Complete list of Tecsun PL-880 hidden features


On the advice of several SWLing Post readers, I have compiled a complete list of Tecsun PL-880 hidden features with how-to links:

Tecsun PL-880 Hidden Features:

New: Click here to download Cap Tux’s reference sheet as a PDF.

If you notice a missing hidden feature or know of an alternate version, please contact me or comment on this post and I will add it. I will continue to add to this post over time. Many thanks!

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42 Responses to Complete list of Tecsun PL-880 hidden features

  1. A. Black says:

    I don’t have a PL-880 but I understand that on recent PL-880 versions that with the radio off pressing 5 will toggle the intelligent lighting. By default intelligent lighting is on (i.e. any control will turn the light on for a short period of time) but with this feature you can disable that so that the light will only come on when you specifically turn it on. (This ability to disable intelligent lighting is also on the PL-660 and certain other Tecsun radios.)

  2. Pedro says:

    Tecsun PL-880 is like a grab bag!. Pressing (and hold) 4 will toggle between “ON” and “OFF”,..but I don’t know what this really do!,..I wonder if anybody know something about it? I haven’t found this feature on the “Complete list of Tecsun PL-880 hidden features” Thanks and 73’s!

    • Pedro says:

      SOLVED!,..pressing 4 let you choose between down (3.4v) or upper (3.7v) Li-Ion battery limit,..woooh! this radio is like wearing a tailor-made jacket !

  3. WA3YAY says:

    Thanks for providing this information. I’ll be picking up a 880 soon and this is the kind of stuff you really need to get the most out of the radio.

  4. Pingback: The mega shortwave radio review of the PL-880, PL-660, ATS-909X and ICF-SW7600GR | The SWLing Post

  5. Pedro says:

    When pl880 is off, I don’t know what the button “SCAN VF/VM” does (..adjust what?) when you push and maintain. Anybody helps?. Here you can take a look of what exactly I mean

  6. Gary says:

    Just received my 880 from Anon-co yesterday and have been playing with the “hidden features.” Firmware is 8820 and manufacture date is 140430. Pressing the “6” key yields no result but pressing the “4” turns some feature ON and OFF. Pressing “9” only allows adjustment of muting threshold when I am in the FM mode. If I am in AM or SSB, nothing happens. I’ve not listened long or well enough to know if DNR or muting adjustment works, but access points are in different places than listed here.

    • Gary says:

      Well, discovered what “4” was for. Just reading the above posts would have helped! Geesh. Anyway, “6” does not turn on DNR in any mode or status that I can find. After holding down the key for a while, the numeral “6” comes up and then disappears and the frequency reappears. So, DNR isn’t available in my radio and from listening to the effect on a few videos, I’m not missing anything. Since the yahoo group no longer exists, is there another forum to share information?

      • John says:


        In recent Tecsun radios, the 4 key has a dual function. With power off, it sets the low battery voltage. With power on, it evidently enables the DNR and soft mute functions of keys 6 and 9. That is what I think is going on.

        If you press and hold the 4 key (with the power ON) on a recent release Tecsun PL-880, it will toggle to “On”, and you can now use the 6 and 9 keys as described for the DNR and soft mute. If you press and hold the 4 key again (with the power ON) until it says “Off” , pressing and holding the 4 or 6 keys (with the power ON) will then do nothing.
        The firmware on my radio still shows 8820, but something has changed. Whether it is a hardware revision, or a firmware revision, I don’t know. The SSB performance is also greatly improved on this most recent sample, leading me to believe there have been hardware changes (for the better).


  7. Philip says:

    There is a new yahoo group.

  8. Pingback: PL-880 Hidden Feature: Adjusting FM muting threshold | The SWLing Post

  9. Hector says:

    Thanks for posting my discover but I want you to correct the description, it say now:
    Now press the key #9 to display the squelch value……….”
    It should say “Now press the key #9 for more than 2 seconds to display the squelch value…..”

