Old v New: MW on Panasonic RF-085 and Qodosen DX-286 — with Antenna

The oldest working radio I have is a Panasonic RF-085 that is almost 50 years old. Panasonic radios are known for their superb MW performance. Now, in addition, I have a Qodosen DX-286, another radio that has made a splash for MW use. I thought I would take some time to compare the two.

Old: Panasonic RF-085

I made a video a year ago showing the performance of the RF-085 on WHBG in Harrisonburg, VA, demonstrating the effectiveness of an antenna with ground on this radio.

Antenna + Ground with Panasonic RF-085

The RF-085 has MW (up to 1600 kHz), FM and three shortwave bands with continuous coverage from 2.3 – 18 MHz. Another very similar model substitutes LW for one of the SW bands. For reference, here’s a scan of my original RF-085 Operating Instructions.

Instructions for connecting the Antenna are on Page 5. And here are the specifications:

New: Qodosen DX-286

Turn the clock forward 50 years and there is another radio on the scene that supports an antenna + ground connection on MW, the Qodosen DX-286 / SR-286.

Unlike the Panasonic that has spring-loaded clips for antenna wires, the Qodosen uses a 3.5mm phone plug for the antenna. Here’s how to wire it:

3.5mm antenna plug wiring

And here is the much more complex manual for the DX-286, which includes the specifications.

The test

Once again I’ll be using my 20-ft (6.09m) wire up a tree (WUT) antenna and an earth ground rod. First stop: WHBG 1360 kHz, Harrisonburg, VA. This should be easy for the Panasonic, having done well on it before, and that was the case. The following video shows the two receiving the Harrisonburg station:

What’s needed is a bigger challenge. There’s not many stations in the lower part of the MW band where I lived, so I took the two radios and tuned from 600 kHz down to 520 kHz. It was no contest. The Qodosen DX-286 ran rings around my old Panasonic. The Panasonic band scan was slowed to make sure I didn’t skip anything. Since the Qodosen was set for a 10 kHz step, every click of the knob was already centered on the channel, and it went quickly.

The Qodosen won in a landslide. Great MW radio with an external antenna.

While there is always a tender spot in my heart for that old Panasonic, it’s very hard to tune particularly on shortwave and it’s nearly impossible to locate a station by frequency. It’s not as sensitive as more modern radios.

About Kevin

Just an old guy with opinions that I like to bounce off other people.
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