The Degen DE321 – a new DSP analog shortwave radio

While waiting for the Tecsun R-2010 to hit the market, Degen just introduced their DE321–a very affordable DSP-based portable analog shortwave radio.

We have one on order and will review it soon. (UPDATE: Click here for our review.) At $21 US shipped, this could be a real bargain (see eBay search link below). The Tecsun R-2010 is also rumored to be available in December. We will compare the Degen DE321 to the Tecsun R-2010. I suspect that they both implement the SiLabs Si4831 DSP chipset. Thanks to the Herculodge for the tip!

7 thoughts on “The Degen DE321 – a new DSP analog shortwave radio

  1. kwdavids

    I ordered one each of just about every bottom-priced shortwave radio on eBay, including this one. Because I got so many, I haven’t had much time to dedicate to each one; however, this is from my limited experience.

    The radio feels solid. The battery compartment snaps shut securely. The antenna works smoothly. Dial calibrations seem accurate except for one peculiarity: the tuning indicator travels about 1/8 inch on the extreme of each band without changing the frequency. For example, WWV at 10 MHz can be heard at the top of SW3 and for quite a space around; same for WWV at 15 MHz at the bottom of SW6. It is cool, though, that you can tune in these two WWV frequencies even with the radio turned off — just go to the end of the band. I tried it in the afternoon and got a bunch of SW stations. The separate on-off switch is firm and unlikely to come on by accident.

    Negatives: The tuning thumb wheel is sticky. You can feel it catch and release as you turn it. This is annoying. I may look into some lubrication in the future. One other thing I don’t like is that there is no visual indicator on the tuning dial as to which band is selected. You have to look at a band indicator, read the number, and then look at the tuning dial, getting the light right so you can read the corresponding band there. Some of the bands are black printing on a gray background, that I found hard to read in low light situations.

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      All very good points. I’ve had my Degen for a few days now. I’ll post my thoughts soon, but must agree with what you say. The stickiness of the tuning knob is most annoying. More to come! Thank you for the good comments!

      Reply
  2. mitigator

    Great little compact Radio, well worth the price of $21.00 including shipping. Bought it from eBay Supplier TQUCHINA and it came with a Cloth Case, Earbuds, and a great Instructional mini CD which also has a wealth of info on Other Degen and Tecsun Radios. The CD says SinoRadios, wonder if SinoRadios, Degen, and Tecsun are related?

    Its great on Shortwave with the Whip Aerial extended – even in Afternoon on Shortwave Bands 3 & 4. Very good on FM and Sound quality and reception are good on Medium Wave AM. The flip out stand for my version of this Degen 321 Radio works very well and is loose, On MW I use an external Inductive Coupling 7 Inch Ferrite Sleeve Antenna I constructed and with the Degen 321 MW reception is amazing.

    My only regret is that this neat little Radio had a Digital Display so that I could ID the Frequencies I am receiving.

    Thanks

    Reply
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  4. Ari

    I had to order one of these for my BOB (bug out bag) I paid $14 with shipping on ebay Reading the reviews it sounds like it wont be a bad little radio. Some of the reviewers sound like they want this little radio to be on par with a ICOM-9000. These type of radios are not radios you really want to listen to hours of shortwave on. If you need digital readout and you cant afford much find a used Sangean 803a. Those were great radios, if you want something more find a used Icom 735. Great receivers and the used prices are down. It sounds like this little Degen will be really good at what it was intended to do. For $14 one has to give it a go and see what it will do.

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      Ari–For the price, the DE321 is a great little radio. Very lightweight and will play for hours and hours on batteries. At $14, these are an excellent glove-box radio as well.

      I completely agree with you about the Icom IC-735. The ‘735 was my first HF transceiver and I used it extensively for SWLing as well. Its AM filter was wide enough for excellent broadcast reception. Had it for over 12 years. I sold mine two years ago to make a little room in my shack. I dare say, I miss that green machine! It did go to a new ham, though, and he’s enjoying it daily.

      Reply
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