RECEIVER SPECS & EXTERNAL
The following two pages
feature component tuners, car receivers and
portable radios that have been successfully used over several years for
detecting FM broadcast stations via Es, Tropo, Aircraft Scatter, Meteor
Scatter and Lightning Scatter in
typical urban reception areas. These are suitable for
long distance FM reception. Included are detailed
specifications, external reviews, key attributes and photographs.
Trying many different
tuners is enjoyable, lessens listening boredom and aids in
understanding the subtle (or profound) differences in design between
Manufacturers produce owner's instructions and service manuals for
every receiver or tuner. These contain schematic diagrams, calibration
instructions, a parts list and electronic specifications.
these publications can be expensive or inconvenient, so enthusiasts
like to share this information freely as much as possible on the
internet, to aid others who need reliable data for decision-making or
comparative purposes. Indeed, whole personal sites dedicated soley to
vintage FM tuners exist on the internet! Perhaps someone will find the
are looking for on these pages. You can then spend that $50 on
something more important! Please visit my page here to learn how to
understand how tuners work and how to interpret listed specifications.
According to Audio Critic magazine's David Rich Ph.D, specifications are a
reliable way of comparing tuners but not a substitute for listening
tests. For example, some tuners will not handle strong signals well,
some will be cumbersome to tune, some will get too hot when left
on for hours, some will not receive extremely weak signals well, some
will be unpleasant to listen to when receiving extremely weak signals,
some will be more prone to picking up interference, some will have
inadequate visual signal strength meters and some will lose the preset memories when unplugged.
To illustrate this
point, consider why a tuner with relatively good specifications like
the Sansui T-80 performs poorly within two kilometres of a major TV
& FM broadcast site, whilst similar tuners do not, under the same
conditions. Such a tuner has only three FM gangs, and its simple front
end is prone to overloading. According to FM Tuner forum contributor Eric Blacker, in troublesome
reception conditions, try to choose a tuner with the electronic
equivalent of four or five FM gangs.
Although these tuners may be more expensive, these should generally
provide the best sensitivity and immunity to overload.
Rich says there is no such thing as the perfect tuner. It's so true! Your choice of tuner is likely to be based on your personal
and your receiving location. Many enthusiasts, myself included, have
collected a potentially disturbing number of tuners, more than could
ever be used at once, given the limited external antennas available!
Picking a clear favourite becomes nearly impossible.
There are two
broad categories of high quality FM tuners featured on this site. Most commonly
found are those FM tuners with a Conventional IF Section. In the 1990's, a new
generation of FM tuners began to feature an Adaptive IF Section.
The car audio engineers at Blaupunkt were amongst the first, if not the first, to design Adaptive IF receivers. The Sony XDR-F1HD and Accuphase T-1100 have been extensively reviewed. Many commentators consider both these tuners to set the benchmark of contemporary Adaptive IF technology.
A third page on this site features
tuners which offer very good, but not spectacular performance. For this reason, these have been differentiated into a category called Second Tier tuners.
These tuners have been used in the past as primary tuners. They are still
used as secondary tuners. When used in extremely strong signal
environments with high gain antennas, these tuners may exhibit some minor
flaws. The single bandwidth Sansui T-80 is one example of a Second Tier tuner. Dual or variable bandwidth tuners are likely to offer the most flexibility for the purpose long distance FM reception.
Every receiving location is different. Unfortunately, just because one listener is able to obtain exceptional long distance FM reception using one particular tuner does not necessarily mean another listener will! For this reason, tuner recommendations should be read with caution.