Over the last few months, after much deliberation and saving, I finally took the plunge and purchased a Yaesu FT-450D. Although my main area of interest is listening, and primarily the shortwave broadcast bands, an amateur-grade transceiver provides so much more than a receiver at the equivalent price point. Along with the DSP filtering options, most of which are available in AM, they usually have very well designed front-ends. This is the case with the 450D. I don’t intend this to be a review of the 450D as I have only had it 3 days, that will come later when I have used it more.
I was also interested in getting a transceiver for when time allows me to get back on the amateur bands. I see this sort of rig as a long-term investment, so hopefully within the next 5 years I should be back on the air. There are certain practical aspects to overcome such as bringing antenna feeder into the house correctly. At the moment, with having double-glazed windows, the feeder is trapped in the window, which is OK for receiving but could cause problems with even 20 watts power.
Overall, the experience over the last 3 days has been very positive. Most controls are very easy to learn and use, with not too much referral to the manual. I must admit that this is the first rig I have owned where I have read the manual FIRST, before switching on. It has made digging out the weak ones much easier and for those high power stations, the audio is very pleasant. Audio through the small internal speaker is not too good, as with most rigs at this price point, but as I usually use headphones this is not a problem. Audio through the headphones is much better. At some stage I may make an external speaker for those times when I wish to listen and do some other activity, but that can keep for now.
So the Tecsun PL-600, along with the FL1 filter and the homebrew pre-selector, have been relegated to portable use. Next year, when the better weather returns, I intend to try and get out and do more portable listening away from all the urban RFI and in this role the PL-600 is ideal.
Below is a log of those stations heard over the last three days. None of them are outstanding DX, just the normal fare, but the ease of listening to them has been much better. Not noted here are the amateur stations I have logged. That is the area where, unsurprisingly, the 450D wins hands down over the Tecsun PL-600. Tuning is much finer and the filter options for digging out the low power ham stations is so much better.
9965 Khz Thailand VOA Deewa Radio 18:43 UTC Pashto. Music and chat SINPO: 44444 2015-10-19
9575 Khz Morocco Medi1 20:14 UTC Arabic. Music and chat SINPO: 44444 2015-10-19
9730 Khz Vietnam V.O. Vietnam 20:23 UTC Russian. Male presenter SINPO: 44444 2015-10-19
9760 Khz Guam AWR 20:29 UTC ID in English at 20:29. Close down at 20:30 SINPO: 43333 2015-10-19
9815 Khz Sri Lanka R. Farda 20:33 UTC Persian. Male announcer SINPO: 43344 2015-10-19
9835 Khz Malaysia RTM Sarawak 20:37 UTC Malay. Music and chat. SINPO: 22222 2015-10-19
15580 Khz Botswana VOA 18:40 UTC English. Football results from around Africa. ID at 18:41. Music from 18:44 SINPO: 44444 2015-10-20
13740 Khz Cuba R. Habana 21:20 UTC Spanish. Male announcer SINPO: 44444 2015-10-20
12095 Khz Ascension Island BBCWS 21:25 UTC English. Politics situation in Nigeria. SINPO: 33333 2015-10-20
9835 Khz Malaysia RTM Sarawak 21:38 UTC Malay. Music and chat SINPO: 32233 2015-10-20
17690 Khz Kuwait R.Azadi 14:18 UTC Dari. Female announcer with discussion program. ID at 14:20 SINPO: 43333 2015-10-21
17640 Khz South Africa BBCWS 14:26 UTC Hausa. Discussion program. Some severe interference from CRI on 17630 SINPO: 42333 2015-10-21
15470 Khz Phillipines Vatican Radio 14:46 UTC Hindi. Female announcer SINPO: 43333 2015-10-21
15345 Khz Australia Reach Beyond Australia 14:49 UTC English. Broadcast about family values SINPO: 43333 2015-10-21