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Substitute Sangean Radio

When I got my Sangean ATS-909X there were some concerns about quality control: the earliest shipments of the black models were having problems and getting sent back. By the time I bought mine the 909X had been out a couple of years, with the issues presumably sorted out, and it looked like I got a good one; but after two and a half years my 909X stopped turning on for no apparent reason. I tried all the stuff you're supposed to try. Sending it across the country for repairs would be a hassle (and, if it can't be fixed, a waste of money). For now I stuffed it in the closet and left a two star review on Amazon.

For 2017's DX seasons other arrangements must be made. I already decided to buy my first SDR (Software Defined Radio) next month. While the 909X's squelch feature made it a great e-skip monitor - that could be left on and ignored until distant stations broke the squelch - I should easily be able to set that up on the SDR. I still needed a radio to use away from home, however, and I wasn't in the mood to drop another $250 for another 909X. So after some research the "temporary" replacement I chose was a much cheaper Sangean, the PR-D4W.

The new AM/FM radio

On FM the PR-D4W performs almost as well as the 909X did, which is what I expected. AM performance may be slightly better and the new radio even has adjustable bandwith for the two bands! I lost shortwave but gained the weather band, which may be useful when I start DXing it next month (the new SDR is key to that plan). For $61, covered 100% by an Amazon gift card, I'm pretty happy. Now let's see how long this radio lasts.

The loss of the 909X was not the reason I stopped posting AM/FM bandscans to YouTube, though if I decide to create new ones they will feature the PR-D4W. Maybe in a year or two I'll send the 909X off for repairs or just buy a new one, or maybe this temporary replacement will become permanent.

I'll be posting about the weather band - and my new SDR - soon.


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