Shortwave radios, also known as world band radios, are used often to pick up international broadcasts. They boast the ability to receive radio frequencies and transmissions up to 30 MHz.
Due to their ability to receive transmissions over long distances/ranges, these devices are ideal for communication over great distances such as emergency communication. Whether you desire to keep tabs with events in emergencies, or spend most of your time in remote areas perhaps working, owning a shortwave pocket radio is necessary.
In this article, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the best shortwave pocket radios and also provided information you must know before investing on one. Read on.
Top 7 Best Shortwave Pocket Radios
1. Kaito KA450
Kaito Electronics manufactures high-quality and premium shortwave radios equipped with a host of features to tackle emergencies. It is an ideal receiver for adventurers and backpackers as the solar-power units keeps you informed whether it is a power failure, hurricane, or any other disaster.
The unit boasts the ability to receive signals from four bands. They include all the seven NOAA channels, shortwave, FM and AM. This means that you have the opportunity to enjoy an array of options to keep you updated about everything that’s happening around you.
The FM and AM ranges are 88-108 MHz and 530-1710 KHz respectively. It gives you access to plenty of channels within your location. In terms of outward construction, it is made with premium ABS material that is resistant to impact and water. Therefore, you can use in both the outdoors and indoors.
Although its speaker might be small, it is quite good in terms of sound quality. Clarity is on another level. Even at 25% of volume level, the unit delivers nothing short of clearly audible news, music as well as other programs.
This is an incredibly nice shortwave radio for anyone that likes to experiment with advanced features but do not desire to sacrifice the ease of portability.
As much as it is relatively pricey, it is well compensating due to its variety of features, outstanding performance, and classic look. This unit is an excellent option for both professional and intermediate users.
It receives a huge array of frequencies that include shortwave, long wave, FM, AM and aircraft bands. With this gadget, you get to enjoy a host of options when it comes to radio listening.
Whether you want to have a taste of breaking news from all over the world, listen to AM talk shows and FM music channels, you can do it all with this device.
It features a yellow backlit LCD that is large and bright enough to offer clear readings. It displays the alarm time, clock, and frequency. Dimming the display is very much possible. Doing so helps you to avoid any form of disturbance at night.
One of the best attributes about this radio has to do with its excellent reception. On top of that, tuning is smooth. The only issue you are bound to experience has to do with a little drifting once you tune on the station. Its inbuilt antenna is active to even receive weak signals.
Moreover, it has 360-degree rotating features that’s easier to adjust the angle as well as catch the far-away frequencies.
Within the shortwave radio industry, Tecsun is one of the leaders. Consequently, you can rest assured that you’ll get a premium product by buying this gadget.
The device boasts the capability to pick up frequencies on 4 different brands including FM, AM, SW, and LW. It is able to pick signals from all bands with ease. On top of that, it offers super crisp transmission. You can look forward to a broadband filtering array that includes a single SSB option and four AM options.
Moreover, it can work as an alarm clock as it comes complete with a quality sleep timer that you can set up to 120 minutes. It has a backlit screen that displays battery life, frequencies, and band names.
You can choose to turn off the gadget’s backlight in order to conserve the battery power. A lithium ion rechargeable battery powers this device. It provides decent battery life. On top of that, it comes complete with a built-in charger and battery.
The Tecsun PL-360 has course and fine-tuning knobs to make tuning straightforward and easy.
Next up on this list of fame is the impressive C. Crane CC Skywave. In addition to being compact, it’s also lightweight making it very easy to transport. Its array of features and intuitive layout makes it effortless to use.
It features five different bandwidths that include air bands, medium wave and shortwave. Additionally, it boasts exceptional FM/AM reception.
You can use it as a weather radio to get latest weather forecast updates any time courtesy of its air band. Its LCD screen glows orange that displays readings from all angles and readings in different types of lighting.
What is more, the screen displays time or frequency. You can choose to set either of them as a default. To listen to transmissions, you can use the pair of ear buds or built-in speaker. Power options include an AC adapter, two AA batteries, or rechargeable batteries.
An added bonus is that it’s affordably priced.
Enjoy loud and good quality sound wherever you are on the move with this unit. It is highly convenient and easy to use. Its lightweight and slim design makes the unit highly portable especially when you are travelling. It has access to both FM and AM channels.
The radio brings with it thumbwheel controls that makes it smooth to change between the different modes. Overall, the pocket radio will certainly impress you with it clear and sound quality at a pocket friendly price.
For such a tiny pocket radio, there is no doubt that this one is impressively loud. Furthermore, an included 3.5mm headphone jack allows you to enjoy listening your favorite music without having to disturb others.
Some of the other reasons that make it one of the best in the market include a strong signal strength and long-lasting nature. While it feels lightweight, breaking it is a tall order.
