Many on the PL-880 Yahoo Group have been reporting “soft mute” or “noise gate” audio jumps that are heard when the PL-880 is tuned to a weak SSB signal.
SWLing Post reader, Tim, has a Tecsun PL-880 with firmware version 8819 (mine is 8820) that exhibits this soft mute behavior. Check out the following video where he uses the built-in attenuator to force the PL-880 to engage the soft mute. Tim notes that the sound quality of his $30 camera phone is poor, but I can still easily hear what’s happening:
There have even been confirmed reports of SSB soft muting in PL-880s with 8820 firmware. With that said, I have now spent hours trying to force my PL-880 to engage soft muting in SSB, but to no avail. My SSB copy is solid, regardless of signal strength, noise level, or adjacent signals (at 5, 10 or 15 kHz and much closer)–no muting at all in SSB.
While I’m very pleased with my PL-880, I would encourage many readers to consider waiting a couple of months before making the purchase. Many of the PL-880 early adopters have felt a bit like Beta testers–admittedly, I’ve felt this way as well–but with time, I imagine many of the 880 quirks will be ironed-out by Tecsun.