Panasonic RF-2400D AM/FM Radio
The Panasonic RF-2400D is an upgrade to the original RF-2400 which had been available since 2015. Externally it is identical to the first version except for the “D” in the model number on the front and rear of the radio. Still available in Silver or Black the RF-2400D has a street price the same as the original at about $30.
The original radio generated lots of interest. After all, Panasonic was one of the most iconic names in portable radios of the past and attained cult status with radios like the RF-2200 and a few others. I don’t think anyone expected this inexpensive radio to have any similarity to the vaunted RF-2200 but still my curiosity got the better of me. I have several vintage Panasonics and just couldn’t resist a new radio with that name on it.
Definitely a no-frills set the Panasonic RF-2400D is a basic AM/FM portable radio with a pleasing retro look and a large slide rule tuning dial. At its price it offers good utility where maximum performance is not needed nor expected. The fact that it has a built-in AC power supply (no external wall wart needed) means it is perfect for a desk or kitchen counter where it can operate for long hours without draining its batteries. It can also run on 4 AA cells for portable use and (usually) the best AM reception, free of noise from the power line.
Controls are basic – an On/Off AM/FM Selector slider, a rotary tuning knob, thumbwheel volume control and a Tune LED. It is a cute little radio with a convenient folding carry handle which also acts as a support to rest the radio at an angle if so desired.
Regarding the updates from the RF-2400 to the RF-2400D one could assume the “D” means DSP…I did not try to confirm nor deny that, but it does tune like a DSP/analog design with discreet steps as you tune. For me the proof of the pudding is to see how this new model performs and how it compares with the original version. So let’s find out!
AM Performance of the original model was better than I thought it would be considering the cost, but the new D version is definitely improved. Where the original model achieved only * in the AM Mega Shootout list this new version achieves **1/2 which is a major improvement. Although it certainly doesn’t attempt to compete with truly sensitive 4 and 5 star AM radios it nevertheless did a credible job when I did my usual midday AM band scans. Even most of the weaker signals were there, albeit with more background noise than on my best radios. I’d have to say that for typical listening the RF-2400D is not bad at all on AM. At night the AM band is full of signals and selectivity is good enough to separate most of them easily. Although this radio is an analog style, it is nevertheless a digitally tuned radio which tunes in steps. As with many other such radios I have seen in the past few years, there are usually false peaks above and/or below the actual frequency but the Tuned LED helps indicate the true peak making tuning a bit easier. And on the positive side, once you find the correct peak you know you are tuned precisely. On the negative side you cannot side tune if needed as you could on a true analog or a more sophisticated digital radio. But again, we must remember this is a $30 radio and at that price it’s hard to fault it.
FM Performance is also improved. The original RF-2400 was plagued by spurious images on FM…weaker ghosts of signals splattered around the dial. These false images sometimes interfered with stations I wanted to hear. Happily, these images are largely absent on the new “D” version and this raises the FM Mega Shootout Rating from ** in the original model to **1/2 in the new. The FM is now good enough for typical situations and I can now recommend this radio for FM as well as AM. The FM is mono only as is the earphone jack so if you plug in stereo earbuds you will get sound out of only one channel. The work around is to either get a 1/8” mini-plug mono to stereo adapter or use a mono earbud.
Sound is OK for this kind of radio and at this price point we don’t get a tone control. While it’s no boombox it sounds alright for casual listening and it sounds better than the similarly-priced shirt pocket radios I’ve reviewed elsewhere. Of course, you can get somewhat better overall performance if you are willing to spend more. There are several radios out there from Sangean, Sony and others between about $40 – $60 and they do perform at a higher level than the Panasonic. See the Sony ICF-506/ICF-19 Review for details on two of those. But at $30 the RF-2400D is a good value and its built-in AC power without the need of an external power adapter is a plus. It’s a neat little box that feels solid, does nothing badly and with the new “D” model the overall performance is good enough that I can now recommend it.