Video: Tecsun PL-880 vs. PL-660 on shortwave AM

Once again, I ventured out to my truck tailgate to make a few videos of the Tecsun PL-880. In this video, I’ve tuned the PL-880 and PL-660 to Deutsche Welle’s English language service on 9,800 kHz (transmitted from Kigali, Rwanda, some 7,600 miles away).

I made this video with my iPhone, so apologies for the low quality:

Note that when I first turn on the PL-660 it is in sync mode by accident. After changing the bandwidth on the PL-660, I then turn off sync.

I’ve noted that the PL-660’s sync detector locks better than that of the PL-880. However, using the PL-880’s SSB mode to zero-beat the AM carrier (see article on ECR), produces great (and stable) results.

Sensitivity-wise, these radios are quite similar. While I personally prefer the audio of the PL-880, the PL-660 makes vocals pop out of the noise a bit better.

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6 thoughts on “Video: Tecsun PL-880 vs. PL-660 on shortwave AM

  1. Gig

    I’d like to see a sensitivity test on a weak signal in the AM/MW band too (both am and SSB zero beat mode). Your videos are very interesting. Thank you!

    1. Thomas Post author

      Hi, Mike,

      Yes, it would help, though at some expense to the overall audio fidelity. It does make the voice pop out more. Overall, listening to AM (either on shortwave or mediumwave) is more pleasant on the PL-880 than the PL-660.


    2. Ewan

      Mmm… I’d like to receive an answer to Mike’s question as well.
      The audio of the 880 sounds more muffled than the 660 – this is disappointing.
      For me from what I’ve heard so far, for SWLing & DXing, the audio of the 660 is far better than the 880.

      1. Thomas Post author

        Ewan, you have a point. The PL-660’s speaker is ideal for voice over AM shortwave/medium-wave. I think this is one of the reasons comparing sensitivity is quite difficult between these two radios–they both have completely different built-in speakers. They both hear the same stuff–at about the same signal level–but sometimes the Pl-660 sounds clearer, when the 880 sounds muffled, and sometimes the PL-880 sounds richer when the 660 sounds “sharper.” The 880 can be tweaked more than the 660, though. And…hang on…I just discovered I had the tone set to “bass” on the 880 in that video. That accounts for some of the muffled sound too. I’m getting tired…


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