USAID sends the Kchibo KK-9803 to Nigeria

The Kchibo KK-9803 portable shortwave radio

The Kchibo KK-9803 portable shortwave radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kim Elliott, who shared a link to this tweet by USAID and notes:

“I don’t know if USAID is doing them any favors by giving them a Kchibo KK-9803 …”

I agree with Kim. Even though, of course, I’m committed to the idea that radios bring access to information in parts of the world that need it the most, USAID obviously did no research prior to purchasing the Kchibo KK-9803 for humanitarian use.

No doubt, the Kchibo KK-9803 is one of the poorest performing radios I’ve ever reviewed (click here to read the full review). Though I fully support the concept of what USAID is doing, almost any other receiver would have been a better choice.

At ETOW, we work on a very modest budget–indeed a micro budget by USAID standards–but we would rather invest in better equipment, even if it means sending a smaller quantity to the field. Since so many resources are used just to deliver equipment to remote areas, one hates to waste those resources on equipment that may not perform the intended task or suffer from poor longevity.

My hope is that someone at USAID will read this and, at least, consult us prior to future distributions. An efficient analog portable (even the TECSUN R-911, for example) would be a much better choice.

7 thoughts on “USAID sends the Kchibo KK-9803 to Nigeria

  1. Stefano

    I have one of those radios (not exactly the same, but very close to it) and I can certify their poor quality.

    Why would they send those radios …. One might ask.

    Well …. those radios are poor quality, so why would anyone want to buy = spend his/her hard earned money on it in the first place?
    My guess is that Kchibo fund itself with a huge stock of these radios that nobody would want. Then some smartarse @ Kchibo found some peer @ USAID (or a very uneducated purchasing officer) and “convinced one way or the other” that those radios were indeed the best choice. And very simply public money / donated money was used to help Kchibo to get rid of otherwise worthless radios.
    With what arguments, remains to be seen; and we shall never really know, probably.
    Now, whatever is the case, this leaves USAID with a very low reputation, in the best case.
    Cheers, Stefano.

    Reply
  2. Edward

    Is it a true DSP radio or is it a superheterdyne with a local oscillator synthesizer? and is the sliderule display a preselector RF amp?

    Reply
  3. Cap

    I hate to bring bean counters into this but this is what it looks like.
    Someone went out and bought the cheapest shortwave radios they could find and to hell with how well they perform or their sustainability.

    “a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

    Reply
  4. Cap

    Is the Eton/Grundig FR200 (Tecsun Green-88?) still the radio of choice for EOTW? (good choice BTW), although a radio with a solar charger would be a bonus for equatorial regions.
    I had a FR200 a while back and it totally cratered on me and I am now looking for a winter prep radio setup.
    The Degen DE13 looks pretty dinky and seems to tick all the boxes with favourable reviews. Probably not as robust as the FR200 but would do for now, even if it is missing 3/21MHz (and no fine tune?). The Degen has a Solar charger + USB charging port which is handy to keep my more serious portable radios topped up.
    The biggest risks here are Storms/Hurricanes/Thunderstorms, knocking out the power so crank and light with FM are critical but having Shortwave is a no-brainer as well.
    No droughts, floods, earthquakes, tsunami risks here, so quite lucky there (never say never though!), but an increase in storms/hurricanes have had a significant impact in the winter months.

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      Yes, we still use the FR200. We have a few remaining units from when Eton donated their remaining stock to us a couple years ago. We’ve also bought the Tecsun versions, though. The Green-88 is a direct replacement for the FR200. We’ve also used the Green-168. Both are good radios and better quality than some others I’ve found. Pretty affordable via eBay, too.

      Tecsun Green-88
      http://ebay.to/1sBIGnu

      Tecsun Green-168
      http://ebay.to/24LdFcQ

      Eton offers a number of other portable hand-crank radios that are quite good. For ETOW, though, we’re specifically in need of analog portables because they are more efficient when only the hand-crank is used for power. For use here in the US, I like the newer ETON radios because they also have NOAA weather radio. CCrane also makes a great hand-crank radio.

      -Thomas

      Reply
  5. JAYoung

    Solar and/or crank charging should be required in any USAID contract for radios to be distributed to the Third World. People who have trouble paying for food should not be asked to buy batteries.
    Too bad Free Play sold out.

    Reply

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