Saturday, September 29, 2007

Degen DE1103 shortwave radio mini review

Can a low-cost digitally controlled radio have the same feel as an analog receiver?

The audio/touch combined feeling that you get while tuning across short wave in the evening on a true analog radio is much more usable than the chop/chop/chop effect experienced on low cost digital radios - until now.

The benefits of a digital radio, accurate frequency read out, full band coverage, and memories are great, but if it's painful to tune around it's just not worth it.

I picked up a Degen DE1103 for AU$159 from the very friendly AV-Comm here in Sydney. Significantly more expensive than I've seen them on eBay, but it came with a local power adapter and a smile on a Saturday morning.

The good:
  • Very sensitive, in fact it overloads on the AM broadcast band (there's a switch for local which must be used).
  • Comes with re-chargeable AA batteries which can be charged in the unit with the supplied power adapter. It has a timed charge system built in.
  • Includes a generous long wire antenna and cloth pouch.
  • Tuning up and down the dial is really smooth, you would think it was an analog system.
  • Direct input of frequencies using the row of number buttons.
  • Remarkably good on single side band.
  • 0xFF memories (255)
  • Short wave broadcast bands for easy finding of the big broadcasters.
The bad:
  • Audio volume is adjusted by pushing a button and then using the tuning knob.
  • Mine doesn't sit flat, there is a pop out stand, otherwise it rocks when laying flat
  • The big digital simulation of a short wave band dial is pretty funny really, tuning is actually continuous.
  • A little cryptic to operate, eg: memories are recalled by pushing a button and spinning the dial. I'd like to store frequencies in those buttons on the front but they just seem to do direct frequency input.
In summary, it's a good little radio. Perfect for travel, with decent sound and great sensitivity. I wish manufacturers would make appliances easy enough to use that you don't need a manual at all - you do with this one.

I wish we had an iPod short wave radio.


  1. Anonymous7:51 AM

    Great also for FM DX. Very good sensitivity.

    Horace from Uruguay

  2. Anonymous2:03 AM

    Radio:buena,bonita y barata.


  4. In English that reads "VERY GOOD THIS YOUR SITE I PUT A PICTURE OF RADIO IN MY BLOG". (Google Translate is excellent.)