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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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KB2NAT Rating: 4/5 Mar 18, 2017 08:29 Send this review to a friend
Great for the price  Time owned: more than 12 months
This radio should actually be a 4.5. The first one was returned; too many birdies, etc (double conversion?). Sensitivity is reasonable, though it would perform better with a longer antenna (it's only about 2' in length), and a wire to plug into the external antenna socket is included and helps considerably. The speaker is necessarily not large and so placing the radio in a corner is a great help in adding bass. I like the sync detection which works well and the dial numbers are accurate as well which is not always the case on Chinese radios. One can play the radio on the charger or charge the unit, but not do both at the same time....I have no idea why they did that. A quirky feature--if you're not used to it--is a page system. Some pages are for both AM and FM, some for one or the other and one for SSB with fine tuning. The latter is well done and works well in the ham bands. Overall, for a radio slightly larger than a shirt pocket and for $90 or less, it is a good buy. I've had mine for 7 years. The antenna will need an occasional tightening and the back plastic support that holds the radio at a 45 degree angle can be snapped off if you're careless like I am. However, I am still using it, it's still working well and has traveled all over. I've used it for AM, FM, SW and is an overall good product.
K8JHR Rating: 5/5 Jul 10, 2012 05:59 Send this review to a friend
Great Value - Good Performance  Time owned: more than 12 months
Really enjoyed this little receiver. Double conversion super het, with working SSB, and external antenna jack, does not overload with a 75 foot random wire, and even works OK on its own little whip. Makes an especially good travel radio, good on the campground with a random wire tossed into a tree, and worked swell on my 43 foot vertical monopole antenna. No complaints. Sold it to raise funds for a second transceiver, along with its brother the Degen-1102 (received as a gift from well meaning in-laws... they could have done worse...) so I am a happy camper and really enjoyed the radio.

That is MY take, anyway... / K8JHR /
KE1MI Rating: 0/5 Apr 3, 2012 17:12 Send this review to a friend
Crap  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have had this radio for about a year now. After reading all the "great" reviews here, I bought one.
It has to be the worst performing radio I have ever used. Full of birdies, woodpeckers, and all kinds of funky noises which remind me of the old Soviet jamming signals of years ago. About the only band I get some decent signals is 40 meters. The power house shortwave stations work well on the lower bands, but deaf above 14 mhz. Maybe this one is defective and I never bothered to return it. Another POS from China. Please, Please, do NOT waste your money on this one, I am very disapointed. Hard to find a decent shortwave reciever anymore that is afordable. And some complain of the old boat anchors.......
KWDAVIDS Rating: 4/5 Jan 22, 2012 18:47 Send this review to a friend
Not that well designed  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought the KA-1102 based largely on the reviews on this site. I can't argue with the conclusion that it's a well-performing radio, but the operation leaves a lot to be desired.

For example, I got the radio and its rechargeable batteries were discharged. So I hooked up the charger. Rather than a smart charger, you have to tell it how long to charge the batteries. How long should they charge? The manual says to set the time based on capacity. That doesn't help since there's no chart of capacity vs time. Since the batteries were new, I decided to use the maximum recommended time of 7 hours. After I started the charge, I briefly turned on the radio to see if it worked. 7 hours later I came back to discover the batteries still discharged. Were the batteries defective? No, the radio stops charging the batteries if you turn it on. You basically have to take the radio out of service for 7 hours in order to charge the batteries. Use an external charger? Do you have one that will charge 3 AA cells?

Other things that you can set with other radios like the AM step and the clock 12/24 can't be set on this one without taking the batteries out.

The dial light is weak and the display is hard to read compared to other modern radios. The button labels are tiny.

Buttons do dual functions that they aren't labeled to do. You have all these 3 seconds to do this, 5 seconds to do that, hold down for .5 seconds to do another thing. You really can't use the radio without a manual because if you hit the wrong button it will stop working. And why do you have to switch to memory page 9 to use SSB? What's with that! And why do you have to hit Enter before you enter a frequency? Other radios with direct entry don't require the extra step. I've read the manual, and I still haven't figured how to get the ATS working.

All in all, this is a badly-designed radio from a user's perspective, even though it performs well.

I did some A/B comparisons with other radios just to get a sense of how it performed. I used a less-expensive and slightly smaller Tecsun PL-380 to compare FM performance. The Tecsun was better. On weak stations that the Tecsun pulled in crystal clear, there was a lot of background hiss on the Kaito, and the Kaito had bleed from adjacent stations. This doesn't mean the Kaito is bad, but that the Tecsun is outstanding on FM.

On AM, the Kaito and the Tecsun seemed pretty much identical.

For shortwave reception, I thought to be fair I ought to pick a radio that also has SSB. I picked the Grundig G4000A, a larger dual-conversion radio. I found that reception (after setting bandwidth and volume controls appropriately) was identical between the two radios. I used an A/B switch with headphones and could not tell when I switched from one radio to the other.

