Tecsun PL-330: A quick update and an important note before you buy

We posted an update about the new Tecsun PL-330 in late April 2020. While we didn’t have a lot of details, it’s worth reading.

We still don’t have a lot of details (as of today, July 3, 2020) but readers have been contacting me and commenting recently with links to online retailers who are already selling the PL-330.

SWLing Post contributor, Babis, shared a link to retailer (Taoboa.com, see above), this website with more information, and a review on this page.

Before you buy

To be clear: I am not placing an order for the Tecun PL-330 yet.

Indeed, as I mentioned in a previous post, my trusted Tecsun contact informed me that all of the new portables–the PL-990, H-501, and PL-330–are first being released as a “domestic” or pilot version in China. The pilot version is not the final and fully-updated/upgraded international/export version.

I will make an announcement here on the SWLing Post when the international/export versions are available for purchase.

To be clear, I can’t comment on the performance of the domestic models, but I do understand that the export models will likely have better specifications and even updated front panels/functions.

I also understand that the PL-990 will likely be the first export model in terms of availability.

Stay tuned! I’ll post any/all updates here on the Post.


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17 thoughts on “Tecsun PL-330: A quick update and an important note before you buy

  1. Babis

    anon-co told me (after asked) they got few samples of the pl-330 (seems the export version) so my guess by next month or sooner will be available … many thanks to anon-co & the blog … seems ok for small radio & for low budget i don’t think will be a disappointed one

    Reply
  2. Jaap

    Just got mine. Couldn’t wait for the export version. Wanted a PL 365 replacement because I miss direct entry and like small size, SSB and ETM. ETM+ is fantastic. There are 24 ETM banks that are chosen automatically based on the hour. I don’t know any other radio that has such a feature. We’ll wait for reviews if the export version will be better. Doesn’t break the bank.

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      Thank you, Jaap, for sharing your impressions.

      If you felt like writing up a little review with photos, let me know. We’d love to hear more of your thoughts after you’ve had some time to put the PL-330 on the air!

      Best,
      Thomas

      Reply
      1. Jaap

        First impression about the Tecsun PL-330.
        To start with, I’m not a seasoned SWL. I like radio in general and now and then I like to listen to shortwave transmissions. I have a Dutch Novice and American General Ham license, but I can’t use them while living in France now.
        In my radio collection there are 3 other, comparable portable shortwave radios: Tecsun PL-365, XHDATA D-808 and ETON Satellit. You see they all have SSB, that is my primary criteria. I decided to purchase the Tecsun PL-330 because of my good and bad experience with the Tecsun PL-365. The PL-365 has ETM but no direct entry. It’s super portable and I think ETM is a blessing for occasional shortwave listening. However, without direct frequency entry it’s a nightmare to operate just now and them. Now the PL-330 has SSB, fits in my pocket and has not only ETM, but ETM+. The latter is something no other radio has. I think it is such a clever feature by Tecsun.
        ETM+ is fantastic. There are 24 ETM banks that are chosen automatically based on the hour. Every hour you can long press the ETM button to initiate a (new or renewed) shortwave scan. It will display “E” plus the hour in 24 hours format like E00 to E24 depending on the time. When you short press the ETM button it recalls the memory bank according to the time. Now, when you short press the ETM button at 15:24 it will recall bank E15. Then you can select the memory in the bank by turning the TUNING dial.
        The PL-330’s SSB Operation is easier compared to the rest of the radios. Push the LSB button and it works and displays LSB. Push the USB button and there it is. Push the SSB button and you’re back in AM. No toggles buttons or lack of display of the mode you’re in. You can change the tuning step in SSB between 5 kHz, 1 kHz and 10 Hz by pushing the STEP button multiple times. That’s much better than pushing the tuning dial on the D-808 and the Eton. Let alone the PL-365, with its tuning dial speed dependent step size. Although I appreciate the D-808’s separate fine tune dial.
        Sound quality is better than PL-365, on par with D-808 and less than the Satellit. Size seems to matter here. To me receiver sensitivity is equal on all four radio’s using the internal whip antenna. Like the three others the PL-330 has a jack socket for an external antenna. It does not have an attenuator for an external antenna like the Eton. You can set the AM or SSB bandwidth by pressing the AM BW button and turning the volume dial. AM: 5.0 kHz, 3.5 kHz ,2.5 kHz. SSB: 4.0 kHz, 3.0 kHz, 2,2 kHz, 1.2 kHz, 0.5 kHz.
        The PL-330 has a lot of memories but lacks alpha tags. I really have difficulties remembering what I put in those memories. I hardly use them. The only one of the four that has alpha tags is the Eton Satellit, that makes things a lot easier. The PL-330 uses a replaceable rechargeable battery. It comes with a 1000 mAh BL-5C. It charges in the radio though a micro USB port. That makes it easy to charge from an external charger or an external battery.
        Unfortunately, the PL-330 has no FM RDS unlike the D808 and the Eton. I would have paid $ 100 more if RDS and DAB+ had been included in the same size radio.
        In conclusion I’m very happy with this new radio due to it’s size and ease of operation.

