Modifying a Degen DE1103 DSP for longwave/VLF?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jiri Kaplan, who writes:

Is it possible to modify the new (DSP) DEGEN DE1103 for VLF reception?

Like before, the old Degen version (without DSP), see these videos:

I wonder if instead of the DE1103 I should buy the PL-660 or PL-680?
I think DSP is worse and the old version can no longer unfortunately be purchased.
My main concern is good selectivity and sensitivity, I live in the city, there are many strong signals.

Thank you for your question, Jiri.

I’m certain you can’t use the same modification of the original DE1103 on the DSP version to achieve VLF reception. In fact, unless the DSP chip itself can be hacked, I imagine modding the DSP DE1103 for VLF would be quite difficult.

I hope more knowledgeable SWLing Post readers can comment with a definitive answer.

Regarding the choice between the DE1103 DSP and the PL–660 or PL-680? I wouldn’t hesitate to grab either Tecsun receiver over the DE1103 DSP. Check out my short review of the DE1103 DSP for more info about this particular model’s shortcomings.

You’re right about finding the original DE1103. I did create this eBay link that should help filter out the DSP models from the search results. At time of posting, there were no listings.

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7 thoughts on “Modifying a Degen DE1103 DSP for longwave/VLF?

  1. Adam Ebel

    That will not work for the DSP version, don’t waste your time. The DSP version starts at 150 kHz and ends at 30000 kHz. For a Non DSP version, VLF reception is possible. I see why they discontinued the non DSP version so people have to buy a different receiver just to receive VLF communications below 100 kHz. Right now I am trying to find me a non DSP version of the KA-1103. I wish they would continue making the non DSP version, because when I had used the DSP version, reception on the LW band was terrible just like the new Grundig receivers. If you want VLF, better get a RTL-SDR with a HF up converter and a good active antenna such as the PA0RDT stuck outside the house or simply use a Web SDR. Kaito has ruined the KA1103, the original one.

    Reply
    1. rtc

      The original 1103 (or any other portable) will work fine
      with a vlf converter.
      Try the 18 buck Jackson Harbor Press kit. or look on Ebay…
      but you will need an antenna (50 foot wire at least) or a
      loop.

      Reply
    2. Andrew

      Fully agreed, set aside the fact that I’d better go for another receiver or even an SDR unit, sometimes I really wonder how some “brands” manage stayin’ on the market … oh well

      Reply
  2. Andrew

    As for the “hack” the video in italian (judging from the accent the guy is from Rome or somewhere around it), the translation (ok, the main points) are as follows

    =========================================================

    enable whip or ext antenna from 0 to 1710KHz

    Power on

    Manually enter freq 1711KHz

    Press the “band +” button

    Press and hold the “scan down” button

    After some second also press and hold the “band +” button

    Wait some second and release both buttons

    The down scan will start

    Wait for the display to show a frequency under 100KHz

    Use the tuning knob to stop the scan

    Use the tuning knob to lower the frequency to 000, use caution to
    avoid going under 000 or you’ll have to repeat the whole procedure

    Store the frequency in whatever desired memory position (30 in the
    example)

    Now, recalling the memory you’ll be able to use the tuning knob to
    tune from 0 up, notice that, going above 100KHz you’ll need to connect
    an external antenna since the internal ferrite will be excluded, also
    notice that the display line showing the band won’t show in this mode

    to exit that mode, press the “band +” button and enter a frequency and
    the receiver will start working as before, to go back to “LF” mode just
    recall the memory and there you go

    =========================================================

    HTH

    Reply
    1. Adam Ebel

      Does not work with the KA-1103 2.0 USB type receiver. The 2.0 type DSP receiver is a totally different design. To get VLF, your best choice is to use a VLF converter with a 4 MHz crystal or 28 MHz crystal. They got it all messed up, now I have to hunt around for the 1.0 type of the Kaito KA-1103. WANTED!

      Reply
  3. rtc

    It is amazing they still offer the 1103dsp after all these years…
    you could look for a gently-used old model 1103 on Ebay or
    go with a PL-660 or similar (from someone with a good
    return policy).
    But my original assessment still stands,they should have left
    well enough alone,”if it ain’t broke,don’t fix it”.

    Reply

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