The muddy sound on SW and AM is improved on this new model. On top of that, it boasts an exceptional FM tuner. The reception of the SW and AM with in-built antenna isn’t still top-notch. The truth is that there is still room for improvement when it comes to these area.
That being said, it is prudent to state that in terms of quality and performance, you can still depend on this radio. For starters, in terms of appearance, it’s a visual pleaser without a doubt. It features a modern and compact design. From the look of things, it seems to have been built with high standards.
In terms of technical specifications, this one is a complete package. It can receive from 153 kHz on long wave band to around 108 MHz within the FM band when covering the AM, medium wave and shortwave frequencies. For further enhancing, the radio has a bandwidth switch.
7. Sony ICFP26
Sony is dedicated to providing content, services, and products that offer exciting and quality experiences to users. One of the company’s best products when it comes to shortwave pocket radios is the Sony ICFP26.
It is a compact, vertical shortwave pocket radio that’s ideal for rooms with premium space. It brings with it an LED battery status and tuning indicator. For increased portability, it has a built-in hand strap.
Another highlight of this device is the fact that it features dedicated headphone socket that’s handy for personal listening. This means that whether you are listening via the dedicated headphone socket or the in-built speaker, you will enjoy a great sound.
FAQs about the Shortwave Pocket Radios
What are some of the functions of a shortwave pocket radio?
In the modern world, you can use these gadgets for an array of things. Here are some of their common uses:
- Entertainment – You can enjoy a whole new world of ideas, music, politics and more from different corners of the world.
- Pastime – Utilize your unit’s shortwave radio tech as your hobby. In addition to using yours for recreational purposes, it can be handy to communicate with fellow operators.
- Long-distance communication – Certain services need something beyond the range of conventional VHF frequencies. Such services need shortwave band for stress-free long-distance communication. For instance, utility stations such as organic air traffic control utilize these signals for encrypted diplomatic messages, transmitting weather reporting and more.
- Emergencies – Your shortwave pocket radio could act as your savior during disasters such as a nuclear electromagnetic pulse or a mass power failure.
- International and domestic broadcasting – A good number of alternative media, political, and religious along with non-commercial and commercial networks broadcast programs using shortwave bands. You can use yours to listen to domestic programs on top of international broadcasting.
Which are the different types of shortwave radios available today?
Here’s a run-through of the different types of shortwave pocket radios:
- Desktop radios – These fully-featured devices are handy for amateur radio operators and advanced listeners. They are less portable. You can plug them easily into an electrical outlet.
- Portable radios – If you’re on a tight budget or desire a radio that’s effortless to carry, then these one are an excellent choice.
- Tabletop radios – The emergence of SDRs caused a major decline in the popularity of these radios. Nonetheless, their clear display and simple interface still makes them a darling of many.
- Software-defined radios – These ones are an amazing option if you need quality and maximum performance from a shortwave radio.
- All-in-one radios – All-in-one radios have the ability to pick up both AM/FM and shortwave frequency bands hence making them perfect to be used as an entertainment hub within your household.
Generally, shortwave radios tune AM mode stations. Nonetheless, it is not rare to find some gadgets with the ability to transmit using extra modes such as SSB. If you’re lucky and get one with several modes, it’s possible to tune into more broadcasts.
Sound Quality and Reception
A gadget with excellent signal strength provides high quality and clear sound. Your prospective shortwave radio must be able to receive transmission effortlessly despite weaker signals. It should be sensitive to radio stations’ broadcast power.
Of course, the most important technical feature is frequency coverage. Wider frequency coverage allows a radio to pick up more stations. 1.6 – 30 MHz is the standard coverage range. By choosing a model that receives frequencies below 1.6 MHz means that you can access more low-frequency bands.
Another technical feature that you should be on the lookout for is single sideband receiver. This feature allows you to listen everything from amateur radio programs, military transmissions, weather bulletins and so much more.
You should also ensure your gadget has a digital display that shows the frequency readout. It’s convenient for fine tuning to the precise station that you’re searching for. An analogue display on the other hand doesn’t indicate actual frequency your gadget is receiving thus making it challenging to locate a specific station.
Shortwave pocket radios were first developed in the 20th century. Their usage has tremendously grown, accounting for more than 50% of long-distance communication by 1928. These days, the internet and cellphones have reduced their popularity.
However, these gadgets still have a role to play in the modern society. These unites have the ability to get radio transmission by using shortwave frequencies within the 1.6-30 MHz range. These numbers normally indicate a unit’s ability to broadcast over long distances.
Have you been searching for the best shortwave pocket radio? Do you want an upgrade from your current one? If yes, the above 7 ones have everything you might need in a unit. We have taken out ample time to research extensively and recommend them.