The Kchibo KK-D202 is an AM/FM/Shortwave receiver based on the Silicon Laboratories si4734 digital signal processing chip. There are three versions of the radio: the Chinese labeled D202 (reviewed here), the D202 upgrade (adds 9/10 KHz AM radio channel separation switch in the battery compartment for use in North America) and the E202 with English language labeling.
I bought my radio from eBay seller circle607 who sells the original model under $25 including shipping. The radio comes with ear buds, an external clip-on antenna, carrying strap and a soft pouch. Presumably it also comes with a manual (mine had a manual but for the wrong radio).
In addition to what you can see in the photo, there is a volume control on top, an earphone jack and an external 3v DC power input jack.
The most striking feature of this model is the vertical LCD display. It is covered by a magnifying lens, necessary to show its 15 different functions. There is no display light, making this only visible in a well-lit environment. When the radio is off, the display shows the time and date and when on (as pictured above) it shows the tuned frequency, band and the time in small characters.
There are 8 buttons and I label the top row from left to right 1-4 and the bottom row 5-8. Button 1 is the power switch. There is also one other button behind a pin hole at the upper right of the radio. It is the Reset Button which you might try if all else fails.
|1||Short Press: On/off |
Long Press: Select/set sleep timer
|2||Select preset memory +|
|3||Select preset memory –|
|4||Short press: Tune up |
Long press: Scan up
Radio off : Increment time/alarm
|5||Radio on: AM/FM/SW select |
Radio off: Enable time/alarm set
|6||Radio off: Alarm on/off |
Long Press, radio off: Magic
Radio on: Store memory preset
|7||Shortwave band jump|
|8||Short Press: Tune down |
Long Press: Scan down
Radio Off: Decrement time/alarm
So let’s turn it on. That’s the easy part given the universal power switch icon next to (1). Tuning is accomplished through the up (4) and down (8) buttons. A brief press of the button advances one channel step. Bands (AM/FM/SW) are switched with Button 5. The volume control is on top of the radio.When you tune a station, a pair of numbers is briefly displayed in the upper right of the LCD. These numbers are an indication of the signal quality. The first number is the signal to noise ratio in dB and the second is the signal strength in dBμ. Given the fixed tuning steps, I’m not sure what use these numbers are except perhaps to compare to another radio that also displays them (e.g. Tecsun PL-380). They are displayed too briefly to assist in positioning the radio for best reception.
There are 90 preset memories, 30 per band. Briefly pressing (2) and (3) scrolls through the memories for the selected band. Pressing (6) initiates storing the currently-tuned channel into memory; use (2) and (3) to select an open or reusable memory slot; press (6) again to store. Memory presets are retained (at least for a while) with the batteries removed. This is a blessing because it really takes a lot of button pressing to tune this radio. Pressing (7) switches the radio to shortwave and selects in turn the frequencies 2.30, 3.20, 4.75, 5.95, 7.10, 9.50, 11.65, 13.60, 15.10, 17.50 and 21.45 MHz. Tuning is continuous, but these jumps help you move rapidly through the shortwave bands.
Setting the clock. With the radio off, press (5) to enter setting mode and repeatedly press it to advance the date part being set in the order hour, min, year, month, day. The values are changed with the up/down buttons (4) and (8). To set the alarm, turn the radio off and turn the alarm on by pressing (6). Then press the time set (5) to enable alarm time set. Use the up/down buttons (4) and (8) to set the alarm time. When the alarm is off, (5) enables time setting and when the alarm is on, it enables alarm setting.
The magic button. A long press of (6) does mysterious things. With the radio off, press and hold the alarm button (6). As you continue holding, you will see the following sequence of numbers repeated in the display: “34”, “:34” “95” and “:95”. When “95” appears, release the button and quickly press the purple button (with the up arrow) twice. “10 kHz” will appear briefly in the display and thereafter the AM tuning step will be 10 kHz compatible with North American stations. Repeat the procedure to switch it back to 9. Timing is critical, so you might have to try it a few times to get it to work.
The “magic button” also sets the volume control range to a couple of values, one of which limits the volume and the other that lets you set it wide open. You just have to play with it to get the right combination of AM step and volume.
I’ll compare it to the benchmark Tecsun PL-380, itself a DSP radio using the same si4734 chip, and one of the best ultralight models on the market.
The Tecsun using Easy Tuning Mode picked 33 FM stations. Manually scanning the FM band for usable signals on the D202, I found 33 as well. I selected 107.9 (WLNK in Charlotte NC) for a test. This 100 KW is maybe 75 miles away. Both radios provided good reception when I held them in just the right direction. Hand holding the D202 helped a lot, as did touching the PL-380 antenna. I was frankly surprised that the D202 approached the PL-380 favorably. Both radios showed some bleed of a very powerful local station (WMUU) onto adjacent channels. Both showed the signal quality of this station at 55 dBμ / 18 dB.
On shortwave, I like to compare daytime signals from WWV. At 10 MHz WWV was barely audible on the D202, but quite usable (although noisy) on the PL-380. Both radios come with an external antenna, so I gave that a try using a 33-ft. antenna strung across an upstairs room. The antenna markedly improved reception with the PL-380 but made no difference at all on the D202.
The AM loopstick extends across the short dimension of the case and this will hurt AM sensitivity. I am not someone who spends much time on AM radio, so take my comments with a grain of inexperienced salt. I compared the radio with the Tecsun around sundown. The D202 was an unmitigated disaster. It picked up next to nothing and it had distinct whistles at various points on the dial. The Tecsun PL-380 set 97 stations with ETM, and no whistles.
My conclusion is that the Kchibo D220 is a very capable FM radio and should please most FM listeners. It’s small, convenient and capable. For shortwave, it may be the best radio of its size that I have come across. However, for more money and more cubic inches there are better shortwave radios out there. The real weaknesses are the lack of a tuning knob and a dial light, and of course AM sucks.
|Frequency coverage||FM 64 – 108 MHz |
AM 522 – 1710 KHz (9 KHz step)
AM 520 – 1710 KHz (10 KHz step)
SW 2.3 – 21.85 MHz
|FM Stereo||Yes (earphones)|
|Memories||3 x 30|
|Sensitivity||FM 3.5 μV |
AM 5 mV/m
SW 100 μV
|Selectivity||>= 40 dB|
|External DC||3v Center (-)|
|External antenna jack||No|
|Tuning||Digital (up/down, memory, scan)|
|Tuning step||AM 9/10KHz, FM .1 MHz, SW 5 KHz|
|Signal strength indicator||Yes|
|Whip antenna length||13.5” (earphone can be used as antenna)|
|Clock||Day, Date, Time, Alarm, Sleep|
|Control lock||E202 (and upgrade?) only|
|Stereo/mono switch||E202 (and upgrade?) only|
|Attached battery door||No|
|Size||2 1/2” x 3 3/4” x 5/8”|
|Weight without batteries||3 oz.|
|Accessories included||Ear buds, external antenna, pouch|
|Price (including shipping)||$12.95 + $9.95 shipping (upgrade model from DPmega runs $29.90 + $12)|