Guy’s review of the Basbon DS-858

Babson-Shortwave

SWLing Post contributor, Guy Atkins, writes:

My “bargain bin” $13.99 portable Basbon DSP receiver arrived yesterday from China while I was out of town. That was fortunate for the little radio, as my absence allowed it another day of life (in one piece) on planet earth.

The good: the radio’s case is surprisingly solid and of good quality. To hold the receiver you’d think you had a $50+ portable in your hands. The smallish and very basic LCD display (cleverly labeled “DISPLAY” for those who don’t catch on too quickly) looks crude however, and gives forewarning that crude performance awaits.

The so-so: strong, local FM signals sound intelligible but with lots of tinny audio and some distortion. Strong AM signals (which happen to be near or coincide with North America’s 10 KHz channel spacing) are adequate.

The bad & ugly: Once you get past the puzzling multiple button presses to get past the clock display into shortwave operation, the noises and hisses coming from the speaker will make you wish you’d left well enough alone! Strong SW signals audible on Kaito’s $17.99 low-end (and analog) WRX-911 are simply a noisy, tone-covered mess on the Basbon receiver.

I was curious if the digital hash and noise was the result of an unshielded DSP chip, so I opened up the receiver. These two pictures show both sides of the primitive PCB:

Basbon_PCB_front

After removal of TEN (!) little silver screws holding the PCB board in place I could remove and flip it over. The square, multi-lead chip to the lower left of the LCD display is unmarked, and is presumably the DSP IC. I was contemplating making a small grounded metal shield to cover the chip, but as I moved the Basbon radio’s internals on my workbench the array of case buttons literally fell apart.

That’s the end of THAT idea! I have more interesting radio projects to spend my time on.

Thanks so much, Guy! While I’m a little sad the Basbon DSP radio performed so poorly, at $13 I suppose we can’t be terribly surprised. My Basbon DS-858 is yet to arrive–it took the seller 10 days to ship it and now it’s on the ePacket journey from China. Once received, my expectations will be adjusted accordingly.

In truth, like Guy, I often jump on radio deals like this in the off chance they may perform well for their price. Most of the time, though, I feel like I’m taking a bullet for SWLing Post readers–!  (Ha ha!) Giving an honest assessment of a poor radio keeps anyone else from wasting their money.

Many thanks, Guy, for digging into the Basbon and for sharing your review with us!

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7 thoughts on “Guy’s review of the Basbon DS-858

  1. LZ2ILR

    Just got mine, badged as cs106 and it works ok ! Not as good as my ft817 but better than my vx7r with a home built ferrite loopstick antenna. Hold mw and m+ for 2 seconds on standby to select 9 or 10 khz step.
    There is definitely some clock breakthrough on 6m band but usable. Same for 170-220 mhz even though tv no longer uses these bands they still cover useful ham frequency.
    I bet with the right firmware tweaks this could cover 100khz up to 70cm. Its certainly worth ten dollars and a few days trying to get into the i2c port.
    First mod will be copper screening tape, a decent speaker, and a solar panel on the kickstand.
    Mine came with white backlight which i will change to orange and maybe try to make new perspex buttons and backlight them green 🙂
    Maybe you just got a bad one!

    Reply
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  3. Sonton Cup-Jam

    The IC installed at the lower left of the LCD is the MCU.
    The DSP is AKC 6951 installed right under the liquid crystal.

    Reply
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  6. R Ellwood-Thompson

    You guys do us ‘impulse buyers’ a great service. I have saved many pounds (UK) by reading your little reviews here first.
    Please keep on spending YOUR MONEY, so that we can avoid this crap. hi hi
    Best 73s.
    Ron GW1HIN, Wales, UK

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      Ron,

      More than once, we’ve “taken a bullet” for the SWLing Post community. 🙂 That Basbon receiver is certainly one of those bullets!

      Cheers,
      Thomas

      Reply

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