Tag Archives: Radiwow R-108

Radiwow R-108: Tracking down mediumwave/AM birdies

As I mentioned in a post yesterday, I’ve been spending time with the Radiwow R-108 in an effort to give it a proper evaluation.

One quirk that has been a little hard to pin down is the occasional DSP birdie on the mediumwave band. [BTW: A “birdie” an unwanted internally-generated noise which, in this case, manifests itself as a variable squeal. Click here to learn more.]

When I first received the R-108, I noticed that each time I turned it on while tuned to the mediumwave (AM broadcast) band, I’d hear a temporary birdie/squeal that would last anywhere from two to seven seconds. After the initial noise, the squeal would go away.

During long (one hour plus) listening sessions, the squeal would sometimes reappear for a few seconds seemingly at random.

Turns out, there’s a pattern that I overlooked.

Yesterday, I turned on the R-108 and a birdie was present on 1600 kHz. Unlike previous listening sessions, the variable squeal was persistent–it didn’t go away after a few seconds. I pulled out my phone and took a quick video (moving quite far away to show that my phone wasn’t the source of noise):

Click here to view on YouTube.

There were two factors I think may have been responsible for the persistent birdie:

  1. The broadcast signal on 1600 kHz was weaker than normal
  2. The R-108 battery was at 50% or less

Perhaps the battery has nothing to do with this, other than it might have had a slight negative impact on the receiver sensitivity?

Still, my observations confirm that when the battery is fully-charged, the birdies are overall less prevalent.

I tuned off of 1600 kHz and the the birdie disappeared. Even on 1590 kHz or 1610 kHz where there were only faint signals, there was no birdie.

I should note here that 1600 kHz is home to my favorite regional AM station, so quite often when I turn on the R-108, it defaults to 1600 kHz (hence the reason the birdie seemed to plague me).

I then tuned down the dial in 10 kHz steps until I noticed another persistent birdie on 1200 kHz:

Click here to view on YouTube.

The birdie on 1200 kHz was fainter than the one on 1600 kHz–perhaps half the intensity.

The pattern seemed way too familiar, so I looked into the SWLing Post archives and discovered that the Sangean ATS-405 also had birdies in the same locations on the MW dial.

Here’s a video of the ATS-405 birdie on 1600 kHz:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Obviously, the ATS-405 and R-108 either share the same DSP chip, or the design/implementation is similar.

I checked the R-108’s entire mediumwave band and discovered one more birdie on 800 kHz, although quite faint:

Click here to view on YouTube.

So far, I haven’t had the time to do a full survey of the shortwave bands to see if the birdie is present on HF as well.

I know that there are a few other R-108 owners out there who took advantage of Radiwow’s special pricing on pre-production models to do initial reviews. Please comment if you have also noticed birdies or any other quirks on your R-108 sample.

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Radiwow offers deep discounts for R-108 unbiased reviews

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, The Professor, who notes that Radiwow is offering free and half-price units to consumers willing to review their R-108 receiver. All of the details are on the Radiwow R-108 product page at AliExpress.

Here’s a copy of the statement:

Dear friends

Are you still struggling to find a cost-effective radio? Now the FREE  opportunity is coming!

Recently ,our store have launched a RADIWOW® R-108 Radio which has  great sound quality, selectivity and sensitivity .R-108 Radio is a good world receiver with great FM Stereo/LW/SW/MW /AIR/DSP. It will start selling on January 30, 2019.You deserve it!

We are looking for 20 people from Japan, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy, France to test and write an unbiased and honest review for our latest radio.

In addition, we need friends from Spain, Italy, France to help us translate R-108 English user manual into Spanish, Italian and French.

In all top three users who apply for the test will enjoy the radio for free, and the 3-20 will enjoy it at half price. Please indicate in the subject when contacting us: your country; product model; leave review or translate user manual.

Click here to read this statement on the Radiwow R-108 product page.

Please comment if you’ve successfully ordered a unit under this program. I’m currently evaluating the R-108 here at SWLing Post HQ.


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Quick Look: the RADIWOW R-108, a new DSP shortwave portable

Last week, I received a new portable shortwave radio by the post from China: the Radiwow R-108.

The brand, Radiwow, was new to me, but I suspect they’re linked in some way to the folks behind XHDATA. They contacted me around the Thanksgiving holiday and inquired about evaluating this new portable receiver. I replied, asking a few questions about the unit–you see, I don’t typically agree to take a look at a new product if I think it could simply be a re-badged version of something currently on the market.

Their reply was simple:

“Yes, it is shortwave radio, like PL-310ET radio but add air band, and better reception performance. Your tracking number is…”

So evidently, it was already on the way.

Radiwow claims the performance is better than that of the venerable Tecsun PL-310ET. This, I will have to test because the PL-310ET is certainly a workhorse Ultralight radio. And the R-108 includes air band? Sounds like a CC Skywave without weather radio. That could be quite appealing if the price is competitive.

And it seems this little radio fits neatly into the requirements of Ultralight DXing, thus I hope Gary DeBock and Guy Atkins might take a look as well.

In addition, the R-108 includes longwave frequencies. Something I know will please a number of our readers.

Here are some of the key points I gleamed from a digital copy of the owner’s manual:

Radiwow R108 Features:

  • Frequency range:
    • Longwave: 150-450 kHz)
    • Mediumwave/AM: 520-1710 kHz w/10 kHz steps, 522-1620 kHz w/9kHz steps
    • Shortwave: 1711-29,999 kHz
    • FM: 87.5-108 and 64-108 MHz
    • AIR: 118-137 MHz
  • ATS memory scans on all bands
  • 500 available preset memories
  • Squelch control
  • Direct keypad entry of frequencies
  • Clock function with sleep timer, snooze and alarm (buzzer or radio)
  • Keylock
  • FM stereo
  • AM bandwidths: 6, 4, 3, 2, and 1 kHz selections
  • Music/Voice audio modes
  • Built-in intelligent charger for included 3.7V 1500 mAh Li-ion battery pack

By the way, I suspect Radiwow is linked to XHDATA because 1.) they knew my shipping address without asking and 2.) their website prominently features the XHDATA D-808.

In addition, the only other place I could find the R-108 listed on the Internet is via AliExpress. As with the introduction of the XHDATA D-808, the AliExress price is (today) absurdly high. To me, this indicates that the page is simply a placeholder until the first production run is ready to ship.

I have a PL-310ET and you can count on me to compare the two sometime after the holidays.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few photos of the unit.

I must admit, the front panel of the radio looks familiar, but perhaps only because most other DSP portables have a similar layout. Please comment if you know of an identical portable.

Follow the tag Radiwow R-108 for updates.


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