  10. Pingback: Tecsun PL-880 hidden features - The Forums

  11. Pingback: Hidden features reference sheet for the Tecsun PL-880 | The SWLing Post

  12. Bob Heller says:

    I plan on purchasing a Tensun PL-880 in the very near future. I would really appreciate it If I could be kept in the loop of incoming blogged comments from others who currently own this radio and are discovering “new” features that they would like to share with other radio enthusiasts to better help them obtain the maximum benefit from this neat new offering from Tecsun.

  13. Joao Fonseca says:

    Also looking for a PL-880 for HF aero comms listening.
    Looking forward to hear how the new versions of the radio are performing very well on SSB.

  14. Andrew Webber says:

    I’ve owned the Tecsun Pl-880 Firmware Version 8820 Manufacture Date 140430 about 6 months. I discovered another hidden feature but don’t know what it means? With the POWER OFF press the page + button for 3 seconds and a display of 1001 on the screen. Anyone knows what this means or if your radio shows the same or different display???

    • Dmitry says:

      When I hold the ‘Page +’ key I get ‘1000’, no idea what it is.
      I have firmware 8820.Have you found out what it means?Do you know any other hidden possibilities except those that are known by all?

  15. Jonesy999 says:

    Any idea what pressing and holding 4 does while radio is on?

  16. Pingback: Do late model PL-880s lack some hidden features? | The SWLing Post

  17. Mister Skee says:

    Can anyone tell me if their intelligent light function comes on when the volume control knob is rotated? The manual suggests it operates with any button or knob activation. Thank you!

    • Curt W Schwarzwalder says:

      The backlight stays off when the volume control is adjusted, whether the radio is on or off. The backlight will come on for three seconds with radio on or off when either tuning or fine tuning is adjusted, or any button is pressed. This assumes the ‘light’ switch is in the ‘auto off’ position.

  18. Kaerou says:

    I’ve just ordered a PL880, now in the mail.
    I am impatient to open the packet and all the secret packages inside.. Looks like there is no end to it :-) No wonder it’s supposed to be a good radio, keeps you busy 24/7..
    I’m really interested in its SSB reception. So I’ll try to keep this post informed.
    Cheers to all ye PL880’ers

  19. Dmitry says:

    I have found out one more secret. When the receiver is off, click the button “VF/VM-SCAN” and hold, numbers-time appear.When you quickly click this button again and hold, another big and small numbers occur.I think in the first case it means the time of work during the last day. In the second case, hours, minutes and days of work in general.

  20. Evans says:

    Hi everyone. I would like your help. A friend of mine and me have bought two Tecsun PL-880. There is something strange.
    i) The signal meter is supposed to measure up to 99dBu (my PL-390 tecsun s-meter goes up to 95-97dBu for very strong amateur signals in my area included mine in mw zone). The point is that for both devices (mine and my friend’s are 8820 firmware) the signal meter does not exceed 85 dBu and in particular my tecsun PL-880 signal meter does not goes over 70dBu (ie. even lower measurement). Why this behaviour?
    ii) Another strange point is that my friend’s tecsun receiver displays for a “quiet” frequency (mw) a noise level of about 10-12dBu, while my tecsun device shows only 2-3dBu noise (same frequency and same spot!). We both tried the threshold muting adjustment (key 9) and worked a bit but with minor results in sensitivity, especially for my tecsun PL-880 receiver. Is it possible to adjust the noise level so that it can be 10-12dBu instead of being only 2-3dBu and hence better sensitivity? And is it possible to adjust the maximum signal level (99dBu instead of 85dBu or even worse 70dBu for miy device)??
    Thanking you in advance.

  21. stan says:

    Anyone have this problem?
    When I switch from 3khz to 4 kHz in ssb I hear no audio difference.
    I know 4khz is very wide for ssb but I would like to have it to receive ESSB.


