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Degen DE1103
it is also know as the
Kaito KA-1103
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Way out in the middle of nowhere, where
language, water, food, culture, animals...
where everything is different.... it is a
wonderful feeling to tune in the BBC or
Voice of America and listen to news from
half a world away.

A good shortwave radio can be the
difference between unbelievable frustration
- yes, almost to the point of tears - and that
touchstone with the familiar that allows you
to continue on your journey.

We had a Radio Shack Shortwave on our
last trip that Amanda had found in the
trash.  It was good, but was a little big and
could be better.

Then I came across the Degen DE-1103.  It
is exceptional....why?

Phenomenal Reception: There is nothing
more frustrating than hearing a glimpse of a
station, then having it disappear into thin
air.  This radio somehow pulls in stations
from far far away.  For instance, I am
listening right now- to the traffic report from
an AM station in San Francisco.  
Considering I am nearly 800 miles away
south, near the border with Mexico, makes
this remarkable.

Internal Battery Charger: Leave it to our
Chinese friends to do the unthinkable and
design a radio that actually recharges it's
own batteries when plugged into the
socket.  Why doesn't every radio do this?  I
purchased bike lights that use the same
rechargeable AA batteries so I can use the
radio to keep all the batteries topped up.  
It's also got a built in battery meter.

Presets: It's got a remarkable number of
presets (268).  When the power is
disconnected the memory is stored even
when the batteries are removed.

Size is Everything: This radio is tiny (165
X 105 X 29 mm)  (6 ½" X 4" X 1" inches)

Sound Quality:  The sound that comes out
of this tiny thing is bright, crisp, and flawless.

It Scans: Shortwave stations can be
difficult to find when using a manual tuning
radio.  The Degen scans through the band
digitally and pauses automatically when it
finds a signal.

It tunes by 1: Our other Radio Shack
shortwave (which was excellent) tuned by 5
units in shortwave.  This radio tunes by 1
unit for precision tuning.

SSB: It is also a single side band receiver.  I
do not know what this means but real radio
heads get excited about it.

Clock: It's got a clock, two alarms, and a
countdown shutoff.  

External Antenna: It comes with a regular
whip antenna and a extra-long, plug-in wire
antenna.

Downside: You have to order it directly
from the manufacturer in China through
eBay.  To me this seemed dicey...but the
radio came without any problems and works
great!
The tuning dial of the Degen DE 1103 Kaito 1103
The preset buttons of the Degen DE1103 Kaito KA1103
Rechargable Batteries in the Degen DE1103 Kaito KA1103
The Degen DE 1103 Shortwave Radio and Single Sideband Receiver also known as the Kaito KA-1103
We purchased
much of our gear
second-hand
through ebay
Click here for your favorite eBay items

We've got a new radio
It's even smaller than
the one on the left.  
Check it out on our
new shortwave page.