Category Archives: New Products

Sangean SR-36: Paul discovers the basic AM/FM DSP receiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul, who writes:

This seems to be a new basic radio from Sangean:

Click here to view on Amazon (affiliate link supports the SWLing Post)

I’m not sure a radio could get more basic than this one: AA batteries, one volume control, one tuning control, built-in speaker, and a headphones jack.

Thanks for sharing, Paul!

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Tecsun PL-990x vs. PL-880: Comparing SSB audio characteristics and pre-production/production PL-990 models

A number of SWLing Post readers have been asking about SSB audio characteristics on the new Tecsun PL-990.

Earlier this week, I took a moment while visiting family to make a few quick comparison videos with the PL-880 outdoors and away from RFI.

As I mention in the videos, there are a lot of cicadas singing in the background and you can also hear a bit of road noise–not ideal for audio, but I had to take advantage of a break in the weather!

You should also note that this isn’t a sensitivity comparison. The radios were pretty close together–if measuring sensitivity, I would have spaced them much further apart. Rather, I hope these videos give you an idea of the audio characteristics in SSB (both CW narrow and voice) and one comparison in AM. If you’re curious about sensitivity and how the PL-990x compares, check out Dan Robinsons initial evaluation.

CW Audio: .5 kHz filter on the 80 meter band

CW Audio: .5 kHz filter on the 30 meter band

SSB audio: 75 meter band

AM Audio: 5 kHz filter WWV 10 MHz

My thoughts

While these videos are far from ideal, they should give you a real-word impression of audio characteristics.

Personally, I think the PL-990x is a much better performer in single sideband. The noise floor is lower, but I think that may have more to do with better filter implementation. I’ve always felt that the PL-880 audio sounds “wider” than the selected filter in the more narrow SSB selections.

In addition, the PL-990x exhibits better SSB stability that’s especially noticeable in CW. The PL-880, at times, almost sounds garbled in comparison.

I also mentioned in the last video that the audio sounds better on the PL-880. I should have qualified that statement a bit better.

In general, yes, the PL-880 audio sounds better because its built-in speaker has slightly better audio fidelity that’s most noticeable when listening to music on the FM band, or a strong local AM station. On shortwave, I feel like I actually prefer the PL-990 audio for all but the strongest stations although I do wish the PL-990 filter could be widened to 9 kHz like the PL-880.

PL-990x (pre-production) vs. PL-990 (production model)

Tecsun Radios Australia reached out and kindly sent me one of their PL-990 production model radios to compare with the PL-990x pre-production model from Anon-Co we’ve been testing up to this point. This has been incredibly helpful as I put together my PL-990 review for the 2021 World Radio TV Handbook.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I feel it can be problematic using a pre-production model radio for review only because there can be differences in quality control when a small number of pre-production units are manufactured compared with a proper first production run (remember this case?).

I’ve only had the production model PL-990 for a few days and most of that time we’ve been dealing with the remnants of hurricane Sally moving through our area dumping torrential rains.

Last night, however, a massive tree fell across our road knocking out power for the better part of 5 hours. This gave me a perfect excuse to start my comparison indoors while rain continued outside.

Based on my comparisons last night, it appears performance is nearly identical between the production and pre-production models. I’ve still more testing to do, but my initial impressions are most positive. Very happy quality appears to be consistent.

Many thanks again to Tecsun Radios Australia for making this comparison possible.

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CHA MPAS Lite: Chameleon designs a new compact portable antenna system

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Don, who notes that Chameleon Antenna has just introduced the CHA MPAS Lite: a modular portable antennas system covering from 6M – 160 meters.

I know a number of participants in the Parks On The Air program who use the CHA MPAS antenna system–the MPAS Lite is the “little brother” of that antenna, according to Chameleon.

Although designed with the new Icom IC-705 and other QRP transceivers in mind, the CHA MPAS Lite can handle up to 100 watts in SSB or 50 watts in CW.

They plan to start shipping the antenna in early November 2020 and the price for the system is $340.00. That may sound like a lot of money for an antenna (it is, let’s face it!) but if you speak with pretty much anyone who owns a Chameleon antenna they’ll tell you it’s worth it. The quality is second to none. I’ve been testing their Emcomm III wire antenna recently and it must be one of the most robust portable wire antenna systems I’ve ever evaluated.

Also, all of their products are designed and manufactured in the USA.

Click here to check out the CHA MPAS Lite product page.

