The Tecsun PL-990: The next full-featured portable?

[Update: Please check out this post about the Tecsun PL-990.]

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who shares the following image originally posted in the Shortwave Radio Listener Appreciation Facebook group:

This looks like a solid iteration of the venerable Tecsun PL-880.

While the previous photo we posted via Twitter user @katsu3_uc of the Tecsun S-9900 looks like a departure from Tecsun ascetics, and more like the classic Grundig Sattelit 700 chassis, the PL-990 image is much more of what I would have expected. The S-9900 is much harder to believe.

I will try to gather more information about these designs and if one or both might come to fruition this year.  I’ll post PL-990 updates with the tag: Tecsun PL-990.

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19 thoughts on “The Tecsun PL-990: The next full-featured portable?

  1. Magnit

    Anna in Anon-Co says regarding the Tecsun S-9900 is not accurate, (the photo) it is a prototype for 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.

    1. RonF

      > “This is a short wave radio. Neither HD radio or DAB+ are designed to be in this band. The CDR is an experiment in China and is very similar to DRM.”

      It’s also a MW & FM radio – HDradio is used in both those bands, while CDR is designed for the FM band. Does lacking HDradio make it “not … fully featured” in your eyes?

      As has happened so often before, Alan, you’ve missed the point: lacking DRM doesn’t mean it’s “not … fully featured”, any more than lacking HDradio or any other currently in-use radio standard does. Even going by your own DRM-specific criteria, there are no “fully featured” radios available at all.

    2. RonF

      > “Tecsun Radios Australia Q-3061 DRM Shortwave Radio [link removed] can do all the things I describe

      Errr… you might like to reconsider that statement, maybe check with someone who actually owns one (or the Gospell GR-21 it’s a clone of), and consider correcting your error. It most certainly _does not_ do all the things you described as being necessary for a “fully featured” radio in your earlier comment.

  2. Dan Robinson

    Nobody has mentioned SYNC — hopefully Tecsun will have revised that to improve the performance of synchronous tuning, but on the other hand they may have eliminated it entirely. Also will be interesting to see what chip is used in the PL-990.

  3. 13dka

    They sure have learned how to create some buzz! 🙂 I see a PL-880 with left side switches moved to the front, new band buttons and what looks like an MP3-player.

    Of course I’d love seeing (and trying, which means buying!) a radio with considerably improved existing features (flawless and switchable AGC, improved frontend…) though, rather than a reiteration of the same old, same old with tacked-on stuff. An MP3-*recorder* would be nice but I don’t see a record button either. To me, an MP3-*player* is as desirable in a SW portable as a hair dryer, like, I already have one of those and never use it 🙂

    1. Thomas Post author

      I agree! I hope somehow a record function makes it on the PL-990. That would certainly give it a unique place on the market as I can’t think of another portable with SSB mode that can record received audio.

      1. 13dka

        Yeah, the only one coming to my mind is the Sangean ATS-818/Siemens RK-770 (with a built-in cassette recorder). The very few others (e.g. Satellit 4000) with a recorder all lacked SSB.

  4. Mark

    While I liked the retro look of the S-9900, this fits the current Tecsun aesthetic better, and looks to be a more practical and compact solution. I hope it runs on regular batteries, I’d be very tempted to get it.

  5. Mangosman

    It will not be fully featured until it will;
    1. receive Digital Radio Mondiale audio,
    2. display the slideshow images and the Journaline multipage text service.
    3.Being a high frequency (short wave) radio be able to use the alternate frequency table so that when you select a broadcaster by name the frequency will change at dawn and dusk as commanded by the broadcaster.
    4. Lastly DRM also has an Emergency Warning System to wake the radio, tune the alert channel, increase the volume and make the siren warning signal and speak the warning, you can read instructions on the screen and a map of the affected area. The latitude and longitude of the corners of the affected area can be used to only operate if the receiver is within the emergency zone.

    1. RonF

      If those are the criteria by which to measure “fully featured”, then there are literally no “fully featured” receivers available anywhere from anybody. Nor have there ever been…

      Besides, you left out DAB/+, HDRadio, & CDR. Can’t see too many Europeans/Americans/Chinese agreeing with you, when your definition of “fully featured” leaves out the predominant digital radio systems world-wide!

  6. Jem

    I dont belive that s9900 is real looks like a photoshopped grundig
    The pl990 if real seems to be 880 with built in mp3 player (recorder too hopefully

  7. Jem

    I dont belive that s9900 is real looks like a photoshopped grundig
    The pl990 if real seems to be 880 with built in mp3 player (recorder too hooefully


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