Multi-band AM/FM/SW/LW/TV Radio, Vbestlife CS-106

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everydaysurvivalgear
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Multi-band AM/FM/SW/LW/TV Radio, Vbestlife CS-106

Multi-band Radio SW/AM/FM/LW/TV Vbestlife CS-106

Hey folks, it’s been a long time since I have done a written review so wish me luck. I will make this short and sweet.
I picked up this multi-band radio on Aliexpress for 10SUD which i think is a bargain. The radio is sold under a bunch of names, mine is the Vbestlife CS-106 also check out Trivdio and Retekess brands.

I wanted this radio for either my bug out bag or for my fishing kit depending on how it performs. Now I am buying more so each kit will have a radio. I don’t listen to shortwave radio but I think in an emergency it could be a useful tool and generally speaking a radio that can do shortwave should have a better receiver in it.

I am only reviewing this radio as i find it a great buy!

Features

  • FM/AM/SW/LW/TV Sound Full Frequency Receiver.
  • With a clock and alarm function.
  • Low power symbol, charge symbol display. Memory function.
  • Supports MICRO USB connection power supply (Charging cable NOT included).
  • Boot state, can be set to mute state and lock frequency function.
  • With the power off the total button, you can prevent the radio from leakage or turn on automatically after shutdown.
  • Button automatic backlight function, easy to operate at night.
  • Short-wave default step value 0.005MHZ, the default step value of 9KH or 10K, FM default step value 0.05MHZ.
  • In FM mode, plug in earphones and long press the “ Memory” button for about 2 seconds, it will appear as a “ STEREO” sign. Long press the “ Memory” button again, the “ STEREO” sign will be canceled, or pull out earphones, the “ STEREO” sign will be also canceled.
  • There are two ways to save channels: manual/automatically search.

The Vbestlife radio has many specs. Even as someone that does a bit of DXing, i don’t understand them all.

Bands

  • SW Full band 3-21.9khz
  • FM 50-108mhz
  • MW (AM) 522-1710khz
  • LW 153- 279khz

Shortwave radio is split up into 7 sections to make searching easier and faster. When you auto scan from SW1 the radio will scan the full band but it wont change the list numbers. You could be on 10MHZ which is SW3 but the screen will show SW1 group still. Not a big deal at all but worth a mention.

  • SW1 3.2-5.945MHZ
  • SW2 5.95-9.495MHZ
  • SW3 9.5-11.645MHZ
  • SW4 11.65-15.095MHZ
  • SW5 15.1-17.495MHZ
  • SW6 17.5-21.445MHZ
  • SW7 21.45-21.9MHZ

It’s probably not needed as the radio has auto scan and also it scans faster when the scan button is pushed and held down but i guess the sw band is huge so it helps.

Fm is also split up in multiple groups

  • FM1 frequency range: 50-88MHZ
  • FM2 frequency range: 87-108MHZ
  • FM3 (TV sound 1): 56.25-91.75MHZ
  • FM4 (TV sound 2): 174.2-222.25MHZ

AM has two groups

  • MW (9K) 522-1620KHZ
  • MW (10K) 520-1710KHZ

Just the one group for LW radio.

  • LW (long wave) 153-279KHZ

For me the most important aspect of this radio was reception then battery life and then build quality.
Reception how is it? I highly rate the reception on this radio it’s great compared to a radio of similar price in Australia it leaves them for dead. They do not compete in reception or features but that is understandable. I will break reception up as groups.

Shortwave is good. I am not sure what to expect from SW as i don’t use it much but as far as i can tell it does better than Degen SW radio. I was able to pick up SW radio station from NZ with no issues. Also I got some overseas Asian stations that sounded like it was in Thai. I did try and google what station they are but i found no results except one station called WRMI 11.53mhz this is an American station that sells its network so i am not sure where they transmit from.

