DEGEN DE 13 – A Collector’s Gem and Lifesaver
Overall, the DEGEN DE 13 is a reliable and versatile emergency radio with several practical features, though it does have a few limitations that might affect its performance and user experience in certain situations.

For radio enthusiasts in Rajshahi, a hand-crank-powered radio is a familiar yet fascinating piece of technology. Toward the end of the golden age of DXing, my friend A.K.M. Nuruzzaman Sentu received a hand crank radio as a gift from Radio Netherlands, adding a unique charm to our radio adventures. Although my collection boasts various models, I never had a hand crank radio—until May 30, 2019! The DEGEN DE 13, which I excitedly received that day, is the very first hand-crank dynamo-powered radio in my collection, and I couldn't be more thrilled!

What is the DEGEN DE 13?

The DEGEN DE 13 is a compact marvel that lets you tune into FM, Medium-wave, and Shortwave broadcasts with ease. Its standout feature? It operates without the need for batteries or an electrical connection! Powered by solar energy or a manual crank dynamo, this radio is a true lifesaver, aptly dubbed an emergency radio. With four versatile power options—batteries, solar energy, hand-cranked dynamo, and an electrical connection (via a mobile charger). It ensures you're never out of touch, even during disasters. Despite its small size, this powerhouse supports FM, MW, SW1, and SW2 bands. That making it a perfect companion for any radio enthusiast!

Detailed Features of the Radio


Degen DE13 Receiver

1. Frequency

   - FM: 87.0 - 108.0 MHz

   - MW: 520 – 1710 kHz

   - SW: 5.80 – 18.20 MHz

2. Noise Sensitivity

   - FM: ≤ 5µV

   - MW: ≤ 2.5 mv/m

   - SW: ≤ 50 µV

3. Selectivity: ≥ 40dB

4. Maximum Output Power: 100 mW

5. Maximum Sound Power: 120mA

6. Power Supply

   - Batteries: 3xAAA Size (3x1.5V)

   - DC: 5V

7. Speaker: D50 mm

8. Earphone Jack: D3.5 mm

9. Dimensions: 133x62x47 mm

10. Weight: 256 gm

Pros and Cons of the Degen DE 13 Receiver


1. Multiple Power Options: The DEGEN DE 13 can be powered in four different ways: batteries, solar energy, hand-cranked dynamo, and a DC connection. This makes it highly versatile and reliable, especially in emergency situations where traditional power sources may not be available.

2. Compact and Portable: With its small size (133x62x47 mm) and lightweight design (256 gm), the DEGEN DE 13 is easy to carry around. This size making it perfect for outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and travel.

3. Emergency Functionality: The ability to operate without relying on batteries or electricity makes it a valuable tool during power outages or natural disasters. The hand-crank and solar power options ensure you can always stay connected to news and weather updates.

4. Multiband Reception: It supports FM, MW, and two SW bands (SW1 and SW2). And providing a wide range of radio stations and frequencies to tune into, catering to various listening preferences and needs.

5. Good Sensitivity and Selectivity: With noise sensitivity ratings of ≤ 5µV for FM, ≤ 2.5 mv/m for MW, and ≤ 50 µV for SW, the radio has decent reception capabilities, ensuring clear audio quality in most conditions.

6. Built-in Speaker and Earphone Jack: The DEGEN DE 13 includes a built-in speaker and a 3.5 mm earphone jack. This allowing you for both public and private listening.


1. Limited Output Power: With a maximum output power of 100 mW, the sound might not be as loud or robust as some users might prefer, especially in noisy environments.

2. Manual Cranking Effort: While the hand-crank feature is a useful backup, it can be tiring to generate enough power manually, especially if used for extended periods.

3. Solar Charging Efficiency: The effectiveness of solar charging can vary depending on weather conditions and the amount of sunlight available, which might limit its usability in less sunny climates.

4. Basic Features: Compared to modern digital radios, the DEGEN DE 13 lacks advanced features such as digital tuning, preset station memory, and an LCD screen, which some users might miss.

5. Build Quality: Depending on the manufacturing batch, the build quality may vary. Some users have reported that the plastic construction feels less durable, which could impact the radio's longevity.

6. Reception Variability: While it offers good sensitivity, reception quality can still be affected by location, interference, and antenna positioning, potentially leading to inconsistent performance.

Overall, the DEGEN DE 13 is a reliable and versatile emergency radio with several practical features, though it does have a few limitations that might affect its performance and user experience in certain situations.

Final word

The DEGEN DE 13 stands out as a remarkable addition to any radio enthusiast's collection, especially for those who appreciate the blend of traditional and innovative technology. Its versatility, powered by solar energy, hand-cranked dynamo, batteries, or an electrical connection, makes it a reliable companion in any situation, be it everyday use or emergencies. For those in Rajshahi and beyond, this compact, multiband receiver not only revives the nostalgia of the golden age of DXing but also promises continuous connectivity without the constraints of conventional power sources. With its inclusion, my radio collection feels more complete and ready to face any scenario, ensuring that the spirit of exploration and resilience continues to thrive.

Some other palm-top radio receiver

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