Tag Archives: Tecsun PL-880

Tecsun PL-880: Richard shares winter DXing notes

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who lives in New Brunswick, Canada, and sent the following update earlier this month:

I often go outdoors to escape the RFI generated in and around the house, which can be even worse during the holidays with all the LED Christmas displays.

Trouble is, the snow is getting a bit deep for the trek to the back of the cleared part of my yard.

The attached photos show my setup on New Year’s Day to record Stephen Cooper’s DigiDX program over WRMI.

One thing about DXing and SWLing outside in the winter is that the knobs on the Tecsun PL-880 can become stiff to turn if it’s too cold and the battery doesn’t last as long as when it’s warm outside. Best approach is to go out with a fully charged battery, tune to a particular frequency and record the audio for later playback.

[…]I’ve also noted on a couple of occasions that the Tecsun will shut itself off after a few hours in really cold weather (around -20°C). And it’s not that the battery power is exhausted. I can turn it back on manually and it shows plenty of battery capacity remaining.

Thanks for sharing your notes, Richard! It certainly looks like a winter wonderland at your home. I like how you’ve made such a lightweight, portable station that protects the PL-880 from moisture.

Paul Walker also uses the PL-880 extensively in Galena, Alaska–in some very cold temps as well. Perhaps we can compare notes.

Post readers: What radios do you use outdoors in winter conditions? Please feel free to share your experiences!

By the way: I should offer my sincere apologies for sharing beautiful winter wonderland scenes while many of our dear readers in Australia are coping with a sweltering heatwave! 🙂 Perhaps we should also be sharing notes about high temp outdoor DXing!?

Possible Tecsun PL-880 hidden feature: Noise reduction adjustment?

PL-880 (1)

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Paul, who writes:

While putzing around with my new Tecsun PL-880 that I got while browsing at Universal Radio’s store in Columbus OH, I found what appears to be an adjustable noise reduction function.

Firmware level: 8820
Mfg date: probably August 2016 (201608 from the serial number inside the tilt stand)

Here are the steps to check it out;

When in a shortwave band, press “4” until either “ON” or “OFF” appears in the display.
If it displays “OFF”, press 4 briefly to clear, then long press again until “ON” appears.

Then, long press “9” until a two digit number appears.

Use either tuning knob to increase or decrease the number.

The number appears to correspond with the DbM threshold of the received signal.

Perhaps someone can play with the feature and elaborate on its function.

Hope this is useful, let me know.

Thank you for sharing, Paul!  I do wonder if this adjustment could affect the DNR setting (check out this previous post as well).

Post readers: Has anyone else been able to replicate and test this hidden feature? Please comment!

Galena, Alaska: Paul’s evolving listening post

Paul-Walker-Galena-Alaska-TEcsun-PL880

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, who writes:

My listening post as it stands now

Time: 1600-1700 UTC
Location: Galena, Alaska (Rural central interior, halfway between
Nome & Fairbanks)
Equipment:Tecsun PL880, 225 foot long wire oriented north south and 225 foot long wire oriented east west, EmTech ZM2 Antenna Tuner, Workman Antenna Switch and DXEngineering RPA-1PLUS HF PreAmp

Paul-Walker-Galena-Alaska

Paul, I hope you’re enjoying the good weather while it’s still summer! I imagine the days and nights are getting cooler already and soon, that beautiful stretch of Yukon will be frozen.

I’m happy to see you’re employing the ZM-2 tuner; it’s an effective little antenna manual tuner and doesn’t need a power source.  Plus, if you ever get your ham radio license, you can use it in the field with QRP equipment. You’ve got a great setup there with quality components!

Tecsun PL-880 rechargeable battery now via Amazon

TecsunBattery

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Bill, who writes:

Maybe you already know this, but I only recently discovered the Tecsun PL-880 rechargeable battery is available on Amazon for $9.99 and can qualify for Prime free shipping. I bought one and it seems to work great. There are other battery models on Amazon that may work, but many had comments about inconsistent quality, various countries of origin and even various sizes! I decided to go with this one branded as Tecsun to play it safe and am happy. Just an FYI to your readers.

Click here to view on Amazon.

Thanks, Bill! I have two PL-880 batteries and they continue to do a fine job running the PL-880. They are over two years old now (hard to believe–!), so I’ll keep Amazon in mind. Note that Universal Radio also has the replacement battery for $9.95 (though no free shipping).

