My Progression of Short-Wave Receivers

By Ken Baird


  • Crystal Set: Built 1954. I saw an article in “Boys Own” and went and saw Doug Holland of Stewart & Holland in Ashburton. He gave me a variable capacitor from an old radio as well as the crystal device. I used a toilet roll inner as the coil form. Only managed to pick up 3YA, 3ZB from CHCH.
  • Hiker’s One: Built 1959 from a kit purchased from Silver Radio. Worcester St, ChCh. I managed to pick up most NZ MW stations. I upgraded to a Hiker’s Two in 1961 with much better performance.
  • 2A) Q Inductance SW Receiver Kit: purchased 1964 as full front end (RF Amp, Osc/Mixer), aligned coils, dial, etc. for a multiband SW receiver. The output was 455kHz and I used circuits from the RSGB Handbook to build up the rest of what ended up as an 8valve receiver. I had problems sorting out the IF strip but a trip to the PO Radio Depot got it sorted very quickly. (They thought I had done quite well for a trainee engineer!) I used it for many years and it was quite good as a heater in the ChCh winter. (No Photo)
  • ITT Polo: purchased from Calder McKay in ChCh in 1974. It had an analogue slide rule dial, 3 SW bands, MW & LW. It worked as well as expected and I heard a lot of overseas stations.
  • Panasonic DR 22: Purchased in 1981 while on a family trip to Fiji. The only SW radio I could find in Nandi. Very complicated to use as you spent a lot of time recalibrating the dial. Reception was reasonable and I had fun using it.
  • Panasonic RF 3100: Purchased in 1982 from Smith’s City Market. My first radio with a digital display which made it much easier and more accurate to use. Very good frequency coverage and I hear a lot of overseas stations on it. A good radio, Panasonics first digital display. I gave it to Dave Pepperle when I purchased my R2000.
  • Yaesu FRG 7 (The Frog): Bought second hand in 1985. A good old standard receiver with analogue display but fun to use.
  • Sony ICF SW20: My first Sony purchased from Tricity House in1987. A great portable, very sensitive and not too bad to tune.
  • Kenwood R2000: Purchased in ChCh in 1988 after talking to the NZPO RIs who had been issued with them after full evaluation by POHQ.A great receiver, my first PLL set. I enjoyed lots of DX and many QSL replies. 10 memories, all modes (incl SSB).
  • Panasonic RFB 40: Purchased locally in A good portable, sensitive with good reception. I enjoyed this radio.
  • Kenwood R5000: purchased in ChCh in 1993. My very best receiver. Very easy to use, all modes, 100 memories, and all bells and whistles. Lots of loggings and QSLs. When we shifted to Wainuiomata, reception was very bad, so I started to use the NZRDXL SDRs in Russell. The R5000 is now in the Radio Museum at Ferrymead in ChCh.
  • Palstar 30a: Given to me by John Standingbear, I sent it back to him after he lost all his gear in 2010. My first radio with Synchronous Detection.
  • Sangean 505: Purchased from Amazon in An early model from Sangean. A good PLL, digital receiver. Worked very well.
  • AR 1945: Purchased from Jaycar in Problems with reception in Wainui meant it did not perform as good as it should have.
  • Tecsun 505: My first Tecsun from Trade Me in 2017.Used the DSP chipset from the US which resulted in an amazing radio for $105. Almost as good as my R5000 which cost $2500.
  • Tecsun PL 310-et: Purchased in 2018 from Trade Me after reading very good reviews. Also used the US DSP chipset. A very good radio still much used.
  • NZRDXL SDRs: Changed to the SDRs as a result of discussions with Arthur De Maine. I started in Oct 2018 and have had excellent SW listening ever since. Controlled from my PC and I now have a list of 20+ world-wide SDRs I can use. This move has completely rejuvenated my Short-wave hobby. The main use for my PC these days is using it to control SDRs.
  • AR17890: Purchased from Jaycar 2019.A very good DSP receiver with SSB. I have converted it to operate from a 6V wall wart with a new 10m very low visibility antenna and am getting interesting results.



I joined NZRDXL in April 1982

I was made a Life Member on 5/11/2017 in recognition of my 23 years editing the Below 9 Band watch section of the DX Times.


Ken Baird
 Life Member NZRDXL, Life Member IEEE, Ex MIPENZ, BE(Elect)(Canterbury).
Retired Supervising Engineer, P&T Dept, NZPO, Telecom NZ.
Local Receiver: AR 1780, elevated 10m wire