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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Kaito KA1102 Help

Reviews Summary for Kaito KA1102
Kaito KA1102 Reviews: 31 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $99.00
Description: This high quality world receiver is made in the best radio factory in Asia and it receives all the stations in shortwave spectrums , plus side bands, SSB.
Product is in production.
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KC2IGY Rating: 5/5 Sep 30, 2008 20:48 Send this review to a friend
A mini-portable that actually works well  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Since the features of the radio have been covered already by the other reviews, I'll just review the performance real quick. I've owned countless SW radio over the years, and never had a mini-portable that worked well. Until now. The KA1102 simply works very well. Will it replace my Sony 2010? No, of course not. But I will be taking my KA1102 with me when I need a small portable. SW reception is surprisingly very good. The narrow filter is better than on radios I own costing 3 times as much. Even when the bands are crowded, the narrow filter allows me to listen to stations 5kHz apart. Amazing on a radio costing $75. The only slight negatives are: MW performance is average, and the radio's functions take a little time to get used to. ..This radio will be one of my "keepers"
KU2US Rating: 5/5 Aug 10, 2008 13:19 Send this review to a friend
FANTASTIC LITTLE PACKAGE  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I needed a small portable for when I travel for work. I read the reviews on Eham of the Kaito 1102 and the 1103. I decided to go with the 1102 because of the digital frequency read-out. I set it up at home and used a 40' long wire strung up outside in my trees. WOW!! Granted, its not an Icom or a Kenwood, but this little baby can sure pull in the stations. I logged Radio Kwait, Germany, Cuba and Rawanda shortwave. All this at 3PM eastern on the East coast. Tried FM-Fantastic sound. MW AM this radio is rock solid and picked up many AM stations DX to me. To use this radio to its fullest, AN EXTERNAL OUTSIDE WIRE ANTENNA AND A PAIR OF EARPHONES-A MUST. The best $79.99 I ever spent on a radio from Radios4you on Ebay. Its small, powerfull, sensitive and selective-Buy one, you wont regret it!
WS2I Rating: 5/5 Nov 30, 2007 10:45 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding value  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I don't need to restate the praise in the other reviews, I just want to provide one more well-deserved vote. Outstanding value. $70 on Amazon.
KB0HAE Rating: 5/5 Jul 21, 2007 17:18 Send this review to a friend
Great little radio for the price!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I can't add much to the great reviews others have given here. I really like this little radio! It outperforms the Grundig YB400PE
(not that the Grundig YB400PE is a bad radio at all...check out my review of it). I like the combination of the black radio and blue backlighting. I also like that the buttons are lit. I had read through parts of the manual before my radio arrived, so operating it was not a problem at all. I have to admit that I didn't realize that the sleep timer comes on when you turn the radio on until I re-read some of the reviews here. Guess I have yet to have the radio on continiously for more than 99 minutes

The Kaito KA 1102 is an EXCELLENT small portable receiver! As was pointed out by others, it will not perform like a more expensive tabletop radio. I feel that the Kaito KA 1102 is quite possibly the best buy in its price/size class! If you want a small portable radio that performs well, this one will not disapoint you!
N5KNG Rating: 5/5 May 20, 2007 09:05 Send this review to a friend
Another example of great things that come in small packages!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I got the radio, used for $30. I did lots of research on all kinds of radios, wondering if I should get the Kaito 1103, or maybe even go for an Icom R-75 (since I own a non-pro Icom-756). I thought I'd miss the band-pass tuning, and filters, etc.

Well, in side by side tests, the 1102 is about as sensitive as the 756 without any preamps turned on - which is pretty good. Especially considering the 756 is hooked up to a decent vertical and ground, while the 1102 was only using an indoor wire antenna about 12 feet long. If I get out of my electrically noisy office environment, I can easily tune in various SSB nets, AM ragchews, and CW. It also receives regular broadcast AM and FM. I even found a DX pileup once, and it was amazing how I could actually hear quite a few of the separate calls to be recognized each time the operator asked for a new contact. So, for $30, or even $100, you just can't beat it.

