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 Post subject: Radio Shack DX-394
PostPosted: Jun Tue 25, 2019 3:07 am 
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Joined: May Thu 09, 2019 12:06 am
Posts: 193
Location: Charlotte NC
Ordered one today. Looking for comments from others who may or may have owned one of these.


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Shack DX-394
PostPosted: Jun Tue 25, 2019 5:25 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 33984
Location: SoCal, 91387
https://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/2108

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 Post subject: Re: Radio Shack DX-394
PostPosted: Jun Tue 25, 2019 12:07 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1280
Location: Wayside, NJ Monmouth
Good general purpose radio. Had to realign the BFO in mine to allow better CW/SSB reception. Use it to receive Wefax transmissions during the day. There are a few mod's out there for it.


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Shack DX-394
PostPosted: Jun Tue 25, 2019 12:20 pm 
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I picked up one at a hamfest around 10 years ago. It works fine as a compact and low cost receiver, better in many ways than a lot of lower cost vintage receivers but it was never intended to compete with the more expensive receivers of the time (i.e. Drake R8, JRC NRD series, etc.) I expect that you will find it to be a fun radio to use and unless you start comparing it to much more expensive receivers you will be happy with your purchase.

Like most of the lower cost synthesized radios of the time, tuning can be a little disconcerting due to PLL lockup time and manufacturers typically muted briefly between steps giving what is usually described as a "chuffing" noise when tuning as it mutes and unmutes; there are mods to remove this but the DX-394 manufacturer chose this so that you wouldn't hear the PLL bringing the VCO into lock with each tuning step. I personally prefer the muting to the artifacts created during PLL lockup but a lot of users remove the muting via an "anti-chuffing" modification. One of my favorite portables, a Grundig Satellit 700 I bought while teaching a summer course in Germany years ago, also chuffs and it was a pretty expensive portable at the time. Like everything else in life you can look at the big picture or focus on a flaw, I prefer the big picture.

Because it was sold through Radio Shack while the shack was still healthy and at a reasonable price new compared to potential competitors, it was very popular and there are a lot of modifications out there if you want to customize yours. But even stock it works OK for normal/casual listening and unlike a lot of tabletop digitally tuned receivers it has a simple and intuitive user interface.

The bottom line is whether YOU like it so give it a fair try (there is a learning curve with every radio and that is especially true of 90s era onward consumer shortwave sets) and after that decide whether to keep it or send it down the road. I generally glance at reviews on the internet when I am considering a receiver just like I do with other purchases but I treat them as points to consider rather than the final word on a radio. You may have different preferences than another owner and the person who thought it was a terrible product just might be a clueless moron :) A couple of years ago I decided to upgrade from my older Canon EOS 1 series digital to a the 1DX Mark II model which is one of the best 35MM DSLR camera bodies available. One reviewer gave it a one star rating because he couldn't take good images except when it was set to fully automatic "program" mode indicating that he was clueless about the basics of photography and bought the wrong camera because seldom will the knowledgeable user of a high end DSLR give up all of its creative possibilities to just leave the camera in program mode where it is functioning about like a $200 "point and shoot" compact. Apparently the same moron is now into studio lighting because I have been considering the matching Hensel portable battery pack/inverter to go with my studio strobes for portable work and one reviewer gave it a 1 star rating because it only operated his continuous studio lights for about 10 minutes. Hensel makes it very clear this pack is intended for strobes and NOT for continuous lighting but if the world weren't full of morons it wouldn't be necessary to put all of those safety disclaimers at the front of owner's manuals such as my all time favorite, "don't use this hair dryer while taking a shower". I guess trying to be too efficient can be deadly :)

Rodger WQ9E


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Shack DX-394
PostPosted: Jun Tue 25, 2019 10:44 pm 
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Location: SoCal, 91387
rsingl wrote:
if the world weren't full of morons it wouldn't be necessary to put all of those safety disclaimers at the front of owner's manuals such as my all time favorite, "don't use this hair dryer while taking a shower".

Replace with, "lawyers"... :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Radio Shack DX-394
PostPosted: Jun Tue 25, 2019 10:56 pm 
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Product liability attorneys and morons often do form a symbiotic relationship :) Of course there have been quite a few cases where manufacturers really have brought very poor designs to market.

Often these warnings are humorous to most of us however because of the ridiculous nature of many of these warnings, few people bother reading them even when they should.

Sometimes these warnings don't translate well and the most charming example was in a Panasonic dot matrix printer manual from the 1980s. The warning read, "for Mr. Printer to be most happy please don't drown him in the water." I certainly wanted Mr. Printer to be happy in his new home so I made sure that he didn't drown and he rewarded me with many years of reliable printing and paper handling.

Rodger WQ9E


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Shack DX-394
PostPosted: Jun Sat 29, 2019 1:34 am 
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Joined: May Thu 09, 2019 12:06 am
Posts: 193
Location: Charlotte NC
Radio came today. So far I have to say it sucks. Especially on SSB. My old Allied A-2515 is far better.


