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January 24, 2012


Bob C.

I respectfully disagree. I have a G4000, as well as a large stable of other multiband radios such as the KA (and DE) 1103. My G4000 is a competent radio, which does fine on MW and SW and is okay on FM and LW. The DE1103 is a little more sensitive on all bands from what I can tell, however the SSB on the G4000 is a bit more stable. I actually like dxing on FM as much as the other bands and the G4000 is not a good choice for this endeavor.

All that said, the DE1103 is still easier and more fun to use than the G4000. This is because of the G4000's all-digital tuning. In fact, right by the definition of "digital chuffing" in the dictionary, I believe there's a photo of the G4000! Up and down with the buttons. No fun. At least with the DE1103, you get a smooth and easy tuning experience and it's easier to ferret out weak signals that way. The G4000 is much noisier (due to the aforementioned electronics) than the DE1103.

As far as build/fit and finish are concerned, yes the G4000 is more rugged. But, I still have a loose antenna on mine that continually needs to be tightened. The DE1103 I have has given me no problems; my KA1103 has.

Lastly, about ergonomics, the DE1103 is awkward until you get used to it. But even the volume control, once accessed, is better than the digital steps of the G4000. And, I have to be embarassingly honest here, some of the G4000's commands are not intuitive. Good example is the fact that I've forgotten how to set the clock on it. Lost the manual a while back and now, once a year when DST -> ST, I can't fathom how to change the damn clock on it. Out of all of my radios, this is the only one that I have ever had this issue with! So no, it's not particularly user friendly.

Given all of the choices available to us now in the class, the G4000 is a bit of a relic. It's fun, but all in all, I think I'd rather have a DE1103 or a G5 or a PL600 or a PL660.


Regarding the muting, I agree, I don't like muting and chuffing, the chuffing on the YB400 is much milder then on other radios but it’s still there. I mod all my radios to eliminate muting and once its modded the YB400 has its own advantages to the 1103. One is that you can “listen in” during auto scanning, something you can't do on the 1103. On the YB400 you also have the option of 5khz or 1khz tuning steps, combine this with mute-free tuning and it’s superior to the one tuning speed of the 1103. If you can get used to not having a dedicated volume control then you can get used to push buttons instead of a tuning knob, especially if no chuffing exists.

Not sure what you mean when you say “the DE1103 is awkward until you get used to it. But even the volume control, once accessed, is better than the digital steps of the G4000” Maybe you have the YB400/G4000 confused with another radio. The YB400 has an analog volume knob and NOT digital volume.

The 1103 has excessively wide filters. Tune to a strong station, put both radios on wide filter, tune 5khz off and on the 1103 you will still be able to understand the broadcast, on the 400 you won't. The tighter filter on the 400 is better suited for SW.

The ergonomics on the YB400 or simply great! To set the clock (to 3:45 for example) with the radio off you can simply press 3.45 and the time button and the time will be set to 3:45, does not get much easier than that. You can also set the time while the radio is on which allows you to synchronize with time signal broadcasts. You also have two clocks (local and UTC) and one is always visible on the display. By pressing the store button one can check to see if a frequency is already programmed in memory or not. I don’t know of any “Modern” portable that has this feature! With hundreds of memory presets on modern sets it would make a lot of sense to have this ability. And you can press the ‘free’ button to see what memory location is empty and available for programming. You can also jump to any band simply by entering the band and pressing enter (i.e. 31 ENTER to go the 31 Meter Band)

Regarding a radio being ‘noisy’ you need to be careful not to confuse circuit noise with frequency response. The contemporary Grundig G3 for example seems noisy and it may be but it also has a higher frequency response then the 1103 for instance which tends to make broadcasts seem nosier. The YB400 is less prone to electrical interference then the ‘modern’ Grundig G3 but like all radios it does do best away from noisy RF environments.

In no way is the YB400 a relic. It’s a classic workhorse, a proven and capable design that can still hold its own against most modern radios and is superior in many ways. The YB400 is also not plagued by poor design and quality control issues that many recent Chinese radios manufactured have had.

