When he was little, my son was my right hand man, my best friend and buddy, and was attached to my hip.
Sometimes on weekends when I had visitation, we'd jump in the old Jeep and go to a flea market and look around.
Well, he had good eyes, and spotted a RF 4900 laying in a pile of stuff at a table. I didn't know he'd seen it, and was looking at some tools.
He went up to the man selling his goods, and actually negotiated with the guy - and then came over to me and asked if I could 'lend' him $45. I looked at the man selling his stuff and he just noded his head.
So we went to the corner of his area and there sat a beautiful RF 4900. It was used, but in VGC, and the guy had been asking about $130. But my son wrangled him down to $45, so he could get it for me.
And I still have it to this day. And it still works like a champ - no, it's not an Icom ic 8500, or a jrc nrd 525, but I'll never let it go.
.... a couple of yesrs later, I happened to run into the guy who sold the radio. He remembered it all very well. Said he knew what it was worth, but he was so moved by everything my son had said, and how badly he wanted to get that radio for his dad, and the look in his eyes, that the guy couldn't find a way to say no.
And that radio sits out on my back porch listening post to this very day.
I got one of these as a gift and I was astonished at the sheer size of this beast. It has a few scratches on it here and there. This one however has been to the USA, South Korea, and back to Canada. That's self-explanatory right there.
Initially all the knobs were turning well without any problems. However once I plugged it in and started to use it, the dirty knobs began causing issues. My volume dial stopped turning and other dials were scratchy.
I notified the person who gave this radio to me about this issue. He later came back with a solution (no pun intended). The solution of which is used by Electric Guitar players on their amplifier volume knobs and so on. The one I used is Deoxit. More info can be found at this link: https://www.fender.com/articles/maintenance/control-crackle-cleaning-your-pots-and-switches-can-help
It advertises to dry very much instantaneously. However I used a bit too much and that thing now smells, feels, and leaks like oil. That being said, it now works like gold.
My favorite piece of this radio is the HF bands. Which work very well and this radio picks up strong signals cleanly (without distortion) and weak signals clearly too. Everything on this radio works excellent. I don't know what you folks mean about the SSB, mine works great and does not drift (even on AC power).
I highly recommend this one to anyone who is into shortwave listening, and is up to the job of getting their hands dirty and applying oil to the dials and switches. In my case, it was all worth it and I now have a really solid and reliable shortwave receiver.
Only downside: The analogue display of the bands is too small in my opinion. However, the engineers assumed most likely that people would use the digital display anyhow.
This huge box loaded with dials & knobs: if you get a mis-aligned, poorly treated one you'll swear (literally) that its the biggest piece of junk ever made. But if your RF-4900 is tuned up then you'll have a difficult time turning it off the first time using it. When properly aligned it pulls in signals almost magically with just a short piece of wire. It is fun to use. The massive size is a plus in my opinion, although the offical reviewer here apparently feels otherwise.
Its a mighty good MW (AM broadcast band) receiver just utilizing the rear-mounted loopstick. Shortwave, well what can I say? Its pulls them all in - easily. I do use this radio on sideband. A good time can be had there as well, provided that your antenna isn't too much and you manage to find yourself in an RF noise free setting. Yes, it does drift on sideband, but the instability can be mimimized to neglible by (a.) using battery or external DC power and, (b.) keep the dial lights off.
This isn't a serious Ham receiver. There will be noise and likely some drift. Don't be deadly serious all the time. Enjoy yourself. Buy one for $150 - $250 used. Keep your fingers crossed that its not a badly out of alignment unit.
Works OK for listening to strong international broadcast station, but so do most receivers.
The main drawbacks are its size and the lack of stability and selectivity. Furthermore, image rejection is poor on some bands.
The RF-4900 is a pretty good all rounder, considering its age. AM and FM reception are good, but for DX'ing you'd probably want something a little more advanced. For SSB listening the stability leaves some to be desired. You have to adjust constantly to keep the opposite station 'in focus'. Also, the frequency in the display is always a bit off, at least with my set.
Audio sounds very nice though. And I also like the looks of the beast. They just don't make proper table top receivers like this any more. I wouldn't consider parting with it, it's just too much fun to lister and operate.