XHDATA D-109 Multiband Radio W/Bluetooth & TF Card Reader

April 2023

The new XHDATA D-109 has been quite a surprise with all-around excellent (I should say unbelievable) performance for its low price which is around $31 plus shipping ($12 – $15 to the US) from XHDATA or $45 from Amazon as of this writing.

It is a DSP design using the Silicon Labs Si4734 chip with adjustable tuning steps and band coverage to make it usable anywhere in the world. Here are some of its Features & Specifications:

Frequency Range:

FM: 64-108 MHz/76-108 MHz/87-108 MHz / 87.5-108 MHz (100 KHz/10 KHz Tuning Steps)

LW: 153-513KHz (9K/1K Tuning Steps)

AM: 522-1620KHz (9K/1K Steps) / 520-1710KHz (10K/1K Steps)

SW: 1711-29999KHz (5K/1K Steps)

Tuning by Direct Entry, Auto Scan (2 modes for SW) or Knob with Fast/Slow auto switching

SW Band selection

Auto Tuning and Memory Storage

Display Shows Signal Strength, S/N, Temperature, Battery level/Charging Indicator, FM Stereo

Auto Backlight (5 sec) can be locked on permanently

Memories: FM: 100 / LW: 100 / AM: 100 / SW: 300

User Replaceable Li-Ion Battery – 18650 2000 mAh USB C Rechargeable

Lock Switch 

AM/LW/SW Bandwidths: 1-2-3-4-6 KHz

FM Stereo at Headphone jack with Stereo/Mono selection

12/24 Hour Clock With 2 Alarms and Sleep mode

Bluetooth with Phone and Play controls

TF (Micro SD) Card Audio Playback with scanning within tracks and adjustable Repeat mode

FM/SW External Antenna Jack

Reset Button

Checking Out the D-109

Before fully charging the battery I quickly ran the radio through its various modes to get a general feel for it and I must say that for its very low price I was surprised at how solid it is. Some quick band scans assured me that reception was very good, sound quality was very nice and ergonomics are good…most things seem fairly intuitive. The manual is very good at walking you through the initial setup and most of the functions themselves are adequately explained, but some secondary functions such as the different scan modes and repeat marker settings on TF playback could be described more completely. There was one odd translation anomaly – the manual says “Turn the fuselage angle when MW and LW are used to obtain the best receiving sensitivity”…of course they mean you should rotate the radio for AM/LW reception. Everything seemed good so I charged the battery fully and began the real tests. This radio uses the well-known Silicon Labs Si4734 DSP chip so I knew it had the potential to be a top performer. Once the battery was fully charged, I put the D-109 next to some other similarly sized (but more expensive) portables for some comparisons and the results were interesting.

The D-109 has the familiar automatic two speed tuning via the knob found on many Tecsun radios. In any band, as you first rotate the knob the radio tunes in small steps (see tuning steps above). As you continue to rotate the knob it switches to high-speed tuning for quick band scanning. Many popular radios use this system and although it takes some getting used to, once you get the feel of it, it makes perfect sense and works pretty well. This radio makes it easy to scan the bands quickly, then zero in in slow tuning mode.

On AM the D-109 ranks ** 1/2 on the AM Mega Shootout which is very good in this price/ size category of radio. The 5 bandwidths were effective in a variety of circumstances… something that was not possible anywhere near this price level before DSP.

ON FM the XHDATA was a ***** performer which was not a surprise given the DSP chip used.  There is no RDS but FM stereo sounded great on the various earbuds I tried and the ability to force mono when signals are poor, a feature which is missing on many otherwise excellent radios, can be a real help in some situations.

SW sensitivity was also superb for this class of radio and I’ve got to say that with built-in whip antennas this is also about a good as it gets. A short wire antenna such as the popular reel-up type will make a bigger difference than you will hear among the radios I compared with the D-109, which ranged from other small to larger more feature-filled radios. There is no SSB but for the cost of this radio I wouldn’t expect it.

Other Features: The D-109 has very satisfying sound for this size radio along with good volume capability. There is no tone control except on AM/LW/SW where the multiple bandwidths can be used to reduce the treble if needed. The Bluetooth functioned just as one would expect it to and sounded great plus the ability to control playback and answer phone calls in this mode are great features. As far as tuning goes, I like the fact that you can enter frequencies directly with no additional keystrokes which many radios require. The TF card player also worked well and has the ability to scan within tracks – this feature is missing on many such players, and the tracks can be selected in a few ways including inputting the track number directly. Although it can handle TF cards up to 32 Gigs the tracks are limited to 999 at this point…perhaps this could be increased in future production but that is just a guess. The display has the usual versatile capabilities and is bright and clear and I especially like the fact that I can be locked on permanently, although I wish it would go out when the radio is turned off…it is easy to leave it on accidentally. The 2000 mAh 18650 battery will give many hours of use. You can get these batteries with higher mAh ratings but I found battery life to be fine for several days of use.

Top: Radiwow R-108 – Bottom: XHDATA D-109

Conclusion: Overall the XHDATA is a home run. There are no other radios at this price that I am aware of which can match its overall quality and performance. The closest (in price) that comes to mind currently is the Radiwow at about $45, and while that radio is a bit smaller and adds Air Band capability it is not very close to the XHDATA in AM or SW performance, plus the D-109 adds Bluetooth and TF card audio playback. At the current prices the D-109 offers amazing performance. Of course, there are more sophisticated models with more features at higher prices, but for a small radio for general listening you can’t match the D-109 for the price.


See it at Amazon: 

Jay Allen   

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