The Kaito KA1103 Worldband Radio provides serious power in a small and sleek package, and with a roughly $100 price tag, comes in at about half the cost of many radios with its capability. Its clarity, volume and FM frequency set it apart from prior models and other radios in its price range. While it has some functionality issues like its battery life, those can be overcome by getting more familiar with the product. For the money, I couldn’t have made a better purchase.
Its frequency range picks up FM, AM, shortwave and longwave stations. At a low cost, it allows you to listen to stations from all over the world or just get better reception for your stations locally.
To make it even better, its got four ways to tune into stations: manually through a knob, digitally by entering your desired frequency, by scanning for stations and through the use of presets.
When I’m out in the country where cheaper radios typically don’t work, it comes in very handy to have this.
It lets you preset up to 256 stations, which has allowed me to save tuning for all the less powerful stations in the Austin, Texas area where I live, along with favorites that I’ve found on the SW and LW frequencies all over the world.
For someone looking to take radio to the next level, without spending a fortune, this is the way to go. To get any kind of serious upgrade from the KA1103, you’re going to end up spending about three times the money.
Check out more details on the many things this radio has to offer, along with insight into the flaws I’ve found with it and how I’ve been able to for the most part overcome them.
Powerful volume that can meet most personal needs:
This little radio really packs a punch, producing a sound level that you’d never expect from a product of its size. I’ve used it for family outings and even full-blown parties. Unless you’re talking a massive event, like at a club or other professional establishment, this radio should be able to give you all the volume that you need.
Frequency strength for both local and international broadcasting:
The FM frequency ability of this product is tremendous. It brings in clear and quality sound, even from more remote stations. The FM starts out at 76.0MHZ, where most campus radio stations can be found. With Austin being such a college and hip town, it’s been great to be able to pick up all the more underground stations. They can be a lot more entertaining than commercial radio is with all its commercials, scripted content and chart toppers. While its AM frequency has nothing on its FM, that’s the case with most PLL synthesized radios and it still comes out better than its competitors in that realm. Its sensitivity makes it especially powerful for SW use. Its specific frequency coverage is FM:76.0-108.0 Mhz; MW:520-1710 Mhz; SW:1.71-29.99 Mhz; LW 100-519 Khz.
Battery power indicator to allow for planning:
While the battery fades fast, in about three hours, the battery indicator is very helpful in planning out your use of the KA1103. Also, it has an automatic shutoff mechanism when the battery gets too low that tends to go off about 20 minutes sooner than it seems to really need to. So, that’s important to keep in mind.
Multiple tuning mechanisms making it easier to find, save and hone in on stations:
The tuning knob on the radio is an enormous benefit, as it allows you to flip through the stations at your own pace, honing in on the frequencies that you like best to perfection. Its other tuning methods are direct entry of the frequency, scanner and preset use. I like to use the scanner to search for stations initially. I’ll then use the knob to get down to the wire if they’re not coming in clear enough and save ones I love in the presets. While it’s great that it can save 256 stations, that can be a lot to search through, so it’s handy to be able to enter in a frequency manually. I’ve come to know the frequencies on my favorites by heart and of course searching the web can help if I forget. The direct entry method can also be a great way to try new stations that I’ve read up on, without having to try to scan or scroll over to them. This diversity in tuning mechanism is just such a huge plus.
Portability and look of the radio:
This is one area the KA1103 is near impossible to beat. It only weighs about two pounds and measures in at 6.5 inches by 4.1 inches by 1.1 inches. It’s also a good-looking product with its silver color and seek design. I can throw it in a bag or in my car and take it out at events, without the clunky awkwardness of other products.
Kaito KA1103 Worldband Radio Video Review
Volume level must be digitally entered:
While it’s certainly loud, getting it there or changing its volume can be problematic for those not familiar with it. Instead of having a spin dial for volume control like a lot of radios have, the KA1103 forces you to digitally enter the volume you’d like. This can slow things down a bit, but becomes largely a non-issue after getting used to the product. I do miss being able to turn up the volume quickly when finding something catchy on the radio, especially when I’ve got it out at the beach or with family.
Battery duration is low:
This is probably the biggest con of the product. Its rechargeable batteries last just a few hours. It also has an automatic switch off when the batteries get low that tends to go off a bit too early. However, careful planning can make up for this, and it usually doesn’t present too much of an issue. I think of it like conserving my cell phone battery. After a while it becomes second nature.