U

DEGEN
DE1105

Their Home Page
www.degen.com.cn

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HongKongRadioer

 

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Degen DE1105
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So, in summing it all up, take your ICOM R75's, Drake R8B's and throw them in the trash. Buy a Degen DE1105 AM / FM / SW. This is all the radio you'll ever need!

Just kidding here..

Still, for $ 64 USD, it's a nice little shirt pocket sized double reduction Shortwave radio. You can take it for a walk, out into the park, or off into the woods & wilds, or cycle around listening to AM , FM or Shortwave. Can't do that with a R75, Sat 800 or R8B.

Opening The Box
First, the box is quite good looking, blue in color with a flurry of information on the front, but since I can't read Chinese, I can't tell what it says. Doubtless good news..

Open the box & there it is, this nifty looking little radio. It's quite pretty, with its Stainless steel finish and Aluminum colored buttons.

It has a "Double Air Mail Stamp sized display, with about 20 different indicators on it, Including a signal strength meter. It is back light by two small orange - yellow LED's. This also lights up the keys when you press the " Del " button for 2 seconds.

I purchased my DE1105 from V-COM-COLLECTIONS on ebay, which also includes a 24 page PDF file manual translated from Chinese to English.

What I Liked
" Ohh It's Beautiful !!" my Wife said. I pressed the backlight button to show her the glowing yellow display and keyboard.
" How pretty! "

This means that I do not have to put a new roof on the house starting immediately, or shop for furniture or whatever. It's a very good looking little radio.

I like the back lighting, which stays on for about ten seconds. This gives you a chance to enter a new frequency and add it to memory or whatever.

I like the fact that it is sensitive, selective and small enough so you can roam about your house, listening to Shortwave from your shirt pocket. The speaker is adequate but the ear buds are excellent. Similar ones would cost $14 not including shipping and handling.

It has a temperature display in centigrade. This feature is quite handy for outdoor use.

It also has 1,000 Memories (more on this later.)

Accessories
With the Degen DE1105, you get:

The radio

A small cloth carrying bag

A great set of earbuds

A set of batteries (not opened)

A clip on antenna

A 220 volt " recharger. A step up transformer would be needed to use this.

Since I Like this radio, I am not messing with this 220 volt wall wart / step up charger, and am instead, just using cheap AA batteries which I buy in bulk.

The clip on antenna is fairly good, and fits in your other shirt pocket.

Controls and Features
There are 23 buttons, some multifunctional, to help you pick the right AM / FM / Shortwave band, and lock the radio onto one frequency.

You can manually add frequencies to memory, automatically scan for frequencies, move frequencies from page zero to other pages, and delete frequencies and entire pages.

There is also a tuning wheel if you insist on rugged individualism. This tuning wheel is also used with the Electronic Volume Control.

There is a separate volume control wheel, an earphone jack, and a collapsible whip antenna. Volume can be manually adjusted, and audio set in mono, stereo or bass boosted.


What Needs Improving?
The display is fairly straightforward, but some displayed features are tiny. Aside from the volume control wheel tuning wheel and antenna, you have to stop walking around to operate the radio.

There should be some raised symbols on the keys, so you wouldn't have to stop and look at the radio to shift frequencies / stations. Just press " + " or "- "

In sum, the radio is better to look at and not operate, than it is to operate and not look at.

1,000 Memories
1,000 memories isn't that overkill? Nope! You can load in ALL English shortwave frequencies that you can receive in your area at 9:00 P.M in one page.. starting with BBC, DW, Radio New Zealand International, Radio Canada International, Radio Austraila, WBCQ, on one of ten pages.. Travel to a city, scan all frequencies to page Zero, then store them in, say, page 3.

Suggested Enhancement
If you have 10 pages with 100 frequencies each, how do you keep track of them all?
Some sort of display showing what frequencies / band are in each page, with a scrolling key, would be helpful.

Ipod
Degen might look at how Ipod is designed, with menus and a scroll pad / selection wheel. Scroll to the frequency you want, press that scroll key and it play that frequency.

Internet
The internet is used in conjunction with Ipods, so it should be with small shortwave radios. You should be able to pick your location, (Example: North America, East Coast, in English ) and just download a selection of frequencies and identifying tags ( BBC ) and transmission time / frequency info into the set:
Example: (BBC 11-12 11865)

Since there's Itunes for Ipods, why not a Degen website for downloadable Shortwave info?

A plug on the side of the set, and software to handle this change would do it.

Speakers!? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Speakers !
A pocket sized radio is a 1960's style technology. No one had earbuds of any merit. In that era speakers were important then. Earbud technology and quality has improved to the point of not needing internal speakers in small electronic devices.

Although the electronics of pocket sized radios have been improved in the last forty years, the basic design remains the same.

