“I see the sour DSP version of the DE1103 are down to rock bottom prices up on eBay.”
Click here to view on eBay.
Any potential buyers should note: while this DE1103 looks identical to the excellent DE1103/KA1103 receiver produced through 2014, the DE1103 DSP model leaves much to be desired. Check out my review from 2015.
Still, for $22.56 US shipped, it would make for a great FM radio if nothing else.
I’ve got a DE1103 and haven’t noticed any AM bleeding on SWL so far. I sometimes stay at one of my family’s properties located at the center of a city with lots of stations. There I use the balcony on the 9th floor and I get a lot of spurious interference from FM stations, which is normal once you’re surrounded by buildings. However, I already tuned some images on SW. I used an old SW7600G to check it out and it didn’t get any.
I kind of started to dislike DSP, for it can be annoying to hear it engage and disengage when a signal constantly drops down and recovers. It is fantastic when a signal is strong and constant for it improves audio quality whether it is MW, SW or FM.
At one time, I even thought it would be perfect for the DE1103 to have this [DSP] feature, but you know what? I’m very happy with the way mine is right now. I find this receiver to have the best FM reception compared to the others of my little collection of tabletop and portable receivers, which includes scanners ICOM IC-R20 and R5, receivers PL-660, SW7600GR, ICF-2010, etc. The DE1103 is by far the most sensitive and selective one, it even beats my old Realistic DX-440.
As for SW, I like the combination of its very good AGC and very low floor, which allows me to do DXing with the RF attenuator on and does not have any annoying filter like the PL-660. I also enjoy its audio quality, especially on the headphones, for it is more natural, not processed like the PL-660’s or over-processed like the SW7600GR’s.
You can tell I’m a big fan of this little radio. It has its flaws, but I can live with them.
Thank you for sharing your experience with the DE1103 DSP, Julio!
If you’ve read my DE1103 DSP review, you’ll note that I haven’t been the biggest fan of the new DSP version of the DE1103. I did review a very early model and wonder if Degen has tweaked the DE1103 DSP to provide better performance? Can any other readers comment?
Update: Several readers pointed out that the “Version 2.0” might simply be a way sellers are using to indicate that this is the DSP-based DE1103–rather than this being an improved version of the original DSP receiver I tested.
The 2015 model of the Degen DE1103 implements a DSP chip (the Silicon Labs Si4735-D60).
Yet I was on the fence about purchasing the new DE1103. Why? In truth, I never fell in love with the original DE1103. While I appreciated the 1103’s unique analog-style digital display, I never got used to its quirky ergonomics. Degen had quality control issues, too: I had to return two faulty units before getting one that worked as advertised (incidentally, I had a similar problem with the Kaito KA1102).
Ron kindly provided the SWLing Post with his impressions of the DE1103, as follows:
Performance is roughly on a par with the earlier dual conversion version. This one is just as hot, but no hotter.
If you were thinking a GP5 on a bigger ferrite bar, yes…and no.
There is one major gripe…[this unit] will not remember frequencies set with the BFO on, like the earlier dual-conversion version did. Instead you have to turn the BFO on for each memory frequency [for which you] need it.
One thing [I] noticed right off was the almost complete lack of AGC “pumping” on CW and SSB that all earlier versions had (yay!) but this plus comes at the cost of having the BFO “remembered” in memory.
Zero-beating (or centering) the BFO to null on WWV and local AM stations to check alignment was…strange. At null beat the BFO seems to quit for a second. It is fine
either side of zero beat, however.
This is doubtless due to Tecsun’s adapting the Silicon Labs IC to a full range BFO like this. Recall the same IC in the GP5 features Upper and Lower selection on CW/SSB.
This 1103 DSP version also has the GP5’s slight tuning mute, not a problem.
But for ease of operation in CW/SSB mode, the GP5 is [much] better IMO.
Ron also notes that he wasn’t pleased with the DE1103’s longwave performance and didn’t feel the mediumwave and shortwave reception was an improvement on the original DE1103.
He decided that he would sell this DE1103 and gave me first dibs, so I bit the bullet. I was eager to compare the new DE1103 with some of the other DSP-based portables in my collection. Ron dispatched the DE1103 immediately–it arrived a few days ago, but I didn’t have a chance to test it until yesterday.
I took the Degen DE1103 outside, sat it on the tailgate of my truck and put it on the air…
I tuned around the mediumwave band and picked up all of the local benchmark stations. Same with FM. So far, this tuning confirmed Ron’s assessment of the DE1103: it didn’t surpass the original.
But the shortwave bands were a different story.
As I tuned around the HF bands, the DE1103 seemed to receive quite a lot signals. But in most instances, I could hear local AM broadcasters bleeding in, as well. Indeed, imaging was prevalent across the shortwave bands–the receiver was obviously being overwhelmed by a local broadcaster. Unfortunate.
Could strong interference account for this? While there are local AM broadcasters around, they’re not exactly “blow-torch” stations. Indeed, I’ve never had overloading issues with other shortwave portables I’ve used in the same location–not even with my Kaito WRX911!
Imaging was prevalent on the DE1103 when it was tuned to pretty much any audible shortwave broadcaster.
Here’s a video of the Degen DE1103 tuned to the Voice of Greece on 9,420 kHz:
What you’re hearing in the audio is a local broadcaster bleeding in. Note that when I tune off-frequency, no imaging is heard.
Wondering if something had changed locally–and just to be fair–I pulled out my Sony ICF-SW100 and sat it next to the DE1103. The Sony had no issues.
This time, I tuned to WWV on the 19 meter band and compared the two receivers:
As Dan Robinson expresses it, the ICF-SW100 “wipes the floor” with the DE1103. There’s no hint of overloading in the SW100.
My buddy, Ron, is clearly a keen radio reviewer; obviously he didn’t hear overloading on the shortwave bands where he tested the rig, else he would certainly have mentioned it. The location where I tested the DE1103 does have some local broadcasters in the area, but no clear channel or high-power stations; in short, there’s no likely interference within a ten-mile radius to account for this debilitating performance problem.
Obviously, the new DSP version of the Degen DE1103 is especially prone to imaging on the shortwave bands. In fact, it’s the only receiver I’ve ever tested that has overloading issues at this testing location (where I tested the original Degen DE1103, by the way).
I just saw an eBay auction for a used DE1103 which listed “DSP” in the title. But I looked at a photo of the product and it showed the labeling of the original product. If you look at the bottom left of the unit, the older radios have two lines of product description printed in black, and the newer radios have one line.
Based on photos I found online, here is the old product’s description (which applies to both the Degen and Kaito versions)
“PLL FM STEREO/SW MW LW DUAL CONVERSION SYNTHESIZED WORLD RECEIVER”
And here is the new product’s description.
“FM STEREO/SW MW LW DIGITAL WORLD RECEIVER”
I thought this would be useful for anyone wishing to buy the new DSP version of this radio where a photo of the actual unit is shown.
Eric has a good point–many times on eBay, sellers simply copy descriptions from previous or existing listings. You my find a used DE1103 listed as a unit with DSP. It’s best to confirm the version with the seller before purchasing. To my knowledge, only the 2015 version of the Degen DE1103 has DSP.
There are other vendors selling the new Degen DE1103 as well (click here to search eBay) but make sure you’re purchasing the 2015 version of the Degen DE1103 since you can still find the cosmetically-identical legacy DE1103 new in box.
Tudor, thanks again for sharing a link to the discussion on tecsun.com.cn–while I can’t read Chinese (and the Google translation leaves something to be desired!) the photos certainly tell the story.