10 Best Shortwave Radio of 2019 – Top Pick’s & Reviews

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Communication is a vital process necessary for the day to day life. It is worth noting that there exist various mediums for sharing information. Technology continues to bring about positive changes that make the sharing the information not only faster but also safer. However, we have to recognize the roles that major mediums of communication, such as the radio and television play.

5 Best Shortwave Radio: Editor’s Pick

Shortwave Radio
Our Rating
Price
1. Panasonic RF-2400D
2. Kaito Voyager KA500
3. C Crane CC Skywave
4. Midland – WR120
5. Sangean WR-16

Shortwave radios use electromagnetic waves in transmitting information. When in need of purchasing one, ask yourself what type of radio best meets your needs. Choosing the best shortwave radio is not as difficult as you may think. Most of all, consider your desires, your interest, and what you would like to get from the device. With so many products available on the market, it may be difficult settling on one that will serve you well. Therefore, take time to go through a shortwave radio review since it will help you make a wise decision.

Best Shortwave Radio Reviews: 

1. Panasonic RF-2400D AM/FM Radio

There is something attractive about old models that still manage to serve modern purposes. That is exactly what the battery-powered AM/FM Panasonic radio does. With a speaker as large as 10cm, you can expect nothing but great music with high-quality sound. In addition to being portable, the Panasonic RF-2400D AM/FM Radio has a knob and tuner display that is large hence easy to use. Note that this radio does not have a digital synthesizer. Therefore, all need is to turn on and tune in to the program of your choice.

Highlighted Features:

  • Earphone Jack; the radio has an earphone/headphone mini and mono jacks measuring 3.5mm. Note that there is no DC-in Jack. Nevertheless, the jacks give you a chance to enjoy music your way
  • Dimensions; the radio has dimensions of (W XH X D) of approximately (234 X 122 X 82 MM) making it ideal for travel
  • The speaker: large with a measurement of 10cm. The radio also comes with a Ferrite antenna that boosts the quality sound
  • The tuner; analog with a frequency range FM 87-108 MHz (50 kHz step and AM 520-1730 kHz (9/10 kHz step)
  • Audio system; has a maximum power output (RMS) of 770Mw. It has an additional power source battery DC-6V
  • Portability; the radio weighs 1 pound hence easy to move with from one place to another
  • Batteries; not included. You will have to buy 4 AA batteries to power your device

2. Kaito Voyager KA500

Kaito is one brand that never disappoints when it comes to the production of emergency radios. The new Kaito Voyager KA500’s revolutionary and versatile design makes it a go-to radio in the case of an emergency. It has multiple ways to power itself hence, ideal for travel, indoors, and outdoors. It is worth noting that this radio can use both battery and electrical power. The radio also comes with standard accessories, which include the user manual and the earphones.

Highlighted Features:

  • The solar panel; makes use of the sun’s rays to power the device. The 180-degree solar panel is adjustable hence enables it to tilt with the sun’s rays. It is worth noting that the solar panel also charges the built-in batteries
  • Weight: the radio weighs 1.25 pounds hence portable. Being an emergency radio, it has other unique features that make it suitable for any travel de4stination
  • USB Port: you can use the USB port to charge your phone, or radio on your computer. It can also be used to charge other electronic devices that have a hand crack
  • Broadcasting: the Kaito Voyager KA500 boasts of a wide range of broadcasting. It is not only a shortwave radio but also features AM, FM, NOAA radio stations
  • LED Reading lamp; the radio has a 5-LED super bright reading lamp
  • NOAA stations: the radio comes with 7 weather channels. You will always be in the know when it comes to the weather. Well, many consider these as the best shortwave radio stations.
  • Multiple sources of power: AC/DC adapter, a dynamo hand crank, a solar panel, and a built-in Ni-MH rechargeable battery

3. C Crane CC Skywave

Don’t you just love a small yet useful device that has an excellent overall performance? The C. Crane CC Skywave radio does just that. It is worth noting that the radio can reduce signal interference. Its high-performance AM reception enables you to get the most of the programs. Its Aviation allows you to listen in on any nearby traffic controllers. Note that the radio does not come with an adapter hence the need to separately budget for one. An AC power supply will also be bought sep0arately. C. Crane is the manufacturer.

