Tag Archives: Tecsun S-8800e

Tecsun S-8800 update

If you’re considering purchasing the Tecsun S-8800, this is an important post.

I’ve had the S-8800 for about two weeks and had planned to have audio clip comparisons prepared and posted by now. My exceptionally busy schedule has made this difficult–and there a few other complicating factors.

First off, the good news: in terms of sensitivity, selectivity and audio fidelity, I’m very happy with the S-8800. I’ve compared it a number of times with the Tecsun PL-880 and the Sony ICF-SW7600GR and it either holds its own or even has a leg-up on both radios in terms of overall performance. I find that the S-8800’s AGC is more stable than my 1st generation PL-880.

Of course, what will be most telling is what you, dear reader, think of the performance when compared in a blind audio test.

As I mentioned, though, there are complicating factors–It’s not just my schedule which has made the S-8800 review come to a halt.

Birdies…

Yes, birdies. Lots of them.

At first, I thought the noises were due to the fact my mobile phone and Zoom H2N digital recorder were too close to the S-8800.  I dismissed this interference as it didn’t sound like the typical steady tone/carrier birdies I’ve come to loath over the years.

As my testing continued, though, I quickly realized these variable heterodyne and digital hash noises must be internally-generated.

Quite literally, as I was outdoors testing the S-8800 and making this discovery last week, I received a message from SWLing Post contributor, Bertrand Stehle (F6GYY). You might recall, Bertrand provided us with an initial review of his S-8800e (the European version of the S-8800). He also started noticing the birdies and, like me, initially assumed they were due to an external source of RFI.

Bertrand kindly mapped out the extensive list of birdies he found on his S-8800e–he noted a total of 81 birdie/carrier locations:

  • 14 birdies on longwave
  • 4 birdies on mediumwave
  • 63 birdies between 1859 – 29095 kHz

Comparing notes, there are some differences between Bertrand’s S-8800e and my S-8800:

  • Only 50-60% of the birdies on my S-8800 are in the same frequency locations as those mapped by Bertrand on his S-8800e
  • The total number of birdies, however, are likely identical–I find birdies where Bertrand hadn’t noted them

The appearance and intensity of the birdies can vary depending on listening location and the strength of any nearby broadcast signals. I’ve noticed four distinct birdie sounds: a variable carrier, a steady carrier, digital hash, and something I might describe as digital variable noises.

I’ve even noticed some change slightly as you move the radio around.

Here are a couple of examples:

Example on 610 kHz:

Click here to view/listen via YouTube.

Example on 2009.15 kHz:

Click here to view/listen on YouTube.

Moving forward

Obviously, this is a major issue for an enthusiast-grade portable.

I’m sharing all of this information with Anna at Anon-Co. No doubt, she’ll share this information with Tecsun engineering. The last I heard, projected availability of the S-8800 from Anon-Co is late March 2017. Perhaps there will be time for Tecsun to eliminate these birdies by improving internal grounding and/or shielding?

Until the birdie issue is sorted out, I’m not proceeding with audio comparisons or a full review. It goes without saying that, at present, I couldn’t recommend purchasing the S-8800. Sad, because this is otherwise a great radio.

I hope Tecsun can sort this out, though.

I will share any/all updates here on the SWLing Post.

Follow the tags S-8800 Birdies or S-8800.

Another review of the Tecsun S-8800

In reply to our Tecsun S-8800e overview, SWLing Post contributor, Hymefly, comments:

I own this radio. Its performance on AM and shortwave is better than my Kaito 1103 and Sangean ATS-909x. My Grundig Satellit 750 beats it on SW. The 8800 is a bit better on AM than the 750, though.

The 8800 and my GE Super Radio 1 are just about equal on AM. The 8800 beats my Panasonic RF-2200 on SW, but not on AM. I didn’t compare it to my other radios on FM, as I really don’t listen to that band nor have any interest in it.

I did try out the FM band, though. It seems to have good sensitivity. The speaker provides good sound quality, but not “Super Radio” good. Display looks outdated. Not a fan of those amber/yellowish displays with spotty screen coverage. Not even close to the display on my 909x. But then again, no other radio comes close to the 909x’s display. Why can’t manufacturers implement nice bright white lit displays like the 909x?

The remote works ok. By the way, all comparisons were done utilizing each radios’ own built-in AM and telescopic antennas for SW. Overall, I can compare it more closely to the RF-2200, but with 8800 having slightly less sensitivity on AM and better on SW. The two even look almost the same. The 8800 seems to be an updated and refined modern design borrowed from the RF-2200. The RF-2200 has a more robust solid built, though. Overall, I give the 8800 a score of 7.5 [out of 10].

Thank you for your input, Hymefly. I’m pretty impressed the new S-8800 even comes close to the performance of the Super Radio 1 and the Panasonic RF-2200. I’m very curious what the price will be when the S-8800 hits eBay.

TECSUN S-8800e availability in Europe and Bertrand’s first impressions

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bertrand Stehle (F6GYY), who writes:

Hi Thomas,

The new SSB portable receiver TECSUN S-8800 has been available from Germany, since the beginning of 2017.

Supplier:https://www.wellenjagd.com/ has the S-8800e, a Europeen version.

I have one unit here and also being an owner of the PL-880, [I would describe it as] a better PL-880 with more features.

DSP filters on SSB: 0.5 – 1.2 – 2.3 – 3.0 and 4.0 kHz

DSP Filters on AM: 2.3 – 3.0 – 4.0 and 6.0 kHz

Long telescoping Antenna L = 92 cm

BNC Antenna socket

AM External antenna (500 Ohm ) on panel….with an internal /external antenna switch.

Main and fine tuning [much] like the PL-880 , but all metallic buttons, bigger and of better quality.

VFO main tuning knob is large and has a good feeling.
Line out is stereo ( 2 channels ) L and R
Separate bass and treble control
2X LiH Batteries 18650 ( no external power supply possible, no 12V socket). Batteries can be charged while the rx st still in use.

On this S-8800e–my first impressions:

  • Very sensitive on longwave… ( PL-880 was not )
  • Very good copy of ssb stations
  • RX does not get so quickly overloaded as the PL-880 does…
  • Quite bigger than the PL-880 => 27 cm X 17 cm, about 7cm thick.

Wow–many thanks for sharing your first impressions, Bertrand!

I’ve been waiting quite a while for the S-8800 to be released. I will have one on order soon and will do some comparisons with the PL-880 and PL-660.

As you discover more about this receiver, please share your impressions with us!

Anyone else have the S-8800?  Please comment!