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Best shortwave receiver 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated December 1, 2023
Best shortwave receiver of 2018
The above tidbits will bring you closer to selecting shortwave receiver that best serves your needs and as per your budget. I’ve based my selection methodology on customer feedback, the size, functionality, and budget to meet various demands.
There is a wide range of products available on the market today, and below I have reviewed 3 of the very best options. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your comfort, style, or accessibility, we have picks to fit a variety of needs and budgets.
Test Results and Ratings
№1 – HAPPY 106 Portable Stereo FM AM LW Shortwave Multiband Transistor Radio Receiver with Clock and Alarm
Why did this shortwave receiver win the first place?
I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. The rear part fits perfectly! It is mounted really tight and reliable.
Why did this shortwave receiver come in second place?
Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed.
Why did this shortwave receiver take third place?
I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. A very convenient model. It is affordable and made of high-quality materials.
shortwave receiver Buyer’s Guide
Another matter to consider when you are buying a shortwave radio is ease of use. Some radios include knobs for tuning while others include only buttons. Most users prefer knobs, and are especially happy with units which include knobs that turn very smoothly. This is not to say that a knob is the right choice for everyone, but this is a factor to think about before purchasing.
This is a feature which allows your shortwave radio to lock onto signals more effectively. This helps to get rid of noise and fading, producing a strong, clear broadcast. This feature does typically add to the price of a radio, but it can be well worth paying a little extra for.
The actual build of your radio is important too, especially if you are shopping for a portable model which you are planning to carry with you during emergencies. You want it to be robust enough to hold up to wear and tear. Pay attention to the dimensions and the weight while you are at it. Portable radios need to be compact and lightweight. Some models can be quite heavy, which could be a problem in an emergency.
If you want to make a solid investment, you can’t go wrong with the Tecsun PL880. It’s an outstanding shortwave radio in all regards. It offers a great range coverage, four selectable bandwidth filters on AM and it comes with SSB. It’s powered by a strong rechargeable battery and has a 24-hour alarm clock.
The shortwave reception on this model is very good as the device is capable of nicely separating closely-spaced signals. The SSB works as it should and it’s not a particularly difficult process to tune in thanks to the coarse and fine tuning knobs. Here too the reception seems devoid of unusual artifacts.
There are bandwidths provided by this unit and they come in two groups. One is for the AM mode but it’s also used for shortwave. The other is set for SSB and sync modes. AM sounds very clear and detailed mostly due to the wide 9KHz filter which delivers a level of clarity similar to FM taking into account that this is a portable device.
The basic controls include two knobs used for tuning, fast and slow for all bands, a great setup for quick access and satisfying results when tuning. You will also find a volume and control knobs, a Local/Normal/Distant switch for shortwave, a light switch, and a Hi/Lo Tone switch. This model runs on a 18650 Li-ion rechargeable battery which comes with a smart charger that won’t overcharge the battery. There’s a typical wire antenna and a nice pair of earbuds included as well as a convenient carrying case.
Considering the price, if you want to listen to shortwave or distant AM stations, the Tecsun PL880 is worth a shot. Other more expensive models have more features but this one is the perfect all-around unit. Highly recommended if this is within your price range.
Another model from Tecsun that’s worth your time is the PL-360, a capable shortwave and AM/FM radio which delivers a powerful punch thanks to its patented ETM tuning with 450 memories available. There are lots of things to get excited about this unit especially considering the affordable price it has.
There’s a decent range of frequencies picked up by this receiver, such as shortwave, AM, and FM. A total of four methods for tuning are at your disposal. Use the tuning knob, ATS tuning, memory, and Easy Tuning Mode, a patented technology, abbreviated as ETM which has been developed by Tecsun. This method differs a bit from ATS as it can do a more advanced scanning, catching without issues all the frequencies that the unit is capable of receiving.
In total, you can use 450 memories to tune into a wide range of your preferred stations. Gaining access to more stations in your local area is done with ease making this model great for traveling. Another interesting feature of this radio is the high sensitivity ferrite external antenna which has been designed to enhance the AM reception of the device. It can pick up even some long distance stations which usually have less stable signals.
The frequency coverage between 2300-21950 KHz for shortwave is very good. Keeping the radio powered is done through batteries which you’ll need to purchase separately. The radio is equipped with a DC jack that can charge compatible batteries if necessary. Among the included accessories you will find stereo earphones and a carrying pouch.
When you look back over its features, the Tecsun PL-360 delivers quite the value for the money. If you’re looking for something portable, easy to use, and not too expensive, this shortwave radio fits the bill. It’s also worth adding that it comes with decent reception capability and it’s not too demanding on batteries. The nice little extras make this product a very recommended choice for a quality shortwave radio.
Featuring a solid shortwave and AM/FM receiver with Digital Signal Processing in a very simple and small little package, the Kaito KA32is one of the most affordable shortwave radios you can find. It provides a solid coverage at this price and it has a stereo earphone jack to enjoy private listening sessions.
The build quality is decent at this price, especially the telescopic whip antenna which seems very stout. There are two ridged knobs protruding from the right side of the radio. These are used for tuning and adjusting the volume. On the top side of the radio there’s a sliding band switch and a small dot, painted red, shows through tiny square holes to indicate the current band.
