Emerson PSW-4010

The Emerson PSW-4010 came to my collection in 1988 through the DAK catalog. It revitalized my interest in shortwave listening, so it holds a special place. It was also my traveling companion for many years, riding in my suitcase around the US and to Europe, a duty it still serves occasionally. For many years I listened to it every morning as I got ready for the day.

These days I keep it in my nightstand in case the power goes out or I want to do a quick scan around the bands before falling asleep.  During a days-long power outage in the summer of 2011, this was one of the radios that was put into daily use. 

The PSW-4010 was manufactured by Sangean and was also marketed as their model SG-789A.  Here's a shot of the radio's circuit board that proves it:

It's also been sold under the Siemens name (among others) throughout the world. A nearly-identical version of this unit, the Sangean SG-789L, had longwave.

Coverage is as follows: 530-1600 kHz (MW); 88-108 MHz (FM); 2.3-5.0 MHz (SW1); 5.8-6.2 MHz (SW2); 7.05-7.5 MHz (SW3); 9.45-9.9 MHz (SW4); 11.55-12.05 MHz (SW5); 15.05-15.5 MHz (SW6); 17.45-18 MHz (SW7); 21.45-21.95 MHz (SW8).

The unit is sensitive for its size and is a nice "station finder" since it's a quiet analog set.  One afternoon in the early 1990s, a coworker had one of these radios at his desk inside an iron-skeleton building in downtown Chicago, and amazed me by holding the set next to the window and the BBC World Service came in, loud and clear!

My guess is that DAK sold this radio as a closeout for the usual reasons (overstock at manufacturer, etc.), but one glaring problem is that the GMT conversion map on the back of the radio is completely wrong. They have the GMT zone marked over Japan, which puts Greenwich, England, in the GMT -11 time zone! It doesn't affect performance, of course...

The sound of the built-in speaker is typical of a shirt-pocket radio, but connect a pair of headphones and you've got stereo on FM that sounds pretty respectable.

In the summer of 2011 I heard from a reader named Mike who told me he had one of these radios (also bought from DAK) that seemed to be in good condition, and would I be interested in it?  He said he still had the cloth case and manual, but gave the caveat that there was a battery stuck in the radio, so he couldn't verify that it worked.  I agreed, and the radio showed up a few weeks later with, sure enough, a stuck battery.  I opened up the radio and managed to get it out-- it was a Duracell with a 1994 expiration date :) -- and fortunately none of the unit's electronics were damaged, so after a little cleanup I installed some fresh batteries and the radio worked perfectly!

Here's a shot of the radio Mike sent me in front of my original; note how he still had the original display sticker attached:

The outfit that sold this radio, DAK, was sort of a predecessor to the companies that advertise in SkyMall magazine: they carried many electronic devices, each with its own full- (or half-) page description.   This radio was sold under the banner "Voices from the Other Side," and I scanned the original ad here: it's pretty interesting reading and typical of what you'd expect from DAK.

In all, it's a very nice utilitarian portable multiband radio, and well worth the $50 I spent to rekindle my interest in the radio hobby!

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