John (ddraigmor) investigates the GRE PSR-282 Handheld Scanner. This particular radio is aimed firmly at the airband enthusiast as it supports the all important 8.33 KHz steps that is becoming more commonplace on new receivers. The most amazing thing about this radio is the price and it proves that radio scanning can still be a budget priced hobby if you are careful about the equipment you purchase. Click the “read more” link below to see the full review.
After a good few years away from the radio scene I invested – six months ago – in one of my dream sets – a Grundig Satellit 800 receiver. As anyone who has seen one of these beautiful beasts will know, the set has the capability to receive airband as well as the usual HF bands. I maintain that it is one of the best HF sets I have ever owned – and I have had a few! Its ability to monitor both the VHF airband and the HF bands makes this set a “must have” for anyone with an interest in civ/mil monitoring. However, I digress.
In a previous life, I wrote a monthly column for a well known radio magazine on scanning and during that time owned and reviewed many of the days top scanners and peripherals. I also owned quite a good HF set up, including RTTY, Telex and CW decoders. However, three years at college, new jobs and responsibilities and the need to push efforts elsewhere all contributed to my selling off my gear and my last bit of kit – a Sony ICF PRO 80, a DX 394 and a Yupiteru VT 225 scanner – each went to a good home at a knockdown price. I wish I hadn”t sold them now…..
I did retain my interest in radio however and whilst I did not indulge, did use the many internet based HF and Scanner set ups available to dabble. However good this is, it has its drawbacks and I recently took the plunge and ordered the Grundig and once again found myself drawn to the ether. A realisation that airband still interested me soon had me looking around for an “entry level” radio and seeing the PSR-282 offered at £60 decided it for me. “Entry level”, in my terminology, means a set able to receive civil airband, some upper milair UHF frequencies and all of the marine VHF band. I could have bought something with a larger frequency spread but it was price that dictated my choice. Coming back in to the hobby after such a long break meant I was cautious not to over spend on a piece of kit it would need a degree to fully understand.
First impressions of the PSR-282 are good. It is a fairly chunky bit of kit with no bells and whistles, a simple front end panel arrangement, logical ergonomics, good quality audio – but above all, was able to be up and running literally minutes after powering up. In fact, I mastered frequency input in a few minutes and had programmed the set with all my favourite frequencies (68 of them) in fifteen minutes flat! For the enthusiast who wants simplicity and results in a short space of time, this set scores ten out of ten. What it also scores with is its ability to detect whether you have inputted a frequency previously, ensuring no double inputs. This again scores highly in my estimation as it saves channels and frustration. The set also has a priority channel, which is handy, allowing you to monitor an individual frequency whilst scanning through a bank or set of banks.
What else do you get? The set covers 66 – 88 MHz FM in 5kHz steps, 118 – 136.9 MHz AM in 8.33kHz steps, 137 – 174 MHz FM in 12.5kHz steps and 380 – 512.0 MHz in 12.5kHz steps. Steps can be auto selected or manually selected from the front panel although the default scan uses the pre-set options. Scan speed is 25 channels per second with a 2 second delay and the audio, via the internal speaker, is good.
How does the set perform? My current QTH sits under one of the approaches to Oxford Kidlington Airport and – given its close proximity to airports in the South East / West / Midlands of the UK – is a busy spot. I also have RAF Benson, Brize Norton and Lyneham on the doorstep so operations transmitted in the civair portion of the spectrum are clear. RAF Weston-on-the-Green is also a few miles up the road so para drops are also clearly heard on the lower frequencies within the civ airband spread. Other UHF ops are limited by the sets upper UHF spread. However, I am not unhappy with what I am hearing!
Ham band operation is also busy, although – no disprespect to licensed amateurs – I find it boring and only scan if curious. There is also slight activity on the PMR bands and some utility services in lo and UHF areas.
Marine band operation is good. The set comes with me when i go to visit my father in North Wales and also whenI go for the odd holiday or weekend away to the coast. Even on its supplied antenna I have no problems with reception although – as is normally the case – an external antenna would help. I do have one in my brother”s loft, attached to a nice long coaxial lead with a BNC, and intend to bring that back on my next visit. He only got it on long term loan and now it is time to call in the favour…..! Cut for airband, it also performs well across the spread and should be more than suitable for this set.
Against airband on the Grundig, the set differs only in audio – the Grundig audio is unbelievably rich and full whilst the PSR-282 has what can best be described as typical handheld output. What I can hear on one, I can on the other although I suspect the Grundig might be slightly deaf with more distant signals. Time – and some more use – will tell.
To conclude. The GRE PSR-282 is, in my opinion, an excellent little bit of kit that will keep me in tune with airband activities here at my location as well as when listening to marine VHF on the coast. I suspect it might lead me to getting a set equipped for full coverage of the military airband in the not too distant future but – for now – it comes very well recommended as a lovely, affordable bit of kit for any one starting out in airband monitoring.
One thing worthy of note – the set I purchased from Maplins was bought without a PSU or batteries. As I had these anyway, it seemed too good an offer to pass up – especially when it is being offered for up to £90 elsewhere! It cost me £59.00 which, on balance, is more than fair.
Editors notes: My thanks go out to John, a member of Transmission1 under the name “ddraigmor”. If you wish to contact John with any comments in this review please use the PM function on the site as we are no longer printing email addresses in the articles due to spam and viruses havesting up these items.