VITE VT-111 MW/SW/FM Radio

VITE VT-111

Recently I picked up a VITE VT-111 MW/SW/FM radio from eBay for about $11.  I’d been wanting an inexpensive shortwave radio for a while, and for $11 I figured — why not?

At first glance, it appears to be a re-badged Basbon DS-858.  Now, I’m not sure if it’s just an updated version of the Basbon, but the circuit board definitely has some differences between the Basbon and the VITE.  Here, have a look:

VT-111 guts
VT-111 guts

And here’s the front of that board:

VT-111 front guts
VT-111 front guts

Compared to other pictures I’ve found online from the Basbon, it looks like they’ve moved some things around, added one or two ICs (IC4, at least, isn’t present in the pictures of the Basbon), and covered the main IC with the infamous black goo, which means we’ll never know exactly what’s under there.

But something on the backside of the board caught my eye:

Hark!  What's this?!
Hark! What’s this?!

That appears to be a header, labeled with GND, VDD, SDA, and SCL.  Now, GND and VDD are obviously ground and positive voltage, but SDA and SCL are not as familiar to most.  But if you’ve been around microprocessors such as PICs, Arduinos, or even Raspberry Pis and Beaglebones, you know what those mean:

There’s an I²C bus in there.

Now, I did some limited probing with leads from my Beaglebone Black, and I wasn’t able to see the I²C as a slave, indicating either I’m not doing something right (likely; I’ve never played with I²C before), or the chip in there is acting as a master.  If it’s acting as an I²C master, which my Beaglebone is as well, I’m not sure how to proceed.

I may continue playing around with this.  It could be interesting.

Oh, and as for how the radio sounds?  Not bad. FM signals are nice and strong, and MW comes in tolerably well while indoors.  Looking at the pictures of the interior, the ferrite bar is pretty small, but there’s room in the case for possibly changing it out for something longer and/or modifying it to take an external antenna (read more about that stuff here).

I don’t have another (real) shortwave radio to compare it to (an RTLSDR dongle with experimental drivers is as close as I come), but it appears to perform adequately well for an $11 radio.  It can tune from 3.2MHz through 21.9MHz, which is a pretty impressive range for such a cheap radio.  I can bring in quite a few stations, more when I connect a longwire antenna to the built-in antenna.  China comes in really well from my location, though I’ve had a good time listening to Radio Australia, and the ever-present Overcomer Ministry out of South Carolina.

So, all in all, not a bad $11 purchase.

4 thoughts on “VITE VT-111 MW/SW/FM Radio

  1. Had one from EBay just a few weeks ago. Not bad sound for FM. Small and easy to carry around. Not battery hungry. But the MW is plagued with birdies and motorboat noises. Display illumination is very very very poor, not even useful at very dark nights. Ergonomics are not the best, MW sensitivity is medium low. SW sensitivity is low, LW sensitivity is null, completely deaf. FM is good.
    One of the most annoying things is that even some Ebay sellers say or suggest this device can recharge NIMH batteries, in fact it doesn’t, so be advised.

    1. I agree on those points. I actually am getting somewhat decent — if scratchy — performance on SW by connecting a longwire antenna to the stock one. But for $11, it’s a fun toy.

      One thing to note — for best SW performance, do not run it plugged into power. Only run it on batteries. The noise level goes through the roof when plugged in.

      Still haven’t been able to get anything out of the I2C headers…

    2. It was intended for college and uni students in China.
      So pale light beams set for the local time clock night. Also an instant sound-off switch, [ quick push of the on/off bar; Long push turns radio off ] to hush in dorms at night.
      It also has some FM frequencies (to be set as the single favourite frequency) that are typical on local Chinese college broadcasting lessons to the campus on TV.

      Time clock goes to zero in any battery change.
      The “sweep” of frequencies in any band with holding the Tuning button down only find very strong stations, not all stations. So I would call that insensitive.
      You can “scroll” up/down to a particular frequency though.

  2. I have had this radio for 3 months and no question it’s a great buy but unfortunately its performance on medium wave at the high end is terrible. We have 1290 AM Sports Radio and the Radio actually Squeals on that frequency- even at 1250 it’s acceptable. Probably just moving the Ferrite Bar would fix this!! Wish there was a fix for this?

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