So, what would I want to change? Well, it would be nice to have a bandpass control just to get a little clearer signal sometimes, since it does receive lots of stuff! Or maybe just a third, more narrow filter to home in on CW and SSB. I never tried it with a really good antenna, so I didn't get much DX, but there was plenty all over the US. And on Saturday/Sunday mornings, when the atmospheric noise was down, it was really quite a pleasure just to listen. I should mention that a cheap pair of 8 ohm headphones improves the audio fidelity quite a bit. Trying to listen to SSB conversations with the built in speaker is not much fun. On the FM band, headphone fidelity is amazing.

I felt myself getting somewhat disappointed with trying to listen to SSB a couple of evenings with lots of static crashes and fading. But then, lo and behold, the hams I was listening to were complaining about how bad conditions were - even with their fancy equipment. Often, I could hear both of them just fine, even though they were having trouble hearing each other! I think that says a lot.

I should also mention that if you read the manual, and understand a bit about the radio (e.g., that SSB works on memory page 9) before you use it, then actual use is pretty simple. I had no problems at all. I wondered whether I would miss the tuning knob control (that the Kaito 1103 has, for example), but found the scanning buttons work fine. Also, contrary to some others commenting here about the need for a volume control "knob" - that was simply not an issue. The up/down volume keys work just fine.

The radio itself is about the size of a medium-size paperback book, and it would be very easy to take on a trip. It really makes me start thinking about building a tiny AM or DSB transmitter to turn it into a QRP station. If I was into CW, I would definitely give that a try. A simple audio filter, comined with a QRP transmitter, could turn this into a really nifty CW QRP station! If anyone does this, email me - I'd really like to hear about it. Maybe could have a contest in this area ...

So, if you are thinking about getting one, just go ahead and do it. You won't regret it. And even if you do, you can probably sell it for pretty close to what you paid to someone like me!
N4CQR Rating: 5/5 Jan 29, 2007 14:10 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Price Performance Ratio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have owned this little radio for several months and I have nothing but positive comments about it. Actually the radio IS NOT difficult to opperate, if you read the manual closely. Also drift on SSB is not that big of an issue. Especially considering some some of the junk that is on the air. No is it not a 2010, SW77 or one of the Panasonics. But it don't cost $500.00 - $700.00 on ebay either. Considering what you get with it, rechargable batterys, earphones, charger and nice little case, is it a steal.

Would I buy again? Absolutely....

KT4WO Rating: 4/5 Jan 26, 2007 19:35 Send this review to a friend
Good Value  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Its not my Kenwood TS-450SAT... but for 80 bucks,,
it works very nice.. have it beside the bed for nighttime listening and works well.
Would buy it again!
JOLLYROGER Rating: 5/5 Dec 28, 2006 00:01 Send this review to a friend
Very impressive  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well, i got this little radio for Christmas and at first I was surprised at its size. It is relatively small, about the size of a post card, and it did not look like it would deliver much in terms of performance. Being a newcomer to the SWL, i was able to pull voice of Russia, family radio (Florida) and several other broadcasts on the SW without any difficulties. The page system that this radio uses is pretty straight forward and after referencing the manual for a couple of times, im extremely happy with the performance. Sure, SSB can be only accessed from page 9, but once you know where things are you'll be amazed at the radio's functionality. The only "weird" feature that is not very well implemented is that once the radio is turned on the shut-off feature is set to 99 minutes. This happens every time you turn on the radio, and there is no way to permanently disable it. Sure, once the radio is on you can turn it off, but it has to be done every time you power on the radio.

