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:
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!