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Satellit 500 international / professional

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überarbeitet am 19.10.2010

As the successor of the Satellit 400, Grundig presented it's Satellit 500 in 1989, it was produced until 1991.
Due to shortwave band restrictions in Germany, the set came in two variants: The Satellit 500 professional with a limited shortwave coverage of 1,6 - 26,1 MHz and thus omitting the CB and the 10m amateur band and the unrestricted Satellit 500 international version with a shortwave coverage vom 1,6 - 30 MHz but ROM table omitted. There has been another even more restricted version, the Satellit 500 Italia covering 148-302 MHz on longwaves and only 3,9-26,1 MHz on shortwaves.

Grundig Satellit 500

Double Conversion, IF 54,5 MHz / 450 kHz

Digital PLL synthesis,
FM, LW, MW, SW (1,6 - 26.1 (prof.) / - 30 MHz (intl.Version)).

AM, AM-Sync, CW/SSB, VHF FM

Sensitivity AM

Selectivity (-6? dB): 3,8 / 6,8 kHz

S-Meter, digital frequency display 1 kHz, direct keypad frequency entry, 42 memories, scanning modes, clock / timer

The Grundig Satellit 500 is based on the Satellit 400 but has been extensively reengineered. It's still a double conversion set featuring a wide range of static memory, scanning and timer operations, it has a completely redesigned LCD display with alphanumeric display of station's names and in the German (i.e. Professional) version a ROM table with 156 frequencies of 40 international shortwave broadcasters permanently stored in a read-only memory segment.

The set's dimensions of 30,4 x 17,8 x 6,6 cm and it's weight of 1,8 kg are similar to the ones of the set's predecessors Satellit 300 / 400. The Satellit 500 can be powered from 4 UM-1 / Mono cells for radio operation, an internal automatically recharged Li-accumulatos keeps the microprocessor, clock and memories alive. The set can be run from NiCd accumulators, these are automatically recharged when the switch in the battery compartment is set to accumulator operation (ACCU) and the set is connected to mains power. The radio can also be powered from 9 - 12 V DC (center positive connector) from an external source or from the external mains power supply NR-90.

At the top edge of the set, You find only a world time chart underneath the carrying handle and the telescopic antenna.

At the left hand of the set, You will find vertical rotary controls for bass and treble, the volume and the electronic lock function of the set, these controls are a great improvement over the slider controls suffering from contact problems found on the older models.

The left half of the front panel is taken by the big speaker grille, this will give You pleasant audio from the set's 1,5 Watt (for music max. 3 W) audio amplifier.
The liquid crystal display has been completely redesigned and gives You an enormous amount of informations. It indicates the time from the internal clocks, the reception frequency with a display resolution of 100 Hz, the alphanumeric station name (or it's abbreviation, as only four letters/digits can be stored) and the shortwave band. In the right upper corner is an indicator whether the narrow or wide bandwidth filter is used and whether the set is switched to upper, lower sideband or synchroneous detection mode. A bar type electronic signal level meter in the left lower corner gives You an idea of signal strength (non-standard 0 - 5 calibration) or battery power.

13 keys are used to switch the set on, to set it in AM or FM mode (FM in VHF band only), they activate mono or stereo reception on the FM band, the wide or narrow bandwidth filter and the synchroneous detection / USB / LSB reception. The MEMORY SCAN keys let You run through the stored frequencies, the SEARCH key will activate a search to the following signal with an adequate signal strength up or down the dial.
A row of key in the middle are used to control the various timer operations, type in a time (using the dot between hours and minutes), press the TIME1 button and release it at the end of the time pips of Your local station to set the clock correctly, You can use TIMEII in the same way e.g. for UTC time. Use the SELECT button to activate timer operations.
The 0 - 9 keys are used for direcly accessing a known shortwave frequency or a memory channel. Press the buttons 6 - 0 - 7 - 5 FREQUENCY/m-BAND to jump to 6075 kHz, the Deutsche Welle channel used in Europe. You might also use 6 - dot - 0 - 7 - 5 - FREQUENCY to do the same. when You enter 8 - 9 - dot - 3, the set will switch to FM and You will hear Your local VHF broadcaster on 89.30 MHz. 4 - 9 - FREQUENCY lets You jump directly into 49 meters shortwave band. Use the other button to access the memory channels.
Use the same keys to store a frequency into one of the radio's 42 memory channels. You can check, whether the frequency You are listening to is already stored by pressing the STORE button. STATxx will indicate the frequency is already present in memory xx, otherwise, You will see HA (manual tuning). To store the frequency, type in the memory channel and press STORE a little longer, use the number keys and MEMORY to recall the frequency later. You can add an alphanumeric 4 letter/digits word to every memory channel: use the A-Z/0-9 key to enter alphanumeric tagging, turn the main tuning knob to select the desired letter, use the A-Z key to select the following letter and use the main tuning knob again. Pressing the A-Z key after all four letters have been entered will save the alphanumeric station tag.

