By Will Cedoux

The new Dracosonic R-65 is the first DX-quality radio designed especially with the 65-and-over DXers in mind. It's not exactly a new radio - Dracosonic took the well-regarded GxR43 and simply redesigned the interface and added some features to make it user-friendly for old farts like us. So, I'm not going to cover how the radio performs - there have been enough reviews of the GxR43 already. Instead, let's look at what makes the R-65 special.

Dracosonic really has your health in mind. Let's look at what they're doing just to keep your heart ticking. Every R-65 has a built-in heart monitor which announces your current heart rate every ten seconds through the speaker or headphones. Even if the receiver isn't turned on, it will be monitoring your heart rate as long as you are in range and wearing the wireless wrist band. If your heart beat stops for more than five seconds, the receiver will automatically dial 911 via the built-in cell phone (or whatever emergency phone number you have programmed into the receiver). After sixty seconds, an e-mail will be sent to the Dead DXers' Stuff to alert them of the possible upcoming donation of your QSL collection.

Furthermore, if Heart Attack Prevention mode has been activated, the R-65 will automatically shut down any time your heart rate reaches the danger zone. For your protection, the receiver will not turn back on until your heart rate has returned to the normal range. Use of this feature is highly recommended to DXers with heart trouble who get easily excited at new catches.

USA Only: In all units sold in the USA, the receiver will not operate unless Heart Attack Prevention mode has been activated. To have this feature made user controllable, contact the Dracosonic legal department about a liability waiver.

Finally, every R-65 comes with a built in defibrillator circuit. Just place the matching DEF-65 headphones across your chest and press the big red "PANIC" button. (Just be careful not to push this button while wearing the headphones on your head.)

As you can see, the R-65 has been ergonomically designed for our generation! The frequency is displayed in large 3-inch high red digits. Besides adding a sense of nostalgia, the antenna knife switch is a lot easier to use that those tiny push-buttons so many receivers use nowadays! And, when it comes to tuning, Dracosonic knows just what arthritic fingers need! Instead of a tuning knob, there are two levers - one for tuning up frequency and one for tuning down frequency. There's no need to grab or hold anything. Just push down on the appropriate lever and watch the frequency change!

One of the first things you will notice upon examing the rather uniquely laid-out front panel is that there is only one memory button. In testing the receiver, it was found that more than one memory button tended to confuse members of the target market. And, Dracosonic has thoughtfully include an alarm that, when activated, will sound every ten minutes to keep you awake while you're DXing. Another alarm automatically goes off three minutes before the top of the hour. There'll be a lot fewer missed catches now!

Since the R-65 weighs in at hefty four kilograms, Dracosonic installed small pop-out wheels on the bottom right edge of the receiver and provided a screw-in extendable handle. So, it's a breeze to move the R-65 around the house. Still, you don't want to wear yourself out, so be sure to get a shot of tonic from the built-in Geritol dispenser first.

For really serious DXing, or health monitoring, there's the optional DP-R65 spectrum display unit, which plugs into the back of the R-65. The LCD screen on the DP-R65 shows band activity on a swath from 100 to 1000 kHz wide (user configurable). The DP-R65 also doubles as a health monitor. Set it to "heart beat" and watch a linear diagram of your heart beats across the screen. Additional plug-in devices allow you to check your blood sugar, blood pressure, or the condition of your prostate. Yes, this is truly the receiver that meets all your needs if you're a 65 and over male DXer!

The R-65 is now available from The Geriatrics Divison at Universal Shortwave

And, for the next three months only, with all Dracosonic R-65 purchases, Universal will include a 20x30 inch full color poster of Barb in a long flannel nightgown.

(At Universal, we know what you want. We also know what your heart can take.)

Product Safety Advisory: Do not use receiver as a beverage container.