Yorek YK-901 AMFM/SW Radio
(NOTE: Originally this post was entitled “A $10 Radio”. The day after it was posted Amazon was down to two in stock and the price was up to $14.99. I hope that when/if they get more in stock it will go back to $10 but even at $15 it is a cool little radio. But beware that I have found it selling for as much as $45 from some sellers so beware of that).
A reader emailed me and asked if I would review a $10 radio he found on Amazon. Although my initial reaction was to dismiss it as not worth the time it would take, something about the $9.99 price grabbed my attention. After all, it was only weeks ago that I reviewed the QFX-R24 which was selling at the time for about $15 and that was a total disaster…I concluded that even at $15 it wasn’t worth it. But a digital AM/FM/SW radio for $9.99 (with free shipping for Amazon Prime customers) seemed too enticing to pass up, although I wasn’t expecting much. Two days later I found it in my mailbox and proceeded to check it out. Although it won’t’ replace my more sophisticated radios I’ve got to say that for $9.99 it isn’t half bad (and certainly its better than that QFX-24), so just want can you expect nowadays in a $10 digital radi
Manufactured by ShenZhen Yorek Technology Co Ltd here are the Yorek YK-901
Features and Specifications:
FM: 87-108 MHz
AM: 520-1710 KHz
SW: 3.0 – 21.85 MHz
Controls: Power On/Off/Lock – Band select – Volume Up/Down – Scan/Sleep – Tuning Up/Down – Memory Up/Down (buttons are multi-function as outlined in the owner’s manual
Auto Scan & Store function
Backlit LED Display
FM Stereo Indicator
Memories: 32 per band
Clock (12 or 24 Hour modes) with alarm and sleep functions
Power: Two AA Batteries
DC Input Jack 3.0 Volt Barrel type center pin positive
Stereo earbuds supplied
Size: Approx: 5” W x 3” H x 1” D
Operation: I was able to get the radio up and running without reading the manual but you will have to read it to understand many of the multi-function button functions. For example, the band function toggles among AM, FM and SW as you would expect but when you are in SW mode, long presses will toggle among several SW meter bands which is crucial to fast navigation as there is no direct frequency entry and scanning within SW segments is a bit slow. That same Band button also toggles between 12 and 24-hour clock mode when the radio is off. Likewise, the Saved Station (Memory) buttons also are used for alarm clock functions. So as I always say, “Read The Manual”. Once I did that I can say the ergonomics are not bad…the radio is fairly easy to use and to live with.
As far as actual performance I’ve got to say it was better than I had expected it to be…for a $10 radio. Reception on al bands was OK. It was not very sensitive or selective with weaker signals as you would expect but for regular listening to local or suburban grade AM and FM signals and even some daytime SW the stations were listenable. At night the bands were full of the usual skip and while I couldn’t tune in every station I could hear on better radios there was enough there to satisfy the casual listener. Sound through the speaker was on the thin side but fairly clean and had good intelligibility – again, I would be disappointed if this were a more expensive radio but for the price it has to make no apologies. FM stereo was minimal – in fact I will admit I didn’t’ even realize this radio HAD stereo on FM until I saw the stereo indicator in the manual…it is small and hard to see on the display. Upon further checking I found there was some barely detectable separation but nowhere near the manual’s claimed 20 db. This is the kind of thing that may vary sample to sample but let’s just leave it that stereo is not a strong point here.
The supplied earbuds have fairly restricted audio response as you might expect although I must say again that I have bought worse buds, and since these came with a $10 radio, I find it hard to fault them. The radio itself has fairly robust audio through better buds…a bit of treble and bass boost make typical earbuds sound rich and full, while the supplied earbuds will serve utilitarian uses fine.
Conclusion: What can I say about the Yorek YK-901? Well primarily I’ll say it is definitely a bargain for $9.99 because I have had radios that cost more and gave me less. It may lack in some of the finer points of performance but it works reasonably well, gets decent reception and sounds listenable if you are not expecting boom box audio. And ergonomically it is not bad once you’re read the manual to learn how the multi-function buttons work. So, if you are looking for an inexpensive radio to depend on in an emergency or won’t break the bank if it is lost or damaged you could do far worse than the Yorek YK-901.
One Note: Since many people might consider this an emergency radio it is good to know that when any digital radio is off it still consumes a small amount of power to keep the clock running, so if you are going to put it away until an emergency arises you should remove the batteries. And be sure to keep a few spares on hand as well. Today’s alkaline cells have a very long shelf life.
Note: When I searched for this model at Amazon I found it only from third party sellers and going for around $45 but this link will bring you to the $9.99 version as of this writing March 18, 2021.