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Satellit 3400 professional

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überarbeitet am 19.10.2010

In 1978, Grundig improved the design of it's flagship Satellit 3000, the Satellit 3400 was technically nearly identical and was sold until 1984.
The receiver design of a conventional multiband receiver circuitry with a turret tuner arrangement remained the same, the mains power supply, the BFO section and finally the frequency counter have been integrated in the samt cabinet, the quartz clock was a simple plug in model not able to control the receiver in timer modes.

Grundig Satellit 3400

Double Conversion, 1st IF 2 MHz, 2nd IF 460 kHz

Digital display, VHF, LW, MW, SW1, SW2, SW3-10 (5-30 MHz)

AM, SSB(BFO), FM (UKW)

Sensitivity

Selectivity (-3 dB) 2,4 / 6 kHz

S-meter, AGC, 6 FM presets

The Satellit 3400 is - like it's predecessors - a large format travel portable world band radio. With it's dimensions of 50 x 29 x 12 cm, the set is in fact too large to be carried around on airplane trips, and it's weight of 8,9 kg will make up one third of the tolerated maximum weight of Your suitcase when going on a plane. But the Grundig is a an absolute classic home shortwave radio with superior reproduction of FM broadcasts.

Three front panel is divided in three parts.
At the left, You find the big speaker, an additional tweeter speaker can be activated, when reception conditions are favourable.
In the middle segment, You find the S-meter calibrated from 0 - 10 and not in standard S units, next to it the switches to activate the AFC on FM and to set the meter for battery control. Underneath, You find the removable quartz clock, it's powered by two separate SR44 cells and is designed only to display the time, it won't act as a timer to operate the radio. Next to the clock, You find the antenna tuner and the IF bandwidth control. Just below, You find the large red LED frequency counter display, the switch for continuous coverage and bandspread next to it.
In the right part of the front panel, You find the three dials and the corresponding tuning knobs, there is no flywheel tuning or switchable fine tuning gear. The top dial is the VHF / FM dial calibrated in MHz and in FM channels. The middle one is the long-, medium- & SW1 / SW2 dial, all these band segments are without bandspread and the receiver is working in single conversion mode. The bottom one is the shortwave bands dial for the bands switched by the turret tuner. In the SW3-10 bands, there is the "Range" position of the bandspread switch, which gives the set continuous coverage over the entire shortwave spectrum with a small overlap from one segment to another. In the "Band" position, the major broadcast band in the respective segment is spread over the whole dial length, this is the only possibility of fine tuning found in the Satellit 3400 - tuning in a SSB station is a bit cumbersome and the accuracy of the digital frequency counter with a resolution of 1 kHz is not sufficient for tuning in radio teletype signals.
In the bottom part of the front panel. You find a long row of controls and switches. These are from left to right: the volume, bass and treble controls (keep in mind, that the reproduction quality of the audio stage of the Satellit 3400 is far above average), the main power, dial lamp, tweeter speaker and frequency counter switches, the switches for BFO and noise limiter. A rotary control sets the receiver from automatic gain control to MVC to manually control the RF gain. The next switch lets You choose the sideband when the BFO is activated, the switch layout seems a bit odd, when the set is switched to USB in SW1 / SW2 ranges, it's set to LSB in SW3-10 ranges. This arrangement is typical for some older Satellit radios. The next knob controls the BFO pitch, as one would expect...
The pushbuttons for band segment switching are found on top front of the set, there are also six pushbuttons to select one of the FM presets. The FM frequencies are selected with tiny potentiometers at the rear of the radio, the frequency stability is less then optimum. The switch activating the turret tuner and switching the eight shortwave bands is situated at the right side of the radio.

Operating the Satellit 3400 is uncomplicated. When the radio is switched on, You choose the band segment from the row of pushbuttons at the top of the radio. Select SW3-10 to activate the turret tuner and turn the big knob at the right side until the 49m band is displayed in the dial window, make sure, the bandspread switch is in "Band" position. In this positionm, the 49m broadcast band is spread over the whole dial length and it's not difficult to find the correct position for 6075 kHz. But it's much easier to activate the frequency counter, until thr 6 0 7 5 is displayed, then You are sure, that Deutsche Welle is correctly tuned in. For tuning out of band frequencies, You have to switch to "Range" position, but fine tuning is not made easy.
In case of adjacent channel interference, select the narrow IF bandwidth. The HF bandwidths in the middle and broad positions are identical, but in the middle and narrow positions, an additional narrow band audio filtering circuit is activated.
In the longtwave up to tropical band sections, the Satellit 3400 is switched for single conversion: the set is sensitive to intermodulation and crossmodulation effects, I still remember the disappointement, when the spanish speaking tropical band station turned out not to be from South America, but from the Spanish language section of the Voice of Russia. The rejection of unwanted signals is better in the SW3-10 bands when the set operates in double conversion mode. The sensitivity is inferior to the one found in ham and communications receivers, the selectivity is also not equal to the oone found in sets equipped with mechanical IF filters. The receiver with it's analog frequency synthesis turns out to be quite instable, it will wander awaya few kHz when warming up and is not stable enough for automated CW decoding or radio teletype reception.
The FM section is superb, designed for European setting with very narrow channel spacing and comes with excellent sensitivity - I still consider the Satellit 3400 os one of the best sets for FM DXing. Of course, the AFC can be switched off when trying to catch a poor signal located next to a powerhouse station on the dial.

Nowadays, the Satellit 3400 is considered as a classic shortwave set which will proudly represent the technology of the early eighties and can be used for pleasant shortwave listening of the major international broadcasters. It's FM reproduction is excellent, if You plan to listen regularly to a distant FM signal from Your former home town's local station, then this is the set to go for. CW, amateur radio and RTTY fans as well as tropical band enthousiasts should avoid this set, for quite a while I read the tropical band logs in shortwave magazines and was wondering, why I had problems logging these stations (finally, I got an Icom R-70...).

When acquiring a second Satellit 3400 or doing some restauration work, there are some weaknesses of this receiver: usually the contacts of the pushbuttons at the top of the set get bad after some years of use, these can be cleaned using some tuner spray. Be careful, some detergents (as in WD40) will attack the dial windows and make them opaque. The gold plated contacts of the turret tuner may also loose contact and need cleaning, sometimes a brush with glas fibres will be found useful for this. Quite often the IF bandswitch is faulty, this will cause a significant drop in signal strength and receiver sensitivity, the switch is connected to a plastic bar activating the actual switch on the PCB, so it's useless to float the hole of the bandwidth switch in the front panel with contact cleaner! The bandspread switch is also a suspect, when a set shows inferior sensitivity.
And finally: the clock is only a clock, there is no secret option to set it to timer mode, as there is none. I hardly couldn't believe that, when I bought my Satellit 3400 - but in the end I did believe those operating instructions.
Beside Sony's ICF-6800W, there are not many sets needing so much contact cleaning to make them operational as this venerable Grundig set.

weitere Lektüre:
d: Die Grundig Satellit - Story, H.-E.Roeder, Siebel-Verlag 1997, ISBN 3-89632-020-3

© Martin Bösch 7.6.2008