First off, let’s be transparent:
I do not own the featured image on this page and I am giving credit to whomever credit is due.
I had known about shortwave (HF) radio since 2001. My Paternal Grandmother was the first person to mention it to me.
I wouldn’t own a shortwave receiver until December 1, 2002, and then it was only a mediocre model.
In 2004 or so, I discovered the Grundig Yacht Boy 400PE. Since then I had coveted one for almost two decades. Earlier in June of 2021, I found a Grundig Yacht Boy 400 (the predecessor model which comes in a no-nonsense black instead of that goofy platinum color electronics of the early-to-mid-2000s had.) And that is the radio of which this piece will be a review thereof. I was able to acquire one for only $54.79 and that included the tax and the shipping was free!
What made this particular model stand out is that it was capable of receiving not just AM signals on the shortwave band, but also Single Side Band signals on there.
Though it wouldn’t become full-blown until 2015, my interest in listening to Maritime communications was beginning in 2003-2004. Though my knowledge then was limited, I knew I needed an HF receiver that was capable of demodulating Single Side Band transmissions to hear long-distance maritime communications.
I soon realized that the Grundig Yacht Boy 400PE was capable of receiving such, but I was an unemployed seventeen-year-old in 2004 with parents who were not interested in technology at all. So there was no way I could ever afford one. I’m not aware exactly how much a Grundig Yacht Boy 400PE had cost in 2004 but I think it was between $120-170 not including shipping.
The first time I saw a Grundig Yacht Boy 400 PE in real life was in January of 2009. I was briefly employed as an HVAC Technician and was assisting a job at a camp on Grand Isle, Louisiana. We were working on a central system for some rich folks. There I saw it on their dining room table, maybe they too wanted to hear Maritime Single Sideband transmissions. Sadly I didn’t have the time to try it out, as much as I wanted to.
I had since used a few other budget Single Sideband receivers but they all lacked the features I truly wanted.
Then in early June of 2021, I was on eBay looking for shortwave Single Sideband receivers and came across this one. Though I probably didn’t have the money, I bought it anyway because I knew I couldn’t pass it up. After all, I had wanted one for the past 17 years!
It was delivered to my residence on June 13, 2021, but I was out of town. I returned home on June 19, 2021, and my neighbor handed me the package. So that means at the time of this review I am in physical possession of this radio for a couple of days at the time of writing this. I figured out how to properly use it on June 20, 2021.
So this review will be my initial reactions:
Since 2004, I have had a copy of the manual in portable document format saved on various storage media. I will say that operating this device is difficult without reading the instructions first. But once understood, it’s fairly simple.
Two clocks can be programmed, of which I programmed my local time for Time 1 and UTC for Time 2. There is also an alarm feature that I don’t think I will use.
As for band coverage, it receives the following:
Long Wave 144-351 kHz
Medium Wave 520-1710 kHz (US)
Medium Wave 527-1606 kHz (International)
Short Wave 1600-30000 kHz
FM 87.5-108 MHz
I wish something could be done with the Long Wave Band here in The States like maybe some sort of civil defense broadcasting like was once available. I did pick up a handful of non-voice signals. What I didn’t like is that longwave coverage stopped at 351 kHz. I truly think it should have gone all the way to the medium wave band, so I could receive the NAVTEX broadcasts on 518 kHz if I so chose.
Medium Wave is fairly decent, better than most, although it doesn’t hold a candle to my GE Superadio, except that it displays the frequency with much more accuracy.
As for shortwave, I’ve pulled in some CB traffic, the US Time signal and, various amateur radio transmissions. I had heard some ham radio traffic that pertains to RV drivers on 7264 kHz but I couldn’t make it out. I later heard some amateur radio traffic on 3685 kHz almost clearly. It picks up the times signals nicely and I also heard some foreign and domestic broadcasts.
The one station I tried on FM came in flawlessly, which is a miracle because I live near an FM transmitter which causes interference on most of my radios.
There are only 40 memory presets available, which will have to do, for now. I wish there could have been more but this radio is over 25 years old.
I’m also curious to know in which country was this radio built? I don’t see it anywhere on the unit unless it would be behind the battery door and I didn’t look well enough.
I do like how it can accurately tune single-sideband signals, but I wish they could come in a little clearer because some of them are still unintelligible. I do appreciate the direct entry of any frequency and I will see exactly how accurate the clock is in the coming weeks.
Some say that the Yacht Boy series of Grundig radios were designed for use aboard yachts, maybe to receive long-distance transmissions. I’m sure it would work better on the open sea than in an apartment surrounded by electrical noise, right?
All in all, I give this radio a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, because I wish the speaker could be a little louder, I think it should run on 6 C or D cells instead of 6 AA cells (would not mind sacrificing some of the compactness) and there is a gap of coverage between 354 and 519 kHz. So, therefore, I deducted a tenth of a point for each of those aspects I didn’t like. Other than that, so far it is a very nice radio and I hope to get plenty of use out of it.
This, therefore, concludes my review of the Grundig Yacht Boy 400.
I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained. May God richly bless you!