XHDATA D-808: using an external longwire antenna for MW

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mad Radio DXer, who writes:

I want to bring to the attention of your readers & fellow XHDATA D-808 owners that it can accept an external antenna on MW without the need for any modifications. This I found out during a DXpedition to the field when I used around 50 metres of longwire.
I have some videos to prove this. The first is the difference between the external longwire antenna vs the internal ferrite antenna…

Click here to view on YouTube.

The second video is pretty much the same as the first, but this time I am tuning on a lower frequency of the MW band. Also I show that not only can the 3.5mm antenna input be used to connect an external MW antenna, but the internal whip antenna too.

Click here to view on YouTube.

The third video shows the difference between the XHDATA D-808 vs the Degen DE1103 PLL (using the external MW antenna trick). when using an external antenna for Medium Wave. In my opinion there is not much difference between them reception-wise, but the D-808 has the advantage of being able to select tighter bandwidth filters for less QRM from stations on adjacent frequencies.

Click here to view on YouTube.

These days I am more of a MW DXer than on shortwave. I am thrilled to have found out that the XHDATA D-808 can accept an external antenna for Medium Wave in stock form, since my understanding when I read some reviews was that it could not unless an internal modification was done. I will do more experiments of MW reception with the D-808 on my next DXpedition.

I want to add a few more points…

  • The D-808 does not work with an external longwire antenna for Long Wave. I tried this & will upload a video of the result soon. However, I tried using my LW induction antenna at home & it did get stations which it could not using the internal ferrite antenna on its own. Again a video of that will be upcoming.
  • I tried using a Wellbrook antenna for improved MW reception on the D-808 & unfortunately it does not work well. There was too much background noise, & there were harmonics + images all over the band. I would instead recommend using a good passive antenna like a longwire rahter than a strong active one.
  • It is recommended to use 25 metres or more longwire for best results. Obviously, the more longwire used means the lower the frequency gain for reception.
  • I cannot guarantee that this will work for all XHDATA D-808 units in case, for eg, some have different firmware versions. All I can say is it does not hurt to try, but bear in mind what I said about the longwire antenna length. Also a nice quiet location away from manmade noise helps even more to minimise any QRM.

I hope this has been helpful & useful to all XHDATA D-808 who like me, are really into MW DXing.

I’m happy to hear that you’re enjoying MW DXing and that the XHDATA D-808 is serving you well! Over the years, my DXing habits shift and change, but I’ve always included a healthy amount of mediumwave DXing in the mix. Especially when propagation on HF is dismal, I head down to the MW band for some action! Thanks again for sharing your videos and tip!

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15 thoughts on “XHDATA D-808: using an external longwire antenna for MW

  1. Mark

    OK, so I tried this again last night with the Bonito MA 305 and sometimes I noticed a real difference to MW reception via the external antenna jack and sometimes it made no difference but tipping the jack off the telescopic made a notable difference sometimes too. I can’t explain that.

  2. Mark

    I can confirm on my recently purchased D808 that a long wire does not work for MW/LW via the antenna jack or telescopic, sad, I though it might work. Can anyone link to a mod that can be done to get it to work with jack and telescopic ?

    Otherwise a really good radio and compact, a good bit smaller than the PL-660 and a little larger then the 310ET.

    Unfortunately it does not have attenuation for strong signals and can overload with long wire or my excellent Bonito MA 305 with optional 40 cm whip. The Bonito is a wonderful antenna, it’s not the boni whip . I have it grounded and use H155 coax which made a big difference.

    MW performance is much, much better then the Pl-660 and much better then the 310ET. LW is shite.

    I like the 310ET ETM function but MW/LW performance is poor and no SSB/Air put it way down my list and I’ll probably sell it or give it to someone who might learn to appreciate SW but it’s no longer a radio I care to have. Tecsun need to come up with a 310 with SSB and Air and some way to attenuate the rf of external antenna too which can get overloaded.

    The D-808 can be difficult to tune on SSB.

