I recently encountered the Chinese Tecsun 2p3 AM radio kit, and just had to get one for myself. It’s a basic transistor radio, in a very nice semi-retro case. I picked it up online for around $25 or so.
Inside the box is a nice clear container with all of the parts. For scale, I’ve included an Altoids tin in this photo, and a semi-comparable radio, a Sony ICF-S10mk2.
Any rational person values their time would probably choose the Sony radio over the Tecsun, if they want the best radio for the least cost in money and effort. The Sony is both AM and FM, and is a very nice performer on AM. The Tecsun is AM-only. The two radios are very similar in size, and both run off of two AA cells. Eventually I’ll have a shootout of the receiver performances, but I’m not expecting a huge difference one way or the other. The two radios are comparable in price. I bought my Sony a few years ago for around $20. This model is currently selling for more, but it’s been superseded by a newer model, the ICFP26, which is still around $20.
So why choose the Tecsun? Because I enjoy building kits. It’s therapeutic. It’s fun entertainment. Sometimes I learn something, especially if it doesn’t work right the first time. Kit building, especially this sort of kit building where I end up with a product that is comparable to something that can be purchased commercially for less money, is all about the journey, not the destination.
Stay tuned over the coming blog episodes as I journey through the process of building this radio.