G4NSJ – Lowe HF150 communications receiver

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I’ve just bought a Lowe HF150 communications receiver. It’s compact with very few controls, but it’s amazing. The receiver covers 30kHz to 30MHz and I intend to use it for medium wave DXing and tuning around the HF broadcast bands. My Mini-Whip Active Antenna is perfect for use with this little gem.

Lowe HF150 communications receiver

There’s a high impedance SO239 aerial socket on the rear of the radio which is intended for a whip aerial. I’ve tried this with a telescopic aerial and, sadly, there’s too much noise around the house for it to be of any use. Apart from receiving strong medium wave stations, that is. That also applies to my 4 foot square medium wave frame aerial. For portable use, I’m sure both aerials will be fine.

However, I’m thinking of using a ferrite rod aerial with the radio for portable use. This would be great for long wave beacon hunting. I have several ferrite rods so, when I get time, I’ll see if I can match a long wave winding to the radio.

I must say that I’m really impressed with SSB reception on this receiver. There’s negligible drift and the sensitivity and selectivity are impressive.

The radio features synchronous AM so it was clearly designed for listening on the short wave broadcast bands as well as the amateur bands. Using a decent external loudspeaker, the AM audio quality is so good that, listening to Radio Romania on 15460kHz, it was easy to forget that I was tuned into a short wave station.

Specifications.

Frequency Range ……. 30 kHz – 30 MHz
Modes …………….. AM, Sync, LSB and USB
Intermediate Freqs. … 1st IF = 45 MHz 2nd IF = 455 kHz
Tuning Increment …… 8 Hz, 60 Hz.
Sensitivity ……….. 0.5 µV1 0.2 µV with whip preamp on1
Selectivity ……….. 2.5/7.0 kHz -6 dB,
Stability …………. <± 30 Hz in 1 hour typical
Aerial socket ………. SO-239 50 Ohm, clips 600 Ohm
Spurious Response ….. > 65 dB rejection
Output Power ………. 1.6 W 8 ohms 5% THD
Memories………..60
Power supply….. 8 AA cells, rechargeable, or 12 Volt PSU

If you have rechargeable batteries installed, they will be charged when the receiver is switched off but the PSU is left on. Battery drain is high, that’s why it’s worth investing in rechargeable types.

The receiver has some very interesting and useful modes:

SSB lower sideband 2.5kHz
SSB upper sideband 2.5kHz
AM wide filter 7kHz
AM narrow filter 2.5kHz
AM synchronous double side band 7kHz
AM synchronous ‘hi-if’ mode 7kHz
AM synchronous LSB only 2.5kHz
AM synchronous USB only 2.5 kHz

Basically, the synchronous detector uses a phase locked loop to lock on to the carrier and replicate the incoming signal on exactly the same frequency. This signal is then used as the local oscillator signal to mix with the incoming AM signal to extract the audio.

The AM synchronous double side band setting is excellent for dealing with selective fading. I’ve tried this on distant short wave broadcast stations and it works really well.

Here’s a link to how synchronous AM works.