Incoming Radio! Qodosen SR-286

If all goes well, I’ll be receiving a Qodosen SR-286 (aka Xiaoqiang SR-286) radio mid-February from AliExpress. I learned about it from RadioJayAllen’s review and it pushed a few of my buttons.

First off, the SR-286 is small: 128 x 75.5 x 38 mm. I like a portable radio to be portable.

Qodosen SR-286 Product Photo (AliExpress)

Allen says that this is the best portable for FM that he’s seen, and the addition of RDS gives me an opening for more DXing on that band. I also like the fact that the external antenna can be used for all bands, including LW/MW. With tax and shipping from China, my order totaled $134.78, not exactly a bargain radio, but much less than a Tecsun PL-990 or Sangean ATS-909 X2.

It appears from the product photo to have rubber feet; I like rubber feet. It supposedly comes with a case, but no battery. We’ll see. I have an XHDATA 3000 mAh 18650 battery all charged and ready.

There are many features and settings, occupying a 31-page user manual, but it looks like the basic functions are straightforward. Other things like squelch, bandwidth, step, range, dial light timing, and time zone may require a look at that manual. The manual is confusing in places, but it is better than some. I got to look at the Version 1.0 (needs work):

External View

Controls and connections. Reset hole on bottom (not shown)


All the reviews tout it as being very sensitive, having a low noise floor and being resistant to overloading. Here’s a comparison to a Tecsun PL-330 for reference.

(ferrite bar)
(ferrite bar)
< 10mV/m

≤ 10μv

≤ 2mV/m
Medium wave
< 1mV/ m

≤ 10μv

≤ 1mV/m

< 20μV
≤ 10μv

< 3μV
≤ 0.5μv
PL-330 and SR-286 Sensitivity

*A hidden feature of the PL-330 allows the external antenna jack to be used on LW and MW, but Tecsun does not publish sensitivity numbers. LW and MW sensitivity on the SR-286 with the telescopic antenna are the same as SW, and that may well be the case for the PL-330.

With the exception of FM, the sensitivity numbers are given for a different signal-to-noise ratio, making comparison between these two radios more difficult. The PL-990 sensitivity numbers (for additional comparison) are the same as for the PL-330 with the exception of LW, which is < 3mV/m.


On some of my portable shortwave radios, particularly the smaller ones, it seems that the display electronics generate some radio noise on some frequencies that distorts reception. The SR-286 has a feature that I have not seen before, the ability to turn off the display. Given its sensitivity, this may well be a feature that gets used. There is a setting for radio to display to be always on, on for 2 seconds when keys are pressed or turned off temporarily when it would be otherwise on.

Quick press the (1) and (3) buttons to disable the display.

I like to compare radios side by side. I watch and have made videos where two radios are compared, cranking up the volume on one, back down, and up on the other. It’s not only cumbersome but it also introduces a little delay during which the signal might fade. I really like a radio with a mute button and the SR-286 has one. Simultaneous pressing of two mute buttons can instantly switch between radios.

One feature I’ve never encountered before is the ability to set the FM tuning step((I found that my Sangean ATS-405 also has this feature.)) and if the manual is to be believed, the radio can be set for a 200 kHz step, which is the channel separation in the US. All my other radios have a maximum step of 100 kHz. This will make FM band scanning far more convenient, and since this radio is supposed to be so fantastic on FM, I intend to do some band scanning on it. I note that the maximum step on LW is 3 kHz.

The manual initially confused me about how the tuning knob works, partly because it is split over 2 pages with headings on only one of them. I’ve spliced it together:

Tuning speeds from SR-286 manual Pages 8-9

The 4 tuning knob modes are FAST, SLOW, AUTO and STOP. For all my other radios, FAST and SLOW are fixed values, and AUTO changes rate based on how fast the tuning knob is turned. The SR-286 manual seems to say that it works both ways. There is a “SPEED ON” setting that’s variable and a “SPEED OFF” setting that’s fixed. I typically hate variable speed tuning knobs, because the slow rate is usually too slow for broadcast stations (MW and SW), so you speed up and by the time the radio figures out you’ve sped up, it jumps past the next channel. It appears that this annoying behavior can be turned off. Hooray!

