Tuesday evening, I picked up a package from Anon-Co with the new export version of the Tecsun PL-330 inside. Anon-Co sent this unit to me for evaluation at no charge to me. Anon-Co will start shipping the PL-330 next week and the price will be $59.99.
By request, I took a few photos of the PL-330 as I unpacked it. This should give you an idea about how the radio is packed and what is included in the Anon-Co package:
The Anon-Co PL-330 package includes:
- Tecsun PL-330 receiver
- an English owner’s manual
- a brown synthetic velveteen carry pouch
- MicroUSB charging cable
My first thought? It looks like a mini PL-990!
The PL-330 is powered by one BL-5C battery pack. To meet shipping regulations, the BL-5C is not pre-installed–you’ll need to do that yourself.
Note that the PL-330 lacks a fold-out back stand. That is unfortunate
On the air
Unfortunately, I’ve had no proper time to evaluate the PL-330 (comparisons) yet as this is an incredibly busy week for me.
I did, however, listen to the PL-330 as I worked outside all day Wednesday. Sadly, there was a lot of news to follow here in the States that day.
I was able to receive all of my benchmark local and regional AM and FM stations with no problem. For day-to-day broadcast listening, it seems to be a solid portable.
It’s still early days, but I think the PL-330 may be one of the best portables for FM I’ve tested in a while. On Wednesday, I tuned to WFAE in Charlotte a number of times throughout the day and the PL-330’s lock on the station was rock-solid. WFAE’s transmitter is just over one hundred miles from my home, so this is typically a tough catch if I’m inside my home or my car, etc.
The real test? I can also receive WFAE with the PL-330 in my kitchen window. Again, only a small number of portables can reliably grab WFAE’s signal from that spot. Indeed, the PL-330 almost receives WFAE as if were a local station.
While this is far from a laboratory test, it is certainly a real-world test for this radio enthusiast.
I’ve yet to dive into the shortwaves, although I’m incredibly curious how well the sync lock might work. I’m keeping expectations low–after all, this is a $60 radio. The price point is quite good for sporting upper and lower sideband reception, let alone synchronous detection.
For more information about the PL-330, I’d encourage you to check out the following posts:
Any way the could do another firmware revision that changed the MW bandwidth of 9Khz to a more sensible 6Khz? This should be able to be dome in the firmware if I’m not mistaken, unless that’s locked in to the chip itself.
5Khz might even be a little better yet, you’d still get most of the voice and music frequency response but it would help just a touch better from a strong adjacent interferer. I tad less splatter. But the 9Khz bandwidth serves no real purpose so I’ll never use it. I just got mine from Anon today (in record time using the middle Fed-ex option) but have not had time to try it out much. Working 12 hours shifts makes things difficult! Can’t wait for my weekend.
AnonCo announces that Tecsun PL330 Now comes with 3306 Firmware version, not 3305.
I´m waiting for mine, and don´t know if comes with 3305 or 3306 Firmware version.
Here is the answer from Anna:
Thank you for contacting us regarding your recent purchase of the TECSUN PL-330.
There is no significant change. The 3305 firmware had the option to use the ATS function in SSB mode, but as Tecsun informed us, this was not really intended as a feature (not truly functional) and it has been removed.
Just received my 330 and doesn’t want to hear anything on SW other than white noise. Tried with and without external antenna on WWV. My Radiwow it come in loud and clear. Any ideas?
Just to let you know, here is a link to a pdf of the english user manual:
I have found a cheap stand for the PL-330. It’s not a beauty but it does the job quite well and has variable angle adjustment. It can be bought from many sellers on Aliexpress and elsewhere:
Is it true that if you hold the “3” button you can disable the internal ferrite AM antenna and connect another external one via the antenna plug on the side?
I just ordered mine (plus an AN-100 antenna) from Hong Kong and it’ll take awhile to get here to Florida.
With firmware 3302 you can and the AN-100 works here too. Let us know if it works with your radio.
Received mine a few days ago. Quite sensitive. No overload noted when connected to my 148′ loop-on-ground, even with a preamp online. Yet to try my 31′ vertical over a radial field. SSB is acceptable comms quality with the 2.2Khz filter width set.
Sync is…. present? I only spent a couple of minutes trying it, but I was not amazed that the sync did anything spectacular in my short trial. It is easier than ECSS, but I am not sure it is actually any better than ECSS. I will reserve further judgment for later testing.
Anyway, it seems like a worthwhile upgrade, sidegrade, or whatever to my Grundig G3.
Received the export version with firmware 3305 from anon-co today.
Haven’t tested or anything yet, but noticed difference in appearance from Chinese version’s pictures found on-line.