We recently added Chameleon Antenna to our list of sponsors here on the SWLing Post. I’m very proud to include them because one of my personal missions is to promote mom-and-pop companies that push innovation here in our radio world! It’s humbling that they support us too.

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Anon-Co publishes pricing and availability of Tecsun PL-990x packages

Anon-Co has just posted pricing and availability of the Tecsun PL-990x:

The PL-990x package like the pre-production unit I received costs $235 US shipped free via the postal service or via FedEx for an additional $9.00.

This package includes the Tecsun PL-990x, Tecsun EP-20 stereo earphones, 16GB microSD card, Tecsun AN-03L wire antenna, protective carrying pouch, charging cable, USB wall charger, radio amateur world map, and an English manual.

Click here to view the product page.

In October, Anon-Co will also start shipping a PL-990x package that comes in a hardcover case and an ICR-100 recorder. This version will be $283.00 US.

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The ELAD FDM-S3 is in production and shipping to distributors!

(Source: Elad USA)

Elad USA Inc.
618 Cummings Chapel Road
Ridgeville, SC 29472 sales@elad-usa.com or call 312-320-8160 (10am-6pm)

PRESS RELEASE

Elad S.R.L. Italy and Elad USA Inc.

Elad are pleased to announce the ELAD FDM-S3 is now in production and shipping to distributors world-wide.

The ELAD FDM-S3 is a 16bit state of the art Software Defined Radio, for radio enthusiasts, shortwave listeners and radio hobbyists and test labs. The S3 contains several exciting options. It will allow for reception of up to 24Mhz of bandwidth across the frequency range of 9kHz to 108Mhz as standard. (Extended range from 9Khz- 2Ghz will be available later in the year with an optional internal downconverter.)

Oscillator features:

Standard Oscillator version with TCXO 0.1ppm lockable to GPS (included) need only GPS antenna

Optional Oscillator OCXO with less phase noise and accuracy lockable to GPS. Includes GPS Antenna.

The radio can be used with Elad’s famous SW-2 software or third-party software, like SDR- Console from Simon Brown.

The radio has Bias-T power on two of the three antenna ports, one for HF and one for VHF to enable items like powered LNA/Filters

Connects to PC via USB3.0 cable (supplied) and GPS can also be interrogated via UBlox software.

The radio is in production now and shipping, pre-order for USA/Canada via https://shop.elad-usa.com/sdr-radio/
or in the UK via Martin Lynch https://www.hamradio.co.uk/
or Germany via http://www.wimo.com/
or direct from the Elad Factory http://www.eladit.com
For Release 09/14/2020

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Elecraft posts photos of the new K4 transceiver in production

Elecraft had hoped to start shipping the new K4 flagship transceiver this week and I’m sure it’s been a real challenge realizing this goal in the day and age of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This morning, Elecraft posted the following photo on their Twitter account with the caption, “New K4s in production 🙂“:

I’m sure this is a welcome sight for those who have pre-ordered the K4.

Many thanks to Paul Evans for the tip!

Click here to check out the K4 product page at Elecraft.

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The $50 tinySA spectrum analyzer is here!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Evans (W4/VP9KF), who writes:

At last, the tinySA is out and target is $50 (orders at R&L): https://www.tinysa.org/wiki/

tinySA Introduction Video

The following information regarding orders and availability was taken from the tinySA Wiki Page:


Buying the tinySA

There are currently (September 1st, 2020) no clone tinySA. All are genuine and manufactured by hugen.

Various persons bought some small amount of tinySA and are now selling them on various sites. The sellers listed below are official partners and are guaranteed to deliver good service in case of problems.

The tinySA is on pre-order at Alibaba.com
For other payment methods, such as Paypal, hit the “chat now” button and Maggie will help you.

At the right top of the browser window there should be “my messages” where you will have a better overview of your messages

The tinySA is on pre-order at AliExpress

The tinySA is on pre-order at R&L Electronics in the USA

Shipment is expected to restart end of August

An additional re-seller is expected to appear on eBay, Amazon and other platforms, these will also originate from hugen.

How to recognize a genuine tinySA.

  • Look for the tinySA logo. As this is part of our trademark, no others manufacturers may use this logo.
  • Look for the nice black gift box with the golden logo and the accessories as you can see on the First Use page

For more info about the tinySA check out the tinySA Wiki.

Thank you again, Paul, for sharing this tip! I love how the tinySA developers recognize it’s only a matter of time before clones appear on the market. Sadly, a true sign of the times…

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