Car stereo for beginner FM/AM DXing

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sroland81
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Joined: 01 May 2020 03:29
Location: Uruguay

Car stereo for beginner FM/AM DXing

Post by sroland81 »

Hi, this is my first post here. I wonder if any of this radios are any good for starting FM/AM DXing. I was initially motivated by this post: http://brisbanefmdx.com/CarradioFAQ.html and kept me thinking about car stereos. I know car stereos may have good receivers and some of them i can get really cheap for a start.

I did a research on models available locally for me, and gathered some sensitivity values (downloaded a bunch of manuals) and some radios I could not got any manual or specs, but look like good oldschool rigs.

I would like some comments on the usability of this kind of radios, maybe some model worth the buy and recommendations based on specs below, if they mean something or not. I would use it in my desktop with my 12v PSU mostly for listening to AM and FM stations from my home. I specially like the look of some 90s models. Newer models tend to look flimsy or to much plastic, no tuning knob (rare thing) and maybe do a little restoration, a nice case, etc.

Radios with manual specs (see picture #1 below)

Code: Select all

Model......................FM sensit....FM S/N.....AM Sensit....AM S/N
Blaupunkt Caracas 2010U....8dBμ..........55dB.......30dBμ.............
Kenwood KDC-238CR..........9dBf..........70dB.......28dBμ 25μV........
Pioneer DEH-1650...........8dBf 0.7μV....75dB.............18μV....65dB
Kenwood KRC-204...........13dBf..........70dB.......28dBμ 25μV........
Sony XR-C110..............12dBf..........63dB.............35μV........
Pioneer KEH-1800..........11dBf 1.0μV....70dB.............18μV....50dB
Pioneer DEH-1250MP........11dBf 0.7μV....72dB.............25μV....62dB
Kenwood KDC-MP145U........11dBf..........63dB.............31μV........
Kenwood KDC-MP155U........11dBf 1.0μV....63dB.......28dBμ 36μV........
Kenwood KDC-MP242U.........9dBf 0.8μV....70dB.......28dBμ 25μV........
Pioneer KE-8000...........12dBf 1.1μV....70dB.............18μV....30dB
Radios without specs (see picture #2 below)

Code: Select all

Prestige P50..........no info
Chevrolet S-10........no info
Honda #1..............no info
Honda #2..............no info
Prestige #2...........no info
Clarion #1............no info
Shadow #1.............no info
Radios with specs:
bitmap1.png
Radios without specs:
image205.png
Thanks! and 73!
Best regards, CX1DR.
Yaesu FTM-3100R, Radioddity GD77, Tecsun PL-880, Eton Mini

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sroland81
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Joined: 01 May 2020 03:29
Location: Uruguay

Re: Car stereo for beginner FM/AM DXing

Post by sroland81 »

I missed this one too.

Code: Select all

Model......................FM sensit....FM S/N.....AM Sensit....AM S/N
Pioneer KEH-2650..........11dBf 1.0μV....75dB...........18μV....50dB
It appears that Pioneer radios, have the most sensitive receivers, can anyone check this from personal experience? Or maybe the numbers are simply shifted towards better values for merchandising purposes? Just checking with my Tecsun PL-880, the FM sensitivity is (S/N=30dB) < 3 μV with signal-to-noise of 65dB and AM sensitivity (S/N=26dB) < 3mV/m with signal-to-noise of 40dB. Also my Yaesu FTM-3100R reports a sensitivity spec of 0.20 μV (12dB SINAD).

Pioneer KEH-2650 image
pioneer-keh-2650.png
Yaesu FTM-3100R, Radioddity GD77, Tecsun PL-880, Eton Mini

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John Faulkner, Skegness
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Re: Car stereo for beginner FM/AM DXing

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness »

Hello Roland.

Welcome to Skywaves :) Nice to see you here!

I have never used a Pioneer car radio so I cannot comment. I used to prefer Blaupunkt car radios as they seemed to be very sensitive and highly selective with their SHARX system. However, back in 2014/2016 I had a Citroen C4 Grand Picasso. (In fact I had two as the first one was recalled due to persistent faults.) and both cars had what I considered to be the most sensitive, selective and bomb-proof front-ended receivers I had ever known, making them top-draw receivers by any standards. They were fixed inside the car and the display was part of the main car dashboard display, which makes it almost impossible to use in a shack situation. I don't know what the brand was of this car radio, but I think it might have been a VDO model, though I could be wrong.

You can find my original post about this here: http://www.skywavesdx.org/viewtopic.php ... dio#p19047

One day, I was out on a hill overlooking my local Belmont transmitter. This would have made most radio receivers glow with overload. Not this receiver - and it didn't seem to be desensitised, although I suspect it probably was to a degree.

