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Post Info TOPIC: Bought a vintage Panasonic RF4800 SW radio.


Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Bought a vintage Panasonic RF4800 SW radio.


Hey guys,

Anyone enjoy listening to SW? I recently picked up a 1980 Vintage Panasonic RF4800, to kind of pick up on a old hobby I had when I was a kid.

I had a old Radio Shack SW back in the 70's, with a long wire antenna outside my bedroom window stretching 100' up the yard. Man, I loved that old radio. Used to fall asleep listening to it on summer nights. Listened to all the world it seemed. My last radio was a Grundig yacht boy, which I still have and have been using at the cottage for a long time. So this "New" desktop analog Panasonic is a fun toy for me, and the type I used to dream about. Impressive looking with lots of things to adjust, very sensitive if a little drifty, but I like chasing reception. Using a 30' long random wire with a 25' 50 ohm RG8X lead in onto a  PL259 plug, grounded chassis. Spending some time listening to all the crazy Ham's up on 80m, and what seems the more reasonable discussion on 40m. Unreal (to me) what it picks up after 10pm. It's crazy sensitive. Also, moving up and down finding all kinds of distant Worldband. There is just something so satisfying listening to a distant station ...and not on a PC I might add. Next step is to improve on, and balance the antenna.

Got the RF4800 for a good price. Cosmetically it is a 5/5, and was obviously a non smoker unit, very well cared for. Opening it up to replace the burned out VU meter light with a white Led, I discovered that the power supply has been changed, and it looks like some Caps as well. Very clean inside, and no scratchy pots or switches, so it seems as if they'd been sprayed. Came with the Manual, schematics and the original bill of sale from March 1980, from a long gone TV/Radio store on Young. The fellow paid $600 1980 dollars for it, converted to today would be around $1800!!. I paid $300.

rf4800-b1.jpg

My "Shack" lol!

rad1.JPG

So, if you thinking of reliving that boyhood dream, now is the time. There is a ton of info on line, and plenty of decent older units out there looking for a good home!

Cheers, Mark

 



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Got a few of those old 60'704 style multibands.Dx400,Couple of grundigs,66 transistor 5000,62? transoceanic r1000,& some other misc. units.

Unfortunately my current location isn't great for reception.Used to keep a log of what I was able to pick up,bbc,cuba,japan,russia,netherlands, new zeland,australia,etc etc.Even a legible station somewhere on the wast coast of Africa (eng.) back in the early 90's prob.,not bad from b.c.,off 50' of wire.

That 4800 is a good unit,keep us posted.



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A Poncho Legend!

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It's so ironic you posted this Mark as I've had my eye on this Panasonic RF4900 that's for sale nearby

I was a huge SW listener when I was younger. Had QSL cards from all over the world. It was really interesting pre-internet and during the cold war. I also had a full spectrum scanner and a CB radio modified with extra frequencies, a Silver Eagle mike and it put out 1kw! Talked SSB all over the world. 

I have a floor model 1937 Westinghouse SW radio that I'm sending to an antique radio guy here in PEI for repair. I'm anxious to see what I can pick up now that I live on the east coast.

 

 



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I just noticed your scanner Mark. What model Realistic is it? It sure looks like the one I had. Great unit!

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My location is pretty poor too Daryl, I'm surrounded by high tension lines, in the middle of suburbia, noisy, but still workable. I just put up a new wire today, higher and longer. It at about 15' high and is 60' long. I started out at about 40' x 8' high with a simple piece of insulated wire as the lead in. Worked ok, adding the grounded 50 ohm coax lead in really made a huge difference. I have to adjust the trim as I move up or down the freq. Next is to make an appropriate Balun to match the wire to the lead in. I'm going out for a listen tonight, and at first glance, the reception is better.

Todd, If the 4900 is good price, and the condition can accurately be described, I'd grab it. The only difference between the 48 and 49 is the 49 has a blue display that also reads in MW and FM. The 48 does not. Test drive it to make sure it is viable. They are apparently notorious for dirty pots and switches, and many have the band switch break, which is big trouble to repair. Like all old analog radios, The electrolytic caps can go south with age. I seem to have lucked out so far. Besides the complex switches, they'd be easy to restore.

It's a 2022 Todd. Haven't had it on for 20 years!

Todd, where you live, you could do a very long wire, and probably have zero RF interference. You are really in great location for the hobby. Get with it and do a shack. I'm coming out to Gaspe' in July to vacation  work on my father in laws old farmhouse he bought...on 38 acres (which we hope to own one day). The radio is coming with me and I'm doing a mega longwire.