Otherwise, it's an excellent radio. I like the backlight function, which will illuminate the lcd screen and all the buttons. great sensitivity. Well built, comes with 3 rechargeable batteries and a wire antenna. Not that difficult to use like some of the users have reported (page system). At $69.00 it is a bargain. I would definitely recommend this radio to anyone who is looking for a great radio at a killer price.
KC9ERB Rating: 4/5 Dec 15, 2006 08:49 Send this review to a friend
very nice  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
A definite performance winner and excellent choice for new SWLs. The price is also very friendly. Be sure to purchase from a reputable dealer (like Universal Radio) because, as Larry Magne notes, quality control is hit-or-miss. I had to return mine for a new radio because it totally lost its mind within one week. But like I said, use a friendly dealer and you'll be okay. Sensitivity is very impressive on all bands. I wish it tuned below the MW band, but I can live with it. Also, the keystroke routines are about the most boneheaded I have seen. It is really annoying to have to cancel the shutoff timer each time you turn the radio on. Oh well. There are many useful features such as two bandwidths, SSB, and ability to use an external antenna. Try the Kaito portable loop.
K3ZOR Rating: 5/5 Nov 24, 2006 08:12 Send this review to a friend
Excellent radio - Fantastic price!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Let's start with what the KA1102 is NOT. It is not your $300-$800 SW receiver and it is not your TS-2000, IC-746 or any other HF/General coverage receiver with a dipole at 50 feet. To compare the KA1102 to these radios for anything more than general test information does the radio a severe injustice.

What the KA1102 IS, is an $80 SW/HF receiver with SSB capability and AM/FM broadcast bands that will fit in your coat or jacket pocket and works incredibly well for $80.

Minor (in my opinion) drawbacks: SW/HF coverage is 3000Khz to 30Mhz, so listening to the 160 meter band or between 1710Khz and 3000Khz is not possible. And, not being overly critical, but as others had stated, there is (what I believe to be) a very small amount of drift on SSB if you are listening to a particular station for any length of time. In my opinion, the drift is very minor and is not a detriment considering that my use of the KA1102 is for casual and portable listening when I can't be in the shack.

I tested the KA1102 (stock telescoping antenna) against my Realistic DX-440 (with stock telescoping antenna) and my Icom-IC-746 with a Carolina Windom 160. These comparisons were done only for testing what I was able to hear with all things considered. I am happy to report that the KA1102 heard everything that the DX-440 did and that the KA1102 heard all of the moderately strong stations that I heard on the 746. Received audio is quite good and with the wide/narrow filter, Hi/Lo tone switch (that Kaito refers to as 'Music/News') and a Local/distance switch, you can contour the received signal to however it sounds best to you. I have also found that the KA1102 makes an excellent AM broadcast DX receiver too.

The KA1102 uses 3 AA Alkaline or rechargeable batteries and the rechargeables can be charged via an internal circuit that you can program to give the batteries a full charge or just top them off if needed. The display and all buttons on the face of the radio are back-lit with blue LEDs and controlled by a photo sensor just to the right above the speaker so that the backlight will only come on in low light and conserve the battery power. If the backlight is needed in less than dim light, simply place a finger over the pinole (that is part of the speaker 'grill') and the backlight will illuminate with each touch of any button. This 'pinhole' is visible in the pic in the link at the top of the eham review page here or the link that I have attached below. It has a jack for connecting an external antenna as well as a headphone jack and has a 4 (red) LED S-meter as well. There is also a flip out stand on the back that holds the radio at just the right angle to operate it and view the display if it is sitting on a desk top.

The KA1102 comes with 3 AA Ni-MH rechargeable batteries, wrist strap, AC adapter/charger, stereo earbuds, and a longwire antenna(maybe about 12 feet long) that can be plugged into the exteranl antenna jack. For another good online view including the specs, display, controls and information go to the below link.

To sum it all up, this is probably the best $80 I have spent in over 30+ years in the radio hobby. If you are looking for an inexpensive, pocket size, rechargeable, AM/FM/ SW-HF receiver with SSB, excellent battery life, that's size (L & W) is the size of a QSL card, and all the amenities mentioned above, I'm sure you'll be as happy as I am with the Kaito KA1102. It rates an easy 5 in my book!

Jim - K3ZOR
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