The XHDATA D-219 is an AM/FM/Shortwave radio with an analog tuning dial. It covers AM (only up to 1600 kHz), FM (2 bands) and shortwave (9 bands from 4.75 to 22 MHz) It doesn’t have much in the way of features, but it gets the job done and is the best performer I’ve encountered in the under-$20 price bracket. It’s particularly attractive at today’s $12.99 including shipping from Amazon, or at $11.38 on sale direct from XHDATA where I got mine.
It has a generous 20.5″ telescoping antenna, an earphone jack and a kickstand. It lacks a dial light and FM Stereo. It takes 2 AA batteries and can be powered by a 5V external DC p0wer source. It comes with a basic manual that no one should need.
One issue for potential buyers in North and South America is the MW (AM) channel spacing, set permanently at 9 kHz, while the stations in this region broadcast on frequencies that are a multiple of 10 kHz. The radio itself has a digital signal processing (DSP) chip that only tunes discrete channels, even though you can physically set the dial to anything. The upshot of this disparity is that you wouldn’t be able to tune weak stations next to strong ones when the multiples don’t line up, and that you will hear the same station on two adjacent locations on the dial when the station frequency lies between the radio’s channels. This is really only an issue when you’re trying to trying to receive distant stations, and not likely to be an issue just listening to local AM. It’s fine for the rest of the world.
I ran a comparison of the D-219 against several other sub-$25 units on AM and FM. It was among the top contenders. I also scanned the shortwave bands using just the internal whip antenna. I was able to receive a couple dozen stations in the daytime. I could reliably set the dial to 15 MHz and from central Virginia receive WWB in Ft. Collins, Colorado. There are gaps between the shortwave bands, excluding much non-broadcast parts of the spectrum; however, it covers international broadcasting. In the US, you should easily receive stations like China National Radio and Radio Romania.
- 4.75 – 5.06 MHz
- 5.6 – 6.4 MHz
- 6.8 – 7.6 MHz
- 9.2 – 10.0 MHz
- 11.45 – 12-25 MHz
- 13.4 – 14.2 MHz
- 15.0 – 15.0 MHz
- 17.1 – 18.0 MHz
- 21.2 – 22.0 MHz
Here are some test results scanning MW and FM bands using low-end radios outdoors using the built-in antennas. I live in a weak signal area for AM.
This is definitely not a radio for the serious shortwave listener or for the audiophile, but for a radio to carry with you camping or to dabble in shortwave, you can’t go wrong at this price.