Tag Archives: AR-1780

XHDATA D-808 and Digitech AR-1780: Comparing size and appearance

Digitech AR-1780 (left) and XHDATA D-808 (right)

Tuesday evening, I received my long-awaited XHDATA D-808 from AliExpress via the postal service. Yesterday morning, I unboxed it and started charging the included 18650 Li-Ion cell. I haven’t properly put it on the air yet but if you’re interested in some initial reports, check out these previous posts.

Dimensions

I was  curious if the Digitech D-808 was identical in size to the Digitech AR-1780–I could tell even from D-808’s initial information that these two radios share a common ancestry.

To my surprise, they are not identical in dimensions! With that said, the differences are very marginal.

The D-808 is 7 mm wider and 2 mm deeper than the AR-1780.

To confirm measurements, I checked out the manufacturer specifications of both radios.  Oddly, the specs also indicate that the AR-1780 should be 3 mm taller than the D-808 but I don’t detect this difference. I measure them to be equal in height.

The telescoping antennas are identical in height and number of segments.

Of course, as you can tell from the photos, the D-808 body is light grey in color while the AR-1780 is black.

Batteries

The Digitech AR-1780 uses four 1.5V AA cells while the XHDATA D-808 uses one less common 3.7V 18650 Li-Ion rechargeable cell (included).

External Power

The XHDATA D-808 (left) and Digitech AR-1780 (right).

The XHDATA D-808 has a standard 5V Micro USB port for internal changing. The AR-1780, on the other hand, uses a much less common 7V DC plug.

Right panels are identical.

Having a 5V micro USB port is a huge plus for the D-808, in my opinion! While travelling, I always have at least one micro USB charger.

Backlighting

The LCD display appears to be identical in size and display information, however the D-808 has blue backlighting while the AR-1780 has orange backlighting.

The Digitech AR-1780

The XHDATA D-808

Keypad

AR-1780 (top) D-808 (bottom)

Other than variations in button shapes and color, the only difference between the two radios is the location of the power button.

The Digitech AR-1780 keypad

The XHDATA D-808 keypad

As Guy Atkins mentioned in a previous post, the D-808 keypad buttons are almost flush with the radio body. The buttons on the AR-1780, on the other hand, are more prominent and tactile.

Accessories

The Digitech AR-1780 shipped with no accessories–the only two items in the box were the radio and the owner’s manual.

I was surprised when I opened the D-808 box to find a padded carry/travel bag, USB charging cable and even a compact external wire antenna.

Summary

There are actually few differences between the XHDATA D-808 and the Digitech AR-1780 in terms of physical appearance and function.

All in all, though, I prefer the D-808 package which ships with a carry bag, power cord and external wire antenna. In addition, the D-808 uses a standard and convenient Micro USB port for charging!

In terms of size/weight, the differences are negligible and wouldn’t sway my purchase decision.

Over the course of the next week, I hope to spend some time comparing their performance on the air. Though they appear to be from the same family, will one sibling outperform the other?  We shall see!

Keith is impressed with the Digitech AR-1780

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Keith Batari, who shares the following:

I have just got the AR1780 and comparing with others I’ve had especially the PL-660 and PL-880 beats them both. Firstly the SSB does have an annoying mute when running, but the sensitivity and sound quality is fantastic, and that goes for all bands.

The airband sensitivity is also impressive with excellent squelch. Long wave sensitivity is low[…]. Tuning is without the quirks of the PL-880 and great on general coverage bands.

Headphones sound great. I’ve opened mine and the build quality is good with band trimmers and transformers.

If anyone has acquired the circuit diagram could the post it on the Google site.

If you want a radio with a lot of bang for your bucks, then look no further.

Agreed, Keith! The AR-1780 is certainly a value performer. Click here to read our comprehensive review.

I should add that while LW performance is not stellar on the AR-1780, it should suffice for LW listening in Europe, for example. The C. Crane Skywave series does not include longwave, so if you’re looking for a compact travel portable with LW service, the AR-1780 is a better bet.

The XHDATA D-808: Ivan shares internal photos

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ivan, who shares the following internal photos of the XHDATA D-808 (which we believe may be a rebadged Digitech AR-1780):

Many thanks, Ivan. Perhaps someone can compares these with that of the Digitech AR-1780.

Dave’s Digitech AR-1780 notes

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Morton, who comments with assessment of the Digitech AR-1780:

I’ve been using [the Digitech AR-1780] in Australia (southern Tasmania) for about 5 weeks.  In the last 10 or so days, I’ve got a 26m long wire hanging fairly reliably on a N-S bearing.  My history is that I trained as a marine radio operator in the early 1980s, but worked in commercial IT; so no real radio theory and I only just started listening to SW again since being a volunteer in the South Pacific in the mid 1990s.