Tuning can be a bit difficult as it feels a little quirky when adjusting for weak stations. The soft-mute feature is present which can be advantageous in certain cases while unfortunately, it will also bury low-level signals in noise. The AM sensitivity is not amazing but it offers acceptable performance. The shortwave radio is a particularly delicate medium and this unit is capable of tuning well on many broadcasters after you get the tuning right.
As it truly delivers in terms of both shortwave and AM/FM reception performance, the Kaito KA32is an excellent radio that shouldn’t miss from your travels. At this price, you can hardly find a better option and even if this unit lacks a few refinements and could be a bit tricky to figure out at first, it’s still deserving of getting a spot on this list of the best shortwave radios.
TECSUN PL-380 DSP FM stereo
Any shortwave listener would love the Tecsun PL-380 for its balanced set of features for the cost. It’s powered by RioRand advanced technology, has tuning modes that you can toggle and it provides a small footprint that makes it very convenient to carry around. At a glance, it seems like a unit full of potential.
When it comes to coverage and sensitivity, this model performs above average. It comes with Tecsun’s powerful Easy Tuning Mode function which is capable of scanning through the whole frequency band. It will select all the available stations with ease. The difference between this mode and ATS is that it won’t store or replace existing memories with a new scan.
By using the tuning wheel you can use the radio like a fast tuner. The device comes with alarm functions including the option to wake up to your favorite radio station. The display of this unit is fairly easy to read thanks to the nice contrast similar to the PL-600.
An aspect where this shortwave radio really stands out is the build quality. The telescoping whip antenna incorporated on the device feels sturdy and durable when fully extended. There’s a good and solid click when you press the buttons as they have a stiff spring behind them. On the left front, you can discover a round speaker which doesn’t really impress in terms of power and clarity but you can connect headphones if you want better sound quality.
Anyone interested in a relatively inexpensive shortwave radio that comes in a small package can definitely benefit a lot from a model like the Tecsun Pl-380. Thanks to the Easy Tuning Mode, finding stations is a breeze and overall, this unit works exactly as advertised. All the included goodies like the wrist carry strap and the carry pouch as well as the earbuds and the antenna extension wire are of good quality so this offers a nice value for the money.
They can pick up both shortwave frequencies and AM/FM bands, making them ideal to be the entertainment hub in your household. They are also well-equipped to handle emergency situations. Most full-featured portable and desktop models fall into this category.
Domestic and International Broadcasting
Many religious, political, and alternative media along with commercial and non-commercial networks broadcast programs in shortwave bands. You can use your shortwave radio to listen to these domestic programs in addition to international broadcasting. Most countries operate shortwave channels to broadcast news, music, and even blatant propaganda. Your radio is a medium to gain perspective of various cultures from around the world.
Shortwave radio technology is an excellent medium to transmit communications and receive long-distance signals. It could be your savior during a disaster such as a mass power failure or a nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack. It will let you get news and information from halfway around the world and communicate with other users and emergency services.
Services that require something beyond the range of traditional VHF frequencies use the shortwave band for long-distance communication. Organic air traffic control and other utility stations use the signals for transmitting weather reporting, encrypted diplomatic messages, and more.
Many amateur radio operators use the shortwave radio technology as a hobby. The term ‘DXing’ refers to the monitoring of distant stations. People use it to communicate with other operators, host their own shows, or for recreational purposes.
The frequency coverage is the most important thing because a wider coverage will let the radio to pick up more stations. The standard coverage should be between 1.and 30 MHz. However, choosing a model that can receive frequencies lower than 1.MHz will give your freedom to access more low-frequency bands.
The single sideband receiver is another must-have feature for the radio enthusiasts. It will allow you to listen to everything from weather bulletins to military transmissions and amateur radio programs.
The basic shortwave radio units tune to only AM mode stations. However, the fully-featured ones come with multiple modes, expanding your listening options.
The advanced units offer more flexibility with bandwidth selectivity. The pricier ones offer as many as five choices, which you can use to adjust the audio quality of your selected channel and reduce interference from adjacent stations.
Most of the units have a built-in antenna but some come with an extra jack to plug into an external antenna, which facilitates better reception of signals.
As you have already learned the ABC of shortwave radios, their types, uses, and essential characteristics, it’s time to know about the best models on the market. Let’s check our short reviews on ten of the best Shortwave Radios.
The PL-380 from Tecsun is an excellent choice for the DXers who are looking for a pocket-sized radio on a budget. It has some advanced features that will certainly entertain the amateurs and professional radio enthusiasts. With good audio quality, generous frequency coverage, and different tuning modes, it is a decent unit that you will not regret after buying.
If you are beginner DXer and want to start your shortwave listening journey with something that won’t break the bank, the TIVDIO V-11is a perfect choice. You can use it as a music player or an alarm clock and carry the pocket-size device around for its rechargeable battery option.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your shortwave receiver wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of shortwave receiver
- №1 — HAPPY 106 Portable Stereo FM AM LW Shortwave Multiband Transistor Radio Receiver with Clock and Alarm
- №2 — Eton Grundig Satellit 750 Ultimate AM / FM / Aircraft / SSB / Shortwave Radio
- №3 — Tecsun PL880 Portable Digital PLL Dual Conversion AM/FM