Paul’s DXing location in Galena, Alaska with sample logs and an update of music broadcast

IMG_0866

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, who shares the image above and the following:

How about a video [from Galena, AK]? Here’s one I shot on the evening of April 15th while DXin’g and apparently logging Radio Bandeirantes 9645 kHz in Brazil:

Looks like a beautiful DX location you’ve got there, Paul. You’ve obviously found ways to mitigate receiver overload from the broadcast station with the number of loggings you’ve been posting as of late.

Indeed, Paul recently forwarded the following sample of logs from this very DXing spot. Paul writes:

Unless otherwise noted, all loggings were from a Tecsun PL-880 with an 80 foot long wire 5 feet up in a tree. My location is Galena, Alaska which is a village of 500 people about 300 miles east of Nome, Alaska and 300 miles west of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Comments questions or thoughts always welcome!

I was able to log Channel Africa broadcasting in French on 15235 kHz, two mornings last week.

This recording was made on Friday April 8, 2015 at 8:45 AM Alaska Daylight Time/1645UTC. I would rate the signal about 6 1/2 out of 10 with good audio, some light fading and no interference.

Audio here:

This recording was made on Wednesday April 6, 2015 at 8:37 AM Alaska Daylight Time/1637UTC. The signal was about a 6 out of 10 with moderate fading, a little more then the recording made on April 8th.

Audio here:

Radio Thailand 9390 kHz

This recording was made on Saturday April 9, 2015 at 10:36 AM Alaska Daylight Time/1836UTC. I would rate the signal about 7 1/2 to 8 out of 10 with good audio, some light fading and no interference.

Audio here:

Voice of Indoneisa 9526 kHz

This recording was made on Saturday April 9, 2015 at 10:36 AM Alaska Daylight Time/1836UTC. I would rate the signal about 4 1/2 out of 10 with ok audio, some light to moderate fading and some interference.

Audio here:

Voice of Vietnam 9625 kHz

This recording was made on Saturday April 9, 2015 at 9:00AM Alaska Daylight Time/1700UTC. I would rate the signal about 4 out of 10 with fair audio, some light to moderate fading and little interference.

Audio here:

All India Radio 11620 kHz

This recording was made on Saturday April 10 , 2015 at 1:29PM Alaska Daylight Time/2129UTC. I would rate the signal about 6 out of 10 with GOOD audio, some light to moderate fading and no interference.

Audio here:

Note: This was by FAR the best reception I’ve ever had of AIR. Their audio is usually pretty piss poor with poor quality and low modulation. Plus, their signal just isn’t that good usually.

I have also logged Voice Of Korea on 2850, 3320, 6100, 6400, 12015, 7220, 11910, 11935, 11735, 15105, 15180, 13760, 13650, 7580, 9650, 9875, 9445, 9665, 9425, 6170 and 3250 kHz.

Radio Algerienne Holy Quran and Radio Saudi are fairly regular visitors here and at times, pretty strong.

6160 kHz via Vancouver is heard several times a week…sometimes just barely, and other times, like a few days ago, nearly like a local.

The upper bands, 15 and 17 MHz seem to do real well here, especially by day, even smack in the middle of the day. I’ve heard RFI and DW via Issoudun right around lunch time in the 15 MHz area of the band.

I get Zanzibar on 11735 kHz from time to time…usually at least at fair levels.

CFRX 6070 is heard just about nightly, sometimes poor and barely audible but many times at least poor to fair and listenable. Now and then it’s pretty strong and listenable.

That is an impressive number of stations you’ve logged. It appears one of your easiest catches is Voice of Korea–I’m not surprised since you’re certainly within their broadcast footprint.

New Music Show and Contest

Many of you know that Paul also hosts an occasional music show via shortwave. Paul recently set times and frequencies for the next show–he notes:

I will be on WRMI, 7570 kHz from 0400-0600UTC Saturday June 2nd, Which is 12 midnight to 2 AM Eastern/9 PM to 11pm Pacific on Friday June 1st.

More oldies and rock n roll music with some country thrown in. I’m working on a CONTEST with some cool radio prizes and even bigger…. I am ironing out the technical details and going to try and do the 2 hot show live from my studio in Galena, Alaska.

My target audience this time with be the West Coast of the US and Canada. I expected the Midwestern US to get a good signal from the 315 degree beam towards Vancouver, Canada as it has to pass over the Midwest to get to the West Coast.

Contest details and QSL information to be released before the show!

I’ll plan to re-post this announcement, with any updates, closer to the broadcast date of June 2, 2016.

Thanks again, Paul, for sharing some of your radio world!