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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Kaito KA-2100 Help

Reviews Summary for Kaito KA-2100
Kaito KA-2100 Reviews: 5 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $Around $100.00
Description: An AM FM Shortwave portable receiver
Product is in production.
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BMW Rating: 4/5 Nov 13, 2009 20:44 Send this review to a friend
update after 2 years of ownership  Time owned: more than 12 months
Unfortunately, after owning this radio now for nearly 2 years, I have to downgrade my score from a 5 to a 4. The reason for this is the construction quality. The first thing that started to go, and rather quickly, was the tuning knob - when tuning it one direction, occasionally the frequency would adjust in the other direction - it eventually got so bad that it was nearly impossible to tune it either direction because it would just fluctuate back and forth around the same frequency. Also getting worse was that it would skip 6 or 7 frequency allotments on occasion. So the only way I can really tune now is to use Q-tune and then patiently find my station from there.

Next problem was that a few of the buttons half-broke. The handle also broke off. The antenna also broke the plastic off that it was connected to. And I take good care of my stuff, this is just not a rugged unit by any stretch of the imagination.

Then last week, out of the blue, my radio died. I was listening to an FM station and then all of a sudden, silence. Can't get it working again.

In new condition, this is a 5 out of 5 radio. But good luck keeping it in good condition.

------ORIGINAL REVIEW--------
After doing much research and reading many reviews on this site, I finally settled on the KA2100. I paid $99 plus $14 shipping on ebay and I must say, I am very happy with my purchase.

The sound quality on the AM band is outstanding on strong stations if you set the bandwidth to WIDE. On weaker stations, setting it to narrow greatly reduces background interference. The bass and treble controls are a must and add great value to this radio, I find myself constantly tinkering with them depending on which station I am listening to. AM sensitivity is quite good, but when I use the internal antenna in conjunction with my tuned terk am antenna in passive mode, reception is even better. From northeastern Michigan, I have been able to consistently pick up stations from both Wisconsin and New York during the daytime!

On the FM side, sensitivity is very good - comparable to my my car radio. My only complaint would be selectivity - I often find myself tuning 0.02 or 0.03 mhz from center (ie, 106.12) to get rid of adjacent channel interference. Unless you're trying to pick up a station crammed between 2 strong adjacent channels, this shouldn't be a problem.

On the SW band, I cannot comment as this is the first shortwave radio I've ever owned. But I will say I have picked up numerous stations from all over the world using the internal antenna.

Overall, the design of this radio is excellent and very user-intiuitive. I have no problem using this radio in the dark. I am afraid though that as much as I use it, I may someday wear out the tuning knob.
KC2OYZ Rating: 4/5 Jul 27, 2008 02:03 Send this review to a friend
CCrane Version  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After reading about the Kaito, I bought the CCrane version of the radio - called CCrane Radio SW. CCrane has printed a good manual, added their double ferrite bar antenna and a few other features (I think...) and I believe they cleaned up the hum problems when running off AC power - because I haven't experienced any problem with hum whatsoever.

I got the radio just for program listening, local AM and FM, and some MW DX programming and occasional SWL, and I like it - simple to use, big dial with easy to read numbers.

The audio is good - but not great - can be tinny and thin - I find myself playing too much with the tone and RF gain controls. I also found that the volume control doesn't cut out the audio entirely, even when you bring it down to zero - I believe this is a design flaw that should be corrected - it appears that the volume level is not correctly synced up to the RF gain. For that reason, I'm giving 4/5, not 5/5.

Some have complained that the buttons are hard to push, but if you hit them sharply in the right place they work fine. I thought the limited memory system would bother me, but it doesn't - the tuning wheel is large and has a 'fast' mode and the dial is big and legible, so you can fly through the band, and when you dial to frequency that is preset, you can jump from there through the presets starting at that point - so it's easy enough to get around.

The RX performance appears to be quite good, although I haven't given it a real workout. Sensitivity is excellent, selectivity is about as good as can be expected without a BFO, sync lock etc (with a BFO it would probably be a kickass DX machine)- it works well for MW DX, but don't expect to be able to dig out a DX signal when you have a 50k local 10khz away - for that, get an Eton E1 - and pay $400.