The sticker on the lower corner of the speaker says 650 memories on Chinese version, while the one I received says 850 memories. Checking the english manual suggests the 200 difference might be 100 for SSB and SYNC respectively. I’m not sure if this is an actual difference of the firmware or just not captured previously in the manuals & marketing.
Hi Ed, I’m curious to know if this has been solved in 3305: https://swling.com/blog/2020/11/46394/
Hello Jaap, the reversed fine tuning bug has indeed been solved in 3305. I confirmed side-by-side with a 3303 unit which has this symptom.
That’s great Ed. Thanks so much!
On paper at least , the PL-330 has the potential to go the the head of the ultra-portable class; but first, I would like to see how it stacks up against the C Crane Skywave SSB and the CountyComm GP-5/SSB (Tecsun PL-365).
I would also like to know how it compares, ergonomically, with the PL-380.
I would wondering if in your test you could check to see for the presence of soft mute on MW and SW. In the videos I have seen of earlier production units there was heavy soft mute on both bands.
I’ve had a PL330 for a few months and like it. The battery life is good, but I’ve not measured it. The tuning knob has soft detents. Sometimes it seems to skip or not register a step. I’m not sure if this is by design or if my unit is slightly defective. This is not a major issue though I wonder if it will get worse with usage. The “ETM” and “STEP” buttons on mine are at best flush with front surface of the radio. Its hard to tell by touch when you are on one of these buttons. And to push either you have to insure the fleshy part of your finger is pressing the button. All of the other buttons are as you would expect.
This is good news. I would like to know what is the firmwave version of this export version of the Tecsun PL-330.
No doubt this one will also be plagued by that horrible sound and distortion on SSB like the 880, 990 and S-880. The DSP radios are junk.
One of the best is the Tecsun Pl-680, really great sound and low noise it’s a joy to zero beat, ssb is in my opinion unusable on the DSP radios and the 990 is way over priced due to the issues on SSB.
Other reviews I’ve read indicated the sync is no better than that of the 880 or 990.
Then I will stick with my PL-660 whose sync works better.
So the battery is not preinstalled, but it is not included in the package at all, so you have to purchase one separately. Is that correct?
No–I simply meant that the battery is in the radio box/package, but not pre-installed in the radio. The battery comes with the radio.
I believe that is only the case if radio is delivered by FedEx. If sent by Hong Kong Post, they cannot include the battery.
OK. Thanks, Richard!
first of all, can it work using a power supply even if the battery is removed or discharged ? Not optimal, I know, but may be useful at times
Then, while testing it, give it a spin with an external antenna connected to the side port, it would be interesting to know if it overloads or handles an ext antenna well
As for the stand, I think that someone may come out with a 3D printed model; sure, an original one would have been cool, but a homemade one won’t be bad 😉
“…can it work using a power supply even if the battery is removed or discharged ? Not optimal, I know, but may be useful at times”
This would be the PL-330 ‘saving grace’ for me. I always check for this ‘feature’. It was the first thing I did when I received my new XHDATA D-808, before buying a 18650 battery, since it was not included with it originally.
The above, plus a micro USB connection, are my new ‘standards’ for portable radios.
I use those cell phone power ‘banks’ sold at dollar stores, they are fantastic as emergency power or permanent power. A fully charged ‘bank’ lasts a lot longer than the original battery.
So what in the new $60 330 over the old $43 380? Just the ssb?
-External MW antenna (at least with firmware 3302)
-10 kHz step size
-no more in series battery charging; has only one rechargeable battery
Thanks for the great preview. The missing kickstand is unfortunate. I bought the PL-330 from Radiwow on the 30th for $67.00 shipped, but no activity on the tracking number yet other than Label Created. Wonder if I will get an English manual. I’m about 60 miles from Charlotte. I’ll have to try for WFAE. Keep us posted on the shortwave results!
Looks like it could be a modern replacement for my Grundig G3. Might have to order one when available.
Hi Thomas, Could you please check firmware version and if the SSB fine tuning bug has disappeared?
Is there really a tuning hole between 513 and 522 KHz? That’s weird! No NAVTEX for you, I guess…
My excitement took a big hit once I saw the battery it uses. Other than that, it looks very nice.
I’m with you–not a fan of those slim packs.
I don’t love the slim pack either, but admittedly I didn’t initially love the 18650 on the PL-880 either. I’ve since warmed up to it, as they’re long-lasting and rather inexpensive once investing in a dedicated charger and cells better than those supplied by Tecsun.
I have devices that use both types, and while I much prefer AA cells, the 18650 is way better than the BL-5C pack. IMHO