Kaito KA11 Ultralight Radio

Gary DeBock

Hello All,

Purchased for the 2009 Ultralight Radio Shootout was a Kaito KA11 AM-FM-SW portable, a tiny (4.25 x 2.75 x .75 inches) digital model with 1000 memories, retailing for $49.95 at Amazon.com. It was hoped that this model might have similar performance to the discontinued Eton E100, at least on medium wave.

If any of you have been contemplating a purchase of this model, please be advised that its AM performance is abysmal, and that the AM factory alignment was one of the worst ever checked here. The single loopstick coil was far off the 600 kHz peak, and the 1400 kHz trimmer was a half turn off of the optimum position. Normally such alignment corrections will transform the radio into a newly effective model, but in the case of the poorly-designed KA11, it merely improved AM performance from terrible to mediocre. The radio still can't receive anything outside of western Washington.

The FM and SW performance of the KA11 are fairly good for such a small radio, however, and one easily gets the impression that Degen (the manufacturer) considered these bands the top priority. Unlike the Eton E100 and the C.Crane SWP (both of which have been transformed into astonishingly effective transoceanic DX chasers), the KA11 has a 450 kHz IF, making it unsuitable for the most effective IF filter transplants.  DXers are advised to look elsewhere for their dream Ultralight DXing portable.

73, Gary DeBock


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