    I also don’t like the soft muting but can live with it.

    Airband and FM performance are excellent as well as SW and it’s pretty close to the PL-660.

    MY 2 main negatives are no antenna attenuation and difficult SSB BFO tuning.

    The filters are good on the D-808 and give it the edge over the PL-660 for nulling out interfering signals even on sw, switch to lsb/usb and it can null out an interfering station. But the Pl-660 antenna attenuation can give it the edge because the d-808 can overload badly with the Bonito MA305 which is a superb antenna and can pull in very weak signals I can hear on the 660 but not on the 808 but this is not always the case sometimes the d-808 works perfectly with the MA30 and pulls in much weaker signals with the Bonito than the noisy long wire

    I also find the PL-660 less noisy but I am really happy with the D-808 for the price it’s great to fit in the pocket and a reel of cable and off you go.

    1. 13dka

      Live Victor wrote above, there is no connection between the antenna and the receiver, so it needs a really long longwire (or any other design with a massive output) to create some parasitic inductive or capacitive coupling over whatever gap exists between the antenna jack and the receiver input stage.

      I guess coupling any antenna with some turns of wire around the radio like in ye olde days may or may not work better. I’m going to try that later. 🙂

  3. Peter

    Of course the ends are connected to the external long wire antenna and the earth. On LW band the plug itself only mechanically fixes the coil near the ferrite rod.

  4. Peter

    Good videos!
    I have a different way to enhance MW/LW reception. I made a special jack plug: I coated the plug with some 10 mm dia ferrite cylinder, 60 turns of 0.2 dia wire on it. When it is plugged in, there is a rather good coupling of this coil with internal ferrite antenna. On MW it gives me +20 dBu on 702 kHz. On LW the result not so significan, but I think, some hundred turns coil works better. The coil has not any effect on SW reception, it works as usual.
    My antenna 4 parallel 8 m long wire in attic.
    Test it!

    My antenna 4

    1. L.

      Hello Peter,
      interesting, as I have one D-808 in operation too, and nearly a silent LW band…
      One question about your “special jack plug”: Are the end points of your coil connected to anything?

  5. Mike S

    I would love to hear some reports of MW performance in a high-RF urban area. The description of severe overloading with an amplified antenna do not bode well for that situation.

    This seems to be a design issue with many portables having a wide-open front end. In my locale, near several broadcasting towers in the wetlands of northern New Jersey, images of these blowtorches fill the bands on many such sets, including such otherwise good performers as, say, the Tecsun PL-880. The only **consistent** good performers in that regard are the Sangean-designed sets, and the low-end pure DSP models like the PL-310 series.

  6. Victor

    It would be very interesting to try to take long-wave signals from Europe to the USA. And it seems to me that this venture has a great chance of success. We need a good antenna for receiving waves with vertical polarization and a quiet place. We, at a distance of approximately 1,700 km from the Polish radio station, manage to receive it even in the daytime on the telescopic antenna of a very simple radio. https://youtu.be/tjUz2ck23aY?list=PLWv_1SVVHNIIz_Yle9H4XvtojM1HVg7Eg

  7. The Professor

    I enjoyed the video. I felt like I was really in Russia in winter. And I’ve never heard a broadcast on long wave before. And when I get a hold of my DE1103 again, I’m gonna try attaching an antenna and checking out medium wave.

  8. Victor

    If the receiver is not being finalized, there is no connection between the connector and the medium-wave antenna. It works through a parasitic capacitance of the montage. If you connect the connector to the magnetic antenna, even a telescopic probe will be sufficient for long-distance reception. https://youtu.be/F_YEU0Mbylg

  9. The Professor

    Excuse my ignorance, but from what I read here and what I see in the included video am I to understand that you can attach an antenna with a 3.5mm “mono” mini-plug into a stock PLL DE1103’s antenna jack to augment medium wave reception? If so, I assume I could plug in either a long wire (as shown in the video) or a MW loop antenna? If true, please advise if there’s anything else I might need to know to do so.


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