Highlighted Features:

  • Portability: small and lightweight hence ideal for indoors, outdoors and travel
  • Durability: excellent performance as it runs for approximately 60-70 hours on 2AA batteries. It can also be powered separately by an AC adapter. ( note that these are not included in the package)
  • Display: has a rotary volume knob, a sleep timer, a lighted LCD, and a stereo headphone jack. Connect and listen to music without causing distractions
  • Auto scan tuning, a direct entry keypad, 400 memory presets and a signal meter
  • Accessories; includes a carry case and folder outback stand and earbuds
  • NOAA weather radio alert: you get all-weather advisories. It is ideal for people who live in areas hit by adverse weather changes.
  • Reception: excellent on the sound speakers

4. Midland – WR120

The Midland WR120 is a shortwave radio that gives you the power to control it. It is an emergency weather alert radio that requires your input for it to perform excellently. It is very light hence portable. It is worth noting that the price of this device varies from one retailer to another. Note that you cannot receive the regular AM/FM stations on this unit. The radio has a backup power hence reliable. However, the device comes with a legal disclaimer. The Midland radio counts as one of the best portable shortwave radio. The device contains chemicals that can cause cancer and birth defects, and this is known to the State of California.

Highlighted Features:

  • Portability: the radio has a dimension of 5 x 6 x 1.4 inches and weighs 1.34 pounds. Therefore, light and portable
  • NOAA weather scan: the device automatically scans through the seven weather channels that alert you on all available weather advisories. Note that it will connect to the strongest weather channel station whenever there is a weather emergency. Note that you have to tune your radio for the best results
  • Alarm clock: the audio has an in build clock with a snooze button. Therefore, you can always adjust your schedules
  • Display: the monitor displays information in three languages; English, Spanish and French
  • Programming: two types of programming; custom and Specific Area Message Encoding (S.A.M.E.). The S.A.M.E automatically picks information based on the country’s NOAA weather signal. You set your radio to receive information from different countries when you use a radio with custom programming
  • AC Adapter is included in the package
  • Box includes; user manual, and all hazards Weather Alert Radio

5. Sangean WR-16

The Sangean WR-16 radio can simply be described as elegant. The technology used to make this shortwave radio can term it as a state-of-the-art performance radio. Made from a real wood cabinet, the outer face can only give a sneak pick of what you are signing up for. The excellent performance is what terms this radio as one of the best shortwave radios of our times. This radio is easy to use since it has three dial knobs that adjust the volume, switch to AUX-in/Bluetooth and AM/FM bands.

Highlighted Features:

  • Connectivity: built-in Bluetooth technology with class II wireless audio streaming. The radio also has an NFC for simple pairing with the wireless audio streaming
  • The external connection has a headphone output hence the ability to enjoy entertainment. The radio also has an auxiliary input for additional audio sources like the iPod/iPhone, and an MP3 Player.
  • Is an FM/Am analog radio
  • Has a solid MDF cabinet made of real walnut wood finish. Makes it one of the best vintage shortwave radio
  • Has a USB port for charging smartphones
  • Weight: 5.2 pounds which make it portable considering the fact that the cabinet is made of wood
  • Reception: excellent reception. Add an external antenna for the best results

6. Sangean PR-D5BK

Your search to a portable radio has come to an end. The Sangean PR-D5BK simply delivers. This radio provides the best AM and FM reception. With a ferrite antenna of 200mm and dual stereo speakers, you can be sure that the quality of sound will be excellent. The Auto seek option enables you to find your favorite most active stations more easily. It is worth noting that the Sangean PR-D5BK radio is not HD and does not come with a power cord. It comes in black and white and also has a switching AC adapter! Please note that this radio comes in small parts. Therefore, keep away from children. Additionally, the product has a disclaimer. The product is said to contain chemicals that cause birth defects, reproductive harm, and cancer.

Highlighted Features:

  • Portability: lightweight weighing 2 pounds with dimensions of 2 x 10 x 5 inches
  • Reception: excellent. It has a synthesized PLL system and stereo audio performance that gives it unmatched reception
  • Exceptional AM reception: has a 200mm Ferrite AM antenna
  • Preset stations: allows you to enjoy from both worlds (AM/FM). The radio comes with 10 preset stations- 5 AM and 5FM
  • Display: the LCD is easy to read. The battery power indicator and backlight indicators are easy to read
  • Power: the radio can be powered by either a switching AC adapter or batteries. Note that the adapter comes with the package. As for the batteries: get 6C batteries ( not in the package)
  • Notable features: a sleep timer, an HWS buzzer (Humane Wake System) or alarm by radio, LCD backlight, and a headphone Jack. It also has an aux-in socket, and a mono selector switch all made to make your reception and entertainment worthwhile

7. Sangean TB-100 (Toughbox)

The Sangean TB-100 (Toughbox) is the best outdoor radio you will ever find on the market. The fact that it can be left outside in the rain, or dust and remain makes it exceptional. Note that the radio is resistant to rain, water, dust, and shock thanks to the leading-edge technology. The Toughbox, as the name suggests, features an additional aux-in jack that allows you to connect external devices. The display is not only simple to follow but also to use. Note that it has a durable ABS plastic body that makes it resistant to the above factors. The features on this radio make it ideal for the trader who works outdoors and needs entertainment.

