Is there anything more fun than listening to E Skip? Or staying up all night logging long haul tropo, or going to bed at 4am and getting up for work at 8?


The Onkyo T450-RDS Tuner





Nowhere on the internet have I seen a review of this tuner, so here is mine. I'm on my second 450.

What's inside this tuner? Not much. There's a power supply, LCD display and a motherboard, and not a very large motherboard either. The tuner is not heavy.

On the outside front panel there is plenty to look at. From left to right you will find:

a) Power switch
b) Display button (press this to see any radiotext being transmitted).
c) Character button (I have no idea).
d) A group of four buttons. The two top buttons are for RDS. The left shows PS code, PTY and AF;
the right is a scan button for RDS. The bottom two are FM and AM selection.
e) LCD Display with six class buttons beneath marked A through F.
f) Keypad with numbers one through zero. A direct/del button. A memory, mute/stereo and wide/
narrow bandwidth button.
g)Two button to the right of that which are auto tuning and preset tuning.
h)At the far right, a tuning dial.

The tuner automatically shows the RDS  (PS Code) of any station using RDS. Also the RDS indicator turns on. Some stations trip the RDS almost instantly; some take a huge signal to indicate RDS.

For those of us who have had our fill of punching up/down buttons when tuning stations, the tuning dial is the biggest convenience of this tuner. You can still enter the frequency manually by punching in the digits on the keypad and pressing the Direct button (for example, for 107.9 press 1-0-7-9 Direct). The tuner changes to 107.9 instantly.

Since I bought this tuner without a manual I went months before I figured out how to add

Look at the six class buttons under the display. You can program all your presets (30 of them) under one class or you can split them up into classes. If you wanted to program all the country stations in your area under one class, you could do it. You could put all your favorite rock stations under another. Just remember that whatever you put in each class has to total 30 stations. In my case, I program all my good dx channels in one class and most of my local stations under another. I don't use the rest since the total of these two classes totals 30. If you try to program more the tuner tells you that the memory is full. Now, if I punch the preset tuning button, I can tune the presets in whatever class I have selected with the tuning dial. This is cool. Definitely. I can just tune my DXable channels or I can just tune my locals and disregard everything else.

The million dollar question is this. How do you add presets? Here's how:

1. pick a class (A through F). Press the button.
2. Select the frequency you want to add. You can use the tuning dial to do it.
3. Select a preset number (why not start with one).
4. Press the memory button.
5. Press the Class button again.

Now repeat this sequence as many times as you need to do it. If you don't like what you added for preset number 6 you must delete it first then enter in a new preset number 6. Pressing the Memory/Delete and Mute buttons together will clear the TOTAL memory. Don't do it unless you intend to clear everything!

When you tune the T450, the tuner automatically selects monaural or stereo, wide or narrow bandwidth. Sometimes it makes mistakes (not often). In these situations you can manually override bandwidth and mono/stereo with the buttons provided. The radio will mute a weak stereo signal sometimes, forcing you to press the mono button to hear the station. No big thing.

This radio has no signal meter/indicator. Don't look for one. It's not there. Pretend it's a car radio. The tuning dial makes up for it. Did I say I love the tuning dial?



Sensitivity is excellent and selectivity is fair in stock condition. The unit has two 150khz filters in the narrowband position and two wide filters but it's not good enough for anyone who really needs the selectivity. Swapping 110khz filters for the 150s does not help. What helps GREATLY is pulling one of  the two wideband filters and replacing them with either a 150 or a 110.  I put a 150khz filter in mine. It surpasses my Carver TX-11 for selectivity and sounds a whole lot better also. It sounds great! Not muddy at all but crystal clear.

Update March 2012

I am now on my second T450 RDS. I recently swapped out the second wideband stock filter and installed a 110khz Murata filter. Selectivity is almost at a par now with my XDR-F1HD tuner. RDS still works. Still sounds great in wide mode.

Changing the filters on this tuner is easy. Board access and filter access is easy. There's no excuse here for not doing it. Take off the top cover. Remove four screws that hold the plugs in the back of the tuner. Remove the board. Unsolder the stock filter (one or both of the filters marked 110khz) and solder in a narrow filter in that spot. The two filters marked 110khz have already been changed.



Four filters shown above. The crossed filters are the wide filters.


View from the top. Mostly empty.


©2013 M. Bugaj no reprinting without permission