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In a world where everyone's said to have gone "digital", many of us still want a traditional, low-cost AM/FM portable. 

So let's take a look at the Vondior 926.

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In This Article

Basic Use

Some Specs

What's Not To Like

What Is To Like


Basic Use

Power / Volume dial on the left side, Tuning dial on the right.  These are basic, analog dials.  This is how it should be..  

The Tuning scale is above the printed numbers a little ways.  But you'll gradually learn where each station is. 

There is a "1 to 10" scale near the indicator.  These numbers could be helpful for people who aren't familiar with MHz and kHz frequencies.

Headphone jack (3.5mm) accepts stereo headphones.  Sound quality is very good, as long as you have a real pair of headphones and not the throwaway type, like I've been using.

Some Specs

A radio like this doesn't have a lot of specs to pore over.  And maybe that's a good thing sometimes. 

That said, here are a few:

AM Tuning: 530-1600 kHz
Batteries: 2 x AA
External Antenna Jack: No
FM Tuning: 87-108 MHz
Headphone Jack: Yes, 3.5mm Stereo
Price: Typically about $20 to $25 shipped;  try this link
Power Indicator Light: Yes
Speaker: 8 ohm, 0.5 W
Volume Control: Dial (potentiometer)

The circuitry is mostly surface-mount devices with a couple of IC's.  There are also the usual electrolytic capacitors.

Short-term, there isn't much to go wrong with a battery-powered radio like this.  The only surges you have to worry about would be static electricity, mostly during the winter. 

Get this radio or the one with NOAA weather band

Table of Contents

Digital Signal Processing

Somewhere I have photos of the circuit board, but I can't find them at the moment.  It's mostly surface-mount devices with a couple of fine-pitch IC's.  Whenever you see that, assume there's digital signal processing (DSP). 

If the designer doesn't implement DSP just right, especially on AM, it actually detracts from the listening experience.  On this radio it seems pretty good;  there's very little signal drift and it sounds OK. 

Still, I would like to see more AM radios that have no DSP whatsoever. 

Get this radio or the one with NOAA weather band

Table of Contents

What's Not To Like

The radio doesn't stand upright by itself;  it tends to fall over.  I set it flat on the desk and listen with headphones.

I wouldn't say the battery door is flimsy, but it could be improved a bit.  It can also be difficult to open.

The tuning band is somewhat crowded, but that's to be expected for a small radio like this.  Selectivity on these types of radios is not great;  the same goes for the 1960's-1980's transistor radios that we all had.  You have to be careful when you have a good station tuned in;  don't move or rotate the radio at all, or you might suddenly be listening to another station.  (So the DSP really isn't that much of an advantage here.)

Tuning stations, especially on AM, requires some skill.  In that regard it's old-school radio, except for the fact that it probably has DSP.

The basic Vondior radio is just AM/FM, but more recently there's a model that includes NOAA weather band.  I'd definitely get that one instead.

Get this radio or the one with NOAA weather band

Table of Contents

What Is To Like

The AM dial is very busy at night.  I found that it easily picks up AM stations that are four or five hundred miles away.  I didn't notice any signal drift. 

Each time I use this radio, I'm sort of amazed at how well it tunes.  I've had a lot of cheap second-hand pocket radios that had various tuning problems;  this one tunes better than the whole lot of 'em.  (Read this article if you have difficulty tuning stations.)

All I had to test this was a pair of throwaway headphones (where the wires go intermittent);  the headphone-jack output seems very good, though.  This would be a radio for a semi-decent pair of headphones like these.  Just remember that AM is not "hi-fi".  This is one reason why we love it. 

Of course, the FM sounds fantastic, especially for a cheap radio like this.

Get this radio or the one with NOAA weather band

Table of Contents


This is actually a good little radio.  I'm very glad to see this on the market. 

Vintage radios are nice, but a lot of them need work before they'll function properly.  This new radio from Vondior is all ready to go;  just put a couple of AA batteries in it and you're all set.

I like that it's not overly complex;  even though it uses SMT, it looks somewhat fixable. 

This would be a good cheap radio to keep around in case of a power outage.  It might even be worth picking up a couple of them

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