Ulrich seeks advice with Tecsun PL-365/PL-368 ferrite bar issues

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ulrich Ruch, who writes:

Hi Thomas

Wondering if you’ve heard of similar experiences: since receipt on 4th
November I have been using the new gadget (Firmware 3684E) almost daily
until yesterday when the ferrite bar antenna suddenly did not work any
longer. I became aware of the fault when I put the rod into the antenna
jack noticing that the field strength reading drops to zero so that the
radio becomes deaf!

I somehow suspect that the fault lies in the socket. As a matter of
fact, I had/have the same problem with the old 365 with its green design
ferrite rod. What seems rather odd to me however, is the fact that if I
plug in an external active antenna (Wellbrook, Bonito, RF Systems
DX-one) both units work properly, furthermore, the 368 ferrite bar
miraculously works on the 365 whereas the 365 rod doesn’t on either
model!? So, with the best of will, I cannot blame the socket for sure –
or is it that the rod-plugs are too thin to give proper contact – I
don’t know.

Since I was unable to find any pertaining findings in the net, I do hope
that you may have further information from your worldwide reader feedbacks!?

SWLing Post readers: If you have experienced this same issue or can diagnose what might be happening with Ulrich’s PL-365 and PL-368, please comment!

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11 thoughts on “Ulrich seeks advice with Tecsun PL-365/PL-368 ferrite bar issues

  1. TomL

    IF you can take apart the broken antenna near the plug, you can see if the two thin wires have broken loose from the plug connection. The ferrite is wrapped with one or two pairs of VERY thin magnet wire. Typical ferrite antennas have a main loop of wire and a secondary loop used as the “pick-up” wire, and it is the secondary wire pair that gets soldered poorly to the plug. You might as well try it, the thing is broken anyway.

    The radio seems to work with a different antenna, so most likely the radio and its jack are OK.

  2. Jon

    The 1/8″ plug used in the ferrite bar antenna assembly is sub par, I’ve went through two myself. Exact same failure mode you describe. Just order you a new ferrite bar antenna from your dealer (or maybe two), I’m thinking like they are around five bucks. I keep a spare on hand now just for that reason.

    1. Ulrich Ruch

      Hi Ron
      thanks for the hints. It’s kind of reassuring to know I’m not the only one out there with this issue… After contacting the distributor we’ve agreed to return the 368 for warranty repair when I willl add the old 365 for repair which after an attempt to repair the socket suffers from a broken leadwire from the internal ferrite to the pcb…
      73s, good dx and seasons greetings

  3. mangosman

    Let’s apply some fault finding to this.
    1. The antenna has worked before into an existing socket so is it really the antenna plug?
    2. Another antenna works on that socket, so the receiver is ok

    Has the antenna been dropped? The ferrite rod inside is hard but very brittle and easily snaps. If that occurs you will get no signal.

    Since there is no signal at all, a short circuit on the antenna input will produce the same effect. This can occur if the plug doesn’t go fully into the socket.

    The antenna is an unusual weight on the socket, so whilst plugged in. If gentle pressure is applied parallel to the top of the radio in different directions, does this restore the signal? This would indicate a poor connection between the socket and the printed circuit board.

    1. Ulrich Ruch

      Hi OM Mangosman
      both ferrite bars are in perfect shape, their inside is fine, never dropped, and both rx were always treated gently beeing aware that the plastic jacks are probably of inferior quality compared to the sockets of the new PL330. As explained, both the old 365 and its new successor work with external antennas without issue which would indicate that the sockets are fine. On the other hand, the rod for the 368 which no longer works on the 368, works on the old 365 whereas the old 365-rod doesn’t on either.
      Your last suggestion was applied at the time on the 365 with the effect that its jack probably got somewhat out of shape but luckily not enough to refuse external antennas.

    2. mangosman

      The problem must be at the plug/socket interface. The possibilities are dry soldering joints in either, because the ferrite rod is ok as is the radio in function.

      Is the force required to push the plug in different between the working and non-working.

      As far as the compatibility of the plugs, I suggest you get a vernier calliper and accurately measure the diameters of each tip and rings on the plugs as well as the length to see if the non-working antenna is shorter or narrower than the ones which work.

  4. Pavel Kraus

    Hi Ulrych, I would try to connect the antenna via a jack mono jumper. Or even better, make a connecting cable jack socket – jack plug. This could rule out the possibility that the antenna connector is too thin and does not have good contact. Then I’d probably disassemble the antenna if I can. The connector in the antenna does not wobble – if the wires inside the antenna to the jack in the antenna are not interrupted.

  5. Larry

    I would take the 365 rod and place it parallel to a conventional radio’s internal rod to verify functioning of the 365 itself (difference in gain at a least a small frequency band). But it seems highly likely that the issue is the plug itself or the connection to the plug from the interior housing of the 365. So you want to open it up and look, or like Schwarzenegger said “are you feeling lucky”?

    1. jack Dully

      I always liked,”Stick Around” after Arnold pinned the bad guy,terrorist to the wall with a giant Bowie knife ! Good luck with your antenna troubleshooting and happy holidays


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