SSB In Your Pocket

In the old days, a shortwave radio was a major desk fixture. These days, you can get truly diminutive radios. However, most of them only have AM capability (that is, no simple way to receive single-sideband or SSB signals)  and — maybe — the ability to pick up FM broadcast.  Small radios also often have no provision for an external antenna which can be crucial for shortwave radios. [Farpoint Farms] shows off the Raddy RF7860 which is a palm-sided radio, but it has the elusive sideband modes and an external antenna port and wire antenna. It even has a rechargeable battery.

Reading the comments, it appears this is a rebadged version of a HanRongDa HRD 747 radio. Of course, there are other smaller radios with sideband reception like the Tecsun PL368, but they aren’t this small.  If you are in the market for a really tiny shortwave radio, this might be the thing for you.

Of course, the question is what you want to listen to on the shortwave bands these days. There are fewer and fewer broadcasters on shortwave, especially those that broadcast to a general audience. However, if there is something you want to hear, pairing this radio with a good portable antenna, would do the job.

66 thoughts on “SSB In Your Pocket

      1. You can get NBFM mode roughly 25 to 30+ Mhz ranges.

        Best place to look for HF NBFM is in 29.5 to 29.7 MHz, this frequency is used for ham radio transmission.

        29.610 up to 29.700 are repeaters output, 29.5 to 29.590 are repeater inputs.

        29.600 is simplex NBFM, however very narrow NBFM simplex can also be found on low as 29.000 up to 29.500 mixed with other modes. “AM, SSB, DNBTV and DV ” Fusion C4FM and D-Star formats”😎

  1. “these days. There are fewer and fewer broadcasters on shortwave” …… could I tune in to some Russian propaganda? All I’m getting at the moment is the western ‘ganda. If I were to add the two together and divide by two I could get the truth?

    1. LOL, I don’t think you can do a simple average, as the Russian propaganda has been on steroids for a couple of decades. The main problem is it’s been fulll of ‘muddy waters’, not just bias, but obvious fantasy and noise, diluting any hope of accuracy.

        1. this is amazing. no one I have ever met has ever told me that NPR is biased; even the most right-wing people I have ever met say it is refreshing to listen to. they don’t listen to it because “NPR doesn’t tackle the right issues” and other non-statements like that.

          I submit that NPR is unacceptable to you because you are biased, not because NPR is biased.

          I know I will not change your mind, however I remind you that having facts on which to base your decisions is very important. NPR and C-SPAN are very good at providing these. If nothing else, just spend a bit of time validating one or two things you know to be true. if you’re right, really, then that’s excellent! if you’re not right about something, then now you’re more informed, and that always a good thing. you kinda can’t lose, here.

          1. “even the most right-wing people I have ever met say {NPR} is refreshing to listen to”

            Time to poke your noggin out of the commune, comrade.

        2. Stick to information that cites verifiable sources and where one can check original content. Almost all right wing sources fail this test and NPR passes.

          But I’m thinking this doesn’t matter to you.

    2. There’s Radio DARC on 6070 KHz / 9670 KHz / 3955 KHz..
      It’s a German programme by the German amateur radio club..

      The schedule is available here:

      Unfortunately, it’s in German language only it seems.
      On the bright side, though, the speakers do speak slow, at least. And it has old obscure music, both English and German usually. ;)

      Vy73, 55 everyone

    3. Sorry, Illogical. Seeking “the Truth” from adding Russian and Western propaganda and dividing by two is like taking Goebbels utterances and Winston Churchill’s or FDR’s, dividing by 2 to find the “truth.”

      1. Radio free Europe doctrine during WWII was to report the truth no matter if it was failure’s or triumph. The failure’s were many and hard to report but the people listening under Nazis control needed the truth and hope of freedom.

    4. I was playing around with some web sdr sites a few months ago and found one in Europe (don’t remember where the web sdr server was, but it was Europe) that was picking up radio broadcasts from China. The web site allowed people to leave comments on the different frequencies, and I remember finding a few of these broadcasts in english with notes on where in China they were coming from. One of them noted that the frequency was previously used by a Christian group, and it was either taken over or was being drowned out by the Chinese government’s propaganda. All the stations I found were broadcasting the same program.

    1. To simply receive shortwave, you usually don’t need anything more complicated than a good length of wire, as long as you get it up away from the ground and any large nearby metal objects.

  2. If you are wanting to listen to HF/SW SSB transmissions, your likely interested in listening to Amateur, Maritime, Aviation, or Military communications – everything else is either AM or that new digital radio mode (DRM? Digital Radio Mondial?).

  3. One could possibly interface the speaker output to an Ipad, Android, PC or MAC and decode some FT8, RTTY, HF SlowScan. Depending on the sensitivity of the receive, a good aerial, and band conditions (which with Solar Cycle 25 happening) you could get some really good fun and use out of it. Always handy to have a radio that can reveice below 30Mhz to snoop around. ;) 73 de KC8KVA

  4. I bought one and I don’t really like it. The interface It’s a little bit of a pain. Also, when using side band you have to offset from the actual frequency to hear anything. Which would be fine if it kept the offset when you switch tuning resolution but it doesn’t so then you have to change tuning resolution and put the offset back in again.

