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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Kaito KA11 Help


Reviews Summary for Kaito KA11
Kaito KA11 Reviews: 4 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $49.95
Description: The Kaito KA11 is a PLL synthesized mini-size AM/FM shortwave radio with wide frequency coverage and excellent reception in all bands. This radio is about the same size as a deck of cards and weighs a little less than half a pound, but it is packed with many nice features, such as 1000 permanently stored pre-set memories, alarm clock, thermometer and built-in battery charger. It has 7 shortwave meter bands that covers from 5.8 to 18.1 MHz, unlike most of FM radios, this radio covers from 70MHz and up to 108MHz, good for listening to campus radio broadcasting and etc. There are 6 different tuning methods available, they are direct frequency input, manual tuning, auto tuning, memory scan, random preset and ATS preset. With its outstanding sensitivity and selectivity and portability, this radio will make an ideal receiver for traveling and your daily listening.

Product is in production.
More info: http://
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KD7BWB Rating: 3/5 Apr 18, 2010 17:54 Send this review to a friend
Good basic design, but several bad problems...  Time owned: more than 12 months
I was an early adopter of this radio, and have eventually ran into everything in this radio, both good and bad.


PROS:

Moderately sensitive, not extremely, but for it's size, surprisingly adequate (this is true for AM,FM,SWL).

Memories (lots of them), and their workings are better than expected.

FM has excellent frequency range (going down to 76-Mhz!).

AM is standard (and can be selected 9-Khz or 10-Khz).

SWL quite usable, and covers most of the SWL AM broadcast bands.

3 different types of alarms + Sleep (while listening).

Accurate clock.

Temperature! Only radio I own with this feature (and it actually works).

CONS:

Programming some functions are either not done well, or are psychotic (2-second delays everywhere are just dumb, 9,10-Khz setting not available at all within the programming and only available at system reset, same for C,F setting of temp, Clocks and alarms need more documentation, and cannot be done at all without multiple readings of the manual).

Memories are managed as a single large bank, divided into 100-channel chunks and only save the frequencies. The pertinent signal data is saved into the mode switches (FM,AM,SWL) which you then attach to each block of 100-channels. This is not well described in the manual, and requires experimentation to use correctly. Moreover, Page-0 is only used for the Auto-Tuning-System mode, then that page is copied to others, to be accessed by the aforementioned modes. Jeez what a cludge! This was bad programming at its' finest. There are so many memories (1,000), that they would have done better to use only 500-memories (making each memory twice as big), set up to store frequency, mode and band data, in each memory separately, and then the computer can run the radio in a proper fashion. Yuch!

Antenna is really terrible (when mine broke, I opened the radio, so I'm positive of the facts). It works, when it is intact, but becomes a piece of junk very easily. The antenna is a proper multi-section unit, which fits inside a copper contact sleeve (no positive attach to the circuit board at all). The sleeve is then tack-soldered to a small bracket, and the bracket is then screwed down to the circuit board (if it is screwed to the circuit board wrong, the antenna circuit gets shorted to ground). If the tack-soldering breaks, it cannot be repaired, as the precision required is beyond the scope of anyone without the factory assembly jig (I own a $1,000 soldering station and have commercial soldering experience, and I could not fix this thing). But most of all, there is no way to make this solder joint reliable. It cannot last, when used as the primary antenna (like most of us use it), for any length of time.


General notes. A good radio, designed by good electrical engineers, poor programmers, bad mechanical engineers, and almost non-existant writers that understand that this products is going to India, England and the U.S. (they need to translate Chinese to English much better).

I've owned many shortwave products, both receivers and transceivers. And while this is not the worst product to hit U.S. shores, if I were Kaito, I would have done significantly more to investigate this product before they imported it for sale. This product certainly does NOT deserve a 5-review, maybe not even a 4-review, given its' poorly programmed firmware and the antenna facts.

So I give it a 3-review, because the radio parts actually work quite well. As a side note, because the antenna breaks, and cannot be repaired, I HAVE DISCARDED THIS RADIO (threw it in the waste bin) as bad business all the way around. YMMV .

I hope this review scares plenty of people !
 
