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Portable Shortwave
Features Explained

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Portable Receiver Features Explained 

The following features are found on select portable shortwave radios and are compared on our model comparison chart.

Full Coverage
The shortwave band begins where the AM (medium wave) band ends. The shortwave band extends from 1700 to 30000 kHz. This may also be expressed as 1.7 to 30 MHz. More expensive portable shortwave radios can tune all these frequencies providing full or continuously shortwave coverage. Less expensive portables may receive only a few segments or "bands" of the shortwave spectrum.

A numeric keypad allows you to directly key in the frequency you wish to listen to. This is a quick and efficient way of getting directly to the station you wish to hear. If you wish to tune 15070 kHz. you simple press [1] [5] [0] [7] [0] [Enter].

Tune Knob
A tune knob, or tuning knob, facilitates tradition manual tuning up or down the dial. This may also be referred to as a VFO (Variable Frequency Oscillator) knob.

A built in cassette recorder facilitates off-the-air recording. The Sangean ATS-818CS is mono with auto-shutoff (stops at the end of the tape). The Sony ICF-SW1000T is stereo with auto-reverse (stops at the end of the tape, then reverses the tape to record on the other side).

Record Jack
A record Jack, or tape recorder output jack provides a constant "line level" output to easily connect an external tape recorder. Not to be confused with the higher output, adjustable earphone jack.

Ext Antenna Jack
An external antenna jack allows you to connect an external antenna to your shortwave portable. This jack is usually a standard 1/8 inch (3.5mm) two conductor jack wired to the shortwave section of the radio (not the AM or FM section). Attaching a wire, or even an active antenna, to this input jack can sometimes substantially improve shortwave reception (especially below 10 MHz). However, some shortwave portables can be "overloaded" if too large an external antenna is used. Contact your Universal salesperson for more information on this issue.

Wide Narrow
Some portables feature a switch to select Wide or Narrow bandwidth. The selection of the Wide position will yield the fullest audio fidelity and is especially desirable for music. The Narrow position would be selected to reduce interference from another nearby station or signal on the band. The Narrow position will often reduce or eliminate this interference, but the audio fidelity will degrade somewhat.

Clock Format
Most shortwave radios feature a built in digital clock, usually with an alarm or wake up feature. The clock may be in 12 or 24 hour format (or 12/24 hour user selectable). More advanced models feature a dual time feature allowing the user to keep one clock set on "local time" and one clock set on the international "UTC" time. UTC time (previously called GMT - Greenwich Mean Time) is the time standard used by international shortwave stations to avoid the confusion of many time zones.

S.S.B. Single Sideband
SSB or single sideband is a form of voice transmission widely used by ham radio operators, marine and international aeronautical concerns. A limited number of regular shortwave broadcast stations also transmit in SSB mode. To hear these signals intelligibly you will to set your radio to the SSB mode and then slowly adjust the main tuning knob, fine tuning knob or BFO knob (depending on model).

Sync Detect
Sync Detect or Synchronous Detection is a valuable features that can substantially reduce the effects of selective fading, yielding a more stable and readable signal.

Memories, or station presets, allow you to store your favorite radio frequencies for quick retrieval. Standard memories simply store the radio frequencies. Alphanumeric memories store the radio frequency plus a "tag" or "label" to help you remember the name or callsign of your stored station. (The memories on communications receivers sometimes will also store mode, bandwidth, agc and other associated parameters).

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