Now, to this radio.  I quite like it although it has quirks I wish it didn’t have.  In the 1990s, I used a Panasonic RF-B45 and it was rock solid until it died a few years ago.  Every now and then, I try to fix it, but no luck…

Reception here is quite limited and that’s how I discovered the first quirk:  when it scans at SW frequencies it skips. For example it seems to jump from about 9400kHz to 11000kHz.  I also have an old Jaycar AR1747 and it also skips when scanning.  They also skip from about 26100 and restart at 2300kHz.  Whether it’s a design feature, or a fault, I don’t know. Other than that, I think it’s a great radio so far.  The AR1780 lets you type in the frequencies it skips, it just won’t scan them.

Until I start to find some reliable interesting stations (I’ve picked up some Radio NZ Int and BBC World Service), I’m doing a fair bit of listening to WWVH in Hawaii.  Sure listening to the time isn’t as fun, but it serves a purpose when comparing radios side by side.  WWVH broadcasts on 2500, 5000, 10000, 15000, 20000 and 25000 kHZ I think.  I can usually get 15000 subject to propagation at any time.

Until I gave it away, I also had a Jaycar AR1733 and it also skipped; they all probably share a common chip and skip the same frequencies although I haven’t checked closely.  This radio looks identical to the Skywave many of you mention.  The old AR1747 also had a Crane equivalent, and this was helpful as Crane’s manual was much better!

On the first tests with my long wire antenna, the AR1733 had a fairly clear signal, beat the old AR1747 and the AR1780 was the best.  The AR1747 is hard on its D batteries, so may have been handicapped.  As it got dark, I found the signal didn’t change much on 15000 kHz with any radio, but only the AR1780 would find 5000 kHz while scanning (since it skips over 10000 kHZ).  The AR1747 does not have a keypad, so all tuning is by a dial or the scan function.

Oh yes, a hint I’ve learned for Golan.  I gained the habit of punching  then the desired frequency, then .  The precludes the need to type in leading zeroes and trailing zeros.  For example, I get WWVH by  5000 , while 15000 is  15000.  This may go all the way back to the RF-B45, so I’ve had time to acquaint myself.

Next is batteries, the AR1733/Skywave needs 2xAA batteries, the AR1780 takes 4xAA as did the RF-B45.  I haven’t yet run down any batteries in the AR1780 yet, but all my radios with 4 batteries have always worked better than those with only two.  So the extra size is worth it, and the AR-1780 is a fair bit smaller than the old RF-B45.  The AR1747 was an exception, it took 4xAA and 4xD and AA’s were almost a waste of time in it.  But hey, it’s a telephone book size radio with a big speaker; so I keep it plugged in as much as I can.

Anyway, it’s almost 4PM here, we’re on DST so it’s GMT+11 hours.  The bands start opening up soon so I want to get back to the radio.  I’ve still got a lot of work to find the who, what and where of SW broadcasters.  At least logging them is easy these days, when you tune into something, just point the mobile and it and make a movie!

Thanks for your feedback, David!  I also think the AR-1780 is a gem of a little radio.

Click here to read our review of the Digitech AR-1780.

Purchasing the Digitech AR-1780 directly from Jaycar

Last week, I posted a review of the Digitech AR-1780–a compact receiver that is only sold in Jaycar retail stores throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Since I live in the US, I purchased my AR-1780 via an Australian distributor on eBay.

Several SWLing Post readers discovered direct orders can be placed with Jaycar, thus taking advantage of Jaycar’s sales.

A couple weeks ago, Post reader, Paul, shared his correspondence with Jaycar where they implied an order could be placed via email directly with a Jaycar representative. I reached out to this representative for clarification because I felt uneasy about even suggesting that readers send credit card information over email. I asked if they had a secure order form. I never heard back from Jaycar and have been too busy to follow-up.

Turns out, SWLing Post contributor, Troy Riedel, just placed an order for the AR-1780 via Jaycar and shared the details–all it takes is a phone call. Troy writes:

I ordered the AR-1780 from Jaycar.

I contacted them through their web site, exchanged emails with a Customer Service Supervisor and she told me that they actually have a toll-free U.S. number that goes to their Australian call center (staffed during their business hours)! FYI, it’s:

1-800-784-0263

I got it for $134 AUD or $103.40 USD shipped!

Thanks for sharing, Troy! A great option for ordering Jaycar products in the US.

If any Post readers in Canada have also successfully placed an order through this toll free number, please comment!