Monday, February 14, 2011

Grundig/Eton Satellit 750 (Tecsun S-2000) Review

My Tecsun S-2000 (Grundig Satellit 750)
The Grundig/Eton Satellit 750 (badged Tecsun S-2000 in Asia) is an excellent receiver in its price range. If you're looking for an ultra sensitive rig, this is obviously not the one for you. But what it does do, it does very well. I have scanned the receiver's FM/LW/MW/SW/AIR bands for nearly six months, and its performance is truly commendable. 

Naturally an antenna, atmospheric propagation and location play a large part in any receiver,  and this certainly is the case with the Grundig Satellit 750. The radio's whip antenna is sufficient if you are in the outdoors, free from the interference of household appliances. For the best results, I would recommend hooking up an outdoor antenna. I have used both a simple 10-meter random wire aerial and a 10-meter elevated ¼ wave antenna linked to a 50 ohm coaxial cable that is fed through an MJF-956 antenna tuner, and in each case the radio performed admirably. 

From west-central Malaysia where I live, this radio has logged short-wave stations in Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Chad, Darfur, South Sudan, Sao Tome Princip, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon,Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, South Africa, Eritrea, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia (northern Greece), Cyprus, Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Bonaire (Netherland Antilles), French Guiana, Chile (HCJB relay station), USA (WWVH in Hawaii, KNLS in Alaska, WEWN in Alabama, Radio Marti in Greenville, North Carolina, KTJC in Newport, North Carolina and WWCR in Tennessee), Canada, Ireland, UK, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, France, Ascension Island (Family Radio relay station), Holland, Germany, Vatican, Austria, Poland, Moldova, Serbia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania, Russia, Afghanistan, Kurdistan (northern Iraq), Pakistan, Diego Garcia (BIOT), Sri Lanka, India, Tibet, Bhutan, China, Taiwan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia (Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Sumatra), Philippines, Solomon Islands, Pohnpei (Micronesia), Guam, Palau, North Mariana Islands, Australia (Victoria and Northern Territory), New Zealand and Sarawak (Malaysia).

I might add some of these stations are normally very difficult to receive and less than 10 kilowatts, yet this radio did the job. Unfortunately in my corner of the world, the most elusive continent is South America, even with my Sangean ATS-909, Panasonic RF-B45, Grundig Satellit 500 and Degen DE1102. Although I hasten to add, the only exception  to date would be Radio Nacional da Amazonia in Brazil heard with the Grundig Satellit 500 and Grundig Satellit 750.

On FM, the reception is equally impressive. The tone is warm and pleasant to the ear, but not the equal of  my Grundig Satellit 500. There is no RDS like say on a Sangean ATS-909, but not really a big issue if AM and SW DXing is your interest. On AM -- again in my region of the world -- I receive many stations from Thailand, China and Vietnam. I would imagine in the US, the reception would be superb given the thousands of stations. On LW, there is nothing available here except a few morse code beacons, but again in certain areas of North America and Europe it might be ideal. The Aircraft band, which neither the Sangaen ATS-909 and Grundig Satellit 500 possess,  is also reasonable for receiving fly-overs and nearby airports.

To improve reception on AM, the ferrite antenna can be rotated or a Tecsun AN-200 Tunable Passive AM Antenna attached. An output jack is featured on it, but not necessary for operation. I find the loop antenna helps tremendously in separating stations and/or amplifying a station's signal. 

 IF jack on Tecsun S-2000
There is a 455 kHz AM IF output jack (excluding Eton) on the radio, which presumably is designed to link a synchronous detector or Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) device. If interested, a guy on the Internet is selling these devices. I'm not sure how effective they would be on this radio, but the fact Tecsun has thought to include this option is remarkable.

The radio can be programmed for different memory pages and 1,000 frequencies stored. Short-wave tuning is by dial or push-button; on my radio, I've set the dial for a 1 kHz increment and the push-button for a 5 kHz increment. This is a handy feature when fine tuning a station. I also like the antenna attenuator to reduce the overload from more powerful stations.

Battery life is incredible too. I've used it for more than six months, over several hours at a stretch, and the 4 x D cell batteries still show a solid charge. Surprisingly the manufacturer  did not engineer this radio for built-in rechargeable NiCD batteries, unlike my 22-year old Grundig Satellit 500 or the new Sangean ATS-909X, and for that matter, several of the newer and smaller Chinese designed radios currently on the market.

If I had to fault the Grundig/Eton Satellit 750/Tecsun S-2000, it would be the sound quality. There is too much bass for really good short-wave reception on weaker stations, but then most serious short-wave listeners DX the hard-to-hear stations with headphones. Another negative is the narrow filter, and again this depends on the type of signal being received. It is good at nulling some static and certain types of interference, but not always advantageous when separating powerhouse stations from weaker and adjacent stations; only my Grundig Satellit 500 with its Synchronous Demodulator set in 100 Hz tuning increment outshines it. And I would add my Sangaen ATS-909 has only slightly better filters and sensitivity for rejecting QRN on really weak stations, but not by much.

At first I was reluctant to buy this radio, given some of the early negative publicity, but now I'm glad I bought it. It is an excellent  intermediate receiver with a lot of bells and whistles. I'd say don't be dissuaded by the negative reviews. Get the Grundig/Eton Satellit 750/Tecsun S-2000!

7 comments:

  1. Greetings from California, very nice site here! I'm at a crossroads as to whether to buy the Satellit 750 or the Sangean ATS-909X. Both seem like excellent radios.

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  2. I agree with the review.

    It's not a thousand dollar plus communications receiver, but certainly for program listening, it's as good or better than any of the high-end "shortwave radios" I've had.

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  3. Thank you for this review. I was once an avid teenage DXer in Australia with shortwave. Wanting to get back into SW. I have found your review exceptionally informative. You clearly have an exceptional understanding of radio and have tested this unit thoroughly.
    Thanks again.

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  4. I've been looking to replace my old Grundig s350DL for 2 years now and saw good and bad reviews - mostly complaints about the batter consumption. Thank you for your review, I am definitely going to invest in the s750 as an upgrade (Especially since you state the batteries last a long time). I'll still keep the s350 once I get the 740 though for it's reliability and portability!

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  5. Dera Friend:

    Congratulations for your detailed and good review! I have a Tecsun S 2000 and I like its performance very much.

    All the best and best regard!

    RJVT - BRAZIL.

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  6. very good review just got one in the uk very good radio cant beat it for price happy dxing

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  7. Based on your review a.o. I decided to buy the radio.

    Reception is good with FM and OK on SW with internal antennas. Next is to buy/built an external for better SW performance.

    This radio outperforms my small Akai in every way. FM has bass so this has become more enjoyable for music. SW is also better compared to my other radio, both in terms of sound quality as reception. The S2000 tunes to stations the Akai only gave static.

    With internal antennas I already was to receive stations from Belgium,Germany,Albania,Vatican,China and Romania. Not bad since I got the radio for about 24 hours.

    Greetings from The Netherlands.

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