N3YZ Rating: 5/5 Feb 5, 2008 12:59 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Concur with previous comments. Nice little, portable, light, short-wave receiver. Sensitive, digital, good audio quality (for its size). Too sensitive and less than optimally located volume control. Can SET the time without removing the batteries. Has a thermometer. Nice memory bank capability for FM, MW and SW. Recommend 1) replacing the short stock telescopic antenna with a longer Radio Shack telescopic. Itís a tighter connectivity fit and you loose the antenna-into-radio storage, but gain much in portable and convenient reception; and 2) Use two AA rechargeable batteries. The radio senses the charge and will automatically time as necessary to full charge. Neat features for such an inexpensive and small receiver. Excellent purchase for portable travel short-wave reception. 73! John
 
KD7PHT Rating: 4/5 Dec 9, 2006 14:28 Send this review to a friend
Miniature is the Key  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this radio out of curiosity for it's size, and am glad that I did. I've recently discovered the economy of Kaito radios and have purchased 3 in the last 2 months. KA1103, WRX911, and now the KA11. For me, I find this one a keeper for my collection. The fact that it's performs well is great, but the main reason I would consider buying this is if you truly have a need for a full featured sensitive radio that has been miniaturized. This is the key. Eg. backpacking, shirt pocket, or a glove box standard. I like the memory pages, ATS tuning, and the display illumination. Very clean and clear. It also has very good volume, albeit expectedly thin for it's speaker size, but sounds very nice through headphones. The internally hidden antenna is a bit sticky, but the supplied wire antenna always does better by me so I use that instead. The only other drawback is that on MW, the KA1103 does much better, for snagging "borderline" stations. Yet the KA11 still does holds it's own. For me the best use of this radio is with headphones on, and using the wire antenna to DX, as SW sensitivity is right there with my 7600G on a whip, and will certainly have you "in the game".
This is a serious "deck of cards" sized radio that takes SW listening to the level of having a Dick Tracey communicator wristwatch. It's just plain trick, and can give you SWL capability anywhere, at any time. If a full digital, miniaturized SW receiver needs to be in your pocket, or just in your collection, then I would highly recommend it.
 
MITCH Rating: 4/5 Dec 6, 2006 19:00 Send this review to a friend
A Feature-Packed Radio at a Great Price  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I wanted a small shortwave radio to take on a trip. Whenever I travel, I feel bad because my Sangean ATS-909 is a little too big to drag along. Besides size, cost was an important factor in my purchase decision. There were not many reviews for the Kaito KA11, but it had most of the features I wanted and overall Kaito radios have pretty good reviews.

I ordered the radio online for $54 including shipping. As advertised, the radio is extremely small. Although small in size, this radio is packed with features. Overall, the buttons/controls are nicely laid out. Using the radio is very intuitive, but you may need to crack open the manual to use some of the features such as the sleep timer and the alarm clock. The manual is easy to read, but obviously translated to English so some of the sentences require some patience to understand.

Features: The radio has 1000 memory locations (100 per page). You have the option to scan through the stored memory locations or just scan up/down by frequency. Even though the speaker is small, the radio still sounds good. Overall, sensitivity is decent and selectivity between strong adjacent stations is good. The radio displays both time and frequency. The backlight is orange and the LCD display is very easy to read. So far battery life seems very good. The left-side of the radio has an external antenna jack. The battery compartment door is attached...a welcome change. The package comes with an AC adapter, manual, ear bud headphones and a long-wire external antenna. If you use rechargeable batteries, it is possible to charge the batteries inside the radio (with the AC adapter).

The whip antenna stores inside the radio. I am not sure I like this feature. Sometimes the antenna sticks while trying to push it back into the radio. Hopefully this will become less sticky over time. To set the clock, you need need to take the batteries out of the radio momentarily. The rotary volume control is very sensitive. Unfortunately, this makes it fairly easy to go from low volume to extremely loud without much movement. I also do not care for the location of the volume control. When the radio is lying flat on a table, you cannot adjust the volume. The carrying strap is permanently attached to the radio. This is a small annoyance. Unlike similar radios in its class, there is no pop-out stand. In my opinion, the frequency coverage should have included the 60 meter band.

For future designs of this radio, I would like to see a slight change in memory functionality. If you manually punch in a frequency that is already in memory, I would like the behavior changed so it displays the memory location of that frequency. Right now, you have no way to know if a frequency is already in memory. There should also be an easy way to add a frequency to the next available memory location. Currently, you need to specify a memory location when saving a frequency. This increases the possibility that you may overwrite a memory location with a different frequency.

In summary, I really love my Kaito KA11 radio and I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely a great feature-packed radio, especially for its size and price. Most of the issues discussed above are minor annoyances and definitely not reasons to avoid this radio.
 


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