I recently decided to replace my little portable shortwave radio, the Sangean ATS-505, with something better. My #1 requirement was to get something that didn’t have the “chuffing” problem. When using the tuning knob, the sound is muted between every frequency. My main use is to tune through the amateur radio bands, so chuffing is very annoying. Getting better sensitivity and a backlight color other than puke-green were secondary wishes.
After a lot of online research, I thought maybe the Sangean ATS-909 would do, but I would still need to do the anti-chuffing modification. Then I ran across RadioLabs and their “Super 909“. This is an ATS-909 with many great modifications. New filters, a better speaker, a blue backlight, increased sensitivity, anti-chuffing, and removal of the tuning knob detent for smooth tuning. There were several favorable reviews of the Super 909 version of the radio on eHam.net, so I pulled the trigger.
I labored a bit over whether or not to pay $100 more for the mods, but ended up deciding it would be worth it. Well, I was right. With regard to both sensitivity and audio quality, it outperforms the 505 by leaps and bounds. I could only hear the strongest signals with the 505 and a longwire. With the Super 909 and the telescoping whip, I hear so much more. And with a longwire or active antenna, it rivals my ham HF gear. Granted, this isn’t the best comparison – I wish I could hear the difference between it and an un-modded ATS-909. Speaking of which, they will mod your existing ATS-909 with these modifications if you already have one.
As odd as it sounds, my only complaint was the way they offered free ground shipping on the Super 909. They had it set up as the only shipping option. I would gladly have paid more to get the radio here more quickly. Since it was traveling from California to Ohio, it took almost two weeks to arrive. Very aggravating.
But I’ve been enjoying listening to the HF ham bands without having to go into the shack for several weeks now, and I’m damn happy. I highly recommend this modded version of the radio. Good job, RadioLabs!