Georges’ review of the XHDATA D-808

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Georges (F6DFZ), who writes:

After the first information from your wonderful website, I immediately ordered the XHDATA D-808 receiver from Aliexpress for €62 including shipment to France.

I got it very quickly, shipped from Amazon UK!

I did a few tests on SSB. MDS is outstanding, the minimum signal from my HP generator at -127 dBm (0,1uV), is strong even on 28 MHz. Selectivity is also good, and the opposite sideband rejection is audibly also good. However I was unable to measure it because the S meter give the same indication over a few kHz around the signal of the generator. I suspect the opposite sideband rejection to be done by the DSP chip at AF, but I cannot confirm this.

Reception is very good on FM, and the AF from the loudspeaker is reasonable. On headphones, it’s very good. RDS works as it should and sets the clock of the receiver.

I did only a few minutes test on LW and MW, and it seemed OK, even if I don’t have a lot of experience on these bands.

SW AM listening was very good; good audio, great selectivity. I suspect that the bandwidths given are AF bandwidths as even the most selective were not too much muffled. If it was IF selectivity, the AF bandwidths would have been half the values and much muffled.

SSB and CW reception are also very good even if the DSP chip has a long attack time and hence gives distortion during the beginning of each message.

About SSB: I think that this receiver is better than the [Tecsun] PL-880 and comparable to the PL-660.

Reception is good on the short but sturdy telescopic antenna.

If you connect the receiver to a large external antenna, you will encounter many IMD signals. As there is no built-in attenuator, you will need an external one.

The manual is correct, but very short about the memories.

ATS logs its findings into the first pages, so if you want to keep some memories, log them a few pages away.

The available pages are different with bands, FM has its pages, SW its pages etc…

Unfortunately, memories don’t keep the mode on SW–only the frequency and selectivity. After calling a memory, you will have to choose between AM, USB and LSB.

I was totally unable to light the “Preset” label on the display ?!?

Display and backlighting are very nice.

Somewhat odd, but the squelch seems to work sometimes on other bands than Air band !

Ergonomics are reasonable, quality of construction is good for the price.

Overall, for the price, this receiver is quite outstanding.

Best regards from France .

Georges F6DFZ

Thank you, Georges! Excellent thoughts on the D-808.  Your note about squelch control working outside the AIR band reflects what the Digitech AR-1780 does as well–hinting that firmware is very similar.

I fully suspect the D-808 is on the path to being one of the best radio values under $100 US.

Merci bien, Georges!

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11 thoughts on “Georges’ review of the XHDATA D-808

  1. Istvan Mihalcz

    I also got my radio via AliExpress (for 79$, including shipping to Hungary, in July 2020).
    Just have just one remark to improve this radio listening:
    The radio has a quite big speaker (in diameter is approx 7cm), almost the maximum which can be mounted into chassis but sounds like a cheap receiver. The reason is the output capacitor. If we consider the speaker as an 8ohm resistor, with the 100uF/10V original subminiature capacitor the cutoff frequency is approx 200Hz. The used capacitor is a very cheap model with poor parameters (high dissipation factor and high ESR). I changed both of them with a 470uF/6.3V Nichicon Fine Arts type, and now the cutoff is at 42Hz, but the music on FM, especially with headphones is brave! – also via speaker is much better. Try this modification, and you will be surprised by this improvement in sound quality.

  2. Samuel Rhine

    Is the Digitech the same radio just under a different brand? I’m interested in the CB radio listening sometimes and will tune the bands to hear local traffic since my portable is more sensitive and has better DSP than my CB radio but would like to squelch the static to save battery and listening to noise during long breaks between transmissions. Do you know if the Squelch can work on shortwave on all D-808 radios or is it only some and is a firmware bug like making the Degen 1103 tune VLF and use the whip/antenna jack for it?

  3. Joe Munson

    I got my receiver shiped from China before they cut off United States Sales. I have many friends who really like the receiver but now ate unable to but it. Why have all the sellers refused to ship to the united states, these include Amazon UK, Ebay UK, and the orginal Chinese Seller
    What is going on here. Why no US sales?

