Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), who notes that he has published a review of the Tivdio V-115 on his website.
Dave’s conclusion? This little receiver is a “Decent Low Cost Pocket Set.” I would whole-heartedly agree. I mean, this little radio is widely available on Amazon and eBay for around $19.00 – 25.00 US including shipping! About as inexpensive as a radio gets.
Though you pay for what you get, with the Tivdio V-115 (a.k.a. Audiomax SRW-710S), you get a lot more radio than you would expect for the price.
Listening to the BBC Midwinter Broadcast on June 21, 2017 in Québec.
In terms of performance, the V-115 isn’t on par with even the venerable ($40-50) Tecsun PL-310ET (in my opinion).
However, the V-115 has decent off-air recording capabilities and is more sensitive than anything else in its price range that I’ve reviewed (despite internally-generated noise). I receive numerous inquiries from SWLs in India who seek a $20-30 receiver–the V-115 may be a good choice for those on a very tight budget.
But Dave’s review goes into great detail about the V-115’s quirks, performance and overall usability. I encourage you to read it before making a purchase decision.
This morning, I received yet another positive comment about the Tivdio V-115 (a.k.a. Audiomax SRW-710S).
This little radio is widely available on Amazon and eBay for around $19.00 – 25.00 US including shipping. About as inexpensive as a radio gets. Both Troy Riedel and Tom Stiles gave it an overall positive review.
Check out some of these recent comments from Post readers:
“I purchased the V-115 about a week ago, and was surprised at how much radio I received for $15 plus free shipping. The FM band is quite sensitive. AM is good for locals, but not exactly a DX machine. Shortwave was iffy, but improved once I tightened the antenna mount screw (I’m used to loose screws!). Depending on location, shortwave is better, but does get some bleed from strong AM’s in the area. The audio is amazing for something of this price. I have yet to try the recording, but, this has become my go-everywhere radio as of late.”
Egil – LA2PJ:
“The TVDIO V-115 is an amazing receiver. It was bought because I needed a small recording device for my portable SWL activities. I put a 32 GB into the slot, and found that the recordings all were of excellent quality. It also doubles as an external speaker for my FDM-DUO qrp transceiver.
I’ve only tried the radio part on 25m shortwave, and to my surprice the first station heard was from Brazil.
Not bad for a device costing less than USD 20 including p&p from China to Norway!”
“I recently purchased this TIVDIO radio. I am in Australia and it is a little beast of a machine.
I live in rural country area and seem to have no luck with the short wave radio. Everything else is great!
I have a 64gb micro SD card in it and can fit thousands of songs in it.
The screen is awesome, seems to detail everything going on even has a little spectrum analyzer at the bottom of screen.
The speaker along with the bass is outstanding considering the size and price of the unit.”
J D Bulow-Osborne:
“I bought two of the TIVDIO version radios several months ago. A 16GB TF card completed each one. They are, of course, re-chargeable, the sound, for the size, is excellent, the case finish is worthy of a more expensive item. Button lock, mp3 recording, auxiliary input, delete function, (including unwanted channels that the auto-tune has found), makes them a real bargain. They impress everyone who sees – and hears – them. OK, so there’s no clock or DAB, but for just over £12, including shipping from China(?), it would be really churlish to complain. One battery charge seems to last a very long time.”
“I own the Audiomax version of this radio. I have recorded classical music from an FM station using the Audiomax. When playing the recording on an iphone with $100 Audio Technica headpbones, the recording sounded quite good. Using the Audiomax to play recorded music off its storage card also sounds pretty good if the equalizer setting is Jazz and the headphones are expensive. While the Audiomax does not have a timer, its Auto On or Sleep function will save any recording when it turns off the radio automatically. When playing music off the storage card, the music can be listed according to artist. But the artist listing is not completely alphabetical. Radio reception for AM, FM, and SW is solid but not DX quality. When entering a frequency you have to wait about 4 seconds before the frequency changes. Also you cannot scroll to any desired frequency. The scrolling keys will skip over any frequency which does not have a significant signal. Where the Audiomax shines is that with a press of a button you can go from a boring commercial on the radio to some nice prerecorded music or podcast. For the radio alone, the Audiomax is worth its selling price.”
I agree with these assessments of the Tivdio/Audiomax. I’ve had this little radio for about a year now, but only really started using it around May of this year (this is the same radio I had forgotten that I’d purchased last year). Of course, the best feature is the function that allows you to make off-air recordings and save them to a MicroSD card–it actually works quite well. While in Canada this summer, I recorded a number of FM, MW and SW broadcasts on the Tivdio–so much easier than carrying an external recorder.
Listening to the BBC Midwinter Broadcast on June 21, 2017 in Québec.
Now if I put on my radio reviewer cap for a moment, I would have to note two issues, in particular:
Though receiver sensitivity is quite good, the AGC circuit is a little too over-active when receiving a weak signal. Last summer, for example, while listening to the BBC Midwinter broadcast in Québec (see photo above), the AGC was so unstable I simply didn’t bother making a recording. Admittedly, I was very impressed a $20 radio could even detect this signal. I found that nighttime mediumwave reception is also problematic, save for the strongest of stations.