The easiest way to tune the set to a known frequency is to use the direct frequency keypad entry, e.g. type in 6 - 1 - 5 - 5 - FREQUENCY to listen the Austrian Radio on 6155 kHz. You can also use the main tuning knob at the right side of the receiver. The narrow/wide switch lets You select the narrow IF bandwidth in crowded conditions on the shortwave bands, when a nearby station is interfering. You might also try synchroneous detection to retune the receivers passband for about +/- 2,5 kHz to avoid an interfering carrier, or switch to single sideband band and select the sideband with less interference manually using the USB / LSB buttons. The Satellit 500 does not feature automated ECSS reception. There is a less often documented option to improve reception: pressing the mono button and using the main tuning knob allows You to detune the automatic preselection of the set, as soon as You release the mono button and turn the main tuning control, You will find the set switched back to automatic tracking preselection. You can control the RF gain manually using the MGC control (manual gain control) at the right edge of the set.

Try to connect an external antenna in difficult conditions, there is a switch below the coaxial (German DIN45325 standard a bit unusual outside Europe) connector. When using a long external antenna, You might use the attenuator active in the LOCAL setting of the SENS DX/LOC switch.

The German version Satellit 500 Professional comes with the ROM table activated. In an otherwise unused segment of the processors memory, Grundig has frequencies from 40 shortwave broadcasters permanently stored in the ROM memory. To access these permanently stored frequencies use the MEMORY recall button on channels with a leading zero. E.g. 0 - 1 - MEMORY will give You access to Deutsche Welle channels, 0 - 2 - 7 to the BBC London channels. You can switch between the stations using the MEMORY SCAN buttons and select from a number of different frequencies from each broadcaster using the SEARCH button. So press 0 - 1 - 7 - MEMORY for Radio RSA and cycle through the stored channels of Radio South Africa 5980 / 11900 / 15240 kHz using the SEARCH button. As in the last 25 years very many of the internal shortwave broadcasters have left the bands, this feature is not useful anymore today, but it will remind You those old times listening to Radio RSA or Radio Berlin International on 6115 kHz (GDR still existed in 1989, when the set was introduced, believe me...)

There is a undocumented option with the so-called "Test-Mode". When the set is switched off, press the buttons 0 - 5 - 0 - 2 - 5 - 1 - STORE and the Satellit 500 will display the Version (PROF / ITAL / INT), press SELECT for example to activate all segments of the LCD display or STORE to display the diodes present, these diodes determine the Version of the set.
A Satellit Professional will display - 1 1 1 (Diode B3 -, B2 present, B1 present, B0 present), a Satellit International - 0 0 1 (only B0 present), the Italia version - 0 1 0 (only B1 present). There is the possibility to modify the set to use the rom table or to have access to the entire shortwave range. You should locate the diodes D506-508 on the right lower corner of the main PCB board, diode D506 is the right one of the three diodes. Open the circuit of this diode to have access to the shortwave spectrum up to 30 MHz, close D508 (the left one) to activate the ROM table in the International Version. Make sure, You know what You are doing and read the service manual carefully to locate the diodes, otherwise You might ruin Your set and You will have lost Your warranty (in fact, this is not a big problem, as the Warranty will have expired anyway and Grundig is not active in the shortwave radio business in Europa anymore).

In summary, the microprocessor controlled Satellit 500 is a slightly bulky portable shortwave receiver offering You very very much of what You would expect from a decent shortwave portable. It's performance is very reliable, You find a good rejection of unwanted intermodulation products and spurious signals due to it's double conversion design, and the great audio. The set is not really common but can be found on the used market, usually a bit cheaper then the Satellit 700 offering You automated synchroneous detection and a RDS station identification active on FM.

further reading:
d: Die Grundig Satellit - Story, H.-E.Roeder, Siebel-Verlag 1997, ISBN 3-89632-020-3
d: Testbericht Grundig Satellit 500, wwh 3/1989
e: model page at www.radiomuseum.org
e: Modifications for complete shortwave band coverage: http://www.geocities.com/grundigradioboy/sat500faq.htm#rom

© Martin Bösch 15.6.2008