  22. robert says:

    I’m about to buy a pl 880 to replace my wore out yb 400 pe and that disgusting dx 450.
    I see great info here.from what I gather from all you it must be a great radio.and hope it outlives my yb 400 pe

  23. Brian L. says:

    Tecsun PL-880. Anyone had a problem with direct frequency key-pad, when 3Mhz is the lowest limit that can be input, so manual tuning is required to tune down further.

    Tried a reset and removed the battery, but no change in this situation… also went back to set key 4 to (ON) and reset again, still no change; very odd since any other frequency can be input.

    • robert says:

      Mine does that when trying to go lower than 3120.figured its some kind of limit built in.mine is made this year so surely has latest old is yours brian l.?
      So far in happy with house has metal roof and siding so I have a 50′ and a 30′ wires outdoors for antennas.however took mine for a walk yesterday outdoors and amazing how well it does out of my house on the stick antenna

      • Brian L. says:

        Hi Robert. thanks for your reply to my question Tecsun PL-880 and it’s 3 Mhz direct input limit from the key-pad. Mine also is current 8820, so it looks like a possible software problem ? or maybe as you say, a limit; that’s a little odd ! but otherwise, I am highly pleased with this radio, so much that I recently sold my Icom IC-R75 to have portability, and reduce my clutter from external power supply and speaker, plus other tuned low frequency aerial-antenna.

        I see your use a long-wire aerial-antenna; that should bring in a hell of a signal, due the receivers very good sensitivity across the HF band. I use a homebrew small magnetic balanced loop, H-Field type, due living in a small flat here in Jersey the Channel Islands, between France and England the UK… lots of QRN-M noise, so magnetic aerial-antenna is the only way to go and provides some directional reduction of QRN-M.

        Thanks again for confirming this 3Mhz limit, it’s good to know I am not the only one.

        • robert says:

          Hey anytime brian, I like the size for what it does.
          Where I live, the 30′ wire works best some days, others the 50′ is better.
          I just wish there was a way to increase the charge rate.but i can live with it like it is

          • Brian L. says:

            Hi Robert… regarding the charge rate, it seems fixed as such, but you can reduce the battery low voltage shutdown level e.g. from 3.7 to 3.4 so, with the radio OFF, press and hold key 4 until display shows voltage, then adjustment via tuning knob to lowest voltage, and then press 4 again, to save the setting.

            I did this, and it gives some extra useable time; but also decided to buy larger battery capacity for the radio and my aerial-antenna loop design; as I was powering it remotely and stepping up the 3V7 to 12 volt. It worked out fine giving many months of antenna use, the radio if used daily provides a good week or a little more.

            The ones I used are re-badged Panasonic with protection cut-out and over charge: 18650 type by Foxnovo 2.600mA or 9.6Wh, also purchased the charger unit too, model: F-2 this gives a full charge within two hours or less… Amazon UK but USA is…


            There are larger capacity batteries also, if you decide to go down that way; anyway it speeds-up the re-charging and provides a spare if you buy two for exchange, to keep your radio running.

          • robert says:

            Thank you brian, I did the battery set, just wondered about speeding charge up.its ok though as I just alternate batterys every other day n keep 1 fully charged all the time.
            But all in I’m very happy with my 880.glad I didn’t go with the sangean 909.I don’t like the clicks on the tune wheel, and crom what Ive read a 880 outperforms a 909 for less money

          • Brian L. says:

            Ah-yes Robert, battery exchange is a good way to go… as for the Sangean ATS-909X, it’s a little deaf signal wise, and some individuals have hacked the tune knob to remove the clicks… I had this radio some years ago, a nice look and layout but, also had an odd lock-up with the DSP, that set a low filter band-pass when changing frequencies; this required powering down and up again. The Tecsun PL-880 is far FAR better receiver, well worth it’s money even with the odd direct input 3Mhz frequency limit, and with un-official key tweak’s provides a more personal preference for one’s listening pleasure. 73’s

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