The V-115 also seems to be quite prone to RFI indoors–more so than, say, a Tecsun PL-310ET. I suspect this is because it’s not shielded very well internally. Not an issue, if you’re listening outdoors, of course.
In truth, it’s hard to be critical of this little radio. As so many of you have echoed, for $19.00-25.00 US–? You simply can’t beat it. A great value indeed.
I’m traveling in Canada again and staying in an RFI-dense condo. There was no way I’d hear the broadcast through the noise, so I searched for a field location.
I discovered a quiet spot to park on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Québec, Canada.
The location was almost ideal: it was RFI quiet compared to other spots I checked and I had access to a tree where I could hang the NASA PA 30 wire antenna.
View of the Saint Lawrence River from my back-of-the-minivan listening post.
Once I arrived, with little time to spare, I deployed the NASA PA 30 and connected it to my Elecraft KX2 transceiver. I then connected the Sony ICF-SW100 to the PK Loop antenna.
Since the KX2 is the most sensitive receiver in my travel arsenal–and even has built-in noise blanking, variable DSP noise reduction, and variable filter width–I used it as the source for my recording.
I checked audio levels by tuning the KX2 to the Voice of Greece on 9420–VOG was blowtorch strength.
None of the frequencies used for the Midwinter broadcast were ideal for my location and time of day (after all, these broadcasts target Antarctica!) but last year I did successfully receive the 41 meter band broadcast.
My fingers were crossed as the broadcast time approached (17:30 local/21:30 UTC).
A few seconds before the half hour, I heard the AM carrier light up on 7,360 kHz (ASCENSION). Very good sign! The broadcast audio followed a few seconds later and was weak, but intelligible. I would give the signal an overall SINPO of 35343.
I couldn’t receive a thing on the 6035 kHz (DHABAYYA) and only an extremely faint signal on 5985 kHz (WOOFFERTON).
The Elecraft KX2/NASA PA 30 combo did prove to be the most effective receiver/antenna pair.
I forgot to do two things in advance, however: to turn off the KX2’s key beeps (which would have been audible in the recording had I adjusted receiver settings) and to set my Zoom H2N to record in WAV format. Oh well…
I was very pleased with the results, all things considered.
The Sony ICF-SW100/PK Loop combo was also quite effective. The signal was a little weaker and less stable than the KX2, but I was still very pleased overall. Here’s a short video–note that I have the sync lock engaged:
The PK Loop was positioned on a folding trail seat close to the ground. After experimenting, I found that loop height had little impact on overall reception, so I opted to keep it closer for accessibility.
The PK Loop antenna.
Very impressive reception of weak DX for such a small portable a compact loop antenna. In the end, the SW100 is a phenomenal little DX machine!
I brought the Audiomax SRW-710S along as well. Since it has a built-in digital recording feature, I had hoped it might provide an additional recording of the broadcast.
Sadly, it fell short.
No matter how I positioned the receiver, nor what antenna it was connected to, the SRW-710S simply couldn’t cope with the weak signal, QRN and overall band conditions. The noise floor was high and the signal (when audible) very unstable. It was like listening to a battle between the receiver’s internal noise and the target signal.
The $20 Audiomax simply can’t compare to benchmark receivers like the ICF-SW100 and Elecraft KX2. Still, it’s an acceptable little radio for recording stronger shortwave, mediumwave and FM signals. I completely agree with Troy Riedel’s assessment.
Another Midwinter broadcast for the books!
It’s always a treat to enjoy the BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast live, knowing that the BAS crew, wintering over in Antarctica, are enjoying it at the same time!
That, in a nutshell, is the magic of shortwave radio.
Please share your recordings!
I’ve already received a healthy number of recordings from SWLing Post readers! Thank you so much!
If you have a recording of the 2017 Midwinter Broadcast that you’d like to submit, please do so by Sunday. I’m participating in Field Day and attending an airshow this weekend, but plan to publish a post with all of the recordings and your photos early next week.
Please send your recordings with any notes and photos to my email address which can be found on the Contact page. If you submit a video, please upload it to YouTube or Vimeo and simply send me the link. Thank you!
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tom Stiles, who notes that he’s recently posted a video review of the Tivdio V-115 on his YouTube channel. He added that the V-115 is an, “amazing little shortwave radio with many functions including MP3 recording.”
Check out Tom’s review via the embedded player or YouTube link below.
After watching most of Tom’s video this morning while packing for YAT (Yet Another Trip–!) I thought purchasing a V-115 from Amazon might make a lot of sense. Frankly, it would be handy to have a portable that does even a mediocre job of recording shortwave to MP3 files.
I did a quick search on Amazon only to discover, in the search results, that the quickest I could receive the V-115 was next Wednesday. I considered shipping it to my hotel.
I thought, “What?!? I don’t remember this purchase…!”
A bit confused, I opened the large container that holds all of the portables I use for review benchmarks. It was the only place this radio could be hiding. Inside, I discovered an unopened box containing an Audiomax SRW-710S–looking in my Amazon order history, I confirmed that the Tivdio V-115 is also badged as the Audiomax 710-S and Amazon linked the two.
