Stressless Shortwave Reviewed

[Dan Robinson] picked up a shortwave receiver known as the “stressless” receiver kit. We aren’t sure if the stress is from building a more complicated kit or operating a more complicated receiver. Either way, it is an attractive kit that looks easy to build.

Presumably to reduce stress, the VFO and receiver boards are already built, so assembly is just a few hours connecting large components and boards. As kits go, this is a fairly simple one. We were surprised to read that the supplier says you can’t upgrade the firmware. We, of course, wonder if that’s true.

For technical specs, the receiver is AM only and can operate from 100 kHz to 30 MHz. It uses a double conversion with intermediate frequencies of 21.4 MHz and 455 kHz. There’s a BNC connector on the back, and the radio requires 11 to 15V on the input. Apparently, the frequency generator inside is an SI5351. The sensitivity and selectivity numbers look very good for an AM radio.

We were surprised to see the radio didn’t have provisions for SSB since AM-only makes it not as useful for hams or others interested in non-broadcast transmissions. If we are doing our conversions correctly, the kit is fairly pricey, too, especially considering that it is AM only.

Still, we like that you could easily assemble a nice-looking radio kit. We were interested in hearing it perform, and [Dan’s] video lets us virtually try it out without the effort. We’ve seen the SI5351 on a carrier if you want to roll your own. Come to think of it, we’ve seen several.

17 thoughts on “Stressless Shortwave Reviewed

  1. Wow indeed. Fort hat kind of money I can by quality used ham gear with built-in general coverage receiver that does AM, SSB, CW and FM and likely is a more sensitive receiver. I’d suggest someone rethink the price.

  2. I agree the omission of SSB/CW reception is a serious omission, given that shortwave listening as a hobby is a shadow of its former self, especially since so many countries have shut down their facilities due to the internet.

  3. Why?

    Add a BFO and cut the price down to about 1/10th of that and it’s in the realm of “yet another…. ”

    Do those things, open up the firmware and add an ADC plus SBC for things like a spectrum display, DRM and digital ham mode reception and you have something mildly interesting.

  4. Wow … I don’t why anyone would want to spend that much money for so little radio. For one third that price you can buy a Belka-DX, which is a FAR superior radio no larger than a pack of cigarettes.

  5. With an unlimited budget, anyone can do anything. The interesting thing is always the price. And hacks are made precisely to lower prices. Not to upload them.
    This is a bad hack.

    1. Well, it’s cool to see where the market is at these days, and as an owner of a few classic SWL boat-anchors, I looked with interest.

      But, hmmmm… I don’t think there’s US$600 worth of non-ham SW stuff in the air to actually listen to, these days. Hopefully this is just their v1.0, and more interesting and useful receivers will come.

  6. The budget is right, but the distribution is wrong. As others have noted, you can spend a fraction of this to buy an excellent receiver.
    The thing to note is: take that saved money, and invest in a bigger / higher antenna. This will improve your RF level, AND signal to noise (S/N) ratio. The best receiver in the world won’t help you, if your antenna is bad.

  7. How about an Airspy HF+ Discovery ($169) connected to almost any old laptop you have kicking around. That will let you receive pretty much anything in the HF bands with excellent good performance.

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