Tag Archives: XHDATA

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.

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!

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!

XHDATA D-808 and Digitech AR-1780: Comparing size and appearance

Digitech AR-1780 (left) and XHDATA D-808 (right)

Tuesday evening, I received my long-awaited XHDATA D-808 from AliExpress via the postal service. Yesterday morning, I unboxed it and started charging the included 18650 Li-Ion cell. I haven’t properly put it on the air yet but if you’re interested in some initial reports, check out these previous posts.

Dimensions

I was  curious if the Digitech D-808 was identical in size to the Digitech AR-1780–I could tell even from D-808’s initial information that these two radios share a common ancestry.

To my surprise, they are not identical in dimensions! With that said, the differences are very marginal.

The D-808 is 7 mm wider and 2 mm deeper than the AR-1780.

To confirm measurements, I checked out the manufacturer specifications of both radios.  Oddly, the specs also indicate that the AR-1780 should be 3 mm taller than the D-808 but I don’t detect this difference. I measure them to be equal in height.

The telescoping antennas are identical in height and number of segments.

Of course, as you can tell from the photos, the D-808 body is light grey in color while the AR-1780 is black.

Batteries

The Digitech AR-1780 uses four 1.5V AA cells while the XHDATA D-808 uses one less common 3.7V 18650 Li-Ion rechargeable cell (included).

External Power

The XHDATA D-808 (left) and Digitech AR-1780 (right).

The XHDATA D-808 has a standard 5V Micro USB port for internal changing. The AR-1780, on the other hand, uses a much less common 7V DC plug.

Right panels are identical.

Having a 5V micro USB port is a huge plus for the D-808, in my opinion! While travelling, I always have at least one micro USB charger.

Backlighting

The LCD display appears to be identical in size and display information, however the D-808 has blue backlighting while the AR-1780 has orange backlighting.

The Digitech AR-1780

The XHDATA D-808

Keypad

AR-1780 (top) D-808 (bottom)

Other than variations in button shapes and color, the only difference between the two radios is the location of the power button.

The Digitech AR-1780 keypad

The XHDATA D-808 keypad

As Guy Atkins mentioned in a previous post, the D-808 keypad buttons are almost flush with the radio body. The buttons on the AR-1780, on the other hand, are more prominent and tactile.

Accessories

The Digitech AR-1780 shipped with no accessories–the only two items in the box were the radio and the owner’s manual.

I was surprised when I opened the D-808 box to find a padded carry/travel bag, USB charging cable and even a compact external wire antenna.

Summary

There are actually few differences between the XHDATA D-808 and the Digitech AR-1780 in terms of physical appearance and function.

All in all, though, I prefer the D-808 package which ships with a carry bag, power cord and external wire antenna. In addition, the D-808 uses a standard and convenient Micro USB port for charging!

In terms of size/weight, the differences are negligible and wouldn’t sway my purchase decision.

Over the course of the next week, I hope to spend some time comparing their performance on the air. Though they appear to be from the same family, will one sibling outperform the other?  We shall see!

XHDATA D-808 modification to allow an external mediumwave antenna

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rolf Snijder, who writes:

I have added an external antenna capability for mediumwave on the XHData D-808.

Simply add a 27 pF capacitor on the backside of the PCB on C10 to the the ferrite antenna.

The mod causes no loss on FM or shortwave!

I also replaced the Ferrite antenna with a bigger one so I now have more performance on MW!

Longwave is not good in my radio, even with an external antenna, it is not performing well.

Thanks once again, Rolf! I must assume that the Digitech AR-1780 could be modified in the same way as the radios appear to be near identical. Perhaps someone can verify this at some point!