Then, my memory kicked in! I purchased the SRW-710S for review, but pushed it to the backburner. Then in December 2016, SWLing Post contributor, Troy Riedel, submitted a full review of the SRW-710S.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Troy Riedel, for the following guest post:
A Mini-Review of the Audiomax SRW-710S
by Troy Riedel
Why would someone want a sub-$20 shortwave radio? Wait … I guess I should be answering questions & not asking them, right? But I’ll give you my answer to “why I want a sub-$20 shortwave radio”: I have many nice radios, but I wanted one that I consider “disposable”. I define “disposable” as something I won’t be upset if I lose, get it splattered with paint, or leave it outside only to get rained on. Taking the family of four to the movies nowadays costs upwards of $100 (the three ladies I live with can really throw-down pop & popcorn!) so a sub-$20 radio, even a “disposable one”, is a true bargain.
I have seen the SRW-710S badged under three different names: Audiomax, VITE and TIVDIO. There very well may be other badging. I paid $18.52 for my Audiomax badged device direct from a vendor in China. I’ve subsequently seen it as low as $13 on eBay and as much as $37 on Amazon. So much for a sub-$20 radio, huh?
The SRW-710S comes with only a USB charging cable in the box to recharge the Li-ion BL-5C battery (no earbuds, no case or pouch – just a very simple set of basic instructions). The 710S features a small LCD screen that offers menus in three languages: English, Spanish & Chinese.
The screen greets you with “welcome” (lowercase) when turning it on & “Bye Bye!” when you power-off. There is a Sleep Timer function that I have yet to use. All of the ports are on the right side of the unit (nothing on the left). It has a TF Flashcard Slot – no card provided – for recording off the radio & for playing pre-loaded mp3 & wma files from the flashcard.
It has 100 memories, a Line-In port, a built-in mic, and a headphone port. There is no ANT-In port. This radio has AM, FM & SW (no LW) with the appropriate international tuning steps. Lastly, there is no folding stand on the back (one is provided and is attached to the wrist strap – it is inserted into a small slot just above the battery cover).
One Chinese web site listed the SRW-710S as having an “AKC6951 DSP chip”. Until now, I had never heard of this DSP chip and I frankly know nothing about it. Maybe some more informed readers can comment?
Operation is easy (except for one quirk that I will detail later). There are two rows of numbers for direct input of a frequency. Simply input the frequency … and then wait (there is an approximate 3-5 second delay from input to the radio actually tuning to the frequency … I am still getting used to this pregnant pause). You also have an option of tuning directly to a meter-band.
Of course, there is no SSB for this low price.
The one speaker is a bit “tinny” but adequate (stereo via user-supplied earbuds). And considering the price point, the RF shielding isn’t too bad. I can actually use the shortwave band of this radio in my kitchen and breakfast nook (I cannot say that for my more expensive receivers).
The biggest limiting factor in reception is the size of the telescopic antenna (15.5”). However, for its size I am quite impressed (it’s exponentially better than the old Grundig G2000A Porsche that has a 21.25” antenna – but that radio is notorious as needing a reel antenna). Just via the telescopic whip, I can actually tune the major broadcasters to NA (e.g., Radio Romania), I can adequately tune to the VOA 15.580 MHz signal to Africa during the North American East Coast AFTN, and the time signals are easily audible (of course, frequency appropriate for the time of day).
I do not plan to open the radio’s chassis, but AM reception seems to be limited due to the obvious small size of the ferrite antenna (the radio itself is essentially palm-sized, approximately 4.75” x 3” & less than 1” thick). My postal scale indicates it weighs 5.5 – 6 ounces including the battery. The radio must be propped to support it when attaching the telescoping whip to a Slinky Antenna (even the weight of the Slinky’s alligator clip causes balance problems)
One quirk I have found: there is a “Lock” key. However, it only seems to lock the radio power “on” (locks are used to lock the power “off” during transport so the power remains off and the battery doesn’t drain). The “Lock” feature is not discussed in the instructions and at present I have not figured-out if this switch works in the traditional way. I find this to be quite amusing because it’s either an odd quirk or I’m just not smart enough to intuitively figure it out.
I am quite satisfied with my new “disposable” $18.52 Shortwave Radio (I have no information whether the quality I have considered is consistent through a production run or between badging). For those who wish to listen to a local AM or FM station – or listen to one of the “major” shortwave broadcasters with a booming signal into your part of the world – you can’t beat it for this price point. I can see myself using this radio while I complete outdoor household repairs or while cleaning-up the garage. Too bad it’s so close to Christmas, this would make a great stocking stuffer to introduce someone, young or old, to the world of shortwave.
Update: Searching for the SRW-710S
Note that the lowest prices omit the model number in eBay search results.
Scroll through search results to find a matching receiver.
Thank you, Troy, for mini-review of the SRW-710S! Like you, I have very low expectations from shortwave portables at this price point. Still…for the glove compartment of your vehicle, for outdoor listening, for small gifts? These fit the bill! I’m most impressed you could receive the number of stations you did from inside your home.