Though FM has a part of the dial reserved for non-commercial radio, along with the LPFM service, there are still plenty of interesting sounds to be found on the AM dial if you’re willing to do a little scanning. Having a good AM radio will make this a more pleasant and successful endeavor.
We met radio testing guru Jay Allen on our podcast last week when he shared advice for improving reception of lower powered FM stations. But, as he told us, his real specialty is AM receivers, and I certainly learned about Jay from his epicly exhaustive AM radio “shootouts.”
Jay just posted his newest, most updated AM Radio Shootout, pitting more than 100 different models–new and vintage–head to head. Along the way he explains the technical qualities of radios that make them perform better, but in plain English that any radio lover should be able to understand.
As it turns out, one of the Jay’s five-star AM receivers amongst “the Crème de la Crème” is also one of the top radios he recommended to us for FM reception, too: the C. Crane CC-2E. I own an earlier version of this receiver (the CC-2) and can attest to how well it brings in both AM and FM signals. It’s my go-to for bringing in distant signals and the new LPFMs here in Portland, OR.
A few more of his top FM radios also rank highly in the AM Shootout. The Sangean PR-D4W garners four-and-a-half stars, and the HD Radio capable Sangean HDR-16 and HDR-18 rack up three-and-a-half stars, along with stablemates Sangean WR-50/WR-50P.
All available new, these radios seem like good choices if you’re looking for a good all-around performer for college, community and low-power FMs, as well as AM.
However, Jay doesn’t limit his tests only to new radios, and there are many great options that are used or vintage. Heck, you might even unknowingly have a great AM radio stashed on a shelf or in the garage.
Get the whole list at his site, Radio Jay Allen.
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