Chip shortage likely to cause low Tecsun inventory

I received a message from a reader recently regarding the Tecsun PL-330. They pointed out that Tecsun listed the PL-330 as “Discontinued” but I’ve confirmed that this is not the case. This is simply a poor translation/word choice.

The PL-330 is still very much in production, however I also learned the global chip shortage is hitting Tecsun (and most other radio manufactures) quite hard right now.

I checked with Anna at Anon-Co and she confirmed that they still have inventory of the PL-330 and other Tecsun models, but the chip shortage will almost certainly affect radio availability once her existing inventory is depleted.

I’m not sure any of us would be surprised to learn this because the chip shortage is having impact across multiple industries and modern DSP shortwave receivers are very chip-dependent.

I follow economic news pretty closely and most experts agree that the chip shortage may create issues for the next year or even two. Indeed, there’s even a shortage of “chips to make chips.”

No worries and no need to panic, though, as we’ll get through this. I would suggest not waiting to bite the bullet if you’ve been planning to purchase a new DSP-based portable radio in the nearish future.

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7 thoughts on “Chip shortage likely to cause low Tecsun inventory

  1. StratMan

    My regular online Tecsun/Sihuadon dealer on Lazada had also listed the PL-330 as very low in stock, possibly “discontinued”, so it’s not just Anon.co.
    Which brings this begging question to mind. Why only the PL-330 in particular? Which chips are affected? If it’s the Silicon Labs Si4735 DSP that’s drying up, wouldn’t it also affect production of the PL-368, 880, 990, H-501 and S-8800 receivers?
    What about other manufacturers, like the company that assembles the XHDATA and Sihuadon D-808? This radio also makes use of the Si 4735 DSP. Or is there some other unique chip that the PL-330 requires that’s hard to come by?

    Reply
  2. Mike N7MSD

    The automotive industry problem is that they’re using very old ICs and processes; TSMC has even called them out on it. Here’s just one post covering it:

    https://www.sic-chip.com/info-detail/tsmc-calls-on-customers-abandon-40nm-and-move-to-28nm

    Speaking of TSMC, their new fab is a little behind schedule due to lack of workers but not too badly. They are building a brand spanking new 5nm fab 7mi / 10km north of me here in Phoenix, which should be online in around 3 more years; once they’re done with that, they’ll begin construction of a 3nm one right next to it! (FYI, the 3nm was supposed to be built in Europe but they scrapped that.)

    It seems doubtful that any of these Chinese radios are sourcing parts from outside China so they’re likely unaffected that way, but there are plenty of other component shortages as mentioned repeatedly in the past, including in this blog!

    Reply
    1. Keith Perron

      TSMC is not allowed to sell any of their new chips to the PRC. This law was pasted a few years ago. So Chinese tech companies are a bit stuck as the South Koreans also ban Samsung to provide PRC companies with new chips.

      Reply
  3. Tim Kridel

    Some of my clients are in the chip space, with applications ranging from data centers to automotive. Some of those markets, such as automotive, won’t have normal chip levels until 2025.

    The good news is that a lot of chip companies, and their customers, are using this as a learning experience so they’re better prepared for future force majeure events such as natural disasters and wars.

    Reply
  4. Kenny_C

    maybe this chip shortage will make analog solid state superhetrodyne radios come back like we had in the 1960s & 1970s. i thought those were great radios

    Reply
    1. Mike N7MSD

      Doubtful as SDR runs circles around them (when designed right); as I mentioned above, analog components are also in shortage, so you still can’t build an analog radio without caps, coils, & wire.

      Reply
      1. Kenny_C

        a superhet is a good radio for general purpose listening and despite owning several SDRs i still like owning a superhet with analog tuning, (don’t keep all your eggs in one basket)

        Reply

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