Grundig YB300PE AM/FM/SW Radio

4 ratings (4 Epinions reviews)
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Fine Mini SW/AM/FM Portable

Jul 16, 2004
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Sound, tuner, usability excellent in its size class

Cons:Lextonics is slow with replacement parts

The Bottom Line: The best I've seen in its size and price range.


Nominally, the YB300PE is sold as a shortwave receiver, and it does quite well at this with the built-in antenna. I have picked up, from CA, Austalia, Taiwan, Mainland China, Japan and so on. Signals from 10k miles away are obviously a bit tough to pick up, even for a premium SW portable like my old Grundig Satellit 700. The 300 does quite well, better than you would expect for an $80 radio. If you are in a non-prime SW area like I am, you really need to use the longwire which is included with the set.

It came with earbuds (not bad fidelity but not high hi), an AC adapter, a manual listing most major North American and European SW broadcasters and a cute little vinyl carrying case which will spare the unit the inevitable scratches it will get in a backpack or briefcase etc. when being carried.

Its AM and FM performance is outstanding. It is far better than Sony or Sangean units in its pricerange and its audio quality is more than twice as good as the $40 radios I heard against which it was compared. I actually manage to pick up FM signal in shielded buildings with grounded steel roofs - and this is HARD. The FM performance in such a venue is noisy but I'm amazed that this little unit gets ANYTHING. It is, for its size and price, just a superb unit.

Tuning. You can tune two ways. One is with the enter key. Hit enter, the frequency you want (it tunes to the frequency in the selected band; you select the band with the band button) and hit enter again. There it is. There are 6 presets for the AM band, six for the FM band, six for SW1 and six for SW2, giving you a total of 24 presets. Frankly I have trouble FINDING six major broadcast stations on the commercial bands that I find worth listening to so this being thin (for some folks) on memories does not bother me. If I want something I listen to less often, it only takes a couple of seconds with direct frequency entry.

What if you just want to troll the bands? You can do that too. There is a DX-Local switch which will adjust wha the scanner stops on. The Local switch wants a pretty clean signal. I just leave mine on DX to get everything. You can troll the bands by tapping the +/- tuning key rapidly, or by holding it for a second, it will scan automatically on whatever band you have selected, including shortwave. This is handy.

The real reason I bought this radio is that I was looking for something small but something which had listenable audio quality on broadcast as well as SW bands. It sounds better to my ears than the radios I heard half again as large excepting only other Grundig models. The radio is under 6"wid eand under 4" tall so it's a very compact unit. It only requires 3 AA batteries and, if you're a skinflint about batteries and will play it a lot, you can do as I do and get some NiMH rechargables at Radio Shack (cheaper elsewhere) and a charger and do it that way. When near an AC outlet, you can save your batteries for away time as the AC adapter is included.

The little wrist strap is a nice safety feature to avoid dropping the radio

For its audio quality, excellent tuning section (remarkable for a radio in this size range) and its included features, it was the best I could find in its size range.

Most dealers are closing these out, as is Grundig, in favor of the newer Yacht Boy 550PE, which is running about $100 street. The 550 has 200 memories and upgrades the already excellent tuning section while being only a touch larger. I have not had a chance to listen to it, and since I got this radio for only $70 (on sale as part of the closeout), and liked it so much, I had no hankering to drive all around to listen to that so I could spend more cash.

If you want still more sound, or versatility, the next step up is the Yacht Boy 400 running at $150 street. With a larger speaker is has even better audio, and will also do SSB. But if you're not into the aircraft or ham bands, and can live with a little less bass response, deals are to be had for the present on the 300. You need to listen to one of these for yourself, however, and preferable against the 400, to see which best fits your needs. When I say the sound is very find for a radio THIS SIZE, that means that it plays clearly, pretty loudly without distortion for its size but, obviously, it has no real bass response just due to the physical size of the speaker. If you want to hear voices deeper and so on, you really need a larger radio.

With those caveats, that it is a very small and compact radio, highly recommended. I expect that iif I manage to break this one, a 550 Yacht Boy will take its place.


Recommend this product? Yes


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