I also like that it's a relatively inexpensive battery operated radio that does an excellent job without need for an external antenna or speakers - in terms of RX performance, the Grundig G5 beats it - but to use it the way I do, you need an external speaker and antenna - not so with the CCrane - the internal ferrite bar is more than sufficient. I hooked up an external CCrane ferrite to it and it provided a big boost, but for my use it's not necessary - which isn't true of other 'portables' I have owned.

The Kaito/CCrane also has that genuine RADIO look and feel - it doesn't look like a computer or a cell phone or an IPod or a walkie-talkie - it looks and sounds and feels like a RADIO.

All in all it is keeper for me. Cost me $140 on Amazon with free shipping, looks great and does a good job and gives me more room and fewer wall warts and wires in my shack (which is VERY small) so it was money well spent. (Check back in a year - if it falls apart in the interim I'll write another review.)
N2DY Rating: 5/5 Oct 18, 2007 20:16 Send this review to a friend
Very Nice Portable  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I won't go into too much detail because I think KA2SHU/W4SHU said it perfectly. I just want to echo his comments. This is a terrific radio for MW, SW and, particularly, FM listening. If you want something for listening to amateur SSB activity, go with another radio as this does not have a BFO. Of particular note is the very nice tonal quality of the radio. It sounds more like some of the radios that were made 30 plus years ago. The radio has a decent sized speaker and good bass and treble controls. As I mentioned, FM broadcast reception is very good! I was actually a bit shocked by it. It is sensitive and selective. I picked up FM stations that I cannot even hear on some of my other good quality portables. Overall, a very good value for the money.
KA2SHU Rating: 4/5 Sep 27, 2007 17:19 Send this review to a friend
Easily Worth The Price  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just received my new Kaito KA-2100 a few days ago and have put it through it paces. An overall evaluation of this radio reveals that this radio is an EXCELLENT value for what it does. I shall review this radio in four parts; The Good, The Not So Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good:
The sound quality of this radio is impressive, especially the bass response. It has two nice tone controls.
The MW sensitivity on my radio was excellent and will rival the CC radio, or the GE Super Radio.
The SW and FM sensitivity are also excellent and at least as good or better than the Fisher Price Satellite 800 arm buster.
The LCD display has a large read out for the frequency or the time clock, which ever is selected.
The buttons and frequency display on the front panel light up nicely for easy low or no light identification.
The radio can accept AA batteries or D batteries for portable operation.
The radio has its own built in power supply.

The Not So Good:
The synthesizer on certain frequency ranges makes a clicking or a slapping sound as you tune through the range. It does not mute out.
The radio does NOT natively have a BFO or the capability to receive USB or LSB signals.
The Narrow-Wide Band Width Switch did not produce a significant difference in selectively.
There is no direct keypad frequency entry.
There are 50 memories but only 10 are allowed to each band.

The Bad:
The instruction manual was written by a non-native English writer. There are lots of obtuse phrases that make programming and set up difficult. Clock, timers, and memory set up would not be too easy even if it was written very clearly to begin with.
The segmented signal strength meter is very difficult to read.
The main tuning knob is really cheap and feather light and has no metal ring on its shaft to prevent wobble or slop.
There was no warrantee of product registration included in the box that I received.

The Ugly:
When you reach the end of a frequency range of a given band, a loud double beep blares out at you as if you committed a crime.
Some functions on this radio require a continued press of a key with a short time limit. This can make programming or setting the clock a real frustrating experience.

Bottom Line:
If you like MW, FM, or casual SW in a portable size, then this radio is a terrific value and will please you. I would not recommend it for situations where selectivity is really important or for trying to listen to popular amateur radio modes.

KB6HRT Rating: 5/5 Mar 27, 2007 22:08 Send this review to a friend
One good value  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had trouble with my Grundig 800 so its on its way back to Drake for repairs, I ordered the KA2100 of the Internet and received it today it works on 110 / 6 to 9 volts or batteries reception on AM FM or SW is very very good without external antennas, even a station 100 miles away with the FM wipe down comes in full quieting on AM at night you can pull in stations every 10kc all across the dial. The tone controls work quite well when needed. Had a Grundig S350 that I thought sounded good but was a little hard to tune on SW but the KA2100 pulls in stations better sounds better on all bands and has stronger audio to boot. There is an external VFO for the KA2100 that I will receive tomorrow so I can pull in some SSB on 75 and 40 meters. Anyone that buys this radio will sure get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

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