What's a good Shortwave (world band) radio

Any shortwave radio experts out there? I want to buy a small shortwave radio (probably Grundig, but I am open to others) and want to be sure that it will be able to pull in broadcasts from India (I live in Switzerland). I have never used shortwave and don’t know much about it, but am under the impression that not just any SW radio will be able to do this.

Can anyone advise me how powerful (i.e. expensive) a radio I would need, and for that matter, any particular models?

While we are at it, anyone know of a website with a really good list of worldband broadcast frequencies?

I’m not an expert, but I am a fan and owner of a shortwave radio!

I’ve got a Realistic DX-440 that I’m very fond of. I just attach a single long-wire antenna to the stock antenna (this one), and it pulls in whatever can be pulled in at a given time of the day and weather!

The UK publication Radio Listener’s Guide carries out independent tests on SW radios. I cannot lay my hands on my copy at the moment but , from memory , the Sony range of radios comes out best . Other ones to consider are Grundig if you can still get them ( the firm went bust last year ) and Roberts Radio . Expect to pay from €300-500 for a good model .

I have in front of me a Sony ICF SW-100. It’s served me very well over the past two years, apart from various casing and ribbon cable design faults and general clumsy idiocy on my part. I use it with an active antenna, and this greatly enhances its performance. It has digital tuning and a huge store for presets. The amazing thing is how small it is - about the size of a cigarette packet.

However, the one I covet is the ICF SW-07, which has much more modern technology onboard as well as annually replacable ROMs that have the major stations on them broken down by area and time of day. Nnnnice. I’ll never be able to justify the expense, alas.

One thing I’ve heard against the Grundig is that the smaller ones don’t allow you to attach an active antenna, which would completely put me off them.

My Grundig Yacht Boy 400 can <i>just barely</i> pull in All India Radio at my home in Michigan. It cost me about 90 bucks on Ebay, and I’ve been really pleased with it so far - it’s a good starter radio.

Glad to see some more shortwave listeners! Do the rest of you collect QSL cards? Radio Praha and Radio Japan are sending out gorgeous ones this year, so I’ll be tuning in to them more often.


  • tsarina.

I have a 6 year old Sony 2010 that just kicks ass. Two years ago, it fell the to the ground from a height of two stories, and it still works fine!!

They discontinued it last year, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to find, and used models could probably be had for cheap.


I always used to think about doing the QSL thing, but never did. My big fun used to be catching pirate radio broadcasts, listening to the racist/right wing and religious shows for laffs andnd stuff like the John Peel show on the BBC.

The internet sorta took the place of playing with my shortwave, and since my son was born about two years ago, I haven’t even touched it.

Get yourself a “passport to World Band Radio guide”, it is an invaluable resource with listings by time of day, frequency and country, product reviews, tips & tricks (you will need to replace it every other year minimum as it’s a "TV guide kinda deal), I have a Sony (ICF176GR I think, it’s not here with me, it was US $179.00 3 years ago, it kicks ass!).


Thanks tsarina. Since I am about half the distance you are from India, would it stand to reason that I should get twice as stong a signal?

All India Radio doesn’t broadcast to North America, so what I hear is probably their West Africa broadcast. I think they broadcast to Europe, so in that case you’ll be in luck. I’ll check my “Passport to World Band Radio” book when I get home.

I’ve got an AR-5000+3, but I just had to mention that 'cause I like to brag. :wink: I owned a Radio Shack DX-440 way back when and I found it to be a very capable radio. I think they may still be available on eBay. A friend of mine has a Grundig Yacht Boy 400 and an Icom IC-R75. The R75 is a very nice radio with lots of features, solid construction and it doesn’t cost anywhere near what an AR-5000 does. My friend got his from Universal Radio. They’re going for $549.95 right now. If that’s too expensive, look around for a used DX-440. There are three on eBay right now for well under $100.

I do have a shortwave radio, but it’s a COBY. Cost me about 15 bucks. I didn’t even know about QSL cards, if I could get a moderately priced set that worked a little better, I’d get into it.

A friend of my mother’s acquired a beautiful radio, for FREE. It looks like a relic from the days when a radio was a piece of furniture, and it appeared to be marked for shortwave. I’ll have to see if I can’t putz about with it next time I’m down. They also have a player piano… mmm… oldtech.

No, not at all. Since shortwaves bounce off the atmosphere a station might be heard clearly a few thousand miles away, while someone only a few hundred miles away might not be able to hear it at all. Lots of other factors influence signals as well, sunspot activity, ionization of the upper atmosphere, electrical storms…etc.

Check out rec.radio.shortwave for everthing you’d ever need to know about shortwave.

Also some stations use directional or beam antennas so that broadcasts can be directed at particular countries or regions . The reason for using this method is to make better use of the transmitter output power.