Grundig Yacht Boy 500
Manufactured by Grundig, Fürth.
Grundig intended to sell their world band receivers from the Satellit series to people living abroad who wanted to stay in contact with their home country as well as to short wave listeners, who like to tune in to signals from many different countries. For taking the set abroad on holiday trips, the Grundig Satellit double conversion receivers were usually much too bulky.
As an alternative to these heavyweight sets, Grundig introduced a series of much smaller lightweight travel portables, the Yacht Boy series. These single conversion superhets with several shortwave bands on a linear bandspread dial were predecessors of many successful travel radios.
The Grundig Satellit 500 was one of the last Grundig sets produced in Portugal, it features a PLL synthesizer circuit, alphanumerical memory channel designations and a FM tuner capable to decode RDS (radio data system) signals to display the station name or the name of song played…
- Frequency range: VHF, LW, MW, 6 x SW (1.6 - 30 MHz)
- Signal strength indicator: LCD bar
- Sensitivity: AM (A3) / Selectivity: kHz (-6/-60 dB)
- Mains operation: 220 V with mains adapter NR 90-1
- 113 x 186 x 41 mm, weight 0.56 kg
The Grundig Yacht Boy 500 has a unique design, it might remember you to a walkie-talkie, the Sony AIR-7 designers probably had a similar design idea. The anthracite coloured plastic cabinet measures 110 x 185 x 40 mm and the set has a weight of 560 g, the radio is likely to fall over when its standing on the small feet at the bottom of the cabinet, or when the fragile plastic tilt stand is used, it's better to have it tilted using a homemade or an acrylic tool stand.
Because of the extravagant design and the fact that all important controls are located at the upper half of the front panel, you will most often have to use both your hands to operate the set and then put it back to listen… I would stay away from using the light button and the timer snooze button at the upper face of the set in an unlighted hotel bedroom, your radio will most proably end tumbling on the floor.
The telescopic antenna is mounted at the bottom of the right face and can be tilted to the rear; when you drop the set, you will almost surely damage the antenna - why did Grundig construct such a fragile travel radio…? An internal antenna that could be pushed down into the cabinet, when not in use, would have a longer lifespan.
In the upper part of the frontpanel, you find the backlit multifunctional LCD display; the frequency, signal strength (in three steps) and the time are displayed continuously. When you press the FM button, the RDS identification will be displayed, when are tuned to an FM transmitter with coded information.
Below the frequency display, the pushbuttons 0 to 9 for direct frequency entry and memory recall are located. The number 5 button is marked for visually disabled listener. I a vertical row at the right of the numbered keys, you find the pushbuttons for FM, AM, TUNE up and down. The volume control is a small slide control, You will have to grasp the set with botch hands to operate this without dropping the radio.
The speaker is located in the lower part of the front panel, you can switch the tone from MUSIC to SPEECH and with the button BOOST, you can increase the audio output power when the set is powered from the external mains power supply.
Small round pushbuttons at the right of the frontpanel activate the LOCK function, the SLEEP and TIMER modes, mono/stereo mode for FM reception, upper and lower sideband for SSB reception and MEMORY / alphanumeric TAGGING functions.
At the left face of the cabinet, you find the sockets for the center - positive 9V power supply, headphones and line out; at the rear the battery compartment for six UM-3 / AA batteries.
The set is switched on by pressing the OFF/ON button, at least as long as the set is not in locked mode.
Use the AM button to receive stations in the AM bands from long- to shortwaves, key in the frequencies and press the AM button again to set the receiver to the desired frequency. You can use the UP/DOWN buttons to move to a frequency higher or lower in the band. The 0/ROM button activates the ROM table with 96 frequencies of the major international broadcasters permanently stored in the receivers ROM: this table is nowadays mostly useless as very many international shortwave broadcasters ceased operation. Press the LSB/USB button for single sideband reception, to change to USB press the button again and for AM a third time; use the „fine tuning“ thumbwheel to tune for zero beat.
Press the FM button for reception of the VHF / FM broadcast band, you can enter frequencies using the numbered keys. If the FM station transmits an RDS identification, this will be displayed instead of the frequency. You can use the FM/RDS AF (alternative frequency) to seek for an alternative transmitter with the same program with better signal strength. The RDS coder needs a certain signal level and seems not to be too sensitive, but the RDS capability is an enormous help when you travel to a foreign country or city and want to make a bandscan of the available FM frequencies. It has never been so easy to identify the local FM station with the weather forecast after having arrived at a new location for holidays.
The sensitivity of the receiver seems not to be overwhelming, Sony's ICF-2001D remains unsurpassed. But the sensitivity of the Yacht Boy 500 is good enough to catch the signals of the international shortwave broadcasters and some tropical band and ham radio stations. I rate selectivity also also as only fair - good, but the receiver tunes in 1 kHz steps and has a fine tuning control to slightly detune to a higher or lower frequency to avoid interference from a stations on an adjacent channel - what a contrast to the cheepish Chinese PLL sets with their 5 kHz tuning steps.
In conclusion, the Yacht Boy 500 is not the smallest travel portable in size, but it has a good audio reproduction even for outside listening and has the very convincing RDS stations identification capabilities, it tunes the complete shortwave band even in SSB modes and comes with a clock / timer to wake you up - exactly what is needed for a travel radio.
If You can locate a Yacht Boy 500 at a amateur radio fair or an online auction for a good price, get one - it's a radio with quite unique features.
Double conversion with PLL frequency synthesis.
The unit is solid state.