Tens of years after their popularity, even the dominance of the internet couldn’t eliminate their relevance. Yes, I’m talking about shortwave radios.
These radios remain a great way to spend time away from the chaotic social media environment. Unlike your usual AM/FM radios, Shortwave radio frequencies can relay information across the globe.
So how do you pick the best shortwave radios, with all the options available in the market?
How To Choose the Perfect Shortwave Radios?
When selecting the best shortwave radio, there are a few factors you need to consider.
1. What Is Its Frequency?
One of the most important factors to consider is the radio’s frequency range. Shortwave radio frequency ranges from 1.7MHz to 30MHz (1700kHz to 30,000kHz).
You should aim for minimum coverage of 540kHz. The tuning range also matters as this gives you more precision with the SW channels.
Tuning intervals of as low as 0.01kHz will give you a wider range of channels and more audio clarity.
2. Is It Digital or Analog?
Most shortwave radios now have digital functionality. These are more user-friendly and have features such as a display screen for radiofrequency.
Digital shortwave radios also have better frequency filters. This makes their audio quality clearer.
Analog shortwave radios are, however, inexpensive compared to their digital counterparts. And if you prefer the vintage look and functionality, they’re a better option too.
3. Its Selectivity Options
This refers to the bandwidth filtering capabilities of your radio. Your shortwave radio allows you to choose between narrow and wide bandwidths.
With narrow selectivity, say 0.5kHz, your radio avoids picking up on nearby frequency interferences. The signal selection is, therefore, more accurate.
4. Antenna Options
Shortwave radios with external antenna options have better reception than ones with inbuilt ones. You can lengthen your antenna to pick up on more frequencies.
Inbuilt antennas have limitations. One is that they can only pick up on major broadcasting stations. Also, their reception is poor while inside some buildings. You would need an external antenna that can extend outside the house in such instances.
Therefore, Shortwave radios with external antenna options are preferable unless reception is high where you live.
5. SSB Mode
Single sideband (SSB) mode in shortwave radios improves amplitude modulation that reduces signal interference.
Some broadcasters and HAM operators in the military and aeronautical space use this mode.
It eliminates redundancy within the signal. Shortwave radios with this complex feature are more expensive.
Consider what works for you. This has to do with features such as size. How portable do you need your radio to be?
Consider price too, as you can only buy what’s within your budget. Here is the list of a few of the best shortwave radios to buy, according to SaveNetRadio.
Tecsun has been manufacturing shortwave radios for the longest time, and this is the latest piece in their series. The PL880 has more powerful signal processing capabilities with its digital advancements.
- Its 450 Megawatt sound amplifier ensures audio quality is evident in both high and low-frequency ranges. It also has a DNR (Dynamic Noise Reduction) feature for even better audio quality.
- This radio has both a main and fine-tuning feature. For even more accuracy, the tuning range goes as low as 10Hz.
- The overall frequency range for the PL880 is 100 kHz -108,000kHz. There’s no limit to the frequencies you can access in this range.
- The 2000mAh lithium battery on this shortwave radio is rechargeable over USB. The battery can last up to 3days and is also replaceable.
- The 2.3kHz filtering range in AM mode is narrow enough for a clear frequency. Although with the SSB feature, you can go lower on this connectivity range and further eliminate interference.
Sangean makes quality shortwave, longwave, and emergency radios, and the ATS 909X is no exception. This piece is user-friendly, with a display screen and a keypad with a backlight.
The LCD screen also shows the device’s battery life, time, and signal strength.
The radio has an automatic tuning system and 406 memory preset stations. There’ are also manual and digital fine-tuning options.
Other features include:
- A headphone jack and a 3-inch speaker. You can listen to it whichever way you choose.
- An AC adapter
- Three alarm options
- An in-built battery charger
- Single sideband (SSB)
The price is also relatively affordable. You can find this product on Amazon.
This shortwave radio is extremely portable, unlike all other radios mentioned here (it can fit in your pocket). It’s also affordable.
It has a USB rechargeable battery. It’s an affordable option for radio lovers looking for something basic but reliable.
The sound is clear and loud enough despite its size. Its frequency reception is also crisp and clear.
- Micro SD slot
- Both shortwave and AM/FM longwave
- LCD screen with backlight
- Has an AUX slot that connects to an MP3 player
Eton Elite Executive
Just like the Tuscan PL880, Eton Elite Executive is best known for its sensitivity. Its bandwidth ranges from 118MHz to 136 MHz. However, the Tecsun PL880 shortwave radio is more user-friendly when it comes to tuning.
Other features include:
- An AC adapter and rechargeable NiMH battery
- External antenna
- SSB mode
- Leather cover
- Four alarm options
Get the Eton Elite Executive on Amazon.
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Kaito Voyager Pro KA600
The KaitoVoyager Pro KA600 is a weather emergency radio with a rechargeable battery. This battery is also chargeable with a solar panel, making it suitable for use during power outages.
Besides its battery features, this radio has access to emergency channels such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Other features include:
- A 2.3MHz to 23MHz frequency range.
- A flashlight
- Headset jack
You can use this radio when you go camping or during weather emergencies like earthquakes and hurricanes.