|Five Generations from
Japan Radio Corporation
The Prime List
Collins R-390, R-390A
It's the Grand Daddy. With few contenders, for the pre-digital era, it has reigned as the standard by which all others
are measured for a half-century. This sweetheart is several generations removed from the excellent offerings of other
Collins, Racal, Harris, Watkins-Johnson, et al, but never fails to please the guy who's spinning those gear-driven digits
More Icom, Watkins-Johnson, Racal, Harris, JRC, and other super creatures from high on the food chain.
Photo ID Page
Top - R8: Features: ¼" Head. Jack, S-Meter, PBT,
Preamp, IF Notch, AGC, BFO, 100 Memories, Sync.
Detection, Tone, Dual Clock Timers, RF Gain,
Recorder Activation, RS232 Port, Scan, Sweep,
Keypad, Squelch, Dual VFOs, Speaker Switch,
Line Output, Attenuator, Mute.
Middle - R8A: Many ergonomic and performance
improvements were added including:
alphanumeric memories, faster scanning,
improved AGC, improved notch, improved display,
easier mode and bandwidth selection, tilt-bar,
enhanced tone control, detachable line cord &
expanded RS-232 command set.
Bottom - R8B: Ergonomic and performance
improvements over the R8A include: faster
scanning, sideband selectable synchronous AM
detection and 1000 alphanumeric memories.
Later production units tune from 10 to 30000 kHz.
|Three Generations from
JRC has probably done more to bring professional receiving equipment within the reach of serious SWl and Ham
users than any other company. Along with Drake and a few Icom models (R-9000, R-71A), and to some extent
Kenwood (R-5000), many hobbyists can enjoy the technology that would otherwise only be available to
commercial and military users.
These two are my current workers
for daily use and pulling all those
weak ones out, that other
receivers don't even hear -- down
to around 5KHz!
This guy reads down to one-Hertz.
It is dead quiet, very sensitive,
and so stable it's scary. It's a
great monitoring and surveillance
Watkins-Johnson 8718A (8716)
This one is not built quite like the
battleship that the Racal is, but it
is built to meet strick MIL STD
The W-J is a bit friendlier to use
with MODE, IF Bandwidth, and
Tuning Steps being pushbutton
It is very stable, quiet, has great
filtering, and sensitivity.
Take the antenna off the 8718A
and crank up the RF and AF gain
controls -- you won't hear a thing!
Then reconnect the antenna, find
a less-than 1 microvolt signal, and
do it all again ... you'll be blasted
away with the station's audio ...
and out of the room!
Military, Commercial, and Government Agency Receivers
These were designed for critical transportation, operational, strategic,
tactical, and logistical use. They were also employed for TSCM
(Technical Surveillance and Counter Measures) LPs (Listening Posts),
and IMs (Intercept Monitors).
These radios represent the best of what the free world has had to offer.
They are variously one or many generations removed from current
technology, but still a significant cut above most (or any) consumer
Once you've gone down this path --
you can never turn back!
|Below is a quick rundown of some of the more
common and available top end receivers.