National Panasonic RF-799 LBS
Manufactured by National Panasonic.
As a competitor to Sony's legendary ICF-2001, Panasonic launched its RF-799LBS, a PLL synthesized receiver in portable radio format, around 1984. The set was no commercial success, as the Sony with its double superheterodyne circuitry outperformed it at a lower price.
- 275 x 160 x 58 mm, weight 1.8 kg
The RF-799 is a compact travel receiver with the dimensions of 27.5 x 16 x 5.8 cm and a weight of 1.8 kg with the integrated power supply unit.
The receiver can be operated from 110-127 resp. 220-240 V mains power or from 4 UM-2 batteries, another two UM-3 / „AA“ batteries are needed to keep the memory content and the time. The receiver can be set up at an angle with its folding carrying handle, it is somewhat comparable to the dimensions of the ICF-2001.
The left half of the front panel is taken up by the speaker grill with the 7.5 cm diameter speaker.
The right half of the front panel is taken by the large illuminated LCD frequency display; below it the 0-9 keypad for direct frequency entry, UP/FAST/DOWN tuning keys, pushbuttons for the four band ranges and three slide switches that serve as main switch, as LOCK against unintentional detuning and as alarm function switch. Another four buttons activate the display and alarm clock and sleep timer functions.
On the left face of the radio, you find the socket for the detachable mains cable and the voltage switch. On the right face, there are two knobs for volume and tone control, a switch for the 9/10 kHz medium-wave tuning steps and 3.5 mm jacks for headphones and tape output.
The operation is uncomplicated: The radio is switched on with the slide switch OFF/AUTO - ON, the desired frequency band is selected by pressing a band key, SW selects short wave. With the keys DIRECT - 6 - . - 1 - 5 - 5 the receiver is tuned to RÖI Vienna on 6155 kHz, with the UP/DOWN keys you can tune in the frequency band. Be careful that the entered frequency does not exceed the band limits of the shortwave bands indicated below the display, the RF-799LBS cannot tune out-of-band frequencies. The only tuning indicator is a red LED, but since the set can only be tuned in the 5 KHz channel spacing and is not capable to demodulate SSB emissions, to do without a real S-meter is not a problem.
As a single conversion superhet, the set is sensitive to mirror frequencies, it does not have a BFO for SSB or CW reception and it also lacks selectable bandwidths. For travel use, however, the coverage of the VHF range is very useful.
In summary, the RF-799LBS is a portable travel receiver based on PLL technology, which was surpassed by the Sony ICF-2001 due to its superior technology (double vs. single conversion design) and lower catalogue price already at the time of its introduction; it is a collector's item rarely found on the used market.
The set, which has a good audio, performs well in the shortwave broadcast bands and can be used as a backup set for the kitchen or workshop, but it is miles away from the requirements of a „DX machine“. Amateur radio transmissions are not demodulated because the set is not capable of single sideband reception.
The set is equipped with semiconductors.