Thursday, April 11, 2013

My Kaito KA321 shortwave receiver

 Well, it has been about a week now since my Kaito KA-321 arrived and I have to say that overall, for the price it was a good bargain. 

 The Kaito KA 321 AM/FM/SW receiver is a pocket sized radio that is a great entry level receiver for anyone interested in listening to the shortwave bands. The Digital Signal Processing pulls signals in for greatt listening. I have found one thing that I didnt like about the DSP and that is there is no way to turn it off. The DSP can be a bit troublesome at time when you have two stations that are fairly close together. Since the DSP amplifies both signals it will cycle back and forth between them. The people over at kaito need to design a way for a person to turn the DSP feature on and off as need.
 Another issue that I have with the Kaito is the tuning mechanism is fairly stiff making it hard to fine tune a station in. This can be a problem as you tune around. I have found that it is a bit easier to tune from the TOP of the band and work your way down to the station you want to hear. After a week worth of continous use the tuning is still stiff and clunky, although it is possible to tune stations in it can be a bit of a workout.
 The two double AA batteries have held up nicely even with constant use. I listen to Radio Havana Cuba in the evenings with the Kaito KA321 on my nightstand and after a full week of this they are still hiumming along quite nicely.
 Another thing that would be nice is a way to connect an external antenna. It is possible to connect the telescoping antenna to my existing antenna system with a jumper wire, but that is a bit akward at best. For the price range I really didnt expect that though.
 The 5Vdc power supply that I used to power the radio also caused a bit of a hum when used. Not sure why it would cause the radio to hum since that is the power rating for it. I did try seveal of the Universal Power Supplies that I have here in the shack, which all caused the same effect.

 The Kaito KA321 is still a good bargain in my opinion costing under $20.00. It would be perfect for someone that wanted to throw it in their Grab N Go bags or just in the glove box of their vehicle to listen to during traffic or in emergencies. I honesly would not recommend the Kaito KA-321 to a serious at home shortwave listener unless they just wanted something to listen to on their night stand or needed something small and light to carry in their backpack. Overall the receiver works well pulling in stations although that too can be a problem if you have two stations that are both strong.

 So Good points are:

Small and light
Good sound quality for inexpensive radio
great receiver with DSP
Low price
Receives AM/FM bands
Runs on 2 AA batteries

 Bad points:

Clunky stiff tuning
DSP needs on/off capability
No external antenna connector

 Would I recomend this shortwave receiver to my friends. Yes I would. Most of the people I know on the different social networks are NOT radio enthusiasts. The Kaito KA-321 would be a great way to get them interested in radio with out too much of an investment.