Allied, Lafayette, and other shortwave receivers
The Allied A-2516 is a real "sleeper of a communications receiver. Apparently, the Collins 75S-series provided the template for this somewhat less expensive offering from Japan. A crystal-controlled first conversion feeds a stable tunable I.F. The variable frequency oscillator is solid state, but the rest of the receiver uses vacuum tubes. Two ceramic filters provide mechanical filter selectivity for good SSB and AM quality. It isn't all that bad for CW, either. If you see one of these, grab it up.
Lafayette HA-800B. This was another import that shows some promise. Unfortunately, mine doesn't work right now, so I can't report on its merits. I did order a manual and will do some repair work soon.
The DX-300/302 receivers from Radio Shack were patterned after the Barlow-Wadley shortwave units that tuned in 1 MHz. segments of the LF and HF spectrum using sort of a phase lock system. I have four of these receivers, but only one is working 100% at this time. It actually works very well once you get used to the tuning system.
I think the AX-190/SX-190 receivers were the ultimate offerings from Radio Shack. Again, the Collins dual conversion design was used to provide excellent stability and sensitivity in this all-solid state unit. The AX-190 shown is the amateur band version. The SX-190 covered the major HF shortwave bands.
The Lafayette BCR-101 is a pleasure to behold, but mechanically flimsy at best. This is one of the few '101's that actually works. Most I have seen are terminally deceased.
The Allied DX-100 is a real bargain for the shortwave listener and it even does a pretty good job for casual monitoring of CW and SSB on the ham bands. Of course it is an import and all solid state, but I included it here because it is surprisingly stable after a short "warm-up."
This is an example of the Allied DX-150/DX-160 series of shortwave receivers. In addition to the DX-150 above, I have the DX-150B and a DX-160 (covers the LF range). A lot of these were sold in the 1970's and the supply on the used market seems inexhaustible. Shortwave broadcasting seems to be expanding throughout the spectrum rather than disappearing so there should many good years of listening ahead.
One of the best bargains in the used shortwave receiver marketplace is the Grundig series of "Yacht Boy" receivers, particularly the YB-400 and YB-500. Shown above are three examples acquired out of curiousity about their performance. The YB-400's on the right can be found for less than $40 with a little patience in shopping.
If you are looking for a versatile portable receiver that covers LF/MF/SW/FM Broadcast ranges, these will do it. In addition, these models do an excellent job of copying CW and SSB transmissions on the amateur bands with rock-stable stability. Frequency readout is to the nearest 1 KHz. with a fine tuning dial to zero in with. Frequencies may be programmed in memory and recalled for future listening.
I picked up one of these MFJ-8100 regenerative receivers to see if it would be usable for any kind of listening. I was pleasantly surprised how well it performed with a short wire antenna. You have to fiddle with the "regeneration" control when changing frequency but it really isn't that much of a nuisance once you get used to it. I took it hiking in the desert and it was fun to listen to the shortwave activity away from the leaky power lines and computer-generator interference prevalent at home.
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