I have kept my Blaupunkt Nashville standalone car radio, which is still a decent performer.

I hope this post is of some use.

Nick Gilly
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Re: Car stereo for beginner FM/AM DXing

Post by Nick Gilly »

Did the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso radio look like this John?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/i/402127729885

I think it would need a separate display unit (bah!) but that listing suggests it's made for Citroen by Blaupunkt. It would be very interesting to know what chipset that receiver has.
Good DX.

Nick, Whitchurch, Hampshire.

BW Broadcast RBRX Encore, Kenwood L-1000T, Yamaha T-2, Denon TU-800L, Kenwood KT-1100SD (modified), Yamaha T-85, Sony XDR-F1HD tuners, horizontal Körner 9.2 beam (Antennenland version), Yaesu G-450C rotator

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John Faulkner, Skegness
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Re: Car stereo for beginner FM/AM DXing

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness »

Not sure Nick as it was all controlled by touch sensitive screens. The C4GP had two of these, so nothing 'traditional' in operation at all. The actual hardware is in there and, if somebody is technically able, it would definitely be worthwhile modifiying for shack use. I never actually saw the hardware.

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sroland81
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Location: Uruguay

Re: Car stereo for beginner FM/AM DXing

Post by sroland81 »

Maybe i'd buy 2 or 3 of these radios and test them out on FM and AM to see what they can give. I mean, do the specs mean anything? Also some of them claim having PLL synthesizers, would this be actually better than traditional ones? Recently an Alpine 7280 poped up, but in very bad shape. I wonder how moisture degraded the electronics.

Thank you all for the reply. You are welcome to say your guess about what to buy.
Yaesu FTM-3100R, Radioddity GD77, Tecsun PL-880, Eton Mini

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sroland81
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Re: Car stereo for beginner FM/AM DXing

Post by sroland81 »

Actually my car stereo is quite nice, i dont know the brand but i attach a photo of the manual, it is a GM DF1400. It is quite nice in AM but not sure in FM.
KIMG1239.JPG
Is this radio any good?
Yaesu FTM-3100R, Radioddity GD77, Tecsun PL-880, Eton Mini

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Julian Hardstone
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Re: Car stereo for beginner FM/AM DXing

Post by Julian Hardstone »

sroland81 wrote:
02 May 2020 19:42
some of them claim having PLL synthesizers, would this be actually better than traditional ones?
Car radios have been fully synthesised for about the past 40 years, nothing earlier is worth considering.
The amazing selectivity and resistance to overload came in rapidly after 1990 and all are good on FM + AM, but the models fitted by the car manufacturer are usually tied in to the engine management system and will not operate on their own, so you should look for "aftermarket" models which were sold for the owner or a shop to fit. Some early OEM¹ models were made to be removable to prevent theft, others you may need to know the security code to use them after power-down.

There are only a few models with a rotary control for tuning, which is also used for the volume control, though these are becoming more common in the last 10 years. Some come out as a unit, others are remote from the control panel, but all need the engine management controller to operate. The radio manufacturer must have test jigs to allow them to be tested but I doubt these are in the public domain.

Look in particular for the luxury models that allow you to enter "Engineering Codes" to display other data including signal strength and PI code. I know a few Blaupunkt and Pioneer models have this.

- Julian

¹ Original Equipment Manufacturer

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sroland81
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Re: Car stereo for beginner FM/AM DXing

Post by sroland81 »

Thanks Julian. I was convincing myself to look for an aftermarket unit, so great to hear it. I wonder how deteriorated the electronics would be in a car stereo from the 90s. I came across this two radios (could not find one of the manuals on the internet) but they look awesome to me. One brand is Prestige, and the other Shadow. The Shadow show some modest specs but no clue for the Prestige. Look at the pics, maybe you have some clue about them.

Shadow
r1.png
r2.png
r3.png
Prestige
r4.png
Yaesu FTM-3100R, Radioddity GD77, Tecsun PL-880, Eton Mini

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sroland81
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Joined: 01 May 2020 03:29
Location: Uruguay

Re: Car stereo for beginner FM/AM DXing

Post by sroland81 »

I finally got the 2nd hand Kenwood KDC MP238CR which has a nice FM receiver specs. It claims to have a selectivity > 80 dB
Screenshot_2020-05-12-18-21-35.png
KIMG1292.JPG
KIMG1293.JPG
KIMG1294.JPG
Yaesu FTM-3100R, Radioddity GD77, Tecsun PL-880, Eton Mini

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