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Handheld "best" FM DX radio?

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  • Handheld "best" FM DX radio?

    Okay I know that this question could go all over the map, but what are some recommendations for a handheld "best" FM DX radio.

    My lifestyle RARELY dictates any real time sitting down accept to sleep... So being able to do some kind of FM DX'ing on the fly would be cool...


    Any and all recommendations would be nice....


    John
    KC8JDI

  • #2
    For several years I used a (Radio Shack) DX-398 as my main DXing radio. They aren't made anymore, but you can still find them on E-Bay. Another option would be to buy a Sangean 909, which is a nearly exact copy. I've caught many E-Skip and Trop openings with it, ranging from W-KS to trop that went down to near the FL/GA border. It does have some occasional issues with high RF environments, but overall it's great as a handheld. There are still times where I can get a null on the 398 (and log a station) while my APS 13 can't.
    Michael T-S

    Sourland Mountain Region of New Jersey
    Grid: FN20

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    • #3
      I've had 200mi tropo down at the beach on an old Sony Walkman (WAYV 95.1 Atlantic City heard under the boardwalk in Niantic CT...200mi+). I've also heard coastal tropo on my Yacht Boy 400 up here. So I don't think there's one definitive answer to your question.
      Mike B.
      Enfield, CT
      -72° 30' W/41° 59' N
      FN31RX


      Online since 1999 and still going at

      mikesdx.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Portable FM DX radios

        By handheld, I'm not sure if you mean can be held in the palm of the hand, as in pocket size, or something that you can carry by the handle.

        Depending on your needs & budget, a few possibilities come to mind:

        Pocket size FM DXer: the Kaito KA-1102 has to be one of the better choices if not the best. It's around $75. AM/FM/SW with single sideband & keypad & memories. It is very sturdy for a Chinese radio, with good quality control.

        The FM adjacent channel selectivity is moderate, likely around 20 db which means it outdoes the Sangeans & Sonys thay I've tried, (and the GE Superadios) & it can tune FM in 10 kHz steps (yes, 1/20th of a channel).

        It does overload near antenna farms, but even a few miles from them it can get some out of town stations by pushing the telescoping antenna partway down. Where I am with 1 moderate power FM @ 4-5 mi, 1 100kw @ 9 miles & the 100kw antenna farm 22-23 mi, it works quite well. Image rejection is poor, resulting in a few brief interruptions on very weak signals when a plane flies overhead.

        The sensitivity for 30dB S/N in mono is around 10uv (lower is better). My 1st Superadio gave sensitivity as 25uv, & good tuners are about 2uv. It can get about 125 mi here on a 100kw station under dead band conditions. The FM dial is very overcrowded here (a bad radio gets over 50 FMs), but have had trops to 500+mi & E-skip, using the Kaito KA-1102. I even found tiny deep nulls on locals that my former rooftop antenna might not have noticed.

        For a full size portable, the new Kaito KA-2100 AM/FM/SW (no keypad or SSB)has IF rejection of 107dB and some DXer said it doesn't overload. Mono sensitivity for 30dB S/N is about 11uv & selectitivity also roughly the same as KA-1102 (20dB?). The spec says -3dB selectitivity is 140-150 kHz. Price is $124.95 + shipping from Kaito, but $99.95 ea + shipping if 2 are ordered. It also has the ability to tune FM in 10 kHz steps.

        The Yacht Boy 400 series has moderate FM adjacent channel selectivity & overload, but is larger than the Kaito KA-1102. Also the YB-400 may be more fragile- I've broken 3 of them!

        The Sangean pocket radios get mixed reviews. the DT-210V AM/FM/VHF-TV sound ($57.35 from Amazon) had comments like used to listen to a station in mono @ 70 miles, got all 10 local stations below 90 MHz, got weaker stations 3/4 mi from a high-powered one. But others said reception bad. Uses headphones or wire antenna, so people who like to listen through speaker while radio is in shirt pocket like it as no telescoping antenna sticking up by thier face. The DT-220V AM/FM/VHF-TV sound is sometimes advertised with picture showing RDS. But that's really the DT-220, not sold in USA.

        None of above has RDS. The only RDS pocket portables I've seen for sale were on eBay from UK & DX abilities unknown. The Realistic DX-398 & Sangean ATS-909 have RDS but minimal adjacent channel selectivity, they overload & cost about $125-150 used & fairly large. Same for YB-500.

        Those DXers who know how to modify selectivity usually won't do it for others, at least not for under $100 an hour, maybe not at any price. As one ham put it "I'd rather wreck my own radio than someone else's". I read of a FM DXer who installed 80 & 110 kHz filters in a small portable, so it is possible for those who know how. George S., MN

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        • #5
          Originally posted by georgesmn View Post
          Those DXers who know how to modify selectivity usually won't do it for others, at least not for under $100 an hour, maybe not at any price. As one ham put it "I'd rather wreck my own radio than someone else's". I read of a FM DXer who installed 80 & 110 kHz filters in a small portable, so it is possible for those who know how. George S., MN
          Now that I have some filters in hand, I'm going to try this with my GE Super Radio III. I won't use up any 110's, but perhaps some 150's would be good. Will report how that project goes.

          John K9RZZ

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