This is a review of my old Omega multi band portable radio (air band scanner).
Note: I don’t know if Omega made more than one version of a portable radio, so please note this review only refers to the radio shown in the photos in this blog post. Also part of my radio has been warped by extreme heat during a day at an air show. This product is a receiver only.
First of all, I’m not recommending you buy this, unless perhaps you see one for 50p or up-to £2 GBP at a car boot sale and you’re curious about listening to nearby airplane radio chatter, but you’re unsure whether to spend more money on the hobby. I don’t think anybody should pay more than £2 GBP for this product in 2019 or in later years!
I purchased my Omega product years ago to listen to airplanes when the Farnborough Air Show was on and I later used it to listen to airplanes near airports. I’ve also listened to music via FM radio stations with the device.
I wasn’t serious about listening to airplanes and eventually the item got put into a box and I’ve hardly touched it since. Now in late 2019 I’m looking at the product again one last time, before I give it to charity.
About the product
I’m not going to cover some of the features of this product, as I think times have moved on and perhaps some stuff is no-longer valid. I’ve used the product recently to listen to airplane chatter and radio stations. There is a 3.5mm mono connection, speaker, volume button (also used to turn the product on and off), and a squelch control/knob. There is also a 6v DC port, which I’ve never used!
At the back you can toggle a switch between some bands. It also has an in-built speaker, but I tend to plug in a pair of headphones.
Sorry about the blurry photo above. Below is a sharper photo I took of the top part of the rear of the radio.
The radio takes 4xAA batteries and you access the compartment at the rear of the device.
Pros and Cons
Mostly this product is a disappointment in today’s era of technology. It’s a nightmare to tune into a signal. The antenna is quite small, which likely doesn’t help!
It’s hard to find a positive, but I guess it’s well built and even when the front frequency info panel warped under intense heat on a sunny day, the internals carried on functioning fine!
I’ve modified the air band scanner!
The antenna can be unscrewed and I replaced mine with a much longer adjustable antenna/aerial, that I took from another product that I owned. I’m not sure if a longer antenna actually helps or not!
I’ve also put permanent marker to help me find some frequencies again.
What about helicopters and marine radio traffic?
I live on the coast with busy sea lanes and occasionally helicopters and I’ve not been able to tune into any of this traffic!
For me it’s time to move on from this product as I got my intended use from it years ago. If I wanted to go beyond listening to some airplane chatter, I would likely spend £30-£80 on an air band scanner which has a digital display and I can be more precise.