How To Choose a Shortwave Receiver

There are many places to purchase shortwave receivers, but I think one of the best is eBay, especially if you know what you are looking for, because a lot of people don't really know what they have and you can get a great deal there.  There are also several good website out there who sell all types of ham radio equipment where you can get a good deal, and help in choosing the right product for your needs.

A good place to find out more information on anything to do with shortwave receivers is the ARRL, which stands for the American Radio Relay League.

Here are some things to look for when you're getting ready to purchase a shortwave receiver.

  • You should think about choosing a shortwave receiver that has a digital readout and continuous coverage, which means that the shortwave receiver can cover the whole shortwave field with almost no gaps in coverage.
  • You want to choose a shortwave receiver with full receive capabilities, meaning the broad span of frequency it receives and also the mode in which it receives (AM/FM/NFM/USB/LSB/CW) - USB/LSB is single sideband. The more expensive receivers will have all of these functions, lower priced ones will not.
  • Your top of the line receivers will receive between 0.5 kHz and 30 MHz.
  • The more expensive receivers will be able to receive a good amount of transmission at any given time whereas your lower priced receivers may not.  For example, lower priced receivers will only be able to pick up the BBC at night and the top end receivers will be able to pick it up at any time.
  • Both high end and low end models come in portable and stationary units or base stations.  Most base station receivers (stationary) do not come with an antenna, except for the more expensive models. That you will have to purchase extra. Whereas portable units do come with a built in antenna.
  • You should look for a receiver that operates on AC/DC so you can use it when there is no AC power.
  • You will also want a receiver with a back light so you can see in dark conditions in case you're running a battery backup.
  • The less expensive shortwave receivers will not have enough memory to store your favorite channels while you're scanning the bands, and while that feature isn't necessary, it is nice to have.  But you can always just jot them down on a piece of paper.
  • One last thing to look for is to make sure the receiver has a PLL integrated tuner.


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