Highlighted Features:

  • Rain, dust and shock. The radio resists rain up to JIS4 standard. Makes it ideal for use both indoors and outdoors. Makes it the perfect outdoor radio for all types of weather
  • Unmatched construction: the toughbox material is impact-resistant. Its durable ABS plastic body and it is being watered, dust, and shock-resistant is making it ideal for outdoors and sites. The 5-inch speakers are water-resistant; hence, rainfall does not affect the quality of sound. Lao has a roll cage for extra protection.
  • Excellent reception: comes with a digital PLL tuner and a flexible antenna for quality reception. Note that the LCD display helps you see the radio as you operate it better
  • Power: can be powered by 4 alkaline C rechargeable batteries. These can recharge while inside the radio. Optionally, connect to the AC charger, and it will charge them as well
  • Additional features: high power speaker, LED indicator, backlight LCD, aux-in for external devices, MP3, etc
  • Portability: weighs 6.61 pounds with dimensions of 12.8 x 7.6 x 9.2 inches
  • AM/FM reception: comes with 10 preset memory stations; 5FM and 5 AM

8. Sangean WR-11SE

The Sangean WR-11SE is another one that counts as the best vintage shortwave radio. The elegant tabletop shortwave radio has a solid MDF that gives it this unique appearance. Also, it has real walnut finishes and super great sound quality. The analog tuner is not only soft but also precise for both AM/Fm. The LED indicator also informs of you whether or not you are getting the best reception. This vintage radio also has an aux-in for external connectivity. It is worth noting that the radio comes in small parts. Consequently, keep it away from the reach of children. Also, the product contains chemicals that are hazardous to your health. They can cause cancer, birth defects, as well as reproductive disorders.

Highlighted Features:

  • Unique outer face: has a solid MDF cabinet characterized by a real walnut finish hence an elegant appearance.
  • Tuning and volume control: has a tuning LED indicator. It shows you how strong or excellent your reception is.
  • Portability: the item weighs 7.35 pounds with dimensions of 11.5 x 10.5 x 6.5 inches
  • Sound quality: excellent with dynamic bass compensation. It has a 3-inch full range speaker of 6.5 Watt for exclusive sound quality.
  • Aux-in: has a jack for connecting external sources of audio such as an MP3 player
  • Rear connections: for connecting headphones/earphones, external antenna, AC-In, REC-out, DC-In, etc

9. Eton Field radio

A mix of tradition and technology delivers excellent results when it comes to devices. Bluetooth technology enables you to stream your music on the Eton Field radio from anywhere. The radio’s bandwidth ensures noise cancellation thanks to its strong anti-interference features. It also has a Radio Data System (RDS) that enables broadcasters to deliver digital data. Among the many reasons, here is why owning this device guarantees maximum pleasure.

Highlighted Features:

  • Portability: weighs 3 pounds with dimensions of 6.9 x 3 x 12.4 inches
  • Reception: AM/FM shortwave radio: external telescopic FM antenna. It delivers information in both AM and FM
  • Functionality: fine-tuning featuring bass control, digital tuning, and LCD display
  • Bluetooth connectivity: gives you the power to listen to your favorite stations and programs from anywhere. Can connect to other devices such as mobile phones.
  • Aux-in jack: for external devices such as headphones/earphones
  • Carrying strap: for easy portability
  • Radio Data System (RDS): delivers digital data from broadcasters hence gives a variety of information

10. Sony ICFP26 Portable Radio

The Sony ICFP26 Portable Radio beats the limitation of space. When it comes to music and entertainment, this is the best radio you can ever have. The vertical AM/FM radio runs on two AA batteries. Note that the radio comes with ab LED battery indicator hence easy to monitor. In addition to the size, the built-in hand strap makes it more portable. Here is why you need to purchase this radio.

