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Sangean ATS-909X


The Sangean ATS-909X is the direct successor to the well-known ATS-909W. Compared to this model, some features were changed, especially as far as reception of FM stations is concerned, which has been digitized. You will notice this because of the very good selectivity and the superb audio.  RDS, which was also possible with the old 909W, seems to react a little faster with the new 909X. And even the internal clock is synchronized with RDS.

Nothing much seems to have changed regarding shortwave reception, which is rather good; when using the telescopic antenna, large signal immunity is acceptable, there were no overloads to be noticed.  One flaw with the ATS909X is its weak sensitivity this can be remedied by having an antenna amplifier installed by an expert like Henry Mohr or Jürgen Martens.  The disadvantage here is a slight loss of large signal immunity.  Reception on longwave and mediumwave is satisfactory. The Sony ICF-7600GR is clearly better on LW and MW.  SSB reception on the amateur radio bands works quite well.  The 40Hz increments on SSB have not changed, either.

Further improvements are: Tuning on LW, MW and SW is uninterrupted by noise. It is now a lot more pleasant to be able to scan the bands without these noise effects.  You will notice the new design of the 909X right away.  I think it's well-made. And the nice display, which can be illuminated, looks very good, too.  The 909X has 406 alphanumeric memories, the 909W had 306.  Switching the bandwidth in AM is not very effective which the case with the old 9089W was also.

Sangean failed to implement a small, but important detail with the 909X: Sangean economized on the tuning wheel, which has click positions.  This wheel has some tolerance, which is due to the cheap mechanics of the tuning wheel.  Because of this tolerance, a selected frequency is not kept exactly at some positions. If you turn the tuning knob within a certain position, the frequency changes by several steps. That is simply unacceptable. My receiver showed this flaw in three click positions.

If you buy the 909X hoping to get better reception on LW, MW and SW, you will probably be disappointed.  The radio is not better or worse than the 909W, except for FM reception.  Because of the digital reception, the 909X is clearly at an advantage.  The audio is generally better than the 909W's.

The 909X is a very nice radio which offers the same reception quality as the preceding model.

(Written March 9, 2012)



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