Jay Allen’s review of the Tecsun PL-880

JayAllenReviewCheck out Jay Allen’s website for his excellent review of the Tecsun PL-880.

I believe Jay’s PL-880 has firmware version 8819, while our review unit has version 8820. As Jay points out, with either firmware version you’ll get great overall performance out of the PL-880.

Kaito is now offering a free upgrade to 8820 for their customers who received the older firmware version.

7 thoughts on “Jay Allen’s review of the Tecsun PL-880

  1. Phil Ireland

    I received my PL880 yesterday from Anon-Co who were excellent in their customer service and as a result, I would have no hesitation recommending them.
    On unboxing the radio, I was pleased to find a solid, well made radio with excellent inclusions and a well written User Manual in English. I was eager to test the radio. On close inspection, I too found what appears to be fine cracks on the front face of the radio which I suspect may be due to the manufacturing process. This has been commented on before by other owners. Other than that, as mentioned, the radio has a solid feel about it and I found it to have excellent ergonomics.
    Now to the performance. I tested the radio against a Degen 1103, Tecsun S2000, Tecsun PL660, Tecsun PL 310, Sony EX5-Mk2, Sangean 909X and a Sangean PR-D5. I used the internal aerials of the radios only, telescopic antenna for SW and FM and ferrite rod for AM.
    Firstly FM, this radio showed excellent sensitivity on FM and excellent selectivity, I was able to hear signals (just) from Sydney over 200kms away, the only radio that was capable of receiving signals from that distance. An outstanding result for a portable.
    Next to AM. Here I was surprised to find the Degen 1103 outperforming the Tecsuns for the ability to receive recoverable audio from distant AM signals so the nod goes to the Degen 1103 here. None of the radios however matched the outstanding performance of the Sony EX5 Mk2 or the Sangean PR-D5 here on MW. Comparing the PL880 to the PL660, found me thinking the 660 was slightly more sensitive on MW. Very little in it, but the audio of the 880 was better.
    On SW, the order of performance from best to worst I found as follows; Tecsun S2000, Degen 1103, Tecsun PL660 and PL880 equal, Tecsun PL310 then the Sangean 909X. Again, recoverable audio on distant signals was fractionally better on the Degen 1103. Another surprising result. I quickly tested a National Panasonic DR22 (RF2200) against them with the expected results, none were a match for the DR22! As mentioned by others, the Synch detector was a disappointment on the 880, just doesn’t match the PL660 or the Sony ICF2001D in that department.
    SSB was a different kettle of fish, here the PL880 was superb. By far the best portable tested to receive SSB. (of course the PL310 doesn’t resolve SSB). The worst, by the way, was the Sangean 909X, the 880 far outperformed the Sangean.
    So what do I like about the radio? Great construction, excellent audio for a small portable and reasonable overall performance but not outstanding. Great SSB and FM performance. What I don’t like, poor Synch detector and a very annoying strong digital artifact on 783 khz MW which blocks the radio. A nuisance as that is an interesting DX frequency for me.
    Could I recommend purchasing it? Yes, but don’t expect stellar performance, it certainly isn’t a communications receiver by any stretch, it does what its designed for very nicely, a small portable radio. My firmware version is 8820 and I set the parameters as recommended on the previous posts.

  2. Phil Ireland

    Anyone having the same issues with spurious signals on thier Tecsun PL880? This one, see attached video, crops up between 781khz and 783khz with a strong signal blocking any reception on those frequencies. I have made Anna from Anon-Co aware of this and she is hopefully speaking to Tecsun about a possible fix. Any comments appreciated.


    1. Edwin Thoma

      Yes, my 880 also has a peak rf on 783KHz. Hmmm! I keep hearing good reports on the Degen 1103. I can get a new one for around $50.00. I have an indoor antenna and can’t receive very well on SW. Would the 1103 give me much better reception than the 880. I also have the Sangean 909x; everyone is correct, it doesn’t match performance of the 880 although I like the size, features, looks of the 909x. Comments Please.
      Edwin Thoma, USN-Ret.

  3. Phil Ireland

    Sorry, I’m new at this so hopefully this will be the correct embedded video rather than just the link. If not, please just click on line on previous post.

    1. Thomas Post author

      No worries, Phil. Looks like the 2nd try was the charm! I can see the embedded video. I’ll check my ‘880 for these spurious signals.

      1. Phil Ireland

        Thanks Thomas,
        Would be interesting to see if the same is the case with your ‘880, hopefully not. I really dont want to send it back if I can help it, hopefully there may be a “fix” to sort it out. Good to see that there is another enthusiast in what looks like Australia!


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