Grundig Satellit 3400
Manufactured by Grundig, Fürth.
With the Grundig Satellit 3000 Digital, Grundig launched the first world band receiver with a digital frequency counter in 1977; a frequency counter and a BFO for SSB reception was added to the predecessor set Satellit 2100. In the following year, the receiver was cosmetically revised and remained the flagship of Grundig's shortwave receiver range until 1982.
- Mains operation: 110, 220 V
- 520 x 320 x 140 mm, weight 8.9 kg
The Satellit 3400 was Grundig's heaviest and largest shortwave receiver with its dimensions of 52 x 32 x 14 cm and its weight of 8.9 kg, even without the six UM-1 batteries required for battery operation. The sturdy carrying handle on the top and the protective brackets on both sides in the style of commercial marine radio receivers express the sets portability. In addition to mains operation from 110 or 220 V, operation from a rechargeable accumulator pack was also provided.
The front panel is divided into three parts. On the left is the large loudspeaker, a tweeter can be switched on if reception conditions are good.
The three fields in the middle contain, one above another, the large field strength meter, which unfortunately is not calibrated in S-steps. It seems quite unsensitive, very high signal levels are necessary for a maximum or even medium meter deflection.
In the middle field the digital clock, the antenna trimmer for external antennas and the triple bandwidth switch is located. The entire quartz clock, which is powered by two separate button cells, can be levered out of the cabinet with a pointed object; the clock displays the time and alternatively the date; unfortunately, there is no timer function.
In the bottom field, you find the digital display of the frequency counter and the general coverage ↔ bandspread switch. The red digits of the frequency display, which are somewhat dark in bright daylight, indicate the frequency with an accuracy of 1 kHz in the AM ranges and 10 kHz in the FM broadcast band. To save precious battery power and to avoid birdies caused by the counter electronics, the frequency display can also be switched off.
At the right part of the front panel, the three illuminated dials for VHF, for the LW / MW / tropical band ranges and for the turret tuner with the spread shortwave ranges K3-K10 are arranged one above another with the respective tuning knobs.
For the higher frequencies from 5.5 up to 30 MHz, ten subranges are selected with a rugged rotary switch on the right side of the set. For each range of the turret tuner, a general coverage range, e.g. 8.2 - 10.6 MHz, with a coarse dial is displayed at the top, and below it the dial of the spread broadcast band from the corresponding subrange, in this example the range 9.5 - 10 MHz. The switch for BAND for the bandspread dial and RANGE for the general coverage dial are located at the left of the turret tuner dial window.
In the bottom row of switches, from the left you find the headphone jack, the volume and tone controls, the main switch, switches for dial illumination, tweeter and the frequency counter. Further right are the switches for the BFO for single sideband mode, the noise limiter, the RF gain control, the sideband selector and the BFO pitch control.
On the top face, there is a large push-button unit. With the pushbuttons the ranges are selected, and the FM 1-6 buttons are used to select 6 FM stations preset by spiral potentiometers on the back of the radio. The push button unit tends to fail because of dust or corrosion, a common problem with the Satellit 3000 / 3400.
The operation of the Grundig Satellit 3000 is uncomplicated. After the set is turned on, the frequency range is selected with the push buttons. The shortwave bands covering the international broadcast bands are selected with the turret tuner, so the position SW3-10 is the correct one. With the big rotary switch on the left side of the unit, the 49 m broadcast band is selected, if the switch is in position BAND, the 49 m band is spread over the whole dial length, the frequency 6155 kHz can tuned easily, and soon you will hear the Austrian external service from Vienna. For general coverage operation, the switch can be set to RANGE, the tuning knob must be operated carefully. In case of adjacent channel interference, the toggle switch next to the digital clock can be used to switch to the medium or narrow IF filter.
In terms of performance, the Grundig Satellit 3400 does not have travel portables but tabletop receivers as competitors and occupies a position midfield. Technically, the set with the turret tuner & digital frequency counter even in the mid-eighties was not the latest state of the art, then the first PLL synthesized sets appeared.
With the single conversion circuit in the lower frequency ranges, the sensitivity is mediocre, the narrow IF filter makes a good impression, but the many mirror frequencies are a problem, so the spanish evening programme from Moscow appears in the 90 m - where you expect an unidentified Bolivian local station. The mirror frequency rejection is much better in the shortwave ranges 3-10, where the Sat 3400 operates as a double conversion receiver. In these ranges, thanks to the band spread, tuning os not so sensitive.
The sensitivity of the built-in telescopic antenna is average, but reception of international stations and „basic DX“ is possible. The single sideband reception by means of a BFO allows the reception of maritime and amateur radio stations. For ECSS reception (the original carrier of an AM signal is replaced in the receiver by the BFO carrier) and for the reception of radio teletype (FSK) and fax stations, the frequency stability is not sufficient.
What I liked best about the Grundig Satellit 3400 was the VHF reception. Besides an excellent selectivity tailored to European conditions with a crowded FM broadcast band with high signal strengths, the receiver also has a very high sensitivity. Other Japanese world band receivers produced only background hiss or even the strong local station transmitting 1 MHz further down from the speaker. Even today, the Satellit radios of the 3xxx series are among the sets with the best sensitivity and selectivity and a choice for VHF DXing, the AFC can be switched off.
In summary, the Grundig Satellit 3000 is still a usable receiver. Its role in the 21st century is best described as a secondary radio for casual listening to the major shortwave broadcasters are to distant Fm stations. For FM broadcast band DXing the Satellit 3000 is still among the sets of first choice in my eyes.
The sets can be found on the second hand market from time to time, check the function of the band range selectors, the turret tuner and the sensitive IF bandwidth selector which tends to have contact problems. Quite often, the switches in the buttom row are broken. And don't try to find out how to use the digital clock in timer mode to automatically switch on the set, there is no eletric connection between the clock and the receiver and electronic timer mode was only possible in the shortwave listeners dreams in the late seventies.
In the shortwave ranges 3-10, the antenna signal first has to pass a preamplifier equipped with a dual-gate MOS-FET and is converted to the quite low intermediate frequency of 2 kHz in the first mixer. A crystal filter is used as the first IF filter. In the second mixer, the signal is converted to the second IF of 460 kHz, this is fed through the bank of IF filters. The Satellit 3400 has three switchable bandwidths; in the narrow and wide positions, two filters with a bandwidth of 2.5 and 7.2 kHz (-6 dB), are used. In the super-wide position, there is no third IF filter, but the AF frequency response is not cut. From the wider frequency spectrum, strong transmitters without interference give almost hi-fi sound. After that, the BFO oscillator signal of 461 kHz for USB or 459 kHz for LSB reception is mixed. After the diode demodulator and the noise limiter, the AF signal is fed to the power amplifier in a way typical for the Grundig set. With mains operation, the Satellit 3400 has 3.8 Watt output power and a tweeter can be activated in FM mode.
For the frequency display, the oscillator frequency from the first mixer fed via a separator stage to a frequency counter, which, due to its reference oscillator can cause an interference every 320 kHz and also in the FM range at 87.5 and 103 MHz. The counter can be switched off to receive weak signals on the affected frequencies.
The set is equipped with semiconductors.