As a late successor of the RF-B65, Panasonic presented their RF-B55 in 1999:
this PLL synthesized single conversion shortwave receiver is powered from
three UM-3 / AA or a center - negative 4,5 V DC power supply, it
comes with a frequency entry keypad, 18 memories for shortwaves and FM and a clock with timer functions.
With a size of 150 x 93 x 33 mm and it's weight of 334 g, the small travel
radio has the dimensions of a small pocket book. Is has a fold out stand and
the back like the similarly sized Sony sets. The telescopic antenna has a flexible
joint and can be moved in vertical position.
The left part of the front panel is taken by the speaker with a diameter of 6 cm.
At the right part, You find the liquid crystal display, the numbered keys for digital
frequency entry, and at the right the main power switch, the fine tuning switch and the
UP / DOWN pushbuttons for tuning.
The LCD panel will display the frequency. In the long- and mediumwave ranges, the set tunes
with 9 kHz channel spacing as commonly used in Europe (this can be changed to 10 kHz with a
small switch at the rear of the set), in the shortwave range in 5 kHz steps;
You also find the shortwave meter band, the memory channel number, symbols for first and second time
area and low battery.
To tune the set to a known frequency, press the FREQ key and
type in the desired frequency with the numbered keys (for FM, You have to use
the decimal), press ENTER to finish frequency entry and the receiver
will be tuned to the desired frequency.
By pressing theSW/METER pushbutton twice and one of the numberes keys, the receiver
will jump to the lower edge of one of the common shortwave bands.
If the receiver is tuned to a certain frequency, this can be stored in one of the 18 memory
channels by pressing the button M, the next unused memory slot
will be used to store the frequency and the indicator will be flashing, use ENTER
to store the frequency. After nine memory channels are used, the receiver will jump
to a next page or memory bank with another nine memories, the memory indicator will
show a P2 and the channel number indicator. After all memories are used, You might press
the M button followed by the a numbered key of the corresponding memory
channel for two seconds to overwrite the existing entry. Select the waveband and press the
same number key later again to recall the station from memory, to access memory
channel numbers 10 - 18, use the P1/P2 key on FM and shortwaves.
By pressing the big buttons TUNING UP or DOWN
, You can tune up or down
from the active frequency in the shortwave band in 5 kHz steps. To tune in smaller
tuning steps of 1 kHz, press the FINE
tuning button. By pressing the
tuning buttons TUNING UP or DOWN
a little bit longer, You enter a scanning
mode stopping at the next active channel with a carrier above
a certain treshold. In the FM, medium- and longwave band, You can use the ATS function
to activate bandscanning and to automatically store the nine stations first found
in the receivers memory.
Some controls are located at the set's right small face of the cabinet:
at the right side the volume control and just below
a small switch to LOCK all pushbuttons, when the set is stored in Your
suitcase. At the left small face, You find an antenna jack, a stereo/mono switch
active in FM mode combined with an attenuator (in position LOCAL) active
in the AM mode. Below, there is an earphone jack and the center - negative 4,5 V DC
As far as I know, the RF-B55 was one of the last "real" shortwave radios made
by panasonic - it's a good performer and gives You everything You expect from
a shortwave travel radio - but no CW / SSB reception. So if You want to follow
some amateur radio traffic or listen to some utility stations, You would rather
look around for a used RF-B65 or one of Sony's '7600 - series radios, both come
with SSB capabilities. But with it's integrated clock / timer, enough memories
and a practical operation scheme, the RF-B55 is a very good companion when travelling
abroad. Get one, if You have the luck to find one second hand for a good prive,
I got mine from a sale at a big discounter when we visited London a few years ago...