Tecsun PL-990 and S-9900: A few facts about the new Tecsun radios

Yesterday, we posted a photo of a Tecsun S-9900 “prototype” that was shared by @katsu3_uc on Twitter:

Screenshot of katsu’s tweet with translation by Google.

Shortly thereafter, another image was shared featuring the Tecsun PL-990:

To put this in perspective: there hasn’t been a new product announcement like this from Tecsun since the appearance of the S-8800 nearly four years ago–!

This buzz created a flurry of emails to me in only a few hours.

Readers wanted more information and details about the new radios and, frankly, I wanted to confirm what details we could infer from the photos. I only knew that there would be a “high-performance” receiver introduced this year, but knew very little other than that–I certainly didn’t expect two radios in the works.

So I reached out to a trusted source and now have some solid information I’ll share below:

The Tecsun PL-990

Yes, the Tecsun PL-990 is real. The image above is a correct representation of the working prototype.

There is no official launch date yet, but if all goes well with production and testing, the export version will become available in December 2019 at the earliest. It’s highly unlikely it will ship prior to December–it’s more likely it could ship sometime in early 2020.

The Tecsun “S-9900”

There is a new model in development, but the anticipated design and model number are not as shown in the picture above. When @katsu3_uc corrected his initial post and clarified that the radio in the photo was only a prototype, this was correct. I believe this was one from many years ago.

There are few details about this radio as it is in the early stages of design/development.

Production, availability, and other product details are simply not available yet. I get the impression the chance of it shipping this year are very low.

Stay tuned…

As I learn more about these two Tecsun receivers, I’ll post updates here on the SWLing Post.  I’ll tag updates with model numbers (Tecsun PL-990 and Tecsun S-9900) so posts can be read in chronological order. Note that even though “S-9900” will not be the model number of the second receiver, I’ll use it until we have the new model number.

Of course, I’ll review both radios as soon as they’re ready for evaluation!

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14 thoughts on “Tecsun PL-990 and S-9900: A few facts about the new Tecsun radios

  1. Lynn Jeffries

    Im new to sw! I have a tecson pl880. The instructions are scanty. Can you tell me what the red letters are for on the number pad please

  2. P C DAS

    Tecsun pl990 is out. I’ve found a video on (on 6th Oct, 2019)YouTube today showing the unboxing, however I couldn’t understand the narration , for it was not in english. Request you to provide a detailed review of it asap.

  3. TherMaster11

    I just hope they don’t rush production for the two radios just because of the PRC’s 70th anniversary (as stated on the PL-990’s image). The PL-880 already has enough potentially great features become “hidden” likely because of rushed deadlines and other problems. This had better not happen again for them…

    1. Thomas Post author

      I’m pretty sure we won’t be seeing the PL-990 this year. It is in development, but I don’t think that timeline is realistic.

    2. Greg

      do radios not update their firmware? i mean they could have worked on the software and made the radios more usable no? ive updated firmware on mp3 players

  4. Magnit

    Anna in Anon-Co says regarding the Tecsun S-9900 is not accurate, (the photo) it is a prototype from 10 years ago, there is however a device in development that looks somewhat similar but no official or unofficial date for release but it certainly wont be 2019.

    As regards the Tecsun PL-990 yes this device will indeed be launched this year. No official date as yet but indications are it could be available for sale in December 2019.

  5. TomL

    Interesting replies on the other threads, especially that these could be 5+ year old designs sitting on the shelf. If that is true, they will still have the mediocre/hissy MW section and quality control problems. For the same money, the Airspy SDR products have been hitting it out of the ballpark, and used with a small computer can be fairly portable with very wide frequency range and features. I would rather buy a tiny BoniWhip antenna to match the wide range of the SDR. We’ll see, I will be watching to see if these “new” Techsun’s are any different than their historical track record.

  6. Ronnie

    I’ve always found the “band + / -” relatively low usage but what would be nice is if the radio tuned to the last station you were listening to in those bands rather than go to the start of the band. Perhaps this could be made an option. Otherwise I will just do my usual thing of putting the last or favourite station in a band onto page 0 memory keys and push one of those to go to the band to start tuning from there.

  7. Pingback: The Tecsun S-9900: A new high-performance shortwave portable? | The SWLing Post

  8. Pingback: The Tecsun PL-990: The next full-featured portable? | The SWLing Post

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