Sangean ATS-818ACS Receiver Review

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The Sangean ATS-818ACS portable longwave, mediumwave, shortwave and fm 
receiver with built-in cassette recorder seemed like the perfect choice for 
me.  Since my wife and I like to travel, this light weight, compact device 
would be a way for me to dx from locations that offer vastly different 
opportunities than I have at home.

Upon receipt of the unit, I unpacked it and plugged it in using the supplied 
6 volt power supply.  Simple operation of the unit seemed easy enough and 
changing bands/frequencies was not difficult.  The sound quality seemed 
pleasant enough, though, I discovered that the bfo was in the 'on' position 
and needed to be turned off for AM reception.

It was late afternoon and I tried mediumwave first.  My location is 
Louisville, Kentucky so I tuned to 700 khz to see if I could hear WLW in 
Cincinnati.  Sure enough, WLW was coming in at a decent signal level, as was 
WCKY in Cincinnati on 1530 khz.  I could not hear WSM, 650 khz, Nashville, 
which comes in strong on my Drake R8B during the daytime.

Next, I tried longwave where the only signal I could hear was the beacon at 
our local airport.

After that, I tried shortwave.  The only band that I could hear signals on 
was 49 meters and 41 meters.  Though, I did hear WWV on 10 mhz and it was on 
the weak side.

I tried using an external antenna, an inverted vee that is over 200 feet in 
length.  I experienced front end overload, so I backed down the rf gain, 
which only helped the problem slightly.  I had better luck with the internal 
antenna and telescopic whip.

During the evening, reception on 49 and 41 meters improved as well as 
reception on mediumwave...somewhat.  Still, the only station heard on 
longwave was the local airport beacon.  I guess receiving a really strong 
2nd harmonic from local 50 kw'er WHAS on 1680 khz convinced me to end my 
testing and box up the unit for return.

I'm an experienced listener and demanding when it comes to receivers.  For 
someone just entering the listening hobby, many of the issues I have 
described might not be "show stoppers".  I never got around to trying the 
cassette recorder.

Jim Nall, N4FXC
Louisville, KY

© 2006 Jim Nall.  Used at AM-DX.COM by permission. All rights reserved.