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Shack DX-394
PostPosted: Jun Sat 29, 2019 1:52 am 
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Joined: Apr Thu 12, 2007 3:24 am
Posts: 2293
Location: Milwaukee WI
What don't you like about it?


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Shack DX-394
PostPosted: Jun Sat 29, 2019 2:11 am 
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Joined: May Thu 09, 2019 12:06 am
Posts: 193
Location: Charlotte NC
To much static and noise


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Shack DX-394
PostPosted: Jun Sat 29, 2019 3:55 am 
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Joined: Apr Thu 12, 2007 3:24 am
Posts: 2293
Location: Milwaukee WI
I assume it has no noise limiter switch?


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Shack DX-394
PostPosted: Jun Sat 29, 2019 5:07 am 
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Joined: Sep Thu 23, 2010 6:37 am
Posts: 12011
Location: Powell River BC Canada
Pay close attention to the switch on the back to attenuate the aerial. Also don't let the
9 volt battery go dead. Setting the clock is a pain.

Like most Radio Shack, the primary of the power transformer is always on.
If you just plug it in and forget, eventually it will burn out. It has a DC
resistance of 74 ohms, in series with 1 Henry. It keeps the radio warm.
The radio is rat tight, however they may eat the power cord.

It has a noise blanker.

My DX 394 its on top of my Icom 746 Pro.

Radio Shack made things people wanted. And once you bought the 394,
you probably got to like it, because it was what you could afford.

My 394 was bought at a discount, by watching the scheduled reductions
Radio Shack did when they dropped an item from the line.

The service manual is available.

Enjoy your radio.

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de
VE7ASO VE7ZSO
Amateur Radio Literacy Club. May we help you read better.
Steve Dow
ve7aso@rac.ca


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Shack DX-394
PostPosted: Jun Sat 29, 2019 11:51 am 
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Joined: Oct Sat 15, 2011 12:19 am
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Location: 23452
For SSB, try backing the rf gain off all the way, turn the volume up to about 50-75%, then turn rf up till you start to hear signals, you should get a lot less background noise

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 Post subject: Re: Radio Shack DX-394
PostPosted: Jun Sun 30, 2019 3:30 am 
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Joined: May Thu 09, 2019 12:06 am
Posts: 193
Location: Charlotte NC
The switch on the back does not seem to make much difference when I move it


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Shack DX-394
PostPosted: Jun Sun 30, 2019 7:29 am 
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Joined: Sep Thu 23, 2010 6:37 am
Posts: 12011
Location: Powell River BC Canada
The switch on the back is to attenuate the low z antenna input. See below.

It could protect your radio if it is being used with an antenna switch in a ham station.

You can test it by removing the whip from the DX 394 and sticking a short wire into
the low x socket, and tuning in WWV, with the RF gain turned down. The switch
should reduce the S meter reading.
Attachment:
Radio Shack DX 394 Low Z antenna attenuator.jpg
Radio Shack DX 394 Low Z antenna attenuator.jpg [ 238.01 KiB | Viewed 1029 times ]

_________________
de
VE7ASO VE7ZSO
Amateur Radio Literacy Club. May we help you read better.
Steve Dow
ve7aso@rac.ca


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Shack DX-394
PostPosted: Jun Sun 30, 2019 8:05 pm 
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Joined: May Thu 09, 2019 12:06 am
Posts: 193
Location: Charlotte NC
I am using a longwire antenna hooked to the Lo-Z jack so now I know why moving the switch does not change anything


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Shack DX-394
PostPosted: Jun Sun 30, 2019 8:14 pm 
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Joined: Sep Thu 23, 2010 6:37 am
Posts: 12011
Location: Powell River BC Canada
The LO Z connectors should have a DC resistance of 1 meg to ground . Switching it to the
20 dB ATT position should have a reading of 50 ohms to ground.

_________________
de
VE7ASO VE7ZSO
Amateur Radio Literacy Club. May we help you read better.
Steve Dow
ve7aso@rac.ca


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Shack DX-394
PostPosted: Jul Mon 01, 2019 12:20 am 
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Joined: May Thu 09, 2019 12:06 am
Posts: 193
Location: Charlotte NC
I made a typo. I meant to say my longwire is hooked to the Hi-Z jack.


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Shack DX-394
PostPosted: Jul Mon 01, 2019 3:02 am 
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Joined: Sep Thu 23, 2010 6:37 am
Posts: 12011
Location: Powell River BC Canada
You could try the long wire into the low z socket, keeping the
back panel switch set to 0 dB.

If you set up a switch, like a tv aerial dpdt knife type, you might find different
results on the two inputs on certain stations.

_________________
de
VE7ASO VE7ZSO
Amateur Radio Literacy Club. May we help you read better.
Steve Dow
ve7aso@rac.ca


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Shack DX-394
PostPosted: Jul Tue 02, 2019 2:55 am 
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Joined: May Thu 09, 2019 12:06 am
Posts: 193
Location: Charlotte NC
I got a bit better performance out of it today on the 80m ham band but ended up switching over to my Allied because it is less noisy


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