Phil’s initial impressions of the Degen DE27


Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Phil Ireland, who comments:

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 DE27.

I’ll comment more on the performance later but for now, the radio shows promise.

Thanks so much for sharing your initial impressions, Phil! Please keep us informed as you discover more about this little radio!

This reminds me that I have yet to put my Degen DE221 through the paces. Stay tuned!

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4 thoughts on “Phil’s initial impressions of the Degen DE27

  1. Michael

    Can it be used as a nightstand clock (permanent on display) and morning alarm (hopefully from USB/SD/station) ? I’m considering it as a mother’s day gift ( yes, I think way ahead for that stuff) and for her those features are an absolute necessity. If not, maybe you know of other affordable FM/MW radios with clock and alarm? Thanks a lot.

  2. Phil Ireland

    Hi all,
    Thanks for your comments so far regarding the Degen DE27. Last night, I had a good opportunity to test the capabilities of the radio and to be quite frank, I had to keep reminding myself that after all, it really was a cheap radio.
    Firstly, this radio is analogue with a frequency counter. There is no PPL circuitry here. That explains why you can only tune on the International Shortwave Band frequencies and even then, it does’t cover the entire range on the allocated bands. I found the tuning fairly sloppy and you’ll notice that towards the extremities of the bands, the dial cord must stretch resulting in the frequency display running wild. That is a nuisance!
    Secondly, the bandwidth is as wide as a barn door! Don’t expect to be able to tune frequencies close to a powerful station, it just won’t happen. This is said across all bands including FM. Disappointing.
    Thirdly, sensitivity is marginal at best, ok for your local broadcasters but don’t even think of any DX with this radio on any band. Many of the weaker stations, easilly received on say a DEGEN DE1103, just aern’t there on the 27. Disappointing again.
    At this stage, you might be thinking, is there anything positive about this radio? Well yes, the audio is good for such a small speaker, remarkably good in fact and yes, as I had to keep reminding myself, it was cheap so I didn’t waste too much money on it.
    Can it be recommended? Well, if you are only looking for a cheap radio to take with you to places where it might be lost or stolen and are only interested in the local radio stations, well it may be for you, anything more, forget it. Maybe the DEGEN DE29 may be a better proposition as it may have PPL cuircuitry seeing it has a keypad. The advertising for the radio stretches the truth when it comes to the SW frequency coverage! Overall though, for radio devotees like those who visit these pages, I can’t recommend the purchase of the DEGEN DE27.

  3. Darshan


    Thanks for sharing your impressions on the radio.

    If you have a smartphone or a tab, Google translate and similar apps have a feature that will translate text as you hover your camera over it.

    Not as convenient though.

  4. Tom Stiles

    This radio looks so much like other radios that have been on the market for a while. Thanks for sharing.

    Another Tom


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