The radio that is the most “fun” to use is of course a personal choice and when presented with two good performing radios I almost always choose the one that is more fun even if it does not have superior performance. The 1103 certainly does have the fun factor plus the performance to go with it but I think the fact that we still compare old radios such as the Grundig YB400 and Sony 2010 to modern portables and debate which ones are better is testament to their significance in terms of design and quality. All these years later and they still have value, they are still performing well against contemporary sets and they still have the interest of radio enthusiasts. That is a tough act to follow!

Rob Davis

Hi - Do you have details of the mod to mute the chuffing sound while tuning on the YB400? The original mod was by RickW999 but all links to his mod pages are now dead. I've had my YB400 for twenty five years and it's still going strong.

Paul Martin

Rob Davis
The way to disable chuffing in the YB400 is to find the chip resistor labeled as 332. It is 60mm from the right and 16mm from the bottom of the top circuit board when you remove the rear cover. Just unsolder the resistor or if you don’t have the capability take a pair of small diagonal cutters and crush it.

Rob Davis

Thanks Paul! I'll take a look at doing this.

Rob Davis

I finally found details on this mod and it's for the revised version without the chirping noises and doesn't involve the resistor. Works very well. Here's the link and instructions below should the link become dead


Work Area = The lowest "472". Below and left of the speaker. (Use a magnfier to
see the numbers). Jump (solder) the top #472 pad to the pad directly below it.
(Try with srewdriver 1st to make sure your on the right one). While using the
up and down slew buttons you should here a lack of mute! That's it. It's very
simple, but effective. There is less of "chirp" when using 1 kHz tuning
steps.Has anyone found my fine tuning mod for the YB400 useful? I'm just
looking for a little feedback.

Thanks and good luck with this mod!
There is a second mod to unmute the tuning on auto scan. Details are in the link above but there is a revision to that one here: http://www.redwaveradio.com/11_084068bd779c97ab_1.htm

Rob Davis

I don't own the PLL version of the DE1103 unfortunately. The newer DSP version which mutes on tuning would give me all the frustrations of the YB400! Although I've owned my YB400 for twenty five years I have never been a big fan of it. The build quality is ok, a liitle creaky, but this is when Grundig had their radios made out in China. I do think many modern China made radios have excellent build quality so things have changed there.

Mute on tuning is a huge issue for me on this radio. It doesn't make the radio fun to use. It's horrible. Ok, you can mod it but you shouldn't have to. In Grundig's defence they weren't the only manufacturer doing this.

The audio qualty is very poor for a Grundig. Muffled and lacking clarity. Audio quality is extremely important in a radio when you don't have additional tone controls, which the YB400 doesn't.

SSB is dreadful as noted by many reviewers. It's certainly much poorer in this regard than my Xhdata D-808 and PL-660.

Sensitivity and selectivity are good. MW and LW are excellent for a portable. MW and LW is all I use it for as it's a chore to use on SW. LW is still fun to use here in Europe.

There are enough reviews of both radios on eHam to get a good indication of general thoughts on the two radios. The DE1103 has 81 reviews with an average of 4.5/5 and the YB400 69 reviews with an average of 3.9/5. Some really interesting reviews of both radios on there.

Rob Davis

I'm afraid I'm another dissenter! I now have the PLL version of the Degen DE1103 to compare. As I said previously, I have owned the YB400 for twenty five years. It's a solid if unspectacular radio.

The DE1103 trounces my YB400 in terms of sensitivity on the whip. Much nicer to tune around the bands as well with a dedicated tuning wheel (with no muting!). Personally I find any radio is all about the tuning experience. Tuning on the YB400 with only the up/down slew buttons is painful. This for me takes away much of the fun and enjoyment of using a radio.

I have no issue with the filters on the DE1103. I think the two filters compliment each other perfectly. Build quality is easily on a par with YB400. In fact I was very surprised at just how well built this radio is. Very solid.

Audio quality is far superior on the DE1103. Much better treble extension with nice deep tones.

The light on the DE1103 is lovely to use at night. The light on the YB400 is very weak.

My YB400 only gets used for longwave. It's excellent on LW. Still plenty to listen to on longwave here in Europe.

I've performed all the mods on my YB400 and they're definitely worth doing.

Two good radios but the PLL DE1103 is a box of tricks and wonderful to operate. Also it's well worth doing the 'whip trick' to access frequencies below 100 kHz on LW.

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