Highlighted Features:

  • Portability: 3.04 ounces making it the best portable shortwave radio. This is probably one of the lightest shortwave radios you will ever come across
  • Reception: built-in speaker and telescoping antenna for excellent reception
  • Power: requires two AA batteries ( these do not come with the package, rather are bought separately)
  • LED battery status indicator and LED tuning indicator hence easy to manipulate
  • Aux-in jack: for headphones/ earphones giving an option to listen from your device
  • Integrated AM/FM tuner offers a variety of stations

Buying Guide: What to Consider When Select Shortwave Radio:

It is important to know what you are signing up for whenever you want to buy something. Before making up your mind, go through the information on shortwave product review. The information should be a guide as it helps you settle on the best shortwave radio. Only pay attention to the subtle details. Here is what you should look at;

The features

What are you looking for in a shortwave radio? There is so much to pay attention to regarding features. They include the weight, the frequencies available, connectivity, external antenna capability, memory slots, Radio Data System (RDS), and so much more. How versatile is the receiver? Are you interested in specific information about particular places, or are you the type that loves to know about the world? Be sure to check the NOAA feature for weather updates.

Portability

Sometimes you want a shortwave radio that will serve you beyond your local area. Therefore, it is worth paying attention to the weight, the size, as well as the outer face. The best thing about shortwave radios is that they come in a wide range hence easy to select your best. Go through the features and determine whether the weight suits you. You can browse through a vast category of portable shortwave radios on Amazon. Remember, you can travel the world with your shortwave radio thanks to its portability. Therefore, look up the best travel shortwave radio.

Costs

What is your budget? It does not matter if you are looking for a new shortwave radio or need a used one that is in good condition. Leading online stores will always give you value for money. The same way that budget for your expenditures is the same way you should set aside money for your entertainment. Also, consider the fact that a shortwave radio beats the limitations of politics and religion. The transmission of information from all over the world should also be able to motivate you to get yourself one. Let the benefits also justify the price. Remember that every good thing is worth spending on.

Reception

There is satisfaction in owning a device that has good reception. At the end of the day, you need a device that transmits information clearly and efficiently. There are two options to choose from. Firstly, a device that will need an external antenna and secondly, a device that does not need an external antenna. Most of all, I will recommend an external antenna because it boosts the quality of the reception. Always think along those lines.

Durability

You want a device that will serve you for a long time. The battery life also plays a big role when you consider the durability of your device. How long can the radio serve you without having to recharge? Do you want to travel with your shortwave radio? For how long do you intend to be away? Is the battery life enough to last you for the number of days that you will be away? Providing answers to such questions will enable you to settle on a device that will best meet your interests.

The band

The bands depend entirely on what you are interested in listening to. The bands cut across different regions, local bands, regional bands, and international bands. The advantage of shortwave radios is that it enables you to access the information that you want. As already mentioned, you get the freedom to listen to restricted information such as politics and religion. In case you come from a country where such is illegal, you remain in the know.

How to use a Shortwave Radio

Shortwave radio has its way of operating. The first thing you should do is to go through the buying guide. It helps you determine what it is you want in a device and how suitable it is for you. Also, have a long antenna. A radio that has an external antenna has better reception in comparison to one that does not have. Note that an antenna of a height of 2-4 feet has excellent reception. Consider the specific bands available and if they are what you want.

Additionally, know the dos and don’ts of keeping a shortwave radio. In using shortwave radio, always change the direction of the antenna for better reception. It will also help you discover the perfect position for listening to your radio. Also, an external antenna boosts reception and clarity.

Here are some of the things that you should not do.

Avoid placing your shortwave radio near concrete, steel, and stereo equipment as this affects the reception. In finding the perfect station, turn the frequencies to familiarize with the stations and programs available. Tune in to your favorite station and enjoy.

How to Broadcast Shortwave Radio

Broadcasting shortwave radio starts with you getting one. The next thing is to set it up and turn it on. Again, find a place that has good if not excellent reception. Most people prefer setting it up by a window. After that, turn it on. You will realize that your shortwave radio has a lot of frequencies and you may not hear anything for some of them. For better results, tune in frequencies in the order of 2500, 5000, 10000 and so on until you hear a beep. Pay attention to a voice that comes after beeping that should mention Greenwich meantime. Again, note that you are the one to determine the range within which you would like to listen to on your radio. Note that your location, the time of the day, time zone, and choice of frequency will influence what you get to hear.

It is possible that you can find all these things on the internet. However, shortwave radio is what breaks the limitation of distance. In case you have to travel you simply take your travel shortwave radio and tune in manually. Please note that frequencies change based on location and time zones. Therefore, keep tuning to get what you want to listen to.

