Tag Archives: PL-880

Gary discovers a way to lock narrow filters on the Tecsun PL-880

PL-880 (1)

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Gary (WN9U) who writes:

Just an FYI comment about the narrow filters NOT staying on while tuning. I read about the similar problem that you encountered during the initial testing of the PL-880.

While tuning CW stations with the 500 Hz filter turned on (fast or fine tuning), the filter would always revert back to the 3.0 wider setting. It had never done this before. I tried several resets with no cure.

After further testing I found the fix: I had turned on the Hidden Menu Noise Reduction (switch 6) and did not realize it was on.

After turning off the Noise Reduction, I was able to tune with the narrow filters set at any band width. Evidently, the filter opens up to 3.0 when tuning with the Noise Reduction turned on & reset does not turn off this function.

Thanks so much for the tip, Gary! I’ll add this to our (still) growing list of PL-880 hidden features and tips. Seems there’s always something to discover on the Tecsun PL-880.

Tecsun PL-880 fine tuning bug solved by Anon-Co

PL-880-Tuning-BugMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Georges (F6DFZ), who writes:

As you may know, a few [of us PL-880 owners] have documented the extremely annoying bug that affect the Tecsun PL-880 during Fine Tuning of SSB signals.

To sum it up, recently manufactured Tecsun PL-880 tune backward when using the Fine Tuning knob in SSB mode. This result in a very bad tuning feeling, especially for SWL and Ham radio operators, 1 kHz frequency jumps each kHz and a displayed frequency that can be off as much as 2 kHz.

Anna from Anon-Co has been very cooperative, serious, kind, in short: an outstanding person. She never denied the problem, and found a solution to correct it by loading a 8820 firmware just anterior to the buggy one.

Now, all PL-880 sold by Anon-Co have the corrected firmware.

I am extremely pleased with my PL-880 and I need to add that the tuning experience with the corrected firmware is night and day. Now, you can tune continuously using the Fine Tuning knob, without hitch and very smoothly ; the lack of shuffling is also very welcome, as is the Variable Rate Tuning (10 Hz or 50 Hz tuning steps).
This makes the PL-880 an outstanding receiver for its price, considering the 10 Hz fine steps, the choice of selectivity, the long life on its battery, etc…

Be sure to choose a distributor that sells PL-880 with the tuning bug corrected.

Click here to purchase a PL-880 via Anon-Co.

Many thanks, Georges, for the follow-up. I’m very happy to hear that PL-880 retailers like Anon-Co are assisting in such a helpful and effective way.

No doubt, other PL-880 retailers will also begin to offer a firmware upgrade to fix the fine tuning bug. As Georges notes, please check before purchasing!

Reders/Retailers: Please comment if you can confirm that others are now shipping PL-880s with the fine tuning control fix.

George demonstrates the Tecsun PL-880 tuning bug

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[19 January 2016: Please read this updated post.]

In response to Pawel’s post about a tuning bug affecting a recent batch of Tecsun PL-880s, SWLing Post contributor Georges (F6DFZ) comments:

I have posted a new video about this important bug of the PL-880.

I did so because it seems some people don’t understand this very important issue.

This video shows the Tecsun PL-880 tuning bug which is present on SSB when using the Fine Tuning knob.

The PL-880 is tuned to the Shannon Volmet on 5,505 MHz USB.

At the beginning, I use the coarse Tuning knob to shows the effect of tuning 1 kHz down ; the pitch of the voice increases as we are on USB.

Then, I tune down 1 kHz using the Fine Tuning knob, and now the pitch of the voice decreases, indicating the bug with the reverse tuning using the Fine Tuning knob on SSB.
At the end, I use the coarse Tuning knob to hear the voice with a normal pitch, and you can see that the displayed frequency is 5,503.01 MHz, a difference of nearly 2 kHz versus the true frequency.

Best regards, and a Happy New Year

Georges F6DFZ

Thank you, Georges. Since I have an early PL-880 model that doesn’t have this bug, your video and explanation does clarify the situation.

That is frustrating. Until this bug is fixed, I couldn’t recommend purchasing a new Tecsun PL-880. I hope someone can confirm when the bug is fixed and the production run is once again free of this tuning issue.

Many thanks to Pawel and Georges for bringing this to our attention.

Pawel discovers a tuning bug in his Tecsun PL-880

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[19 January 2016: Please read this updated post.]

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Pawel (SQ9ZAV), who writes from Poland:

Hello Thomas,

On November 4, 2015, I bought a Tecsun PL-880 from ErcomeR company.

I found an error: the last two digits of hundreds and tens Hz in SSB mode correctly change the direction of rotation of the knob fine tuning, however, the actual frequency varies in the opposite direction.

I reported a bug in the company ErcomeR, and they sent an e-mail to the Tecsun company.

ErcomeR received information from Tecsun that one of the PL-880 integrated circuits had been changed to the one used in Tecsun PL-365; no one checked whether the program was working properly.

The previous version of the radio made in May 2015 does not have this error.

Best regards – Pawel Kita, SQ9ZAV

Pawel also noted that communicating with Tecsun’s Engineering/R&D department is quite difficult since all communications are first passed through the Tecsun Sales department.

I hope that Pawel can keep us apprised of the situation. My Tecsun PL-880 is one of the earliest production runs, so doesn’t have the PL-365 IC Pawel describes.

If you purchased a Tecsun PL-880 recently, you might verify this as well–please comment.

Tecsun PL-880: Evans notes signal meter and other discrepencies

PL-880 (1)

SWLing Post reader, Evans (in Greece) writes:

I would like your opinion regarding two strange points we noticed in two different Tecsun PL-880 models, which a friend and I have recently purchased. In particular:

  1. The signal meter is supposed to measure up to 99dBu (my Tecsun PL-390 s-meter goes indeed up to 95-97dBu for very strong amateur signals in my area included mine in mw zone). The point is that for both devices (both of which have 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?

  2. 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 in the same spot!). We both tried the threshold muting adjustment (key 9) and this 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 my device)?

  3. I have noticed that the hidden feature regarding the external mw antenna didn’t work in my case, even though I did resets an tried many times. I pressume, hence, that maybe Tecsun disabled this hidden feature. Is there any modification available to “add something” into the radio hardware in order to be able to listen mw/lw frequences with external antenna and thus, increase sensitivity?

Many thanks for your questions, Evans. Since my PL-880 is a first production run unit, I’m hoping readers who’ve recently purchased the Tecsun PL-880 might comment.

I suspect Tecsun engineers give little thought to calibrating the S meters. I’m very curious if there is a hidden feature to do this, but I’m guessing this is limited only to those who can program the DSP functionality of the chip inside.