Monday, August 24, 2009

A NEAT Little Radio!

I had to work in town this past weekend and stopped by my local Fred's department store to pick up a few supplies. I always cruise the electronics aisle in these little places, sometimes finding some interesting stuff. I'd only had a tiny portable FM receiver and wanted something AM/FM, but the units offered lately were either bad performers or cost too much.

Well, my eye stopped on a Coby CX-73 AM FM receiver...and at $5.49, I didn't think I'd waste too much money if it didn't work. It came with a lanyard clip and a belt clip (both flimsy) and a nice set of earbuds. It was made in China, but designed by Coby here in the U.S.A. An additional $2.29 for a 4-pack of AAA alkalines (it takes two) and I was out the door.

I dug it out of the blisterpack, loaded the batteries and turned it on...WOW! Good audio on AM (which is what I got it for, since I like to listen to AM Talk Radio). It had a wide figure-eight receiving pattern, so it didn't take much to zoom in on a signal. FM was fair, at best. Needless to say, as I worked, it kept up a good audio and the signal barely faded as I moved around. On FM, however, it was tedious to keep a signal, even as I oriented the earbud's wire differently around my body (there was no mention that the wires acted as an antenna, as in some units). So, if you stay on the FM band, this may not be a good unit for you....

...BUT, I was also pleasantly surprised with this little unit on AM after sundown! Remember, I'm a night-crawlin' AM DXer from 'way back! I decided to tune around for a couple of evenings and got signals from ALL over: Johnny Rabbitt on the Route 66 Oldies Show on KMOX came in like gangbusters....WSM Nashville, with good country music...WLW Cincinnati, OH with a news program...WGN, Chicago, IL...WSB, Atlanta...and I tried WLS, Chicago, but it was covered up by a Spanish broadcaster (as always). Literally, if I could hear it with my Ham radio in the truck, I could hear it with this little Coby! It was surprisingly "hot" on AM receive!

I haven't dissected it yet (I used to do that as a Products Editor for another publication), but, it is working so good, I'm almost afraid to let the magic out! I may, or may not, go get another one to tear apart (maybe I should leave well enough alone?), to see if its as "hot" a receiver as this one...or maybe just get one as a spare. At less than $10 with batteries, its a pretty good deal in my book! This one will go hunting and fishing with me, for sure!

Here's a link, for those interested:

Bud S. (

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