Friday, November 14, 2008


Originally uploaded by mr. gueguen
I recently realised that I've begun to build, unintentionally, a collection of small radios. It's interesting to compare the three modern radios with their great grandfather. Clockwise from the top we have:

An M-zone R-363 shortwave radio. I picked this one up at a local London Drugs mainly to use for shortwave and other radio noises in the kind of weird music making that interests me. These normally sell for 20 bucks plus tax, but London Drugs regularly discounts them to $9.95. Frankly I wouldn't pay 20 bucks for one, but the discount price was cheap enough. The only thing digital about this thing is the frequency display. The actual tuning mechanism is analog, and sloppy analog at that, although that slop does allow the radio to tune to frequencies it's not officially designed to, but that you'd want to hear. Build quality is of course iffy as well. Cheesy little radios like this appeal to many beginners because they're cheap, but an experienced shortwave listener will actually have more fun with one, as they know how shortwave signals work and therefore know what can and can't be heard on a portable with a tiny whip like this one's. I suspect a lot of these get returned by novices who think they aren't working because they can't hear anything, not realising they're listening at the wrong time of day for the frequency range they're tuning, or that propagation conditions can sometimes prevent signals from reaching you. You can find this radio under other brand names as well.

Next is the Sony SRF-59 AM/FM Walkman. I've mentioned this little dear on here before. It's been getting a lot of attention from radio hobbyists because of its great long range AM performance in a compact size. I've had a lot of fun with this one, and it's been a frequent occupant of my belt when I've been outside for long periods of time. I'm still on the original AA battery I put in when I first bought it early in the year. Even the dirt cheap headphones Sony provided with it are still working well. If you're an AM DXer you should really buy one of these.

Next we have the blue no name FM radio. I bought this little thing for a buck at the local Dollarama store. Yep, a mere loonie. I hate to think what these actually cost to produce, but I could hardly turn it down at the price of a chocolate bar. Of course it's got tinny audio and dubious RF performance, and the included ear buds aren't particularly comfortable, but it's fun to fool around with, and fits in a pocket. This one even has a built in light so you can use it as a flashlight. Why? Who knows what the designer was thinking.

Finally we have an ancestor of these guys, the RCA VIctor Six Transistor AM radio. This turned up in my Grandmother Carr's stuff as my parents were helping her move recently. Other than a scratchy volume contro/on-off switch this thing is in very nice condition, making me suspect it didn't get used much. I'm not sure of the exact age of this radio, which was made for the Canadian market according to the inside of the rear cover, which also says its a model PA5. Apparently these were made by Toshiba, as they share similar details to certain Toshiba models, and of course were made in Japan. They come from an era when the number of transistors was a selling point, hence the prominent Six Transistor engraved on the front. My example stil has its leatherette carrying case and ear bud, both of which are in nice condition for their age as well.


Anonymous said...

I have R-363 SW radio. It works great I am using it right now as a matter of fact.Yes digital is a streach, but I suppose it's legal. I don't even remember where I bought it. Works well so no complaints. Cheers
Ron Gare, Calgary AB.

Anonymous said...

I have a mzone digital363, can you show me how to switch to shortwave please? Thank you

Anonymous said...

I bought one of these R-363 radio's quite awhile ago & I love it. I would like to buy another one... Does anyone know where to buy one in Edmonton,AB?