|March 6, 2019
Clint Eastwood's advice in "Dirty Harry" that
opinions, like certain body parts, are best kept to
legendary Panasonic RF-2200 8-band radio
legendary Panasonic RF-2200 8-band radio, referred to by
many as the Holy Grail of shortwave portables,
others say its the best AM/FM/Shortwave portable
radio ever made
a DX-ers dream. (DXing is
the art and science of listening to distant stations
(D=distance X=xmitter or transmitter). I bought this radio
back in the early 1980's as a Fathers Day or birthday gift
for my dad, getting it back when he passed away. I think I
paid around $100 for it new.
Size 12.6 x 7.6 x 4
inches 7.5 Lbs. Much bigger than the new digital portables
that you can easily throw in your luggage and carry around
as you travel, but for us older people, 'way smaller than
the wood console floor models that our grandparents had in
the living room, with push buttons labeled "London"
or "Moscow", before the days of television. My
grandmother had such a radio in the living room, and I
remember my parents, aunts and uncles, sitting in there
listening to news from distant places before they bought
their first television set.
are a few for sale on eBay in the $250 to $350 range,
quite a lot for a 35 year old analog radio, but, if in good
condition, worth every penny. Be sure to ask the seller
about the telescoping antenna, if there is a weakness in
portable radios it is the antenna that can be broken in
rough use, and no replacements are available for this model.
Be sure to treat it with care.
interesting short video of someone using this radio.
this YouTube video, you will see the user listen to CW
(continuous wave) transmissions using Morse code, as well as
listening to single sideband amateur radio transmissions
(SSB), neither of which you can listen to on many modern
digital shortwave receivers, as not all new radios have the
"beat frequency oscillator" (BFO) needed to make
those functions work. The more expensive ones usually do.
Single Sideband, the carrier wave is used to "carry"
the audio information to the AM receiver where it is
detected and transformed back to an audio signal that we can
hear representing the original information (voice) that was
spoken into the microphone. Unlike AM transmissions, it is
generally very sharp and clear and without static. Back in
the 1950's, Air Force general Curtis LeMay, a ham radio
operator, saw the benefit of such transmission quality, and
put it to use in the bombers and fighter planes of the day.
Back 60 years ago or so, when I had my "ham" radio
license, I used both CW and SSB on a regular basis, and when
I hear those dots and dashes in old war movies, can still
catch some of what they are transmitting, which usually is
just random letters or something totally unrelated to the
Going back even a bit further, I had an old
tube tabletop radio from the 1930's that I used in 1957 to
listen to the first Russian satellite "Sputnik" as
it circled overhead sending out a continual "beep beep
beep". Those commies got one over on us with that one,
but it didn't take us long to catch-up.
next time you're onboard our motorhome, you can
check this radio out back in the captain's quarters, and
listen to the latest news in English or the native tongue on
Radio Moscow or Beijing, and to ham radio operators from
around the globe, just like the old days.
shortwave radio is a great gift for the man who has
everything (Fathers Day and birthdays are
coming, wives and kids), and there are a number of very
good modern digital models, quite a bit smaller and lighter
and more transportable than my Panasonic, that are for sale
in the $100 to $200 or so range, but buy the best
one you can afford, just like guitars, the cheap
ones don't play as well. If you are interesting in listening
to morse code or single sideband, be sure to pick a model
that has that "BFO" or "SSB" feature.
Are Some Suggestions (click open)
I would go for the $205 Sangean ATS-909X. This radio has
many features not found on cheaper models. Very seldom are
you sorry you bought the best. Available online at
with free shipping.
if you are really interested in knowing more about the
Panasonic RF- 2200 shortwave radio, here is the
Manual online. If you find one of these fine
radios to buy, the manual is probably long-gone.
you young whipper-snappers, now you know what I know about
shortwave radio. Go out there and get one.
Air Aviation Referral Service
responses, and will be glad to post them here. Email your