Review - Digitech AR-1780 Multi-band Radio Receiver

Paul Blundell



The AR-1780 is the big brother of the AR-1733 which has been my go-to ultralight DXing radio for a number of years. The AR-1780 covers the AM and FM broadcast bands along with the shortwave, long wave and air band. This includes RDS on the FM band and SSB on the shortwave band.
From the Jaycar website:
“This is a very compact world band radio, covering the most popular frequencies. It features rapid digital tuning, 1000 memory presets, and an easy to read display. Single Sideband Modulation (SSB) is used to listen in on 27MHz CB radio, short wave amateur radio and morse code. The large internal speaker provides clear audio, and you can connect your favourite set of headphones for personal listening. Powerful enough to receive what you want, and compact enough to take wherever you want.”

- Single Side Band (SSB)
- Telescopic Antenna
- 3.5mm socket for external antenna
- Selectable Bandwidth: 1 - 6kHz
- Radio Bands:
    FM 87.5 - 108MHz
    MW 522 - 1620kHz / 520 - 1710 kHz
    SW 1711 - 29,999kHz
    LW 150 - 450kHz
    AIR 118 - 137kHz
Product Dimensions
Radio Receiver
MW(AM) Frequency Range
Power Source
SW Frequency Range
SW Frequency Range
Type of Radio
FM Frequency Range
Power from disposable battery
Battery used for
Main Product
Size / Shape
Battery quantity
Batteries included
Batteries can be replaced by user
Warranty: 12 Months
AM Band:
The performance on the AM broadcast bands is very good, in most cases better than my AR-1733, this has made the AR-1780 my current “go to” radio. It is very sensitive and tuning across the band is very enjoyable. The built-in ferrite antenna works well, and it matches up nicely with my 3” FSL aerial for long distance / serious DXing needs.
FM Band:
The AR-1780 features RDS which shows station names, song names and other information, this works well. Side by side testing with the AR-1733 shows a slight edge to the AR-1780 on audio quality and ability to pull in signals, a couple of community station which are iffy at best on the AR-1733, are much better and clearer on the AR-1780.

Shortwave Band:
Shortwave coverage is from 1711 kHz to 29999 kHz in 1 kHz steps. The main rotary tuning control on the side of the radio can be set to 5kHz or 1 kHz steps and there is a fine-tuning control on the right-hand side that is used for the USB and LSB modes. The radio uses the inbuilt telescopic antenna for the entire shortwave band. My experience and focus is not on this band so my experience is limited, from my limited testing it works as well as a radio of this size / price point could be expected to.

Longwave Band:
Coverage is from 150 kHz to 450 kHz. Our local beacon on 242kHz comes in well enough. Again, this band is not an area I know much about and it has very limited use here in Australia.
Air Band:
This covers from 118 MHz to 137 MHz in the AM mode. I have programmed in my local tower, ATC and AWIS frequencies and I find I often leave this locked on one of them while I am working, the gentle sounds of the ATC controllers and pilots are good background noise. While not a “scanner”, this does have a one-time search mode and will save any found frequencies for later review. Performance wise, it works as well as any of my scanners would and for listening over an extended period, the squelch mode is very helpful. I find around a 3 the best setting.
It works well given the price and size of the unit, as a step up from the AR-1733, it fills the gap between this and the full-size radios. AM performance is an improvement on the AR-1733 and the choices of AM bandwidths really helps with hunting down stations. FM BCB is covered well. Airband is acceptable with no issues.
Slight gap in audio while changing frequencies, delay in switching between USB and LSB modes. Weird charging voltage. Lack of carry case included.
I am a big fan of this radio and it has taken over from my AR-1733 as my main DXing rig, for $99 on special, it is excellent value.

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