In an attempt to give each of my radios at least a little love, I pulled down my Rysamton YK-M03 from the shelf today and gave it a whirl.
For something with this basement price it has quite a few features including: 12/24 hour click, alarm, sleep timer, earphone jack and earphones (included), dial light, auto tune storage, favorite station buttons, digital frequency display, carry strap, English manual and a lock button. It supports both US and European frequency ranges for MW/FM. There is FM stereo with headphones. The clock is visible with the radio off, and can operate for months on a battery charge. The display and button labels are very easy to read, as can be seen in the photo.
The photo preceding is with the radio off, where only the time, alarm, lock status and battery status is shown. When on, the radio indicates the sleep timer, alarm, frequency, stereo battery status, key lock, MHz/kHz and band. Dimensions are 115 x 70 x 31 mm.
Tuning is accomplished with a tuning knob, plus the ability to skip through the SW bands. Shortwave coverage is a fairly generous continuous spectrum from 3.0 to 21.85 MHz.
The unit is powered by 2 AA batteries, or a 3V center-+ external power supply (not included). There’s nothing in the manual about charging the batteries from the external supply.
The manual is printed front an back on an oversized sheet, and appears complete, well-illustrated and in fine English. I give it an “A” grade.
The features are offset by some limitations. The digital frequency display is limited to 4 digits so you can’t distinguish between 10.000 MHz and 10.005 MHz, although you can apparently tune them separately. There is no direct frequency entry and stations cannot be added to ATS memory manually, but you can delete them. The MW and FM tuning ranges cannot be set independently.
Auto Tune Storage (ATS)
I included this radio in my article on Radio Memory Systems, and I’ll copy that section following:
The Rysamton YK-M03 is a budget, few-frills radio, but it features 105 memories (35 each for MW, FM and SW), and it also has three “favorite” stations buttons for each band (CH01, CH02 and CH03).
There is no manual storage of stations in memory, beyond the favorites. Memory stations are stored by the radio’s ATS. The operator can delete a station from memory with a long press of the TIME/DEL button.
Long press the SCAN button to start the ATS search for the currently selected band. The M+/M- buttons scroll through the collected stations.
There are a woefully inadequate 35 memory locations each for MW, SW, and FM. With an external antenna, the SW memories will fill up long before going half way through the SW spectrum. FM ATS suffers from a fair number of empty stations stored, so it too fills up the memories before reaching the end.
Long-pressing the BAND button in shortwave mode tabs through the 9 individual shortwave bands: 3, 4,75, 5.95, 7.1, 9.5, 11.65, 13,6, 15,1, 17.5, and 21.45 MHz. Tuning is then accomplished by turning a wheel on the side of the radio. I intuitively expect that a clockwise turn of a wheel increases frequency, but in this case it’s a decrease.
I clipped on an MLA-30+ antenna and ran ATS on shortwave. The radio stored 35 stations and stopped when the memory filled somewhere around 9000 kHz. Most were real stations, but a few were just noise. At around 9 PM in the evening I was able to receive CHU on 3330 and 7850 kHz for example here in central Virginia.
At a previous sitting, I tried the radio on shortwave with just the whip antenna. I got WWCR on 9980 (and 9350) and CHU Canada on 7850 with clear strong signals on the 17″ whip antenna. Also heard, Radio Nacional Amazonia (Brazil) on 11780, Radio Feda (Madagascar) on 11610 and Radio Exterior Espana (Spain) on 9690 — all clear. I heard some ham radio traffic. Normally, I wouldn’t even try to use a portable radio on its whip inside next to the computer.
Here are the FM/MW daytime results:
MW is awful, but the radio is no slouch on FM.
The 0.5W speaker sounds awfully tinny and one would probably not want to listen to this radio for music, but with a good set of headphones, the radio doesn’t sound bad even though there’s no bass, and with headphones there is FM stereo.
I bought the radio for $12.92 back in December of 2022 from Amazon. It’s $12.74 today after a 15% coupon. So is this radio worth $13? If the radio just sits on the shelf or in the box and is never used, then it’s worth nothing. The speaker is so tinny that one would rarely use it without earphones. It’s shirt pocket sized, so one could walk or jog with it using earphones (the included earphones are pretty good). Shortwave reception is good for the price. As bargain radios go, this is a good one.