The AUTO mode is something completely different; it’s a scan of some sort. Turn the knob and the radio “searches” in the direction of the turn. I don’t know if it’s looking for a station or just automatically passing through the frequencies. The manual does not specify how to stop the search. I’m guessing that it is not looking for signals since there is already a seek function under the Auto arrow keys.

Similarities between the Qodosen SR-286 and Eton Elite Executive

Eton Elite Executive

When I first looked at the SR-286 layout, it felt right; it made immediate sense. Perhaps that is because I’m familiar with another radio, the Eton Elite Executive; for example, the up/down buttons are shaped the same and both have arrows plus the word “AUTO.” They both have a Page/Time button and both have time zone settings with alphabetic location abbreviations. Both have RDS and can set the radio’s clock automatically. The memory model has some similarity with 100 pages each with alphanumeric labels, but only a few stations per page (7 on the Eton and 10 on the Qodosen); there is, however, a difference in that ATS works on all the bands with the Qodosen, but only on FM for the Eton. Also the Qodosen allocates 10-slot page groups for different bands (25 FM, 5 LW, 15 MW, 55 SW). Eton tells you to use the upper pages for your stuff because the radio will overwrite the low end with FM stations. Another similarity is direct entry of frequencies. For both radios, enter the frequency and then press AM or FM to complete rather than having the band set first. Both radios have different tuning steps that can selected by pressing in the tuning knob.

And both radios have a lot of options and require the User Manual to get the full benefit.

Now I’ve learned that the Eton and the Qodosen have the same designer!

The designer is Mr. Zeng Deping, commonly known as Zeng Gong in the circle, the chief designer of the familiar Lexin 2100 and 1220, CC-Radio Keruien series, Eaton Executive, Field BT and other high-quality models are all from Zeng Gong hand.

Q&A record of the new Xiaoqiang SR-286 radio, one-stop solution to various questions

Frankly, I’m excited. This is the first radio in a good while that offers the possibility of next level reception. It checks most of my boxes including an external antenna jack for MW/LW, a mute button, tuning step settings, 18650 battery and small size. Notably absent is SSB, but I rarely listen to that. I have not so far found anything I don’t like.

Photos of the teardown of the radio.

It finally arrived, 3 days past the estimated delivery.

About Kevin

Just an old guy with opinions that I like to bounce off other people.
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7 Responses to Incoming Radio! Qodosen SR-286

  1. Kevin says:

    Mine cost $129 pls tax. It was around $132 delivered to the US.

  2. M0YMX says:

    A good radio by all accounts, but very pricy at about 170USD/150GBP/160 EURO.

    What is even more interesting is the datasheet, link below, which says:

    TEF6688 baseband I²S output supporting HD Radio and DRM with digital radio coprocessor (SAF356x or SAF360x)

    A radio of this size with DRM and HD Radio would be really interesting indeed. Almost an opportunity missed..

  3. Kevin says:

    It’s now officially late. No change in tracking information in a week. Grrr.

  4. Kevin says:

    Well, that seems to have been sorted out. It’s now at the departure hub.

  5. Cool Zerg says:

    Might I know where did you get the Sensitivity Form:

    Band PL-330 SR-286
    Longwave < 10mV/m (S/N = 26dB) ≤ 2mV/m (S/N = 20dB)
    Medium wave < 1mV/ m (S/N = 26dB) ≤ 1mV/m (S/N = 20dB)
    Shortwave < 20μV (S/N = 26dB) ≤ 10μv (S/N = 20dbB)
    FM < 3μV (S/N = 30dB) ≤ 0.5μv (S/N = 30dB)
    PL-330 / SR-286 Sensitivity


  6. Kevin says:

    I have been notified that there has been some kind of a delay at the “sorting center.”

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