Panasonic / National Panasonic,
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., Osaka
RF - B 55

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überarbeitet am 21.10.2010

As a late successor of the RF-B45 or the RF-B60, Panasonic brought out their RF-B55 around 1999. The PLL synthesized portable radio tune the shortwave bands from 1711 - 29999 kHz.

Single conversion,

Digital display, resolution 1 kHz


UKW, LW, MW, SW 1,7 - 30 MHz

Selectivity -6 dB/ -60 dB


clock / timer, sleep timer

18 memories SW, 18 memories FM, 9 memories on long- and mediumwaves

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 socket.

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...

© Martin Bösch 19.7.2010