My main goal was to get good reception on the FM band as where I am currently located the reception is bad. I am in between Sydney and Newcastle with lots of mountain ranges in the way. About 80+km from Sydney and 40km from Newcastle the two main cities.
Reception here is bad on any piece of equipment my Kmart no name radio is horrid. I get better reception from a Kaido branded radio I have. I get about 2 or 3 stations on most radios. Compared to the CS-106 which picks up about 15+ stations. I also have a Panasonic mini HiFi which only gets a few stations but that is located inside the house. The CS-106 does better than the car for stations around here.

Best way to check the reception quality is to watch the video and hear it for yourself.

Speaker
Speaker quality is also probably high on your list. The CS-106 features a 57mm speaker which outputs good sound quality. The CS-106 is not overall super loud but for a radio of its size its loud enough. The speaker produces clear sound audio but as with such a small speaker it has no bass. The radio does not try and go louder than it should and create distortion like some other cheaper radios will.

Specifications

  • Number of storage stations: 60 (shortwave, medium wave, FM can store 20 radio stations).
  • Single Signal Selectivity: better than 10dB
  • Inside the Speaker: Diameter 57MM, 8 euro, 0.5 watts
  • External Headphones: Diameter 3.5mm / 32Ω x 2
  • Battery: 2 x AA battery(NOT included)
  • External Power Supply: External 3V-5V DC power supply
  • Low Operating Voltage: 2V
  • Stereo Resolution: ≥32dB
  • Distortion: ≤1%
  • Working Temperature: -15 – 80 (℃)
  • Output Power: ≤220mW
  • Dimensions: 125 × 77.25 × 21 (mm)
  • Package Weight: 190g

Build quality
I will skimp over the build quality. Overall the radio seems sturdy and robust. My radio does have a chunk of the body missing from where one of the clips meets on the top side. It’s hardly noticeable, Not sure if that happened in transit or the radio was built like that.
Overall I think the radio is built great, the buttons work properly, the antenna can swivel a full 360 degrees. The antenna is long but still compacts down to a small size. An additional feature is the little flip stand it helps the radio stand while leaning making looking at the screen easier and clearer.

The screen is clear and easy enough to read and has a backlight. The backlight is a bit sporadic it will sometimes flicker when listening to the radio up at high volumes but it still works.
The CS-106 can run on either two AA batteries or you can input power from a micro USB cable 5v. The CS-106 has a clock and also an alarm feature which makes the USB power feature great. The radio has no inbuilt battery, that was my decision as I wanted to be able to use disposables.
Battery life is not tested yet but the radio has a mechanical switch and a soft off which keeps the time displayed on the screen. For a fishing kit or bug out bag the mechanical switch is perfect as you don’t want the batteries to drain.

I probably missed a bunch of stuff but yea i don’t usually review radios. I was after a Sangean radio but really didn’t want to spend that kind money on a radio that might not see much use. Overall i am happy with this radio it has its quirks but for 10 bucks its more than acceptable. Mine did come with a ding but its still solid overall.

Video review

Edited by: everydaysurvivalgear on 09/23/2020 - 13:25
MRsDNF
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Thanks for the review Chris. Interesting little radio. Beer

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

Couchmaster
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I just bought a Degen DE1103 for $75 (inc shipping) based on a review as a backup to my Tecsun 880. This sounds like the one I should have gotten. I like the USB feature as I have solar and powerbanks for backups in the Faraday cage.

everydaysurvivalgear
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MRsDNF wrote:
Thanks for the review Chris. Interesting little radio. Beer

Thanks mate!

everydaysurvivalgear
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Couchmaster wrote:
I just bought a Degen DE1103 for $75 (inc shipping) based on a review as a backup to my Tecsun 880. This sounds like the one I should have gotten. I like the USB feature as I have solar and powerbanks for backups in the Faraday cage.

That Tecsun is top of the line or at least really good from what i have seen in reviews. Does it have an external antenna connection?

I picked up a station from Mainland China last night SW 9810khz Voice of China.

everydaysurvivalgear
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I found some interesting stations with this little short wave radio. Pretty cool to pick up a North Korean Shortwave station, I think its like 8000+km distance.