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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Kaito KA1103 Help

Reviews Summary for Kaito KA1103
Kaito KA1103 Reviews: 59 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $109.99
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. The special designed circuit is a high sensitivity one, but no noise. FMSTEREO/FML/MW/SW1/SW2/Single Side Band (SSB)

Product is in production.
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KE8WO Rating: 5/5 Mar 12, 2017 07:37 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned an 1103 for maybe 8 years .. a very good radio!

But a caution to new buyers ... since about 2015 or so the newer 1103's use the more modern 'DSP' based technology. This has some advantages but also some disadvantages. Performance has been reported to be a step backwards from the original 1103 design. So new buyers should check out the reviews of the newer models.
KQ4FM Rating: 5/5 May 2, 2015 11:08 Send this review to a friend
Very nice rcvr  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is my second Kaito KA1103. The first one lasted at leat 6 years before I got it wet in salt water. I recently ordered a PL series radio that had ssb on it. What a dud, I could never hear amateur radio SSB stations on it due to very weak BFO injection. The attenuator made the receiver deaf in all but the max rcv sensitivity position where the rcvr overloaded most of the time.
The KA1103 on the other hand, can hear signals below 1 microvolt, far, far better than spec. It is as close to a transceiver class rcvr as you can get for less than $100.00.
I use this radio to check out the bands before going to the shack. It is sensitive, stable and easy to operate once one gets the hang of its user interface,

I may buy a few more of these before they wise up and start building junk stuff...LOL
KA8FHW Rating: 2/5 Jan 29, 2015 18:36 Send this review to a friend
Poor quality control  Time owned: more than 12 months
The circuit is unbeatable, however construction and ergonomics leave a lot to be desired. My antenna
hardware fell apart after a few months. 10 meter band is very unstable. Also failure of a LO. causes
even frequencies to not function. No real support from Kaito, I've asked for support and have been blown off. I own a 660 and it's pretty good.
KG4NVV Rating: 5/5 Jan 29, 2015 10:03 Send this review to a friend
Great Bang for the Buck  Time owned: more than 12 months
For about $80 or so, this little shortwave receiver is hard to beat! It is very sensitive, reasonably selective and covers all frequencies from 150 KHz up to 30 MHz in AM, CW and SSB, as well as 76 to 108 MHz FM. Audio quality is quite good for such a little receiver, and using headphones improves on that. It can also hold rechargeable batteries and one can recharge those batteries through the radio using the supplied wall wart adapter.

I have found that the supplied rechargeable batteries are rather anemic at only 1300 mAh, so I replaced them with Eveready 2500 mAh rechargeables. Eneloops from Sanyo or Panasonic also work great in this radio. Battery life is not the greatest on this radio; I find I can get maybe 4 or 5 hours of use out of the 2500 mAh batteries. But hey, the radio is only 80 bucks!

SSB reception is very good on this rig. There is a fine tune control that is essential to SSB and CW reception! It works well.

This radio blows away my little Grundig Mini 100PE in performance. It is far more sensitive, easier to tune, and more selective, although of course the KA1103 doesn't fit into a pocket! An alternative in the same price class is the Tecsun PL-600, but I have no experience with it so can't compare the KA1103 against it. All in all, I highly recommend the KA1103, and it is still available on as of this writing.
KC3BXZ Rating: 2/5 Nov 27, 2014 19:30 Send this review to a friend
I have owned 2 of these radios and both have malfunctioned.   Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned 2 of these radios. Both have malfunctioned. The first one worked well for about 2 years. All of a sudden, it just ceased to receive any station- FM, MW, LW and SW just went dead. No reception at all. Just static. I returned it and received a new one from the place I got it. This one worked well for a couple of months. Then, I noticed it suddenly changed frequencies all by itself. I`m not giving them a poor or awful rating because they are probably part of a bad shipment. They are superior in their sensitivity, though you need to use both hands to do most of the more frequent things like recalling a memory. The radio is too lightweight and it ends up skidding on the tabletop. There is no volume control. You have to push a button and then turn the frequency knob. Too many superfluous bells and whistles.
DXTUNER Rating: 5/5 Jan 12, 2014 11:21 Send this review to a friend
Very capable and special radio.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The KA1103's receive sensitivity is praised by enough people. So my review spends a few moments on things making the KA1103 special, compared to other SSB world band portables made by Sangean and Tecsun.

