Tag Archives: XHDATA 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!

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.

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)

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.

Looking under the hood: Comparing the XHDATA D-808 and Digitech AR-1780

Last week, I posted a few photos of the new XHDATA D-808 and Digitech AR-1780–two of the hottest portable shortwave radios to hit the market in recent months.

Several readers have requested “under the hood” photos of each radio, to compare internal designs. This morning, I had a few minutes to crack open each radio and take a few shots. Note that I didn’t pull off the circuit boards from the chassis or try to take a look behind shielding. I have yet to do proper performance comparison tests with these radios and didn’t want to accidentally compromise one (especially since the XHDATA D-808 is getting complicated to purchase here in the US).

Inside the XHDATA D-808

Opening the D-808 requires pulling off the encoder knob and removing a total of  six small screws. Note that one of the screws is located in the battery compartment. Click photos to enlarge:

Inside the Digitech AR-1780

Opening the AR-1780 requires pulling off the encoder knob (not an easy task on my unit) and removing a total of seven small screws. Note that two of the screws are located in the battery compartment. Click photos to enlarge: