Tag Archives: D-808

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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XHDATA D-808 “audio pop”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike, who writes:

I’ve recently picked up an XHDATA D-808 and I’ve noticed a rather bothersome problem with it. When I have headphones plugged in and I switch bands, such as from SW to FM, a rather loud “pop” is emitted through my headphones during the band switching. This happens with every band change and happens even with the volume all the way down. I was wondering if you had noticed this sort of behaviour on your unit.

PS: Your review of the C Crane Skywave SSB is very well written. Great job!

Glad you liked the Skywave SSB review, Mike!

Yes, I do hear a small audio pop when I change bands on the XHDATA D-808. As you suggest, changing the volume seems to have no effect in the pop intensity. On my set, it’s not particularly loud, but if I use my in-ear earphones, it is annoying. I’m curious if perhaps the pop in your unit, Mike, is louder than mine.

Please comment if you’ve noticed this same audio pop in the D-808.

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Mark’s update: The Otterbox 3250 dry box as a radio case

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark Hirst, who shares this update about using the Otterbox dry box as a case for the XHDATA D-808. Mark writes:

I was mistaken in my belief that Otterbox no longer make dry boxes.

It seems like a year ago they decided to “return to their roots” and started making the Otterbox 3250.

While the model number might make you think it’s the old 3000 case but deeper, it is in fact a little shorter.

As you can see, the XHDATA still fits but the lid leaves about 1.5cm of clearance for the radio to rattle around in. The 3000 fits it perfectly in this regard, though 1.5 cm is enough to fit my Otterbox Defender iPhone 6.

Very cool! Thank you for the follow-up, Mark! I suspect the extra 1.5 cm clearance in the 3250 might even accommodate a thin logging notepad.

Click here to view the Otterbox 3250 on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (affiliate links)

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Comparing the XHDATA D-808, Digitech AR-1780 and Tecun PL-660 on shortwave

On Friday, I managed to set aside an hour to finally do a video comparison of the Digitech AR-1780 and the new XHDATA D-808.

I placed a table in my driveway, far away from any source of RFI, and set up the radios in identical configurations: same orientation, antennas fully-extended, same AM bandwidth (4.0 kHz), same audio levels, etc. For good measure, I also included the venerable Tecsun PL-660 in the mix.

This was still daytime listening, so all of the stations were from 31 meters and up.

Apologies in advance: somehow the cord from my monitoring headphones is in the shot on some of these videos! I’m still getting used to the new Zoom Q2n video camera:

WRMI 9,455 kHz

Click here to view on YouTube.

WWV 15 MHz

Click here to view on YouTube.

Deutsche Welle 15,200 kHz

Click here to view on YouTube.

Afia Darfur 9,825 kHz

Click here to view on YouTube.

I should add that QSB was slow and deep on Friday. Twice I had to re-shoot videos because the station simply faded into oblivion.

I plan to do a few more comparisons with the XHDATA D-808 and Digitech AR-1780 soon as I’m very curious how SSB reception may differ.

Please comment with your observations. Which radio did you prefer? I’ll hold my comments for now.

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XHDATA D-808: A Shortwave Comparison Against Four Other Portables

When the clouds part and the sun shines during the winter in the Seattle, Washington area, it’s time for a celebration! I decided to take advantage of the mild weather and compare the XDATA D-808 (a real upstart in the marketplace, and a value leader in portables) against a few other radios on a nice daytime signal from Radio New Zealand International, 15720 kHz.

Besides the D-808, receivers compared to each other were: the C. Crane Skywave SSB (complete with stray cat’s whisker on the LCD :^) , the Eton Executive Satellit, the Grundig G3, and a beautiful example of the rare Sony ICF-SW1000T (sometimes called the Sony Shortwave Walkman due to the built-in cassette recorder). My apologies for the lower audio setting on the G3.

The antenna used with each radio was a PK Loops “Ham Loop” antenna, which is advertised as covering 3.5 – 14.5 MHz, but my loop actually tunes approximately 3.2 MHz to 15.8 MHz. I also briefly received RNZI on each radio’s own whip antenna.

I used the 3.0 kHz bandwidth on all the SiLabs DSP radios, and the narrow filter on the G3. The ICF-SW1000T has a single filter, so it cannot be adjusted.

Since the G3 and the ICF-SW1000T have the option of synchronous-AM detection, in the video I cycle through those modes on these receivers.

RNZI on their 15720 kHz frequency is often at a good, program listening level in my local afternoons. Next week I plan to seek out and share videos of the D-808 with weak DX signals from an RF-quiet location on the Oregon coast.

Which receiver sounds the best to you with the external antenna, and which one shines with its own whip aerial? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

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Mark recommends the Otterbox 3000 as a robust case for the XHDATA D-808

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark Hirst, who writes:

Thomas,

I’m something of an obsessive when it comes to hardcore protective cases for radios, phones and other gadgets.

I was very pleased then to discover that my new XHDATA D-80, which arrived today from Amazon UK, fits inside my Otterbox 3000 dry box with room to fit small accessories.

Click to enlarge

Although they are discontinued now, I’ve picked up Otterbox dry boxes (such as the 2000 box) from eBay new or lightly used.

My early impressions of the radio are all positive, and I’m looking forward to exploring it further in the next few days.

Click here to search eBay.

As you well know, Mark, I’m a certified pack and case geek. Seeing how well it fits your D-808, I know the Digitech AR-1780 should fit too.

How enabling of you, Mark! I think I’ll have to grab one of these. I have a couple of Otterboxes, but all larger (deeper) than this one. Purchasing a used case would be safe as Otterbox products are incredibly durable and nearly indestructible.  Thanks for the tip, Mark!

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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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