- Excellent selectivity. The narrow filter is tighter than you'd expect on a radio of this class. Not just for SSB but also in AM mode on the medium wave band.

- With a simple keyboard trick you can tune down to 0 kHz (VLF) and use the external antenna jack for MW and longwave.

- The attenuator is just right, it doesn't totally kill the desired signal. By comparison attenuators on the Tecsun PL-600, PL-660 and Sangean ATS-505 which are far too strong.

- The radio is metal and has a good chunky feel to it.

- Has a line out jack, which I use as an RF ground connection. That's a must when tuning down to VLF on this radio. But a ground isn't necessary on shortwave and medium wave.

- It comes with a generous 35 foot wire antenna that can be connected into the external antenna jack. I actually get better results though (less noise) wrapping 4 turns around the base of the telescoping whip. As opposed to direct connection into the jack. It couples amazingly well.

I think I'm one of the few people who appreciates the faux analog display. It adds to the atmosphere. Compare with a bare bones display that's like looking at a cheap digital watch. No, the KA1103's ergonomics aren't ideal and that's well detailed by other reviewers here. Unfortunately the only thing you can do is get used to it.

If you read this review attempting to decide between this and something like the Tecsun PL-600, well it's a tough call. The Tecsuns are exceptionally sensitive on their whip antenna on shortwave, as this is. You can consider the special things above and decide from there. For $79 brand new I think the KA1103 is loads of fun, a fantastic value and deserves the highest rating.
KI5WW Rating: 5/5 Nov 4, 2013 17:00 Send this review to a friend
Ordered another one  Time owned: more than 12 months
Had mine for four years. No problems. Left it out in the heavy due. Dried it out and works fair. Buttons along the bottom kinda iffy and fussy. Face plate let loose and my attempts to reglue not good. So i ordered another. Ive carried that thing all over the country. Took it to Cancoon too. Love the SSB feature. Yea not like my Icom 7600 but its just fun and handy. If i hadnt left it out on the camping trip it would prob still be playing. Yes every time i wanted to change volume i said "d---- it! Great radio. Ill be more careful this time.
MARK42 Rating: 3/5 Nov 17, 2012 16:32 Send this review to a friend
Weird radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Kind of a strange radio, it has good sensitivity and reasonable selectivity with two bandwidths, ostensibly 4 and 6 kHz. SSB is a little difficult to tune compared to other receivers like the Sony SW7600GR or Tecsun PL-660, but not impossible. I've noticed some problems with images just using the telescoping whip. The faux analog display is fun but doesn't cover all the frequencies the radio does, so the tuning indicator line is missing at times. The backlighting could be brighter and the ergonomics can be quite bizarre, such as having to press the VOL button to be able to change the volume using the tuning knob.

I see it as a novelty item that performs reasonably well, though there are much better receivers available for not much more money.
KB5KWO Rating: 5/5 Nov 7, 2012 18:03 Send this review to a friend
Works Great  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I won't go into the Operational Details of the little receiver ..but it only took a few minutes to become totally comfortable with it. Nothing tricky about it at all.

The Fit & Finish as well as the Feel of this Kaito -easily surpass My Grundig YP400- ..Not Even Close..

I picked mine up for $45 this week and am very pleasantly surprised. I'll probably do another review in the coming months.

HFHAM2 Rating: 5/5 Aug 6, 2012 22:50 Send this review to a friend
New Found Respect  Time owned: more than 12 months
I didn't like this little radio when I first got it, mainly because of the cheap, loose-fitting switches and therefore I didn't rate it very highly nor use it much. This all changed recently when I put it up against a brand new Sony ICF-SW7600GR. I have always had a soft spot for the ICF-SW7600 series and have owned a 7600 and 7600G in the past. I was amazed that in virtually every respect, the KA-1103 was so much better than the ICF-SW7600G. It always sounded much better (in any mode) and was every bit as sensitive off the built-in whip as the Sony. Don't know how it would fair with an external antenna, but let's face it, it's a portable AM/FM/SW/SSB radio, not a communications receiver. For the broadcast listener, this is a great choice in a small portable shortwave radio.
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