Tecsun PL-990 (pilot run) now on AliExpress

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who notes that the Tecsun PL-990 has now appeared on AliExpress.com.

The price is a steep $399 US shipped via DHL with an estimated delivery of late March. They claim to have about 900 units available.

You can check out the PL-990 on the AliExpress website, but it might require registration even via this direct link.

Frankly, I would wait until the PL-990 is available at Anon-Co since they’re an authorized Tecsun distributor, have proven customer service, and will likely have a more competitive price. I would also question if the AliExpress units are the new export version we’ve been waiting for, or simply the units that were available within China last year. The AliExpress page gives us no clear indication of the production version at time of posting.

UPDATE: Turns out, these are the pilot Chinese versions of the PL-990. I can’t recommend purchasing one–especially at this price.

I hope this might indicate that the PL-990 is close to release. Covid-19 has certainly stopped much production and development in China. Thanks again for the tip, Dan!

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16 thoughts on “Tecsun PL-990 (pilot run) now on AliExpress

  1. rod

    Has anybody noticed that the pilot (China only) version has the SYNC mode and that the proposed export version does not (at least according to the leaked photos)?

    I suspect that we might be looking at the same story as we have seen with PL-880: an experimental hack implemented in the DSP chip that does not really work. My PL-880 was a disappointment to me because of this and its SSB performance is also less than optimal.

    Based on this experience I will hold off to see if this is only a repackaged PL-880 or is it a genuine update. But I can still hope…

    Reply
  2. Pingback: How to distinguish pilot run and final export versions of the Tecsun PL-990 | The SWLing Post

  3. Rafael Scapin

    I contacted Anon-co last week about the Tecsun PL-990 add on AliExpress. This is the answer I got:

    “The PL-990 is still not finalized. The listing that you showed me on Aliexpress is not the final version, but one of the unfinalized pilot run units that Tecsun offered in China. One way to easily see this is from the labels for the buttons above the keypad, these should be [ TIME ], [ TIMER A ], [ TIMER B ] (see picture below). I highly recommend noone to buy these pilot versions, because the software on those devices is also not developed.
    There still isn’t a final version or any price indication available yet, but it will definitely not be US$399.99.”

    Reply
  4. chipbutty

    As has already been pointed out I would be amazed if that is the price Anon Co will be selling it for. Maybe it’s a seller trying to make a quick profit with locally available units. Wait and see what they’re selling it for once it’s officially available for export.

    Reply
  5. Keith Perron

    For the tiny production run. $400 would be about right.

    Tecsun has been on the government radar for sometime now as China seeks to reduce the amount of SOEs that receive state funds.

    Warning: Do not buy from AliExpress

    Anon-co would be the best place to buy if it appears. I say if, because if this is a tiny production run anon-co may not even get it.

    Reply
  6. Ronald Mullis

    What exactly is so special about this latest radio? It doesn’t even look as good as the 880 does. Maybe its large size?
    If it will be any better on MW and LW than the other Tecsuns, that would be awesome. I’m still considering some big ones like the CC Radio-EP Pro.

    Also, it’s always wise not to rush to get an early production run from manufacturers like Tecsun..

    Reply
    1. Marky

      I would like to see a review with comparison between the two.

      I feel the irresistible need to purchase a new radio and, as with all things techie, want the latest and greatest. However, if between the two the previous model is better than savings on clearance stock is possible.

      I will wait until European availability and reviews but still will ache to buy.

      Reply
    2. Robert Scorpio

      In demos the SYNC really seems to work well. For one thing . IF true , that is significant.

      Another thing I would like to see is a lower noise floor.

      Reply
  7. Vince

    Great way to exit the market, and not have people lamenting it. LOL

    Yes, even in the portable ‘arena’ looks like the time for SDRs has arrived.

    Reply
  8. Rob

    Thanks for posting, good to know that at least *some* of these have made it out of the pipeline before things got locked down due to covid-19. (wonder if Tecsun’s factories are affected?) Still… going to wait for anon-co to release at a sub–$250 price, and that’s after reading some reviews.

    Reply
  9. Jack Blanke

    While I think that near $400 is a bit strong for a portable all band radio, I am more than satisfied with my PL-880. It has been a solid performer, both on the broadcast bands and the ham bands for both CW & SSB. By no means is it a Collins A-4, a 75S3B or a R.L Drake R4B, but at $150US, I was amazed at its performance. I am sorry to hear that these two latest edition radios may be Tecsun’s swan song in the portable all band market, and I find it hard to believe that some manufacturer won’t step and fill the void. There is still enough activity on the broadcast & ham bands that SWL’s will continue to enjoy the magic of tuning them. I only wish that QSL’ing the broadcast & ham bands was still viable, as it added so much to the hobby back in the days when I first got into SWL’ing. On a daily basis, I couldn’t wait to get to my mailbox to check for QSL’s from far away lands and proudly display my collection on the wall of my shack. I know I am dating myself, but the magic that was once radio is still magic to me.

    Reply
  10. Mark

    It must be a super special radio to charge 400 USD, that would make it around 492 USD here in Ireland if you add 23% extortion tax we have to pay on most goods.

    Lets just hope that’t just AliExpress taking advantage that they’re probably the only ones selling it at the moment because there’s no way in hell I’d pay nearly 500 USD for the 990 that looks like something from the 90’s, no way I’d pay 400 USD either.

    The PL-880 was not a great performer, disastrous on SSB, no SYNC so can’t even use SSB on SW.

    It’s a shame Tecsun never developed SDR radios, something like the Tulip sdr and DRM.

    Reply
    1. Joe

      I seem to remember reading that the initial China only units were $199 US, and that the general release units were expected to be just a bit higher. So, you are probably correct in your thinking that Aliexpress is trying to take advantage of the situation.

      I have heard good and bad about Aliexpress. Because of that, I would wait for Anon-Co or Kaito USA to get them in stock.

      Reply
  11. Audrius

    hmmm…400 usd for some kind old/the same technology with few decorative features? Now I vote for such radios as Belka DSP or Malachit DSP and, imho, it must be directions for companies as Tecsun. I do not say that 990 is bad radio, it is super, but I want more:)

    Reply

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