    1. That doesn’t sound like a bug to me, but a feature, because you have upper side band and lower side band, how does it know which you want next time? Puts you straight on the center freq and you go up or down to turn the shlubulububulubub into something intelligible.

  5. Is this an ad? Commercial off-the-shelf radio, not home made, no modifications, no “hacks”, not even an in-depth teardown. Just a link to a video review, that includes an affiliate coupon code to go buy one.

    1. Dude, calm down. The old Degen DE1103 was similarly “hyped” about ten years ago (on the net), because it was the first truely affordable pocket radio with SSB (below $150 or $100 I think). It’s so beloved it’s still being made, albeit with a less sensitive receiver inside. The original production run was fine.

  6. Back in the 70’s I worked SW on a Heathkit HR10B and an old Hallicrafters. I still have my QSL’s from everything from Deutsche Welle, Radio Nederland, RSA, HCJB, to lower power Radio Juventud and my favorite Radio Tahiti. I remember straining to hear interval signals prior to stations going on the air. I have beens looking for another set but this won’t be one of my choices. Reports are that the antenna is easily bent/broken, it is susceptible to external noise sources (like power saving light bulbs) but the SW band is only 5.7 – 17 mhz and not continuous 1.6 – 30. Like so many other cheap radios, corners are cut and usually the SW bands are the ones. Reports about problems with LSB are also noted. So I am going to pass on this as a low cost toy.

  7. “However, most of them only have AM capability (that is, no simple way to receive single-sideband or SSB signals) and — maybe — the ability to pick up FM broadcast.”

    Ugh. That is so annoying. I never understood how manufacturers couldn’t at the very least add one transistor plus a few passives for a rudimentary BFO yet they have a whole separate tuner/demodulator for FM which gives their product a feature that could be matched by something one could find in a dollar store.

    1. Does it worth the same with digital synthesised tuning though? In the before times you just injected BFO into the intermediate frequency or interfered with it externally. I am afraid my grasp of digital recievers are at the block diagram level rather than the circuit level though so missing something in PLL hell there.

  8. I bought a small cheap short wave radio to use for reception of WWV time signals for a project. Didn’t realize that WWV was SSB and the radio didn’t support that. Using the radio for actually listening to stuff was horrible. I’m spoiled by easy to hear FM radio, and listening to hissing and garbled speech, almost universally in a language I do not speak, got old in minutes. I gave the radio away.

  9. An ATS-20 seems to do all of this, just a smidge bigger. Got one a while back for around $40 and I’ve been happy with it. You can mod the firmware if you want but I haven’t felt the need yet. Plus it has FM with RDS as a bonus.

  10. $109.99 bucks for the Raddy RF7860?[1] Hmmm… More than likely it’s made up of just nine fairly cheap elements from China:

    1. Power Management IC (PMIC) that handles the battery. $0.70

    2. Software Designed Radio (SDR) IC with DSP, like a Skyworks (ex. SiLabs) Si4734/5 clone.[2] $2.50

    3. Class D audio amplifier IC. $1.50

    4. LCD display with an I2C/SPI display controller COB IC on the back. $2.50

    5. Nokia BL-5C Li-Ion battery clone. $2.90 [3]

    6. Case w/misc parts. $3.50

    7. Packaging, accessories, & paper manual. $4.50

    8. PCB. $1.50

    9. Tiny tinny speaker. $0.50

    That’s $20.10 total (rough estimate). Of course a lot more goes into it before it’s a shippable product like: design, assembly, advertising, cost of sales, warranty accrual, shipping to the U.S., profit, etc. So $20.10 turns into $109.99? Nah, that price seems too high. For example, see [4], a $53.99 (incl. free U.S. shipping/returns) Si4732 based medium wave, shortwave, VHF air-band, SDR/DSP, AM/FM/LSB/USB/CW scanner/radio w/OLED display, Li-Ion battery, & a real tuning knob. Given the tiny size of the Raddy RF7860, I think less than $50 bucks seems more like it to me.

    * References:

    1. Raddy RF7860

    2. Si4734/35 AM/FM/SW/LW Radio Receivers

    3. BL-5C 3.7V 1200mAh Lithium Battery

    4. ANYSECU SI4732 Shortwave AM FM Radio AIR Band DSP Full Band (MW & SW) SSB (LSB & USB) Scanner Portable Radio $59.99

  11. $109 for a white labeled (re-branded) HanRongDa HRD747 that can be purchased for between $60 and $70 on AliExpress?

    They didn’t even fix the huge typo.. “WIDE FREQUENCE”

  12. I’ve got a tiny Tecsun PL-330 which was amazingly cheap for a radio that does long, medium and shortwave as well as SSB between the frequencies of 153 longwave and 29,999 shortwave. I’ve tried tuning into amateur radio and found nothing!
    Another thing, I was looking at SSB-enabled CB radios and the only ones available are for use at home or in a car. No handheld SSB transceivers at all! And yet I have this Tecsun SSB receiver which is very portable. Why is this? And why are SSB tranceivers so expensive?

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