A Review of the Kaito KA-390 AM FM World Band and Weather Band Radio

First of all, I am not the owner of the featured image on this page.

To give credit whereupon credit is due, I hereby declare that I downloaded the image from Kaito’s company website.

I had been listening to AM and FM radio since very early childhood.

I had been listening to Weather Band Radio since the age of fourteen-going-on-fifteen.

And, I have been listening to World Band Radio, on and off, since the age of fifteen-going-on-sixteen.

The first time I tried a Kaito Radio was in the latter parts of 2008 at the age of twenty-one-going-on-twenty-two and I was satisfied with the radio’s tuning accuracy, audio quality, and overall rugged enough design.

Recently, I discovered a Kaito Radio that had a similar form factor and user interface, but with fewer features (at least in terms of band coverage.)

That radio is the Kaito KA-390 and it is what this piece will be a review thereof.

When I found out that I would be living in an apartment again, I decided to purchase a radio that would get not only standard AM and FM but also at least some International Broadcasts. The KA-390, I learned, also gets Weather Band, so I was sold!

Earlier this year, I ordered one on eBay and subsequently bought 3 D-sized batteries when it came in.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I took World Geography and World History as my two electives. This also gave me two of my three required Social Studies credits.

I would wind up taking every Social Studies course that my high school had to offer!

One day, while having some free time in class, I was reading ahead in my World Geography book.

I remember two pieces in that book, which were published thirty years ago at the time of my writing this piece.

One piece was about how World Band Radio brought international news to people in both remote and oppressed countries, which influenced revolutions throughout the world and especially in Eastern Europe.

Another piece I read in that book was about a shipyard electrician in Poland named Lech Walesa who started the Solidarity Movement, which eventually threw the Soviets out of Poland and was instrumental in contributing to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Lech Walesa may or may not have been influenced by listening to Radio Free Europe.

Nevertheless, in later years I did further reading about him and I can say that I find him to be an inspiring human being.

The only thing I disagree with is his allegiance to the roman catholic church.

The piece I had read in that book on World Band Radio mentioned me, the reader, to picture a family in a cramped apartment, probably in an oppressed country learning about the revolutions taking place around the world. They were likely receiving this news on a radio that is capable of receiving broadcasts from around the World, hence the name World Band Radio AKA Shortwave Radio as it is otherwise known.

I don’t like the term Shortwave, because it is grossly outdated and equally confusing, especially to those who aren’t as tech-savvy as myself.

I had watched some videos on how American and other Western Secret agents handed out these World Band Radios to people in oppressed countries to receive Radio Free Europe. This is not unlike how the American Military handed out Kaito radios to oppressed peoples in the Middle East during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

So, I have been married for almost a year and I picture my wife and I, preparing dinner together in our kitchen and listening to this KA-390, either to whatever foreign broadcast we can understand or more likely domestic news and music.

I am not much of a fan of digital signal processing, but at least it eliminates a great deal of interference.

The reason I am not a fan of it is that tuning around on World Band Radio is difficult enough with an analog tuner and throwing in DSP much further increases this difficulty.

Honestly, in my part of the USA, the only foreign broadcasts in English that I can receive are those from Cuba and China (by way of Cuba.)

There may be one or two broadcasts from Eastern Europe, but they are not in English. Although there is something quite appealing about Ukrainian music.

While not useful for receiving Weather Alerts, it is still very accurate and clear.

I could picture taking it on a small boat to receive Weather broadcasts or as I suggest for several other lower-end weather radios, monitoring the progress of severe weather from a safe room.

As for World Band, when it is indeed able to lock on a signal, the signal is clear enough to be legible and the audio quality is very pleasant.

Like my other Kaito radio from two and a half decades ago, the KA-390 is built reasonably ruggedly but performs better because it runs on 3 D batteries as opposed to the 2 AAs, an 18650, solar panel, and crank.

Might I add that this also features a small LED flashlight, which may be useful during an extended power outage.

I plan to take it should my wife and I have to evacuate from a hurricane, for a whole number of reasons.

There is also a bedroom television that I inherited from my Grandparents’ estate that I also plan to use should the need to evacuate arise.

I do enjoy using this radio and I cannot complain at all.

The company website had this to say, and I quote:

“Powered by 3 D size batteries and designed for everyday home use as well as outdoor recreational activities, the KA390 portable radio keeps your (sic.) informed and entertained, an ideal and indispensable tool to keep on your bedside night stand, on your kitchen counter, on a benchtop in your garage, in a motor vehicle, and so on.

Featuring modern advanced semiconductor circuity with low-power consumption, the KA390 has a whopping continuous playing time of up to 300 hours with 3 fresh batteries. And with its comprehensive coverage of AM, FM, shortwave and NOAA weather (USA and Canada only), the KA390 picks up radio signals from near and far for entertainment, sports, talk-shows, and worldwide breaking news, and delivers real-time weather forecast around the clock in the USA and Canada.”

All in all, the Kaito KA-390, has that old analog feel, somewhat, but with modern components, making it useful for radio listeners of all ages, except for maybe the very young.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of the Kaito KA-390.

I am giving it 4 out of 5 stars, only because it lacks the lower portions of World Band Radio, especially between 5 MHz and 6.995 MHz.

That is my one complaint.

I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you!

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