Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Saskatoon Shortwave Boom?

I got rather a surprise recently when I discovered the local Future Shop is actually carrying a usable shortwave radio. It's the Grundig G6 Aviator, one of the radios sold under the Grundig name in North America by the Eton company. Selling at just a hair under a hundred bucks before taxes this small radio has continuous coverage from 150 kilohertz to 29.999 megahertz, single side band demodulation, and covers the AM aviation band from 117 to 136 megahertz. Given the price I figured I'd buy one, and I'll probably have more to say later, as I'm probably going to keep it.

But what is even more interesting is that the one I bought was the last one on display in the box, apparently part of a batch of ten they received. Two different Future Shop personnel told me these radios have sold very quickly, which frankly is a surprise to me. Is there suddenly a bunch of people interested in shortwave in Saskatoon? Or does it have something to do with these units being labelled as the Buzz Aldrin Edition, commemorating the 40th anniversary of Aldrin's role in the Apollo 11 mission? If the latter I wonder if they won't see some of these returned by people who didn't really know what they were getting into buying a shortwave receiver. As I've noted before shortwave reception is not like receiving local TV and radio stations no matter how powerful the station is, so it's not hard to imagine some people thinking their radios don't work properly when they don't produce a signal like Saskatoon stations CKOM or C95.

Interestingly the Grundig shortwave product lineup in North America is different from that in Europe, since Eton actually uses the Grundig name under license and has products produced for them directly. Grundig's "world band" line outside of North America is actually composed of rebranded products from respected Taiwanese manufacturer Sangean. The Yacht Boy 80 for example is actually the Sangean PT80.

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