    1. Anatoliy

      Joe, you can try to choose country of deleivery “Guam”, that is serviced by USPS, but write your actual address and zip code. It’ll be redirected to your home when it reach USPS.

    2. Samuel Rhine

      From what I heard on Radio Jay Allen it is because this radio is the C Crane Skywave SSB. The supplier made agreement to only sell outside USA. They managed to get in because someone from Israel I believe shipping them in. Though now you can get them on eBay and Amazon again thankfully as well as the Alibaba/express. I just need to figure out if the squelch will work on HF so I can use for local CB and HAM HF traffic.

  4. Edward

    I will agree with you on all findings. What I am afraid of: will this crowd out all others in the comparable portables in the race to the bottom? It’s specs are good but I don’t like gaps in the coverage (450 to 520 Khz) ,(018-118 Mhz), and the ergonomics leave a lot to be desired. Also this is a power hog. I have to recharge the battery (Lion 2000mah) on a daily basis. My pen cell radios about every week or 2. For $69 I am not dissatisfied, not about to return it if I could but not elated. Maybe this is a stepping stone to better user interface.

    1. LogicallyCynical

      Thank you Edward! I thought I was the only person on earth not thrilled with this radio. I would give it a very high grade for sensitivity (once you get around the mute on tuning) but a VERY low grade on user friendliness. Thankfully I got a $10 discount and that helped. I wouldn’t return it if I could but it’s just in the box in a drawer. There are SO many better choices out there for the money.

    2. 13dka

      This is odd. When I got mine I made a battery endurance test and it ran continuously for remarkable 32 hours, 14 of them with the backlight on. I suspect you got a faulty 18650 or something.

      1. Ramon Khalona

        The problem is not when the radio is ON, but when it is OFF (sleep mode). Mine discharges a fully charged battery completely in 3 days with the radio OFF. Terrible design and there is nothing you can do about it. Contacted the seller and they said that since I was the first to mention this problem, all they could do was to let me test one of their future products. When I asked to send the radio back for a replacement, they did not even reply. Some customer service!

        1. Ramon Khalona

          BTW, in case you are wondering, I tested this with three different kinds of batteries, so I am certain the problem is not with the batteries.

  5. DanH

    Great review, Georges. The number of portable multiband radio reviewers that use a signal generator to actually do a receiver sensitivity test is just about zero. Congratulations, my friend! I would be happy to note some exceptions to this rule if there were any. Did you terminate sig gen RF output with 50 ohms load for your test? This means a lot.

    I have noticed the same selectivity issue with other radios using DSP bandwidth filtering (including Tecsun and Eton (Grundig) radios. These bandwidth settings have little effect on receiver selectivity. The outsider in modern DSP portables in this respect is the much higher priced Sangean ATS-909X. This is a Taiwan-designed radio. Sangean wisely passed on the DSP filter capability of the US Silicon Labs chip in favor of proven performance from more expensive and older-tech Japanese muRata IF ceramic filters. Kudos to them.

    The two muRata filters on my 2015 909X are IF filters for 4 and 6 kHz. These two ceramic filters alone offer selectivity options far superior to the 2, 2.5, 3, 4 and 6 kHz settings on my Eton Grundig Edition Satellit (about $115 USD on eBay right now). Both radios offer additional settings for SSB. But, the DSP filters do seem to act more like AF filters on the Chinese radios which struggle with any relatively strong SW signals located 5 kHz or closer to the tuned frequency. I believe that all Chinese-designed multiband portables (including Tecsun) all suffer from the same problems because they rely on blind acceptance of the Silicon Labs DSP chip. The choice to make in Chinese radios is for better speaker sound, better internal shielding, better QC and build quality. The rest is all the same.

    It is difficult to do accurate receiver sensitivity measurement due to the action of AGC. Accurate sensitivity measurements require that the receiver be operated without AGC, that is, with AGC shut off or bypassed. The high Z antenna input for most multiband portables will do quite nicely for most receiver antennas regardless of impedance.

    So, yes. Choose as you will from the wide range of $100 multiband traditional portables. They are all pretty much the same Chinese-designed and built radios with a few rare exceptions.


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