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Old 27 May 2003
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Shortwave radios

Hi Everybody,
I plan to travel to South America at the end of the year and for entertainment I thought about bringing a shortwave radio to receive English broadcasts. I am shortwave ignorant. I went to Radio Netherlands online and read their reviews of receivers(under Media on the sidebar). They recommend the Sony ICF 7600 GR. The price is $170. Has anyone used this set or another they can recommend. Does anyone have experience with portable shortwave in Central/South America. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Bill.
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Old 27 May 2003
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I have 2 Sony shortwave radios and they have been excellent for over ten years so I don't know what the latest models are like! I think mine are the earlier versions of the one you mentioned

My only advice is definitely get a digital one with preset buttons so you can tap quickly from one preset key to the next (e.g the BBC World Service has a lot of different frequencies) to get the best available reception for where you are.

[This message has been edited by Stephano (edited 27 May 2003).]
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Old 27 May 2003
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Location: Boulder, CO USA
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Hi Bill,

I've used a shortwave radio throughout Central and South America (as well as North America, Asia, Africa, and Australia). I must say that it was one of the best pieces of equipment I brought (after the GPS perhaps). It is quite comforting to be able to tune in hear some news, or just plain hear some spoken English :-)

One thing about SW is that you'll usually only get good reception during the evenings when there is less "noise". The good news is that we're usually travelling during the day, so catching up on news in the evening is perfect.

As mentioned, digital tuning and station presets are useful. Another consideration is battery life - you don't want a radio that sucks down batteries.

I have a Grundig SW radio. It has been flawless and quite efficient with batteries. It has a sleep button which saves batteries, as well as an alarm. The only complaint with my model is that it doesn't have a backlight so it's hard to see the dial at night in my tent. However, usually I use the autoscan feature so I'm not manually tuning anyway.

Check out the Grundigs before you buy. They have a reputation for reliability and features.

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Old 27 May 2003
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Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Cambridge, England
Posts: 33
I've used a shortwave radio on many travels, and wouldn't be without it. I have always favoured the cheaper variety (i.e. bottom of the range, maybe 15 dollars) with manual tuning. There's less to worry about if you're not carrying anything expensive, plus it still works well - you soon get to know where the frequencies are.

However, I just picked up my first digital tuner, in Iran (again bottom of the range, 10 dollars, even smaller - no presets) and I have to say it's a big improvement over the manual, because the frequency display is so much more accurate. I've never tried the fancy ones - they may well be worth the money, but I've always found the cheapest one to work just fine.

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Old 1 Jun 2003
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I bought a digital tune unit, it works well. You find a strong station one night, and set the frequency into the memory. You can find out the brodcast schedules of various stations, including the BBC and Voice of America on the internet. Just after sunset and just before sunrise seemed to be the best times to tune in. Many times I was fooled by the announcer's accents into thinking I was listening to the BBC, but actaully radio China or Cuba, as they employ faultless newsreaders. I brought a 4 metre length of insulated wire with an alligator clip on one end, it boosts reception dramatically. I found that the NiCad rechargeable type batteries worked very well, but ran down quickly. Apparently these batteries lose power steadily even when not being used.

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Old 10 Jun 2003
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I have the Sony ICF 7600, mine is about 15 years old and has been all around the world and has worked flawlessly from day one. When you are in the middle of nowhere make sure you use the external antenna, it makes a difference on the quality of the reception.
I used mine as an alarm clock and it could also be set to turn the unit on for a preset program time, pretty cool feature. Not sure what I paid so long ago but whatever it was it was worth it.

Safe Travels.

Jay Kaminsky
1986 Chevy Pathfinder 4x4 Van
Motorcycle Expedition Support Service
Safe Travels

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Old 16 Jun 2003
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Location: London
Posts: 181
I have a SONY ICF-SW100. It is very small and has about 50 presets (ish).

It comes with a 5 metre aerial on a wind up thingy.

Mail me if you're interested as I would be willing to sell mine



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