Version 2.0? Julio’s positive review of the Degen DE1103


[Correction: Julio’s version of the DE1103 is the first, non-DSP (current) version.]

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Julio Cesar Pereira, who comments with his mostly positive impression of the DSP version of the Degen DE1103 receiver:

I’ve got a DE1103 and haven’t noticed any AM bleeding on SWL so far. I sometimes stay at one of my family’s properties located at the center of a city with lots of stations. There I use the balcony on the 9th floor and I get a lot of spurious interference from FM stations, which is normal once you’re surrounded by buildings. However, I already tuned some images on SW. I used an old SW7600G to check it out and it didn’t get any.

I kind of started to dislike DSP, for it can be annoying to hear it engage and disengage when a signal constantly drops down and recovers. It is fantastic when a signal is strong and constant for it improves audio quality whether it is MW, SW or FM.

At one time, I even thought it would be perfect for the DE1103 to have this [DSP] feature, but you know what? I’m very happy with the way mine is right now. I find this receiver to have the best FM reception compared to the others of my little collection of tabletop and portable receivers, which includes scanners ICOM IC-R20 and R5, receivers PL-660, SW7600GR, ICF-2010, etc. The DE1103 is by far the most sensitive and selective one, it even beats my old Realistic DX-440.

As for SW, I like the combination of its very good AGC and very low floor, which allows me to do DXing with the RF attenuator on and does not have any annoying filter like the PL-660. I also enjoy its audio quality, especially on the headphones, for it is more natural, not processed like the PL-660’s or over-processed like the SW7600GR’s.

You can tell I’m a big fan of this little radio. It has its flaws, but I can live with them.

Thank you for sharing your experience with the DE1103 DSP, Julio!

Degen DE1103 DSP Version 2.0?

Julio, I’m now very curious if your receiver is the “Version 2.0 Model” mentioned by this seller on eBay. [ Julio has now confirmed that it is not the DSP version.]


If you’ve read my DE1103 DSP review, you’ll note that I haven’t been the biggest fan of the new DSP version of the DE1103. I did review a very early model and wonder if Degen has tweaked the DE1103 DSP to provide better performance? Can any other readers comment?

I’ll search through the various models of the DE1103 on eBay and see if there are any specifics about the new 2.0 version in product descriptions. I’ll also attempt to contact sellers for details.

Please comment if you have any information.

Update: Several readers pointed out that the “Version 2.0” might simply be a way sellers are using to indicate that this is the DSP-based DE1103–rather than this being an improved version of the original DSP receiver I tested. 

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11 thoughts on “Version 2.0? Julio’s positive review of the Degen DE1103

  1. Tom Servo

    I think the inconsistent reviews of this radio can be traced back to the poor QC of Degen/Kaito. A friend sent me my Kaito KA1103 (same as this Degen) and I understand he had the seller check multiple units to find one with consistent quality.

    Overall, it’s fantastic, aside from a bit of inaccuracy on the FM band. If I’m listening to a station that’s at 94.9 MHz, for example, it’s tuned dead center on 94.82 MHz instead. But as far as MW/SW performance, it’s really quite stout with the built-in antenna and has great sound quality. I’m actually listening to WRMI on 5850 right now on it, and they’re playing What Does The Fox Say for some strange reason, but it sounds top notch for a SW receiver.

    Now, it *will* overload with images of my local AM if I use my external 30-35 foot longwire, but that local AM is only 1500 feet away and runs 2.5 kW during the day. I doubt there’s much in consumer gear that wouldn’t be troubled by that.

  2. Jason

    I’m always surprised with the gushing reviews on the DEGEN-1103 (Non-DSP model) as my experience does not compare with most people’s claims of a “great” receiver.

    It isn’t – not a by a long shot.

    A few points:

    – The noise floor is very high
    – The front end gets swamped easily with or without an external antenna
    – Ergonomics are atrocious (no dedicated volume button – seriously ?)
    – Build quality is cheap and nasty
    – Selectivity is average
    – FM is very good, MW acceptable but SW is hit and miss
    – SSB is prone to distortion (AGC issues) and never resolves clearly

    The DSP model appears worse in performance which doesn’t surprise me. A no buy for me.

    One is better off buying a Tecsun PL-660.

    1. rcxb

      Jason, my experience does NOT match your first two items at all. Noise floor is nice and low, and overload has never been an issue. SW has always been constantly good, across any frequency. I’ve often compared mine to other recievers side by side and the 1103 always matches or exceeds them.

      Unfortunately, I agree with the rest of your list. The ergonomics of combined tuning + volume knob are horrid, and getting stuck in a “band” with a digital radio is pointless and infuriating. I hate using it. Buttons fail after a couple years and the display goes bad. I wouldn’t recommend anyone buy it, for those reasons alone, but the SW reception is still very good.

  3. Edward

    I am more tolerant of DSP dropping in and out on audio, but DTV with video freezing and turning into mosaic is unacceptable. The mind has a way of filling in the ditches with QSB and even a little interference with pictures on video, But I think the digital world has not fully thought out the you can compensate for a bad picture or sound down to a certain level but loosing a few words of a sentence can loose the meaning of the whole story.

  4. Guy Atkins

    The wording in the Ebay title might have a different meaning than a second version of DSP.

    It could just be referring to the current DSP model as version 2.0 of the receiver, as in “DEGEN DE1103 Version 2.0, (with) DSP”.

    1. Dan

      You are correct – it looks like multiple ebay sellers are marketing the 1103 as version 1.0 (non-dsp) and version 2.0 (dsp).

      like that!

      If I want a non-dsp version, it’s easy to pick it out! Also, the station frequencies are NOT pre-loaded in the radio. Again, translation into english isnt the best, but what they mean is that when you replace the batteries, the only thing that must be reset is the clock.


  5. Geir

    Hi Thomas,

    Thanks for the feedback. Can you please check this when you get to your receiver? If it’s writable normal memories they mean, then it’s a totally different manner of course. How is the receiver on SSB?


    73’s from Geir

    1. Thomas Post author

      Unfortunately, it’ll be a while before I have the DE1103 DSP in my hands again. 🙂 I’ll be traveling until the end of July.

      I do know that the DE1103, though, has normal user-writeable memories. No need to even check that when I get back. Again, I think this is just an inaccurate translation on the part of the seller.

      On SSB? Perhaps Julio could comment if he’s reading this thread. I was unimpressed with Version 1, perhaps Version 2 is better?


  6. Geir

    Ilike this receiver and would like one, but I **DISLIKE** very much the very bad idea of having stations permanently stored.

    “268 stations permanently stored (sub convenient storage area and the implied area), the memory information is permanently stored (except clock)”

    This list is going to be obsolete quite fast. Wonder why they are doing such a stupid thing.

    1. Thomas Post author

      Hi, Geir,

      I suspect this is a translation issue on the part of the seller. I don’t think there are any pre-stored, permanent memory allocations in the DE1103 DSP. Unfortunately, I don’t have it with me while I’m traveling, so can’t confirm, but I don’t recall this. I believe this seller is simply implying that stored memories are not volatile when the batteries are removed or the radio is turned off. I could be wrong, but that’s what I think they mean.



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