I guess it comes down to what you want in a radio. If you want SSB and you want small, I guess the Kaito is it. If you don't need SSB, the Tecsun PL-380 is less expensive, smaller, and an equal or better performer (with sensible controls and a good dial light). If you want SSB and don't need very small then you might look at the Tecsun PL-660 that can be had for around $100 if you keep a lookout; it adds air band, long wave and synchronous tuning with a glorious orange dial. While the Grundig G4000A is a good radio, its dial light is even punier than the Kaito.

KD9VI Rating: 4/5 Sep 30, 2011 19:15 Send this review to a friend
good little radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
It won't compare to the big shortwave or ham radios. But for the size it really pulls in stations. You will need a longer wire antenna to pull in the weaker signals but for general listening of strong stations the whip antenna is adequate. FM audio is excellent, AM and shortwave are good. For the money ssb is good. The steps and AM/PM settings when powering on are real difficult, you have 3 seconds to set 2 different settings then you have to unplug and wait (and lose your memories). I really like that you can plug in and charge but you have to tell it to charge. Instructions are all push this button x times within y secs. Remember it doesn't include longwave nor 1.7-3MHz, neither things I listen to. But it is just a neat little portable shortwave/ssb radio.
ROBWIN12000 Rating: 5/5 Apr 1, 2011 18:32 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The Kaito KA1102 Radio is one of the top rated radio,s in the 2005 Passbook To World Band Radio . I have owned a few in the past and sold them and have now recently bought 4 more of them . What I remember in the past that is the same now is the quality control . The only problem with this radio is with the BFO . The signal lights that light up can not be turned off when in single side band mode and they cause a wobble in the ssb ham radio signal when lite up . Like a current drop . The other problem is in the quality control department , where they do not adjustment the bfo knob for center tune . This is always off on about half of the radios that come from the factory . Quality Control . This red can coil inside the radio is where the problem can be adjusted . This is the red topped adjustment coil and is on the right side of the radio near the bfo adjustment knob . Usually the adjustment is very slight . I have since ordered four Kaito KA1102 radios and three of them had this problem , I adjusted three and checked the fourth and it was slightly off so I adjusted that one too . You can find a picture of the radio opened up on radiointel . They have a very favorable review on this radio . I would say this is one of the best radio,s value in today,s market .
KJ4WS Rating: 5/5 Oct 14, 2010 14:49 Send this review to a friend
Great little radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After reading so many glowing reviews at this site, I picked up one of these tiny radio's on eBay. Wow, was I surprised at the performance. Listening to the Tennessee Phone Net ( 3.980 ) I was hearing everything that the net control could hear and I was only using the 36" telescoping antenna. Later that night/morning listening to the Before Breakfast Club ( 3.973 ) Once again I was amazed when I could hear almost everyone. SSB is Excellent after you find page 9 which was no big deal for me. If you are going on a trip away from your shack this little radio will really keep you informed. AM/MW receives stuff that my Sangean SG-622 is stone deaf to hear. I can't wait to hook it up to a real antenna. CAUTION... These radio's are very sensitive to static discharge into the antenna. Or so I was told. This little radio is Rock Solid for what it is and mine is not for sale, unless I knew another one could be obtained. FM reception is Excellent also, picking up stations that my other portables could not hear. Also, a really good radio for listening to Coast 2 Coast AM. Too bad they don't build an HF Tranceiver.
VE7FD Rating: 4/5 Aug 17, 2010 14:49 Send this review to a friend
Image problem  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I think this is a pretty fair little radio overall. HOWEVER it does have one bad problem for anyone using the 70 to 80 Mhz FM portion. It is loaded with images of the FM stations in the usual FM band. The images are 21.4 Mhz down from the "real" station. I bought it specifically for this band segment and so that is very disappointing.
CATONI52 Rating: 5/5 May 5, 2009 20:37 Send this review to a friend
Great Little Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have a collection of radios, including the Sony ICF 7600D, the great Panasonic RF2200, and others, like my Eton E5, E100, and Grundig G6 Aviator. I'm happy with them all. My Kaito KA1102 is a favorite. One problem these days is spotty Quality control, and rushed people on the assembly line not having enough time to properly fine tune the radios. I go into the store and ask to try three of the same radio with fresh batteries and compare them, and then buy the best one. The salesman will even go outside with me to try them side by side away from the store. He doesn't mind as long as he makes a sale. One is almost always a bit better then the others. And one might be bad.
This is what I do before making a purchase.. I always get a good one that way. My KA1102 is a great little radio.
KATZRADIO Rating: 2/5 Apr 22, 2009 18:48 Send this review to a friend
Disappointing  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Well, where do I start...maybe I got a bad one...

The radio has a bit of "drift" on AM & SW. SSB never has worked properly, I could never receive anything more than noise on that. Way too complicated with the bank/memory system. Digital volume control is not good at all.

The radio had an issue with the MW button, where it stayed depressed after pushing it. I contacted Kaito, went through a less than favorable customer service situation, & in the end did not get the radio repaired.

Would definantly not buy this one again. I am saving up for the Sony ICF-SW7600GR. Had a chance to try one of those out, & was definantly impressed!
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