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:
And here’s the front of that board:
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:
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.