Here’s a quick review of the Kaito KA321 10-band world receiver. This radio was purchased as a Christmas gift for our grandson. It’s a starter radio for him and we really think that he and his siblings will get a kick out of listening to broadcast radio from around the world.
We picked this radio based on price and the amount of positive reviews complimenting it’s shortwave reception. It receives shortwave freqs from 5.700 to 21.950 MHz. It also receives the AM broadcast band and the FM band from 64-108 MHZ. Yes, the FM reception has been extended down to 64 MHz instead of the usual 87 MHz. I did some checking on this unusual feature and found that there is a possible FCC proposal to expand the US FM band down to 68 MHz! Europe and Asia are currently using the lower FM band frequencies and I’m hoping that Kaito is ahead of the curve by selling this radio here in the US.
Here’s some photos of this radio and I have a few comments at the end of this review.
The radio arrived safe and sound along with the instruction manual and a wrist strap.
The front view shows bands, freqs and tuner needle. This is a mechanical tuner that utilizes Digital Signal Processing (DSP).
Rear view showing the kick-stand and battery compartment for 2 AA batteries .
Top and Right view showing the top mounted band selector switch and the side mounted tuning wheel and volume wheel.
Left side view showing the earphone jack, on-off switch and a jack for a 5V external power supply.
Here’s a photo comparing the KA321 size to our Kaito KA1102 and my smartphone.
I spent a morning using this radio to make sure it was in working condition for my grandson and also to provide a review for the blog. This radio is a real performer. Shortwave and AM reception was on par with every other receiver in this class. The sound was better than tolerable. I noticed on some sites that some users were complaining about the 321’s FM reception but I did not notice anything negative, in fact, FM reception was crisp and clear. Even though this is a mechanical tuner, stations were easy to dial in and there was no “fading” which is most likely due to the DSP feature.
The size of this receiver is very handy and lends itself well to storing this radio in a padded smartphone case or small molle utility pouch.
I can truthfully say that this radio would serve anyone better than the solar/crank power multi-purpose radios that cost the same or a little more. It uses AA batteries but… it is smaller, lighter, has less moving parts and without a doubt gives better reception and clarity. Most, if not all, preppers have plenty of AA batteries in storage.
If you’ve read any of our other shortwave articles you know that we strictly recommend purchasing only shortwave receivers with SSB capabilities and optional external antenna connections. This radio does not have either feature. It is a starter radio for a seven year old and we’re hoping that it sparks an interest in radios for him.
This radio is now available at a bargain price on Amazon:
Kaito KA321 Pocket-size 10-Band AM/FM Shortwave Radio with DSP (Digital Signal Processing), Black