If you are starting out with the intention of listening in to Ham Radio users all around the world, this sturdy set is the business. Even for a beginner like me, it is simple and intuitive to use, as well as being very sensitive and able to pick up signals very clearly from all across Europe – and even (less clearly) from as far away as Southern Australia.
To begin with, I found it handy that this set has the option of working off batteries, so I can place it where I like (in my attic) to pick up the best signal. It works very well using its own telescopic aerial, although the addition of a simple clip-on external aerial (around £7) dangled near an open window can pull in even more signals.
The Tecsun S-2000 offers Single Side Band (SSB) on Short Wave and it is here that most Ham users can be heard. There is a control for SSB BFO which enables the user to fine tune so that a distorted voice can be made audible, and a Squelch knob can be tuned to clear any extraneous noises, often resulting in very high quality listening. I find that when I am using the set’s own aerial the RF Gain controller is best set to automatic, but the addition of an external aerial brings in greater interference along with greater signals, and this control comes into its own in fading this out when picking up a weak or distant signal. Basically, it’s a case of twiddling around until you get the sound you want.
I have mostly used this receiver on High Frequency Bands, particularly 20 metres, to listen to Ham users from Europe and beyond, and also on 40 metres. If you want to pick up DXing (long distant calls) this receiver is ideal. One particular feature I have found useful for this purpose is the handles on the front, because I end up tilting the set as I fine tune in to signals – if you use this set as I have, you will soon see what I mean.
This receiver has a whole host of other options and features which I haven’t alluded to simply because I have not required them for my purposes. There are sockets for a whole range of aerials to be attached, which I have not found necessary. You can set a Sleep Timer, an Alarm, and Scan and Store numerous stations. If you are looking for any stations on Short Wave, this set is for you. Used on FM for a regular station, such as Classic FM, the sound quality is excellent. But if, like me, you are listening out for Ham operators, bear in mind that this receiver does not extend to the 2 metre and 70cm (VHF and UHF) Bands where you can listen in to Ham users in your immediate locality (more about which in a future post). And also remember that this set is a receiver only, not a transceiver, so if you have your licence and are looking to transmit as well as receive, the Tecsun S-2000 is not for you.
Finally – and you can decide for yourselves if this is important or not – the Tecsun S-2000 is aesthetically pleasing and gives the Ham Radio beginner a feeling of really entering into the hobby of Amateur Radio without demanding any technical expertise to enjoy using it.
At time of posting, the Tecsun S-2000 is available on Amazon for £299.95, although I was able to get it more cheaply on eBay, so worth looking there too.