        Reply
        1. Jaap

          Without an English manual, and maybe even with a Chines manual I couldn’t understand all functions.

          When off:
          -Long press VF/VM shows all items of the display.
          -Long press Enter shows dEL ALL, probably delete all (buth what’s all)?
          -Long press M shows 6 808, maybe the firmware version?
          -Long press 0 shows PO [], no idea.

          In addition, in ETM mode the display shows ETM. However a nice to have would be if the “preset” indication remained on when in VM (View Memory) mode. Then you could see whether the radio is in VM, VF or ETM mode.

          Reply
          1. Jaap

            When connecting the USB cable to a PC the operating systems shows no connection information. If the radio would have USB logic apart from charging it would have showed show up. So I assume there is no way to update firmware via USB.

          2. Babis

            long press 0 show PO [] there is a possibility that place in order (from lower to higher) all manual random memories you have add

            Latest firmwares with long press key 3 (while radio is on) seems switches between internal external aerial ( i ve seen a demo at you tube MW band)

        2. Babis

          hi, well done and thanks for the info … they say that by pressing the number 3 it turn on/off its external fm/sw antenna (latest firmware) it looks like by pressing the No 3 is for SW (once the SW appears on screen) but it seems it works partly & for MW band
          see video here
          https://youtu.be/5XXvao5V9WI

          Can i ask Please? how is MW at pl-330 vs PL-365 with its extra antenna in use at the 365, because i have the pl-360 & planning to get the pl-330 due to OIRT band

          Reply
    2. Jaap

      In a few weeks I’ll be on vacation and will try to compile my experience and include some photos. In the mean time I figured out that with the DISPLAY button you can change the upper left part of the display between:
      -Signal strength
      -Time
      -Preset (only in VM Mode)
      -Alarm time
      The display always returns to signal strength after a few seconds. Except if time is chosen with a long press of the DISPLAY button. Nevertheless the display returns to signal strength after applying any operation, including volume change. I’m not sure if this is a feature or a bug.

      Coming back on fine tuning, my other three portable radios (Eton Satellit, D808 and PL-365, can fine tune in SSB, but only plus or minus 1 kHz of the actual frequency in steps of 10Hz. The PL-330 has continuous fine tuning in SSB; you can tune the entire SW band up and down in steps of 10 Hz.

      Reply
    1. Babis

      anon-co told me (last week) that they have already some samples, perhaps by next month will be out the export version, thanks

      Reply
  3. Babis

    update at taobao shop (selling page) there are already 63 reviews by now, later perhaps more … some users mentioned bugs, one i spotted (from translate)

    The size of the button is too small, the size of the knob is too large, the size ratio of the button and the knob is not coordinated, and the 310 is very coordinated and classic. The bandwidth switching operation is quite troublesome. It is not as simple and quick as the one-key cyclic bandwidth switching of 310. And after 330 enters the bandwidth setting mode, if the user does not have any operation, the machine cannot automatically exit the setting state and stay in the bandwidth setting interface forever. This bug must be Fix. Others, such as sensitivity and selectivity, performed well and satisfied.

    Reply
  4. Babis

    at bbs.tecsun.com.cn at the topic of pl-330 some one post this

    ” ????????PL330????????
    New upgrade and improvement of Desheng PL330 fully listed and released ”

    it looks like they have update something, perhaps firmware (translator maybe not so good) … still seems for domestic use .. so yes seems final version will be some changes

    Reply
  5. Rob

    I wouldn’t be in a big hurry to buy another Tecsun product. Although I like my PL-880, PL-600 & PL-310ET, I was disappointed in my S-8800. Personally, I will wait to see what Jay Allen has to say about the new models.
    73s

    Reply

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