Philips D 2999
Manufactured by Philips, Eindhoven.
The Philips D 2999, released in the mid-eighties, is a microprocessor - controlled double conversion superhet. The D 2999 is a tabletop receiver in a similar format as the typical anateur radio transceivers, technically it is very similar to the somewhat more compact D 2935. These two receivers were the only serious world band receivers, Philips wanted to compete with the sets of Grundig and Sony; they came with users instructions, a shortwave reception guide and a usable frequency manual. After this respectable success, Philips had only a few analog travel radios at low prices with moderate reception performance to follow.
- Mains operation: 110, 220 V; 9 - 14 V =.
- 320 x 100 x 250 mm, weight 3.7 kg
The Philips D-2999 has the format of an amateur radio transceiver or receiver with the dimensions of 32 x 10 x 25 cm and a weight of 3.7 kg, it has a carrying handle, which serves as a stand when folded back.
The receiver can be operated from the built-in 110 / 220 V power supply, for portable operation with 6 UM-1 / mono cells or it can alternatively be powered from a car battery with 9 - 14 volts DC; for memory content retention and operation of the quartz clock, another 3 mignon cells UM-3 are required. These batteries must always be inserted, i.e. also for mains operation, otherwise the receiver refuses to cooperate and only emits loud beeps.
The large device speaker radiates upwards.
At the top of the front panel is a long row of touch keys across the entire front. The first three buttons from the left activate the speaker, set the instrument from S-meter function to battery voltage control, and activate the dial illumination. At the top right is the main power switch, the many keys in between with small luminous markers are used to directly call up longwaves, mediumwaves and the various shortwave broadcast bands.
Right next to the front-firing tweeter is the analog signal strength meter, and right next to it is the digital display, which can indicate the reception frequency, the local or alarm time. Small keys below the display are used for setting the time and the timer operations.
The small keys of the numeric keypad are used for direct input of a reception frequency, the receiver reacts quite intuitively to the input and accepts the input of a dot as MHz separator (in the SW and FM broadcast bands), EXECUTE completes the frequency input and sets the receiver to the desired frequency.
The eight keys to the right are used to store a frequency. The memory designation consists of the numbers 1-4 and letters A-D, so 16 frequencies can be stored in the memory locations A1, A2, … D4. Pressing the STORE PRESET key followed by a digit and a letter key saves the frequency, pressing the same letter and then number key recalls the memory content. The tuning knob just below is magnetically detented, with faster rotation the tuning steps increase from 1 to 10 kHz.
In the bottom row of controls is the volume control followed by the separate bass and treble tone controls. The two small buttons to the left of the headphone jack switch the wide and narrow AM bandwidth filter and the attenuator in the LOCAL position. Two more small pushbuttons are used to switch on the BFO (for CW/single sideband reception) and RF Gain (for manual control of RF gain) controls.
On the rear of the receiver, the external antenna connectors are located under the battery compartment - the external antenna is activated by a slide switch. In the center are the DIN tape connector and a AF headphones jack, to the right somewhat recessed the mains connector with the voltage selector.
The switches for setting the clock to 12/24 h display format and the medium wave tuning steps of 9 or 10 kHz are located in the battery compartment, they have to be set correctly before inserting the memory batteries.
There is no preselection in front of the first mixer, which makes the receiver sensitive to long antennas, the use of an external preselector seems advisable when operating on long wire antennas.
In practical use, the D-2999 gives a reliable reproduction of the programmes of the European external shortwave services, the filter gives sufficient separation in the 5 kHz raster. The strong signal of DW on 6075 causes splatter interference up to 6070 kHz and is no longer detectable on 6068 kHz. In the amateur radio bands, the nearby German amateurs can be picked up in SSB and CW without any problems, even if the tuning with the BFO has to be done carefully. The synthesizer causes quite a few whistles (so called birdies). Tuning in a station on a known frequency is easy: by pressing the band selector button, the broadcast band is accessed. The SW button lets the receiver jump directly to the beginning of the 120 m band. Every time, the button is pressed, the next shortwave broadcast band is accessed; the radio provides also access to the 21m boradcast band. Tuning within the band is done with the pleasantly light detented tuning knob. When turned quickly, the tuning step size is increased to 100 kHz, so accessing the upper end of a band is easy.
For direct frequency input, the desired reception frequency can be keyed in directly without a leading zero, with 6 1 5 5 Exec, you end up at the signal of Austrian Radio International, with 6 . 1 5 5 Exec as well. Numbers up to 2 6 . are interpreted as MHz, numbers from 8 8 . as MHz in the FM broadcast band, no separate switching for the FM broadcast mode is required.
A station can be stored in the memory by pressing STORE PRESET followed by the memory location buttons, for example STORE PRESET A 1. By just pressing A 1, the station can be recalled from the memory. I unique feature of the Philips set is, that a press on the B key lets the set jump to memory channel B 1. The possibilities of microprocessor control are well implemented on the Philips D-2999 and the receiver can be used intuitively even without intensively studying the manual.
In summary, the D-2999, which can be found quite inexpensively on the second hand market at times, is a solid performer and has powerful audio, so it's a useful travel receiver when you go camping. Even as a tabletop receiver it is a suitable entry-level receiver that does not lead to disappointment on the first steps into the shortwave hobby.
Technically, the Philips D-2999 is a double conversion superhet with a high first intermediate frequency of 55 MHz, the mixer signal of 55.164 - 84.999 kHz comes from a stable PLL synthesizer. Via a crystal filter it is then transferred to the second mixer, which will generate the 468 kHz second IF. Here, ceramic filters are used for the final selection, a diode detector is used as AM demodulator, for SSB reception a BFO is used.
The set is solid state.