exotic languages. 

Later in my 20s came a hand-me-down Zenith Trans-Oceanic tube model with the detachable loop antenna. From my rented farmhouse in Massachusetts, I DX'd dozens of faraway AM stations and a bunch of SW. One night a dry resistor cracked open and the whole issue went up in a brown cloud. 

After that years later, a Sangean portable, an Icom PCR1000, and now a $25 SDR dongle on a Linux laptop. If I were offered any one of these again today, out of any of them, I would definitely take the S-20R followed by the Icom.

Darsen the III


Radio Romance...

Digital tuning is great.  SDR's are new and fun to play with.

But, there's just something about air variable tuning caps and vacuum tubes.  I just feel more connected to that distant voice

Yes, it may drift a bit with line voltage changes.  And, sometimes the band switch is a little noisey.  But, it still feels and sounds better.

The mention of Cathedral radios reminded me of three very old radios from my childhood that I played with for hours; Zenith, Philco and Spartan.

by MRAM 1500 

Charter Member - Association of Low Power Broadcasters

Chairman - ALPB

Sangean ATS 818

My favorite had to be the Sangean ATS 818, I had the Radio Shack version "Realistic DX 390". It is/was a great receiver.

I have considered buying another one from Ebay, it was just a lot fun to tune around the bands with on a long wire antenna. It sure beats the Grundig G3 I have now.

The radio.

 Barry of 1200 AM BBR - WQYY 664


Okay, perhaps it's cheating, but right now Im a big fan of WEBSDR.ORG

Using it, I can tune in on any one of 160 SDR receivers peppered all over the world. I can hear stations I had never thought possible from countries I would never visit in my lifetime.

It lacks the charm of fiddling with dials and trimming antennas, but it works well and brings me the same world of wonder my Dad's old Hallicrafters did.

Darsen the III


The Hammarlund HQ-140X

I'm on my second.  Such quality after 

60 plus years.  It has held calibration

after all this time.

I've been fortunate to have used many

radios.  I also had an HQ-170C and

an HQ-100.

I kick myself for not buying that used

Japan Radio Company NRD-515 in

1983.  I could talk for hours about this




Response to Neil's post #15

Regarding the weird sounds

heard on the shortwave bands

- -  I heard jammers also.  A lot

of them

sounded like propeller driven

airplanes.  And that's what I thought they

were.  As if some guy was flying a plane

with the mike stuck in the transmit

position.  Decades and decades later

I did hear exactly that!  In the 108 - 136

MHz aircraft band late at night was the

sound of a real prop plane.  It sounded

like a big aircraft with 2 engines.  I could

hear the sounds of the motors phasing

with each other - I think.  I heard it for

a while - and rhen the noise just faded




Y 600

Lately it's  still been the Zenith TO Y600.  Love good tube radios! 

Jim Henry HBR Radio 1610, serving Honey Brook, PA. and NW Chester County.

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