The radios below are linked to an article in DXing.com or other sites about old radios where possible with their reviews and a brief review on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest rating and 1 being well, crap. The radios below are ones that I used to own at some point in my life and believe me, some of them I miss dearly.
ALLIED SX-190 MY RATING: 3.5
Hard to calibrate at times. I had the Radio Shack SX-190 many, many years ago and it was a neat little rig but pales in comparison to some of the newer units.
Complete review at the Modern Receiver Survey at DXing.com at this link.
Resource collection including ads, instruction manual and schematics available at this link in PDF format.
DRAKE R-4C MY RATING: 3
A very sensitive receiver but hard to keep in calibration over hours of use. If you’re a knob twiddling crazy man like me, you’ll love this rig. Great for some hard signals to receive (DX) but not easy to work with if the user has never worked with an analog receiver and the various controls. Built like a tank. AGC (Automatic Gain Control) is too slow for my tastes. 500 Hz filter is an almost must have if listening to SSB or CW.
If you purchase this rig, make sure it is from a reliable source as parts are getting harder to find.
DRAKE SPR-4 MY RATING: 2.5
Just not my favorite Drake and I know some aficionados might disagree but the pre-selector and tuning drove me nuts. Selectivity was not as sharp as the R-4C in my opinion and with a large antenna it tended to overload a tad. Definitely not a radio for beginners as it is hard to use.Remember: if you lose the crystals, you lose a swath of frequencies you can tune.
DRAKE SW1 MY RATING: 3.0
A nifty little radio. No SSB capacity, only one bandwidth setting (5.5 khz) but a pleasure to use for everyday listening. Very good audio, better with an external speaker. I owned the PRN-1000 (People’s Radio Network) and wish I had never sold it. Simple to use right out of the box and did not need a massive antenna
DRAKE R-8 MY RATING: 5.0
The Drake R-8 is the Ferrari of all shortwave radios but comes in at a Corvette price. The radio’s performance is without a doubt the best of any shortwave radio I have ever owned, including the R-390A, R-71, and others. Clear, sharp sound, good for all signal modes and to this day I regret selling it.
PANASONIC RF-2200 MY RATING: 4.0
Although this portable radio can be difficult to operate for the beginner, but once you master the complex tuning mechanism and using the calibration switch, it is a true joy to operate. Durable, great for outside use if need be, sensitive and does not overload with a properly built and matched external antenna. The radio has high battery consumption in my opinion but does provide quality audio output as a result. If you can find them in good shape under $200 on the used market it is well worth it.
************** This is just a SAMPLING. I have a lot more work to do on this part of the Shortwave pages and a whole bunch of receivers to add so stay tuned, I’ll update it as I can. – John ****