You’ve been following SHTF Blog for a bit of time now and you’ve seen the importance of a shortwave receiver within your preps. You like the ability it gives one of gathering intel from far away in the event of some form of disaster, and these shortwave receivers have a long history in household use.
There’s just one problem.
From what you’ve seen after browsing online, there’s no way you have hundreds of dollars to drop on a shortwave radio.
That’s where we come in.
Thankfully, there are plenty of budget-friendly shortwave radio receivers out there to accommodate any budget.
6 Budget Shortwave Receivers Worth a Look
Consider adding one of these low-cost shortwave receivers to your preps and then print off a list of military shortwave frequencies.
1) Retekes V115 ($25)
- AM FM SW radios; FM 87-108MHz; AM 520-1710KHz (9/10K); SW 4.75-21.85MHz; In radio mode; long press "MENU" to enter the setting page; find "FM band set"; select FM1/FM2; confirm and exit
- Recording radio; MIC recording and line in recording ; insert the TF card to record your voice or radio voice; three recording settings to choose from; simple record 64kbps/Quality record 96 kbps/Super record 128kbps; note that the TF card is not in the package
4900 reviews on Amazon and it has a 4.5-star rating. That should tell you something here. I really enjoy this little receiver and have been amazed at the reception quality I can get out of it. It easily fits into a front jean pocket – meaning you can carry it with you everywhere – and even inside of a house I can pick up a strong signal.
It has AM, FM, and SW modes available on it, giving you a wide range of broadcasts that you can tune in to, and it has a built-in recorder within it as well. This means if you’re listening to a broadcast you find particularly pertinent that you want to come back to later so that you can listen to it once more, you now have the ability to do so.
You get all of this and for only $25. That’s pretty hard to beat. The only cons I can see here with this radio is that A) it feels kind of cheap when you’re holding it in your hand, and B) it doesn’t have access to SSB.
You get what you pay for, I suppose.
2) Tecsun PL330 ($90)
- A digital portable receiver with comprehensive radio frequency coverage including AM, FM, longwave, shortwave, and single side band
- Adopts modern DSP digital demodulation technology as well as synchronized detection for enhanced and unparalleled reception sensitivity, selectivity, and anti-image interference capability across the bands
Tecsun is a Chinese brand that makes some pretty awesome budget SW receivers. Once you get into the $80 range or so you start to find that you can get SSB capabilities with your SW receiver. The PL330 is an example of that.
You also get AM, FM, and LW capabilities in addition to shortwave here, meaning you have a massive chunk of the radio spectrum that you can tune into. I’m personally always a fan of SW receivers that have an actual dial rather than just buttons as well. To me, I feel like they last longer than a button does.
Other cool features of this radio are that it can store 850 different channels, has a built-in alarm clock (no more having to rely on your iPhone!), and is of a small, portable size.
3) Kaito KA500 ($50)
- 6-way powered portable emergency radio with hand crank generator, solar panel, compartment for 3 AA batteries (not included), 5V USB input, 5V AC/DC input with a wall power adapter (sold separately), built-in NiMH replaceable and rechargeable battery pack
- Comprehensive coverage of AM, FM, 2-band shortwave and 7 pre-programmed NOAA weather channels for entertainment, sports, talk-shows, breaking news around the world, and 24/7 real-time weather forecast (USA and Canada ONLY) with PEAS (Public Emergency Alert System)
This is one heck of a cool SW receiver that I’ve been taking a serious look at of late. It has close to 10,000 reviews on Amazon and with a 4.5-star average rating as well. Aside from just looking awesome, this SW receiver also operates as a cellphone charger and has both a wind-up crank and a small solar panel to help keep its batteries charged.
I think that both of those features alone – the power generation – should be cause enough for you to give this SW receiver a closer look if you’re in the market for such. Other cool features are its ability to pick up NOAA broadcasts, and it has a small flashlight and reading lamp on it as well.
If you’re looking for the Swiss Army knife of SW receivers, this is it.
4) The Mesqool Solar/Hand Crank SW Receiver ($30)
- 【7 Pre-Configured NOAA Weather Alerts Stations & Solid Reception on AM/FM/Shortwave Radio】you can switch from AM/FM/Shortwave radio to NOAA weather band to get the daily forecast quickly by rotating the knob instead of tuning up and down the dial.7 programmed NOAA weather Channels bring alerts right to keep you up to speed when there is severe weather advisory in your area.𝗙𝗠 𝗔𝗠 𝗿𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗼 gets good reception as well as shortwave stations even with the antenna down.
- 【5000 Replaceable/Rechargeable Li-ion Battery & 5 Power Sources】This weather radio comes with 5000 large-capacity rechargeable battery ensure your cellphone will be fully charged in emergency.5 power options,never worry it power off anytime.when the built-in battery is power off,it will be charged by the backup power sources include winding up handle,solar crank or micro USB input connection or 3 pcs AAA battery.
If $50 is a bit too much for what you want to spend on a SW receiver, but you’re still wanting a radio that has a form of off-grid power, then check out this nameless radio instead. It has all the bells and whistles, but for $20 less than the Kaito model.
You get the solar charger, hand crank, flashlights, power bank, cell phone charger, and more, and still with access to AM, FM, and SW broadcasts. It won’t fit in your pocket, and it would be a bit bulky perhaps for a bug-out bag, but it’s versatility helps to make this one a winner.
5) C Crane CC Skywave ($90)
- Small Lightweight Portable AM/FM/Shortwave/Weather/Airband Travel Clock Radio With Alarm.
- Lighted LCD Display, Rotary Volume Knob, Stereo Headphone Jack, Sleep Timer
At the higher end of the budget spectrum is this C Crane SW receiver. One of the cool things about this little radio is that it also gives you access to airband frequencies. Personally, I never do a lot of listening within this part of the radio spectrum, but to each his own. It’s still a cool feature to have available to you.
Other cool aspects of this little radio are the year warranty, 400 memory channels, and it easily fits within your pocket as you go about your day. If you’re somebody who enjoys listening to SW broadcasts as you’re out in the field at work, this can be the perfect radio to do such with.
6) XHDATA D328 ($17)
- 【Portable Radio】5 x 3 x 1.2 inch. Small size and light weight, compact and easy to operate with Best Reception. It can fit in the pocket and carry everywhere for entertainment or study. It has a portable handle for carrying! A good gift for family!
- 【World Band Radio】High sensitivity 12 Band radio. Equiped with long antenna and upgraded DSP chip, D328 Radio is a Full band radio/ multiband radio receiver with FM MW SW DSP, also a MP3 Player Portable speaker supporting TF card.
This is the cheapest SW receiver out there that I’m aware of. It’s a little pocket-sized radio that doesn’t have as many features as many of the other radios on the market, but it’ll get you the ability to listen to SW broadcasts for a song. Is the SW reception quality going to be as high as some of the other receivers out there?
Nope, it’s not. But you’re looking at only spending $17 here, so I think it’s unreasonable to expect $300 quality out of something as budget friendly as this. These make a cool stocking stuffer for the prepper in your life as well.
Though something of a forgotten tool among modern preppers, there is a lot of benefit that one can get from adding shortwave receivers to one’s preps. I thoroughly enjoy listening to mine and am always impressed with the quality of the broadcasts that I can find. And I don’t mean quality audio-wise (though that’s okay too) but instead with the content of the talking points I’m listening to.
It’s a lot of fun and you’ll discover a lot of talk radio shows you would have never had the opportunity to learn about otherwise. So check these options out! You don’t have to wait until the apocalypse to put them to use.