RP 8880

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RP 8880
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überarbeitet am 22.7.2010

double conversion, 10.7 MHz / 455 kHz

analog dial, ca. +/- 5 kHz


LW, MW, KW 1.6 - 30 MHz, FM broadcast band

selectivity -6 dB/ -50 dB
AM 6.0 / 15 and 7.0 / 18 kHz

sensitivity5 MHz
AM 3,1 uV


As Rainer Lichte stated in his test report thirty years ago: "The receiver we had in our disposition for testing purposes has been misaligned and in a poor state...", the same happened to me with several Sanyo RP-8880, I could buy on the used market. All three receivers, I could lay hands on, did not operate properly - with contact cleaning, I managed to reactivate the long- and mediumwave ranges...
Most of the switches showed poor contacts, the mechanical stability of the chassis is quite poor so when aktivating one switch, this affected e.g. contact of the bandwidth switch and deteriorated sensitivity. So I would recommend to test a set thoroughly before you spend more then a few Euros on it...

The receiver has a very impressive external appearence with it's metal frontpanel protecting handles, the carrying handle and the rotary ferrite antenna (which cannot be switched off) and the two telescopic antennas. The RP-8880's dimensions are 48 x 24 x 15 cm and it's weight 4,5 kg.

At the left side of the front panel, you find the dial illumination and main power switch above the large speaker. In a vertical panel at it's right, you find the switches for the AFC and meter function, the high quality rotary volume control and the sliding controls for bass and treble which tend to give poor contact and often need cleaning.
In the middle of the right front panel area, you find the coarse frequency dials for longwaves, mediumwaves and the marine band as well as the FM broadcast band at the left and the dial with the five shortwave bands at the right of the signal strength meter. The tuning knobs are located below the dials, the big knob in the middle with - 30 kHz to + 130 kHz markings is the fine tuning knob of the VFO. In a similar tuning arrangement as found in the Panasonic RF-2200 or the Sony ICF-5900W, you can tune the receiver to a known frequency with quite a good accuracy (if the radio is properly aligned). The BAND SELECTOR in the middle lets you select the bands on the left or right frequency dial.
In a second vertical panel of controls at the right side, you find the switch for the crystal calibrator, the rotary controls for antenna tuning and RF gain, wich shoul be in the maximum position under standard reception conditions. The BFO switch activates the BFO for CW and single sideband reception, use the the BFO pitch control below to adjust the pitch of the morse code signals. The bandwidth switch NARROW/WIDE is another switch which has a tendency to fail and give poor contact, clean the contacts when you hear a crackling noise when touching this control.

On the left small face of the cabinet, you find the socket for the mains cable and a 12 V DC connector, at the rear face the battery compartment for eight UM-1 batteries, the DIN tape recorder connector and the antenna and earth terminals.

The RP-8880 is a double conversion set in the shortwave ranges, the two standard intermediate frequencies of 10,7 and 455 kHz make the set cheaper as Sanyo could use standard components of Am radios and could make double use of the VHF 10,7 MHz intermediate frequency. Due to this i.f., there is a reception gap between the shortwave bands 2300 - 5950 / 5950 - 6200 / 6200 - 10000 kHz and 11700 - 20000 / 20000 - 30000 kHz. In the longwave / mediumwave / marine band ranges, the RP-8880 acts as single conversion receiver. The crystal calibrator is based on a 4 kHz oscillator with a frequency divider for 1 MHZ, 0,1 MHz and 10 kHz.

The operating scheme in the LW / MW / MB ranges is uncomplicated, but in the shortwave ranges, the tuning arrangement is really awkward - in the RP-8880, Sanyo has used a combination of a crystal calibrator with a calibrated VFO used as fine tuning control:
To use the radio, pull out the telescopic antenna, connect to mains and turn on the main power switch, set the volume to 4, until you hear a sligh hiss from the speaker. For reception in the AM mode, the RF gain should be set most clockwise to maximum, bandwidth to WIDE and the BFO turned OFF.
To receive a signal in the 49 meter broadcast band, select the right group of shortwave ranges and SW2, the spread 49 m band. To tune the radio to a known frequency, set the fine tuning dial to zero, activate the crystal calibrator in the 100 kHz position and tune with the main tuning knob the the next lower 100 kHz point on the coarse frequency dial, e.g. to 6,1 MHZ for 6155 kHz. Then set the BAND SPREAD DIAL to 55 (kHz) and you should be able to hear the signal coming from Vienna on 6155 kHz. You might even fine tune the receiver between two 10 kHz points with the 10 kHz position of the crystal calibrator, which is quite useless in most situations. The major problem is that the 100 kHz points are located at very close distance in the higher frequency bands and it's nearly impossible to assign the correct calibrator signal to the corresponding 100 kHz point on the coarse dial.
RP-8880 dials
And another deficiency is the fact that it's nearly impossible to determine the correct frequency of an unknown station, you have to interpolate between frequencies of well known stations...

In summary: The Sanyo RP-8880 with it's quirky tuning arrangement with a VFO and crystal calibrator is technically outdated from today's point of view, in can be tuned with acceptable accuracy only in the low frequency segments of the shortwave spectrum, specially in the spread 49 m shortwave broadcast band. Frequency stability is poor, as well as skirt selectivity of the ceramic i.f. filters. The production quality of the receiver has obviously been quie poor and the radio was not that cheap, so there have been several competing offers of better sets from other brands - Sanyo never managed to become a large scale manufacturer of world band shortwave receivers.
For me, the RP-8880 is a technical challenge and a extra - ordinary radio in my shortwave receiver collection, I strongly advice You to test a receiver thoroughly and get familiar with it's tuning scheme if You want to spend more then some pocketmoney for it. Today, a RP-8880 is not that "top of the pops" world band receiver it might look like and - I dare to say - never was.

© Martin Bösch, 30.12.2010