For decades, Radio Shack has offered shortwave receivers of one form or another. Back in the 1970s, I started with a 3 transistor regenerative receiver they offered as a kit (for $7.95 as I remember). I remember a more advanced regenerative kit (at around $29.95) and the Realistic DX-160.
Their first digital radio was the DX-300. I bought one (instead of the Yaesu FRG-7 I'd been eying--the LEDs made me do it ). This was a triple conversion receiver incorporating a modified Wadley loop design. My experience was that the performance--while better than anything I'd ever had before--wasn't up to my expectations considering the money I'd paid (around $300).
The DX-302 was the later version. Both radios had a "wide/narrow" bandwidth switch. In the DX-300, this switch controlled an audio filter. In the DX-302, it selected between two crystal filters in the IF stages. I'm not sure what other refinements were added.
There are two commonly heard complaints about the DX-302. One is that they are subject to overload. The other complaint is that the tuning tends to be touchy (one description used the word "twitchy"). I can't say that either of these has been a problem for me. I'll admit that the tuning is a bit fast for CW and SSB signals, but it's acceptable.
I've also heard occasional complaints about frequency stability. Even with CW and SSB signals, I've never had any significant problems with frequency drift. It might shift some in the first ten or so minutes, but once things are warmed up it should be fairly stable. People use Morse and RTTY decoders with the DX-302, something that couldn't happen if there was inherent instability in the design. If yours does drift, I'd suggest you try to figure out why.
It does seem like people either love the radio or hate it. And my personal opinion is that there is probably a good reason. I would guess the performance of this radio varies drastically depending on how well it is tuned up. (Not a unique observations, this opinion is shared by many others.) Many of the better suppliers of shortwave equipment routinely tweak the alignment of the units they sell. I've heard at least one story of a radio that was considered a dog in most parts of the world, but loved in the US. The reason was because the main distributors of this radio in the US would realign the radios before they sold them. And while this is "standard practice" for $1,000+ radios, it's not often done with mass market products.
So, if performance is an issue, I would suggest having someone realign your rig...
While I no longer own a DX-302, I developed this page was to share information I'd found when I did have one. I've received lots of positive feedback and hope these pages continue to help the people who have these great radios. Here are some sources of information you might find useful:
I have copies of the service manual available for $10 (includes US shipping). Manuals are also available from several sources for around $20 a copy. One place I've used for other manuals and been happy with is W7FG's Vintage Manuals. They have manuals for tons of gear. There are also several other manual suppliers out on the web--but I haven't used any others.
I've starting an mailing list at Yahoo! Groups for people interested in any of Radio Shack's Realistic DX series shortwave receivers. So many people have e-mailed me over the last few years that I thought it would be interesting to try to get more of them in touch with each other. Sign up below if you're interest.
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