Dan compares the Tecsun PL-365 and CountyComm GP5-SSB

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who shares the following review:

Comparing the CountyComm GP5-SSB and Tecsun PL-365

County Comm GP-5/SSB and Tecsun PL-365: a couple of years ago, I obtained a GP-5/SSB from Universal and have enjoyed using the radio. It’s extremely sensitive, often bringing in signals in the middle of my house here in Maryland, and is fun to use, provided the auto-tune is done to insert frequencies so you don’t have to use the thumb wheel too much.

I have often thought that the next logical upgrade for this radio would be to add a small keypad to allow direct frequency selection, but perhaps that is not in the cards. The County Comm is basically the Tecsun PL-365, but the actual Tecsun version has not been available for the most part from major sellers, even from Anon-Co in Hong Kong, or Universal. You can still find some PL-365’s from certain Ebay sellers. Last year I obtained two from a Hong Kong seller. Both were NIB, and arrived within about a week or so of purchase.

What I noticed immediately is that the PL-365 has a different kind of exterior surface, more rubberized than the County Comm. I was curious about any differences in performance that might be obvious. Recently, I took both outside for a very basic comparison — not scientific by any means, but I think it shows something that I have noticed.

Both share the characteristics of extreme directionality, and sensitivity to touch — sensitivity increases markedly when they are hand-held, decreases noticeably when they are left standing on their own, or angled. I have noticed this when using them at the beach. If I am recording a station, and leave the radio alone for a few minutes, I return to find reception degraded quite a bit, because they were not being held.

In my very basic comparison, I had both receivers next to each other on a backyard table, both antennas fully extended, full batteries on both. While on some frequencies, at least initially, it seems little difference can be heard, on others there is what seems to be greater clarity and signal separation on the PL-365.

I noticed this from the start on 13.710 where the County Comm appears to be noisier than the PL-365, and on the portions later in the video when both are tuned to 11.820 (de-tuned to 11,818) Saudi Arabia, and to 11.945 khz.

Apologies for the length of the video. It’s hard to draw any conclusions based on this comparison, and I intend to do some additional tests with both my PL-365s and will report back on any findings, but I thought this would be of interest to those of you out there with these fine little radios.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Thank you for this review and comparison, Dan. I’m often asked if there is any difference in performance to justify the extra costs typically associated with the PL-365. I can now share this video and your review–potential owners to draw their own conclusions. 

The Tecsun PL-365 can occasionally be purchased through sellers on eBay. The CountyComm GP5-SSB can be purchased from Universal Radio or CountyComm.

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7 thoughts on “Dan compares the Tecsun PL-365 and CountyComm GP5-SSB

  1. Dan Johnson

    Does the PL-365 have fine-tuning on the SSB BFO like the CountyComm does? (I have the latter.) Also, the mention of a rubberized coating on the case concerns me. In my experience, every radio with such a coating becomes objectionably sticky to the touch after just a few years.

  2. Marcel Deneumostier ON7DH

    Hi Dan,
    I found a little trick to see the signal-to-noise ratio, normally you have to press several times (4x) on the display button but if you activate the key lock function you can see the signal to noise ratio by pressing any key (except the display key). It also works with the tuning knob.


  3. Mario

    Nice comparison Dan. Am still up in the air as to whether to purchase the Tecsun or CountyComm, but your review is firming up my decision.

    Thought I saw on some website a silver version of the ‘365 too.

    Good job Dan, much appreciated.

    1. Thomas Post author

      Actually, CountyComm was going to send me one, but I held of because they’d indicated the changes were purely cosmetic. I see, though on Universal’s site that (as you’d mentioned) “colored keys, stainless steel whip antenna, louder audio and longer run time.”

      I might contact them again and ask for a unit to compare.

  4. Tom Stiles

    Thanks to Dan for the comparison. I assume they are the same radio and the only difference is the variation you see from radio to radio of the same make.

    Another Tom

    1. Cap

      Agreed, I can’t see any difference except the case.
      The only potential difference could be soft muting, but hard to tell from the video.
      I have the Tecsun PL-365, phenomenal radio with SSB, I take it with me whenever I am away on business/leisure, mainly due to the size/weight.


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