Degen refreshes shortwave product line

Degen-DE221-001

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Paul, who commented with a link to the new Degen DE221 “ultralight” radio: http://ebay.to/1fKWZ2m

Paul’s link lead to the discovery of several new Degen models, in fact. Many of the new models have the same form factor–and a slightly different model number–from their predecessors.

Degen DE221 (updated from Degen 321)

Degen-DE221-001

Degen DE22

Degen-DE22

Degen DE23

Degen-DE23

Degen DE26

Degen-DE26

Degen DE27

Degen-DE27

Degen DE36 (updated from Degen DE32)

Degen-DE36

There may be even more 2015 Degen models than those I listed here and, in fact, they could’ve been on the market for a while.

I’ve already purchased the Degen DE221 for review since its predecessor, the DE321, was an acceptable radio for the $20 price tag. The DE321’s analog dial made for very vague tuning, however, so I’m curious if the DE221’s new digital display will be a worthy improvement. At this point, I don’t plan to review any of the other models above.

12 thoughts on “Degen refreshes shortwave product line

  1. John

    Nice! I have the Kaito version of the 321 and still use it quite a bit. For roughly $20, it is a fun little radio. The analog dial with digital tuning was a little odd at first but not a big deal. I’ll be interested to see how this one performs!

    Reply
  2. Tom Stiles

    I was looking for a review of the Degen DE27 which this article is tagged but nothing but a picture of it. Does anyone have any information on the DE27 or where I can find a manual?

    Love this website,

    Tom

    Reply
  3. Ken L

    I just received the DE221. Anyone know if the AM can be changed to 10khz, it’s default is 9khz. Otherwise, after a quick check I was able to receive on all bands, so the radio works OK. Going to play with it some more over the next few days. Digital read out is a big improvement over analog.

    Thanks,

    Ken

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      I just received the unit yesterday–nearly a month after ordering. I’ll pop some batteries in today and start to check it out. I strongly suspect 5 kHz steps, but it would be awfully nice if 1 kHz steps were possible.
      -Thomas

      Reply
    2. Ken L

      From my use of it so far, it’s 5khz. I don’t see any option to change it. Same for the MW/AM, looks like it’s set to 9khz. Chinese manual doesn’t help (me at least LOL ), although some of the links posted here showed english labeled versions which helped a bit with the basics.

      Reply
    3. Thomas Post author

      I just turned on the DE221 for the first time this morning.

      Looks like SW tuning steps are limited to 5 kHz.
      Also, MW is fixed to 9 kHz steps.

      This was the same with the DE321; I suspect the DE221 is simply a DE321 with a digital display and buttons. Of course, the labels are all in Chinese–as Ken points out–so it’s possible I’m missing something here.

      From my tuning around this morning, I prefer the DE221’s digital display over the DE321’s analog display. Still, it can be a little tricky to land right on a frequency. Tuning is a little tight.

      Other observations:
      – SW bandwidth is wide
      – SW selectivity is poor
      – Sensitivity is OK so far

      The combo of poor selectivity and wide BW remind me of the short-lived Tecsun R-2010D:
      https://swling.com/blog/2013/06/a-review-of-the-tecsun-r-2010d-shortwave-radio/

      This morning, it was impossible to tune to Radio Australia on 9,580 kHz while CRI occupied 9,570. If I tuned to off-freq to 9,585 kHz, I could hear RA, but not without a lot of interference from CRI.

      Still, I’ll spend much more time with the DE221 before forming any strong opinions. 🙂 These are just some initial observations.

      -Thomas

      Reply
      1. Ken L

        “Of course, the labels are all in Chinese–as Ken points out–so it’s possible I’m missing something here.”

        Further back in these comments are two links to pictures of DE221s with english labels, which helped me figure out the basic functions. With a simple radio like this I doubt there are to many hidden or combo key press functions.

        Reply
  4. Phil Ireland

    Hi all,
    I’ve just received my DEGEN DE27 from China. Interesting little radio, I haven’t had a good chance to put it through its paces yet but my initial impressions are the radio seems well built and fairly intuitive to turn it on. However, all the instructions are in Chinese so luckily there was someone in my office who could set the language to english otherwise, setting up the radio is a nightmare! I will have to take the radio outside to test its performance as the office environment is useless to listen in. The box says the radio tunes from 3.2 mhz to 21.850 mhz however, I havent been able to work out how to make it tune out of the standard SW Broadcast Bands yet. Toggling between 10 khz and 9 khz steps for AM is easy as it setting the FM band coverage but I’m yet to determine the SW settings. It appears tuning is only in 5 khz as well on SW.
    As for venturing into MP3 settings and recording, I’ll leave that, it seems too much of a challenge! The clock and calendar, sleep timer, alarms are all fairly straight forward but there is an “E-Book” setting which defies description! It has a USB flash disc function and inputs for a micro SD card. Charging the supplied Lithium battery is via a supplied USB cable.
    The display is easy to read and attractive with excellent backlighting. I’m not expecting stellar performance on any band, after all, it was a cheap radio (about 40 AUD with free postage) but it is built around DSP architecture. Only a single bandwidth is available and there is no SSB capabilities. The radio hopefully will be ideal to throw onto a backpack or pocket as a travel portable. If DEGEN read these comments, perhaps an english manual put online would be extremely helpful to allow users to get the most out of the 27.
    I’ll comment more on the performance later but for now, the radio shows promise.

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Phil’s initial impressions of the Degen DE27 | The SWLing Post

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