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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Kaito KA1103 Help

Reviews Summary for Kaito KA1103
Kaito KA1103 Reviews: 55 Average rating: 4.5/5 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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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.
SCANNUT99 Rating: 5/5 Jun 19, 2012 12:21 Send this review to a friend
wow best radio in it's class  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Great am. Great sw. Not big on fm so will not comment. The volume issue is a non issue. Got used to it right away. What a powerful radio and sound to boot. Great sensitivity and selectivity. In the small portable class, nothing comes close at all. (I consider the Tecsun 660 in a different bigger portable class of radios as I do the Sangean 909x.

But if you want a small portable, nothing comes close.

W9CPI Rating: 5/5 Jun 15, 2011 16:21 Send this review to a friend
Fine Radio, Great Value  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Compared to my Sangean and earlier Sony, the 1103 is more sensitive and more stable. CW and SSB are much easier to tune in and are more pleasant to listen to. The 1103 is smaller to boot, and comes with nicads and a charger. It is a keeper, and you won't be disappointed in it!
SAILCAT Rating: 4/5 Mar 19, 2011 20:17 Send this review to a friend
Good Radio, Questionable QC  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I recently purchased a Kaito KA1103 from Amazon. It works well with good sensitivity and range on all bands, decent audio quality, and good looks. The radio is small and easily portable, too, making it an ideal radio to take along when traveling. Among the supplied accessories is a built-in battery charging feature that is very welcome, although I might suggest purchasing a set of Sony brand rechargeable batteries as the included batteries are of relatively poor quality: a small quibble, in my opinion. Some of the controls and displays are a bit complicated and require careful reading of the instructions to master, but once you get the hang of it they are manageable. Compared to my Sony ICF-SW7600GR it is nearly a match in most performance respects and the Kaito also has better audio, to boot. The Kaito is also a better radio in terms of sensitivity (especially in side band reception) as compared to my Grundig YB 400PE.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this little powerhouse with one caveat: the fit and finish of the Kaito leaves a bit to be desired as compared to Sony and Grundig. My KA1103 arrived very well packaged but when it was opened the radio had three dents on the grill. The plastic sleeve in which it arrived showed the same damage so I assume it was dropped when it was being packaged. Fortunately, it appears to work fine and because the return process is over-long and complicated I opted to keep it, but it is disappointing to receive such a nice radio from the manufacturer with cosmetic damage.

The bottom line is the Kaito KA1103 is a very nice radio and it comes at a good price. It is rather too bad that the QC at Kaito wasn't a bit better, however.
K7FD Rating: 5/5 Oct 10, 2010 13:42 Send this review to a friend
You'll smile BIG when you hear this radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Have owned this SW portable for over a year now; use it every night, as it sits on my night stand. Super sensitive; I listen to SSB/CW on 80 and 40m with just the telescoping whip!

Like any radio, once you get used to its unique controls, it's a piece of cake to operate. I find everything I need to tune in and enjoy listening to stations, both weak and strong.

I bought mine from Amazon. It came VERY NICELY packaged with lots of accessories. The radio itself has some decent heft to it...doesn't feel like an inexpensive radio!

A friend a work expressed an interest in shortwave radio and I recommended this one. They got the radio and headed home with a few brief listening tips from the Old Man. The next day, they were excited to tell me what all they had heard!

It's a great little radio...

John K7FD

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