National Panasonic RF-8000
Manufactured by National Panasonic.
The Panasonic RF-8000 is one of Panasonic's „big ones“, in terms of price and weight it had even eclipsed the legendary Sony CRF-320.
- 510 x 360 x 210 mm, weight 21 kg
The RF-8000 is a portable world band receiver of impressive dimensions, the dimensions of 51 x 36 x 21 cm and its weight of 21 kg make it „portable“ only to a very limited extent, the set is best carried in the car with both hands on the carrying handle…
The receiver can be powered from 100/120 or 220/240 V mains voltage or from eight UM-1 batteries, but the latter will be exhausted soon.
In the upper part of the front panel, the analogue S-meter, the two dials of the turret tuner, depending on the selected band one or the other dial is active, and on the right the touch keys for band selection.
The receiver covers the following ranges: LW 150-400 kHz, MW 520-1610 kHz, the tropical band ranges MB1 and MB2 with 1.5-3 / 3-5.5 MHz, the shortwave ranges SW1-SW12 with 5.5-6.5 / 7-8 / 9-10 / 11.5-12, 5 / 14-15 / 15-16 / 17.5-18.5 / 21-22 / 25.5-26.5 / 26.5-27.5 / 28-29 / 29-30 MHz as well as the VHF ranges 30-40 / 40-55 / 55-76 / 76-90 / 88-108 / 108-136 / 136-176 and 176-230 MHz.
After pressing the pushbutton of the respective frequency range, the turret tuner is moved to the corresponding band by motor. Tuning is then done conventionally with the large TUNING knob. The receiver does not have any station memories (what one might have assumed in view of the many pushbuttons).
In the middle part of the front panel, you find the analogue clock, which can be used as a timer to switch on the receiver at a given time, the main switch and the loudness control, the rotary controls for bass, treble, the quelch and the large volume control as well as the main tuning knob.
To the right of the tuning knob are the switches for the crystal calibrator and dial calibration (the dial pointer is moved mechanically), the RF gain and the AM/SSB switch with the BFO pitch control in the middle.
Just below is a row of toggle switches for the noise limiter, the two IF bandwidths, the AFC and the AM/FM switch.
The lowest part of the front panel is taken up by the speaker grille and the headphone jacks.
In the tradition of many older world band receivers, the Panasonic RF-8000 has various antennas: Telescopic antennas for shortwave and VHF/ FM reception and a rotable frame antenna for shortwaves.
The operation is quite uncomplicated: The small power switch turns on the receiver, the SW1 pushbutton selects, for example, the 49 m - shortwave band and the turret tuner is rotated automatically until the selected band is displayed in the dial window, a small red LED at the left of the two dials signals the active one. Use the main tuning knob to tune in the old-fashioned way and search for the signal of the Austrian Radio slightly between the 6.1 and 6.2 MHz marks. To receive an AM station, the MODE switch has to be set to AM, the BFO should be turned off (AM MODE position) and the MGC control should be set to maximum at the right stop. Now you should be able to hear the signal from Vienna.
In addition to the FM broadcast band and the aeronautical communications band, the receiver also covers other VHF ranges. The analogue TV signal and the analogue signals of the police, fire brigade and commercial services have disappeared in the meantime, so the fascination of receiving the „forbidden“ frequencies has almost gone today. The then illegal coverage of the VHF ranges is probably the reason for the low sales figures in Germany and Switzerland, the extremely high catalogue price and the fact, that the sets apparently had to be delivered on order from Japan are other reasons.
As an analogue receiver, the RF-8000 with its excellent manufacturing quality still gives a good impression today. At the time of its introduction, the set was extremely expensive and was probably only purchased by wealthy shortwave enthusiasts - DXers looking for a receiver designed for maximum intelligibility of an extremely weak signal, usually did not open their wallets for the Panasonic RF-8000, as sets with digital frequency display, high quality IF filters, SSB product detector, notch filter and passband tuning were available for the same amount or even cheaper - an audiophile listener, deterred by an overly technical appearance, could rather decide to buy a Panasonic RF-8000.
From today's point of view, the receiver concept is outdated, the receiver has a relatively low first IF, it does not cover off-band shortwave frequencies and it lacks many features to improve the intelligibility of a disturbed signal. The outside of the carrying case has become brittle in my set, the black shiny surface is crumbling away. Another problem are the contacts of the turret tuner, in contrast to the Grundig Satellit 3400, you cannot jiggle the turret tuner back and forth to find an optimal contact point, the drum tuner is operated by a motor and locks in one position.
So the Panasonic RF-8000 is an imposing collector's set with an impressive appearance, in terms of reception, the competitor at that time, the Sony CRF-320, performs much better on shortwaves. For DX reception, I would prefer a used NRD-535 any time, but in view of the eBay prices, an NRD-545, which plays in a completely different league of reception quality thanks to its DSP technology, would probably have a similar price tag.
Double conversion superheterodyne with low intermediate frequency.
The set is equipped with semiconductors.