In my mind, there is just something magical about analog radio, and I bet it makes a comeback...just like vinyl.



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I've got 3 transformers on a pole 200yrds away,fed ofcourse by primary wires.

 

Todd,picked this 41 Hudsons Bay console radio about 10 years ago,am/sw.Nice sound to it,

I put together a patch cord to plug into the external phono jack on it to plug into my iPhone,

plays whatever I want it to via iPhone.swing,jazz etc etc



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A Poncho Legend!

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Man, all those memories are coming back. I had so many radios- vintage AM, CB's, scanners. I'm starting to get the bug again! There's a Sony 230 World Zone for sale in Regina. Fantastic early 1970's radios. They are usually $1000 on eBay. Seller want's $600.

There's a Radio Shack DX-400 for sale for $100. Apparently it's a good radio as well and closer to my budget. 

I may end up with this one if the seller will ship.

I remember listening to Radio Moscow in the early 80's. Always sounded like the announcer was talking from a cave! There was lots of jamming going on as well. 

 

 



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Is there any point in a scanner any more? Isn't a lot of it scrambled now?

I had one about 15 years ago, that was a hoot!

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Canadian Poncho wrote:

It's so ironic you posted this Mark as I've had my eye on this Panasonic RF4900 that's for sale nearby

$_27.JPG

I was a huge SW listener when I was younger. Had QSL cards from all over the world. It was really interesting pre-internet and during the cold war. I also had a full spectrum scanner and a CB radio modified with extra frequencies, a Silver Eagle mike and it put out 1kw! Talked SSB all over the world. 

I have a floor model 1937 Westinghouse SW radio that I'm sending to an antique radio guy here in PEI for repair. I'm anxious to see what I can pick up now that I live on the east coast. 


Ya, we were just talking about this the other day.

I should get some "ears" on my pickup truck. My Mother in law has a brand new vehicle CB in the box that she'll give to me. 10-100biggrin



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Carl Stevenson wrote:

Is there any point in a scanner any more? Isn't a lot of it scrambled now?

I had one about 15 years ago, that was a hoot!


In the 1980s, our neighbour's wife (ambulance company owner) used to scan all the cordless phones on the street, and pick up confidential conversations for gossip purposes.disbelief



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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Carl Stevenson wrote:

Is there any point in a scanner any more? Isn't a lot of it scrambled now?

I had one about 15 years ago, that was a hoot!


 Yea, not much on there anymore Carl. Listening in on the phones used to be hilarious.

The scanner at least looks good beside the radio!



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A Poncho Legend!

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25 years ago when we lived in Morris my scanner picked up the neighbour's baby monitor! I blocked that channel real quick, I didn't need to listen to everything in their house!

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Dumb question, but what are you listening to on short wave? Radio stations in far away lands, etc? Above mentioned listening to Radio Moscow in the early 80's, wouldn't the announcer have been speaking Russian?

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A lot of the Wold radio stations actually have an English service. I was listening to Radio Havana last night in English. Most of the stuff is pretty mundane, but occasionally you'll latch onto something interesting heard from their perspective. Some of it is very much propaganda. The ham radio guys on 80m can be interesting... at times. For what its worth, I was listening to what seemed to be farmers in the Midwest discuss their spring planting, and arguing over what is the better tractor lol! Like dropping in on conversation from people you'd never get to hear from. Some of the older radio guys are big successful people, and can tell a pretty interesting story. A lot of the appeal to me, is that I can actually hear stuff from so far away over the air. I heard a guy in Italy clearly calling out last night. Heard a person in Cape Cod talking to a person in Washington state. If the condition are right it's amazing what, and how clear it can sound.



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Solar conditions can play a lot into what you receive. I remember talking to gypsy taxi cab drivers in New York city one summer evening with my CB radio- only because atmospheric conditions were right. Radio Moscow used to have an English language service- mostly for propaganda. I remember picking up "The Voice of Free China" in Taipei, Taiwan back in the day. I sent them a QSL (reception report) and in return they sent me newspapers from Taiwan, and a Voice of Free China decal.

 

Here's a link that's almost as fun as having a shortwave radio:

http://radio.garden/live/

This site shows a globe of the world that you can move and zoom in on. Each "dot" is a radio station. Click on any dot to listen to that station. Some great stuff. I sometimes have it on at work. One day I listened to an English FM station in Nigeria, the other day one in New Zealand. Some of the dots for larger cities also bring up a number of stations on the right side of the screen- some include police and fire services. 