Again using the Ipod Model, why doesn't Degen just add in a small plug-in set of speakers and ditch the internal speaker and associated hardware. Everyone has a set that comes with their computer? Ditching the internal speaker would make the radio even smaller, lighter, cheaper to manufacturer and more portable.

Set Up Routine
I think this radio was tested with plug in power supplies instead of batteries, for you are given scant time to insert the batteries, flip the radio over and then, first set up the 9 / 10 MHz, and then the 12 / 24 hour clock.

Before attempting this set up procedure, I would advise read the instructions carefully, do a few practice runs prior to setting the radio for 9 / 10 MHZ, and 12 / 24 Hr time

A longer time for the set up routine would be appreciated.

Manually entered frequencies
Manually entered frequencies should be given some sort of tag so that, unless you clearly indicate it, Automatic Entry won't just wipe them all out.

As it stands, you can enter a Shortwave frequency manually, then flip around the bands, and when you return, the manually entered frequency's gone!

An example of better design in this area is the Sangean DT110, which remembers that you manually entered an AM or FM frequency, and leaves it there when you return from other bands. Why not have this feature in the Degen DE1105?

Warning
To this writer, it seems incredibly easy when using the " page copy" process, to wipe out entire pages of hand entered memories with junk from page zero, while just trying to move from one memory page to another.

Given this fact, there should be a display on the screen saying something like:

You are going to move 100 automatically entered frequencies from page Zero to Page "N" Are You Sure Y / N".

A simple, two second " Beep " would help in this situation.

Page Lock Enhancement
An enhancement would be a Page Locking feature, to protect page "N" from accidentally being wiped out with a mis-pressed page key or two.

Software Problems?
The documentation contains a statement stating that, if the radio does not operate properly one should just remove the batteries for ten minutes and then replace them. This "Radio not operating properly" is due, The documentation states, to "Outside Interference". I am quite skeptical of this explanation.

Could this statement possibly mean that the Software in the Degen DE1105 has unfixed system errors which require "rebooting" the radio when the software malfunctions?

Tuning
Tuning can be done in three ways.

Direct entry tuning.

Manual tuning, with a wheel on the side.

Automatic tuning, where, in theory, you select the band ( AM / FM / SW ) and - which can load up a memory page with 100 strong stations.

This is a good feature if, say, you've set up your campsite on the summit of a mountain out in the middle of beautiful nowhere, and, while preparing dinner on your camping stove, you set the DE1105 on a rock, pull up the antenna and let it hunt out and store the most powerful Shortwave stations around . Later on, you can step through these and listen a bit before turning in.

In an urban environment, Automatic Tuning results may be different, and you may find many of these 100 memories are filled with static.

Deleting Memories
I still haven't gotten the hang of using the documented method to delete a single frequency in memory. Whenever I try to do this, the entire memory page gets wiped out.

You are now left with an empty page, and just the memory that you wanted to delete.
Possibly something is lost in translation, and is not really a very serious Bug?

You can always manually enter a new frequency into the one memory that you are trying to delete. This method works quite well.

Until you get the hang of it, I suggest writing down what frequency is where and carrying the instructions with you. This radio is NOT intuitive. You have to stop, sit down, read the instructions, and then carefully look at the display when changing frequencies or moving about the page system.

Alarm Clock
There are a blizzard of alarm clock features, none of which I am reviewing, since there is always a $5 travel alarm clock that goes everywhere with me.

The radio will shut itself off after 90 minutes. This preserves batteries. Not a bad feature in case you forget it's on and have to do other things.

Performance
I am quite pleased with the AM / FM / SW performance of this radio.

Sensitivity is listed as

FM > 10 uV
MW > 1Mv/M
SW > 20 Uv

AM Selectivity is listed as: > 40dB

Tests:
At night, near a window using the whip antenna, I was able to pick up 1170 WWVA, Wheeling West Virginia, 400 miles away and 1030 WBZ , Boston about 200 miles away from my apartment .

Later, I did some comparison shortwave tests to the Sangean 606A, and found no measurable difference. Both were able to pick up 15385 China, Broadcast from Beijing, China.

In the late afternoon, using the external antenna, I was able to pick up quit a few distant shortwave stations. However, because I am ten miles from several AM flamethrowers, and within sight of the Macarthur tower in Alpine New Jersey, there were overload images from 1010 and 1130 AM up in the 21 Meter band. I'd rather have sensitivity and a bit of overload, so this is an "Don't Care", based on location.

Conclusions
The Degen DE1105 is a shirt pocket sized FM Stereo MW, Dual Conversion Shortwave radio. It has 1,000 memories. It has several different tuning methods, a signal strength meter and a thermometer. It's Perfect for outdoor use. It has an alarm clock and sleep timer; a nice back light. It is quite good looking. Battery usage is quite good. Sure, it could be improved, but for $64 dollars, really how can you go wrong ??

Ben / NYC

 

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