Added this beautiful Jil SX 200 radio scanner to my collection about 5 years ago for 15 GBP after an hour of haggling with the seller who I believe was more interested in getting me to go away than being happy at the price I was offering (hey whatever works).

Enough haggling and I ended up with a bargain as it was in very good condition for its advanced age. The original telescopic built in antenna was long gone and someone has kindly replaced it with a handy BNC connector which I didn’t have a problem with as it meant easier connection to my stack of modern antennas.

JIL SX 200 Scanner 1

JIL SX 200 Scanner in action

  • Frequency Range 26-88 108-180 380-514 Mhz
  • AM/FM
  • 16 Memory Channels
  • Scan Rate 8 Channels per second
  • Made in 1981
  • Frequency steps 12.5/5khz steps
  • Power source 12V DC

High Price Tag

Priced at 240 GBP when it was first put on sale 32 years ago which was a huge amount of money when you consider what type of scanner that would buy you today!

Functionality and Perfomance

JIL SX 200 Scanner 2This scanner is a bit limited in the memory department as you only get 16 to play with which can be a problem as most modern day radios usually offer at least a few hundred but with a little bit of planning on what gets put into memory and what you are happy to punch in via the keyboard you soon get used to it.

The controls are not very intuitive and can cause a great deal of confusion at first (I had to download the user manual) but once you understand how the functions on the keyboard work its easy enough.

The old school L.E.D display is the first hint at the units age with its single bright color and the ability to still see each segment even when the radio is switched off.

Memory backup is provided by batteries inserted in the back panel of the scanner and hidden by a metal cover, modern memory systems require less power and are usually served by a button cell battery that is fitted directly to the internal circuit board.

Testing the radio as soon as I got it home the response and selectivity made me think that it had suffered from a modification too far so decided to run some proper tests on it. After lifting the lid to have a good poke around inside I was happy to see that the only work done had been a few minor repairs mainly to the wiring on the front control panel.

JIL SX 200 Scanner 3Satisfied that this radio hadn’t been ruined by some crazy mods and having tested it to the limit the only conclusion for the poor performance is that it was built this way. Bearing in mind that the technology is over 30 years old and things have moved on a lot since this scanner was made its hard to judge this against modern day sets with much more advanced signal processing.

With all that in mind it is still a nice piece of kit and the addition of airband receive made it a very popular model at the time it was released.

This set is still a part of my shack setup and is used when I want to monitor a single frequency, it will happily sit there all day only letting the strongest signals through its amazing brick wall squelch setting.

JIL SX 200 Scanner back panel

JIL SX 200 Scanner back panel

Summary

A lovely piece of radio scanner history that can still be used as part of any radio setup. If you are lucky enough to pick up one of these that hasn’t been modified beyond useability then its worth having as part of your collection.

Fitting A BNC To The JIL SX 200

JIL SX 200 BNC

If your happy to do away with the telescopic (or don’t have one) you can fit a BNC that lets you quickly plug in more modern antennas. Please take ESD (electro static discharge) precautions while working on your radio to prevent any problems when making modifications.

The Case

Start by taking out the ten screws holding the top lid in place and gently lift it off. The only wires going to the top panel are the ones for the speaker and these are long enough to stand the lid on its side away from the scanner.

The existing antenna hole needs to be made bigger to fit the BNC. Luckily the scanner case is pretty thin and this can be done with a punch, drill or by filing. I would suggest unsoldering the speaker wires and taking the lid far away from the scanner to prevent any metal getting inside the radio while your making the hole bigger.

All the earthing for the screen is done through the case so make sure there’s a good connection between BNC and the underside of the lid.

Once the BNC is fitted to the lid its time to wire it up.

Connections

Take a foot of small diameter coax (something like RG-316 or RG-174 is ideal) and strip about an inch off the outer coating from each end. Cut back the screen as much as possible and wrap some insulation tape around it, making sure its well covered so its not going to touch anything inside the scanner.

Strip a few mm off the core at both ends, give the wires a twist and tin with some solder to keep them together.

First solder one end of the coax to the center BNC pin then look for where the original antenna screws into the circuit board (See picture below). There is plenty of space around the fitting to solder on the core of the coax.

JIL SX 200 internal bnc connection

Once done make sure none of the screen is exposed (add more tape if need be) and that the core isn’t touching any other soldered sections apart from the pad connected to the telescopic fitting on the circuit board.

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10 Responses to The JIL SX 200 Vintage Radio Scanner

  1. Kathy says:

    Hi there… I’ll freely admit that I don’t know the first thing about scanners, but I’m trying to help my mom find a replacement outdoor antenna to hook up to her vintage JIL SC 100 scanner. Years ago my late father had jerry-rigged an outdoor antenna that seemed to do the trick, but it met with an unfortunate accident. No idea where to find help or even what the connection type is called so that I can begin to shop online.
    Thanks for any direction or hints whatsoever!

    • Carl says:

      Hey Kathy, Congrats on owning a great vintage scanner.

      The connection for the antenna on the back of the sx200 is call a DIN 41585, this type can often be found on car radios and is readily available.

      Indoor antennas for scanners do offer poor results and I’d always try to put something up outside if your going to get the best from the radio. Signals at HF (0-30 mhz) mean an indoor setup will work reasonable well, but once you start dealing with VHF/UHF frequencies, even a solid bunch of trees can cut the signal in half and buildings stop you from picking up all but the strongest transmissions.

      A widband antenna is the best choice, these come in many different styles with some more specialist than others. Discone antenna (amazon link) gives all round coverage, although they can be a bit fiddly to put together. A simpler choice that works well when placed up nice and high outside is a straight enclosed wideband antenna.

      Hope this helps

      Carl

  2. Mike says:

    Brings back memories (no pun intended) – this was my first VHF / UHF receiver. Everything before that for me was HF – FRG-7s and the like… There was just SO much on those bands back then. No-one had receivers, so there was no need for encryption. Mobile phones, the military, the works!

  3. David Rowell says:

    I have one of these scanners which I purchased new in late 1982 in New Zealand.

    It looks the same on the front, but has a different layout on the back. Mine is serial number 20347030 – could you advise whether yours or mine is newer in terms of the layout change?

    Tks – 73 David NZ9G

    • Carl says:

      Hi David

      My serial number is in the 930,000 range but not sure how the system works so can’t say which is older. I’ve seen the SX200 with the different back panel layout, although I’m not sure when the change was made.

      Is your radio still in working order?

  4. pat says:

    thanks for the pics and info my scanner is a different setup inside I don’t have the same circuit board to solder a piece of coax onto my auxillary antenna socket is right next to it inside a small metal square that doesn’t remove hi hi

    • On Channel says:

      LOL That,s what I get for assuming they are all the same inside. Have seen a few JIL SX200,s but only ever had the lid off this one, people can be a bit funny if you suggest taking a screwdriver to their vintage scanners sometimes 🙂

      Is there enough clearance between this block and the lid to fit the BNC then put a brass screw into the hole built to take the telescopic? If so you could solder the coax to the top of the screw.

      Failing this look for a pin out underneath the circuit board where you can attach your BNC coax.

      Any chance you can send me a pic of the “block” just to satisfy my curiosity? Email is info@scannerheaven.com

  5. pat says:

    do you have any pics or any info how the antenna fitment was changed to bnc type plug thanks as I just picked one of these up minus the telescopic antenna

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