 



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Thanks guys. As a Telecommunications Engineer, and CB'er in the 70's, I was aware of signal skip etc of atmospheric conditions, I just had no idea countries broadcast in other than their native tongue. As such, I presumed Radio Canada International only broadcast in English & French, but I looked it up today and during the 70's & 80's it was broadcast in many languages. I looks to be pretty slimmed down now though.

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In the late 70's I was on a forestry lookout tower for a very long summer. Luckily I was one of the few lookouts that  had fairly dependable power there. I had built a few Heathkits (Remember those?) and ended ordering a SSB Receiver to build to pass the time and listen to the world out there.

Took me quite while as it was fairly complex but I did look forward to hearing many fascinating conversations.  Due to great luck or great skill it did turn on and worked flawlessly once I had it complete.

For a while it was neat  to listen to the voice of Moscow and the VOA and mentally compare their views of the world. As for personal conversations there were a few interesting ones but I seem to remember that most

 were between radio hobbyists and were usually about their equipment. Got kinda dull.

Probably should have kept it as it was a neat piece but gave it away a few years ago.



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I moved this thread to the Hobbies and other interests area.

 Well I finally sent my vintage 1937 Westinghouse shortwave radio out for repair. There's a fellow (84 years young) who repairs old radios here on the island. What an interesting person! His 100 year old house was restored by him back to original, including the furniture. He had several beautiful old radios and gramophones as well as custom bookcases full of vintage records. He spent about 4 hours working on my radio. There were several issues. He corrected a few botched repairs from previous repairmen, replaced a few leaking capacitors, replaced a bad tube, and repaired a bad coil. The radio now works very well. I turned in a station in China loud and clear (and this is just with a short length of wire as an antenna). It's nice to have a working shortwave radio again. He also replaced the turning eye as the one that was there was not very bright. The total cost of repairs? $128! His labour rate is only $15/hr! A couple of photos:

Radio1.jpg

tuningeye.jpg

 

 



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How cool is that????

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Got it back Todd.

I saw "a project" one on Used PEI yesterday for $30.00.

Read the ad carefullysmile: http://www.usedpei.com/classified-ad/Westinghouse-antique-radio_28865875



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Connie pointed that ad out to me. That first photo is a little deceiving!


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Canadian Poncho wrote:

Connie pointed that ad out to me. That first photo is a little deceiving!


I know. It's got to be worth $30.00 though ... even if you end up putting a fish aquarium in it.biggrin



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That's one nice looking radio Todd! Great that you got it fixed up, should give you hours of pleasure. For me, it's also about looks, I have to have something that is nice to look at, and your radio absolutely has that in spades.

Was the china radio in the 11000 range? I hear one station very clearly in that range. Hook up a 75' random wire outside about 30' in the air, with a cheap antenna tuner, a 50 ohm lead in, and she'll really pull. I can only dream of your lack of RF interference and lot size Todd. I'm absolutely surrounded by RFI here, so it has become a challenge to find the right placement, grounding, length and matching for my random wires. I have a 5 input remote antenna switch coming so I can really experiment without the coax clutter in the shed.

On another note, I blew up my RF4800 amplifier IC by trying to power the unit with a car battery. I messed up on the polarity, misread the + - on the back of the unit. Although I could still use it through the rec out into a Bose Bluetooth, I was convinced that was probably it for this radio, but low and behold...I found a NOS chip on eBay for $21. Removed the old and replaced it with the new...and it actually worked! One good thing was it allowed for a good cleaning! Lessons learned, but it also gave me the confidence to go deeper into a vintage radio if need be.

audi.JPGboard2.jpgCapture_edited-3.jpg

 

 



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Nice fix on your radio Mark! Yes, China was in the 11000 range. They must be putting out one helluva signal! I'm really happy how thorough the fellow who fixed my radio was. He included a copy of the schematic for my radio and circled where he performed repairs along with handwritten notes. He ran the radio for 12 hours to verify there wasn't any weak components. I was just going to replace the bad capacitors but there's no way I would have caught the improper repairs from the past.
I still may invest in a radio like your's Mark as a digital readout and the ability to listen to SSB would be nice.

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Here's a link to a great portable review site Todd,

https://radiojayallen.com/



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