U

KAITO
KA1107



I recently had the opportunity to test out the Kaito KA1107 (Degen DE1107), a recent offering from Kaito/Degen. The 1107 is an AM/FM/SW dual conversion analog portable that covers ten different shortwave bands. The 1107 is available in both silver and black.

Out Of The Box
For those familiar with the popular 1103 receiver, the 1107 is the same size. The 1107 measures approximately 4"H x 6 5/8"W x 1 1/8"D and weighs 11 ounces with batteries. Included with the radio is a 14 page operating manual/pamphlet. Included also is an AC adapter, earbuds, pigtail external antenna, strap and carrying case. There are no NiMH rechargeable AA cells included.

What is Where?
Front
The 77 mm speaker is located at the left front of the radio. The analog dial and pointer dominates the right side of the radio. A small LCD display for the clock is located above the dial/scale area towards the center. Controls for the clock and alarm are on both sides of the clock display. A sleep button is located in the cluster off buttons to the right of the clock. There are two switches to the right of the clock controls, for the backlight and the on/off switch. At the extreme upper right of the radio are three LEDs (power on, stereo reception and "tuned-in"). There are two switches below the LED lights on the front right of the radio. The top switch is a three position sensitivity switch (High-Medium-Low). A two position tone switch is located below that. The thumbwheel volume control is found at the front bottom right corner along with counter to indicate volume level.

Left Side
From top to bottom: Carrying strap. External antenna jack for FM and SW. Headphone jack and DC input jack for the AC adapter.

Right Side
From top to bottom: tuning knob, band switch and a battery charging switch.

Rear
Flip stand and battery compartment.

Top
The whip antenna (36" fully extended) pivots fully from the left side. It folds over to the right and locks in when not in use.
Observations on Performance

FM
The FM band starts at 76MHz (where the FM band begins in parts of Asia) and ends at the end of the North American FM band at 108 MHz. Stereo reception is available via headphones.

I found that reception on the FM band to be quite good. The dial is very accurate on FM. Audio from the 1107's speakers was quite pleasing and was noticeably superior to that from my 1103 reference radio. I found that the 1107 did a commendable job in separating stations and did surprisingly well in receiving some weaker stations that are some distance from my location.

SW
The 1107 covers ten shortwave bands. 75 meters (3.75-4.25 MHz), 60 meters (4.5 - 5.1 MHz), 49 meters (5.9 - 6.4 MHz), 41 meters (7.1 - 7.5 MHz), 31 meters (9.35 - 9.95 MHz), 25 meters (11.6 - 12.1 MHz), 22 meters (13.5 - 13.9 MHz), 19 meters (15.1 - 15.7 MHz), 16 meters (17.5 - 17.9 MHz) and 13 meters (21.4 - 21.9 MHz). In general, I found the accuracy of the dial to be typical of what you would expect of an inexpensive analog multi-band portable. As one would expect of a radio in this class, there is no single sideband reception.

Off the whip, during daylight hours, I was able to receive signals from shortwave stations on all bands except 75 and 13 meters. As is not uncommon at my location, the local MW station (3 miles away) has a tendency to "break through" and appear in places it shouldn't. This was true on the 1107, with the local MW station making an appearance on each of SW bands. This was not observed in night time listening tests.

Next, I plugged in the provided "pigtail" external antenna. The MW breakthrough into the shortwave bands was significantly reduced. Perhaps the radio has an amplifier following the whip which exacerbates MW breakthrough and this is not in line with an antenna plugged into the external jack. If anyone with more knowledgeable of the circuitry could confirm that there is an active amplifier following the whip, we will update this review. In any event, I found that the best combination with the 1107 on shortwave was the use of the provided pigtail antenna with the sensitivity switch on Medium.

AM/MW
The dial markings for the AM/MW band descend vertically from 530 to 1710 KHz. Like most analog radios, the spacing is quite crowded at the high end. In general, I found the performance of the 1107 to be in the average category on AM/MW, in terms of dial accuracy, selectivity and sensitivity.

As with many small portables, I did find that the use of passive loop antenna gave the radio quite a boost as I could receive signals that were otherwise not perceptible.

The Display
The dial/band scale/pointer display area measures approximately 2 1/4" x 2 1/4". The 12 band markings alternate between green numerals on a grey background and white numerals on a lack background. The green-on-grey is somewhat difficult to read. Use of the backlight does help some. A log scale is provided at the left of the display window. The display is very similar to that on multiband analog portables available for many years.

Power
The 1107 can be powered by the supplied AC adapter or 4 AA cells. The 1107 can charge rechargeable NiMH cells in the radio. There is no battery life indicator, however unless one would choose the backlight frequently, there is every reason to believe one would experience great battery life with this analog radio.

The box does indicate that there are 3 rechargeable AA cells provided (even though the radio uses four). There were none included in the samples I received and the operating manual/pamphlet does not list batteries as supplied accessories. Perhaps there was some confusion in translation/communications which we see from time to time from Chinese manufacturers.

I did test the AC adapter. I found that it tended to provide a boost to the received signals. However, depending on the band selected, it also introduced some buzzing or humming. Analog portables tend to get extremely good battery life, so I doubt if I would ever use the AC adapter.

Other Features
The 1107 provides a yellow backlight that illuminates the clock and shines through the dial scale display. The back light is controlled by an on/off switch next to the power switch.

Clock/Alarm
The 1107 displays the clock regardless of whether the radio is on or off. The numerals are approximately 5/32" high. The clock displays time in AM/PM format. Sleep mode is provided and the radio can be set to shut itself between 1 minute and 1 hour 59 minutes. There is also an auto turn-on/alarm feature. The radio will turn on to the time set and shut itself down after one hour. Hours and minutes are displayed in large numerals. The seconds are shown in smaller digits.

Other Comments
I have seen some comments in various forums where posters were wondering if the 1107 had "1103-like qualities." Beyond the physical similarities, these are radios in different performance categories with different capabilities. It isn't fair to compare these two radios although I can see the temptation to, based on how similar they look.

Conclusion
Kaito/Degen probably has more portable models on the market now than any other manufacturer. There seems to be a portable radio available from Kaito/Degen at nearly every price point. The 1107 gives them a reasonably priced analog portable (under $50) in their line up that will serve the casual shortwave listener well. The decision that a prospective purchaser will have to make is whether or not to spend a bit more to pick up a Kaito/Degen model with additional features, etc.

Best DX
Russ K3PI

Thanks to Radios4You.com and Kaito Electronics for sample test units.

 

 

 

 

 

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