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Old 05-01-2012, 10:38 AM
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dewdude dewdude is offline
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Sangean ATS-909X - any good?

Hey all,

Years ago, I owned a Radio Shack DX-398, which was a rebrand of the infamous Sangean ATS-909. I originally bought it because it was able to pick up short wave in the middle of the mall.

Anyway, I grew very attached to this radio. Its perfomance across all bands was remarkable. The radio was taken by an ex...probaly sold it. She really wanted to tee me off I guess, it worked, I still spit on the ground whenever anyone speaks her name.

In the long run, it kind of worked out. I live in what was *the* testbed for BPL (Broadband over Power Line) for the US. I believe we are actually listed as the largest test installation. And I knew people that had it. Sure, they loved it, I reminded them how I petitoned the FCC to block it...it made the SW band entirely unusable. Nothing but pusing static as unshielded HV lines emit a wideband 2 - 80mhz signal. I lived just a mile outside of the "range"..could not subscribe, but had to live with this horrible technology. I haven't listened to shortwave in 6 years.

But BPL is apparently gone. The company sold to the city, city tried to run it, lost money, and last I heard, turned the BPL network off. So, in theory, my shortwave bands should be clear and open again. I'm ready to throw the long-wire antenna over the roof and DX again.

I went looking for another 398/909. You can still find them, in fact, Sangean was still making them, till last year when they brought out the 909x.

This radio is smaller than the original 909 and is apparently different inside; with more DSP processing. I can get either one for the same price, there's a place selling completely modded out 909's for just $100 more (antenna balun, upgraded IFs, better speaker).

Has anyone had their hands on both of these units and able to make a comparison? Will I be happy with the 909x, or should I stick with the original, since its what I know?

Thanks!

-Jay
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:29 PM
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I recommend getting an annually published book called "Passport to World Band Radio" it has receiver reviews, and a sort of 'TV guide' listing of SW radio stations.

I used it a few years back to select my Sony ICF-SW7600GR which was the best portable set under 200$ at the time that had single-sideband(for eves-dropping on ham conversations) and synchronous-selectable-sideband(which IMHO after trying is not all that useful of a feature). In fact my Sony rates at 3and1/8 stars and your Sangean rates at 2and7/8 according to the 2008 edition of Passport so it may still be a better choice.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electronic M View Post
I recommend getting an annually published book called "Passport to World Band Radio" it has receiver reviews, and a sort of 'TV guide' listing of SW radio stations.
I believe that Passport is no longer being published... I have a 2009 edition, and I think that that was about the last.

jr
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Old 05-19-2012, 07:03 PM
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Dewdude,

I have no first-hand knowledge of the 909x, but from what I read on the SWL/DX boards, it's good on SW with an external antenna. Not so good without. Excellent on FM. You may be disappointed, though, that there's not as much on SW as there used to be, many of the former "big guns" like BBC and Radio Netherlands have ceased broadcasting to N. America. They're putting their resources into web streaming now. I still can get China, Australia, and Cuba most nights here on the West Coast, however. You may be able to hear more where you are.

Read a review here: http://radiojayallen.com/sangean-ats...eview-updated/
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Old 05-19-2012, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jr_tech View Post
I believe that Passport is no longer being published... I have a 2009 edition, and I think that that was about the last.

jr
Yeah, but I THINK "World Radio/TV Handbook" is still being published...You MIGHT be able to find it...
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Old 05-19-2012, 09:27 PM
bob91343 bob91343 is offline
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I don't know how much these things cost, but many radio amateur transceivers of somewhat recent vintage (the past 25 years or so) will outperform these radios. Used ones are readily available at reasonable prices.

My TS-440S, TS-930S, and TS-940S all receive general coverage from below the AM broadcast band to 30 MHz with 10 Hz frequency resolution and frequency accuracy that is astonishing. Accessory filters are available. Sensitivity is incredible.

The internal speakers suck, so an external is a great idea. If you can buy one with a defective transmitter, I suspect it will be competitive pricewise with the portables, even cheaper perhaps.

You sacrifice portability, though.
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:27 AM
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dewdude dewdude is offline
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Well, the reason I want a 909 isn't actually Shortwave. I want it for FM. Its FM performance was, hands down, the best Id ever encountered. I was able to find like, 8 additional stations because the sensitivity was just, wow. 2 FM stations on the same frequency at my house cancel out....but the 909, with its internal whip, able to seperate with some pointing.

In the three years I used mine, I was quite aware of its limitations. It worked very well with a longwire thrown over my roof, Id live for the weekends when I could sit and scan the known pirate frequencies. Id also DX AM during the day because the thing did it.

The 909X has gotten some reviews, but what I really wanted was a side by side comparison of performance, which I haven't been able to find.

Price wise, they're about the same. I can find a used 909 with various mods (IF, speaker, detent, balun on internal antenna) for about the same price of a 909X new.
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