Listen to shortwave radio on the computer

The internet sure gives us endless opportunities to get what we want. It is no different when it comes to listening to the radio. What is you cannot take your shortwave radio with you but would like to listen to your favorite program on your computer? Here is how to listen to shortwave radio on your computer;

  • First, check on the time on your computer; Universal/ World Time (UTC).
  • Secondly, click on the shortwave schedule option on your computer.
  • Thirdly, click on the turn on and tune in. here, you choose between the analog or digital shortwave radio. The digital option will, of course, give you the option of listening in online. The analog option, on the other hand, is quite easy, and you equally just tune in.
  • Lastly, listen to the program and enjoy it.

You just follow the prompts after searching the UTC on your computer. Optionally, you can opt for a separate radio, a dual TV tuner or go for a plugin 2 tuner. All these options are available in the buying guide and are options to look at when shopping.

FAQs: Frequently Ask Question About Shortwave Radio:

Q1. What is a shortwave radio good for?

To begin with, a shortwave radio transmits information over long distances cutting across continents. It collects information over a long distance, making it a reliable medium. A shortwave radio beats political and religious barriers. It is because the frequencies can pick up information from stations that broadcast such issues even in a country where transmission of such information is illegal. It also overcomes geographical barriers hence the ability to listen to information from across the world. A shortwave radio is also cost-effective and readily available. One can easily purchase it from leading online stores such as amazon that delivers products worldwide.

Also, a shortwave radio transmits information simultaneously. That means you can follow a transmission at the same time regardless of where you are. In addition to that, shortwave radios also promote literacy due to the wide range of information passed. Moreover, these are used in schools and educational institutions.

Q2. What is the best shortwave radio to buy?

The best shortwave radio to buy is the one that best meets your needs. Apart from buying it from a reputable brand, ensure that the cost meets your budget. It should be portable such that you can go on vacation with it and still be in the know of current affairs. Focus on the features; is it durable? Does it have good reception? Do the research bands meet your tastes and preferences? Have a checklist of your preferred features. Look at the buying guide and compare it with your checklist. The results will tell you if you should buy it or not.

Q3. What is the difference between ham radio and shortwave radio?

It is worth noting that both ham radio and a shortwave radio transmit information. What are some of the notable differences between a ham and a shortwave radio? Here is what you need to know;

  • A shortwave radio covers the largest percentage of the airwaves. On the other hand, ham radio covers up to just about 12% of the airwaves. Therefore, shortwave radio covers a wider area.
  • Ham radio is limited in terms of the numbers of bands and locations over which the information is transmitted. In comparison, the shortwave radio includes all the bands and frequencies available on ham radio.
  • A shortwave radio transmits information over a longer distance. A good example is the international radio stations.
  • A ham radio picks voice transmissions voice in SSB form. A shortwave radio, on the other hand, picks voice transmissions in AM form.

Q4. Is shortwave AM or FM?

To understand if shortwave is AM or FM, it is important to differentiate the three. FM cis community based and can transmit information over a restricted area. It has limited coverage of between 88 MHz – 108 MHz covering between 30-100 miles. On the other hand, AM picks transmissions over a regional audience of between 540-1700 MHz. On the other hand, a shortwave radio transmits information across the world. It includes places where broadcasting is prohibited.

Q5. What is the best brand of radio?

Shortwave radios come in a wide range of brands. Again, it all depends on the store that you are buying from. A buying guide and a radio review should be able to guide you on what brand to buy. If you are keen, you will discover that a brand such as Sangean has a variety. Also, check on the return policy and buy a product with a warranty. I highly recommend the Sangean brand because it offers digital, analog and combined signals and data. Moreover, it has the best vintage shortwave radios, with excellent reception and performance. Additionally, most online stores ships these internationally. Nevertheless, you can still look out for the latest from Sony, C.Crane, Eton and Midland brands.

Final Verdict

Portability is one of the main factors that makes shortwave radios relevant in this age and era. The fact that shortwave radios transmit information across continents makes one more knowledgeable. The shortwave radio review should help you select a radio with features that best meet your interests. Also, the best shortwave radio stations are those that provide data covering weather updates. Whether you are looking for a travel, indoors, or outdoor radio, Amazon has a wide range if incredible shortwave radios for you. For that extra feel, go for a shortwave radio that integrates technology. Do not forget to budget for your shortwave radio!

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