Category Archives: New Products

Photo of the new Tecsun PL-330, PL-990, and H-501

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

Hi Thomas, I just found this photo [above] on Reddit of three new radios from Tecsun: the PL-330, the PL-990, and the H-501. I knew about the PL-990, but I didn’t realize there was a PL-330 or H-501. Any inside info? 73, Lee

Thanks for your message, Lee. I had not seen the photo of the PL-330 until you sent this one.

The PL-330, I assume, is the latest in the PL-3XX line which has primarily been DSP-based ultralight broadcast receivers. I believe only one model, the PL-365/CountyComm GP5-SSB, had SSB capabilities. The PL-330 appears to have dedicated LSB and USB mode buttons on the front panel (lower right in photo below).

Since both the Digitech AR-1780 and XHDATA D-808 both have selectable sideband, I’m not surprised the new PL-330 does as well. I’m very curious if the PL-990 will be priced competitively like PL-3XX models have been in the past–perhaps below $80 US.

The PL-330 certainly appears to have taken design cues from the PL-990 in terms of overall control layout.

The Tecsun H-501 is a new model that was previously referred to as the Tecsun S-9900.  I believe a pilot run has been made of the PL-990 and H-501–possibly the PL-330 as well.

I will be reviewing each of these radios as soon as they’re available here in the US.

Thanks for the tip, Lee!

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The NooElec Balun 1:9 v2

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

Hi Thomas, was about to write you about some infos related to the NooElec balun when found that they now offer a v2 model:

https://www.nooelec.com/store/balun-one-nine-v2-barebones.html

The new balun has the same schematic as the previous one:

But it is slightly bigger, has a better connector for the antenna wires and (according to NooElec) uses a transformer which allows the tiny balun to work more efficiently from 0 to around 70 MHz (check out the charts found in the downloads section of this link).

The transformer used, judging from the pics, is a CoilCraft WB9-1, whose data can be found here:

https://www.coilcraft.com/wb_th.cfm

As I wrote the reason for this was the fact that a friend of mine reported that he used the (v1) balun with a Loop On Ground (LoG) Antenna !

If you look at the schematic (above) you’ll notice that there’s a “jumper” labeled R1 (zero Ohm resistor). That tiny detail is important, see, leaving the balun as is, it will work fine with a longwire, one just connects contact #1 to the antenna and #2 to a counterpoise or ground system and there he goes, BUT there’s another way to use the balun, that is, CUT the “jumper” (ok, resistor) labeled “R1”. If you cut it, the balun will become a 9:1 isolation transformer and with such a modification will work just fine with the KK5JY “LoG”
antenna: http://www.kk5jy.net/LoG/

According to what my friend reported, the balun works just fine, and although probably the ferrite core used in the V1 isn’t up to par with the original one used by KK5JY, the difference isn’t so huge.

Oh, and I also suspect that the modified balun may work fine with the KK5JY simpler passive loop http://www.kk5jy.net/rx-loop/ which may be a nice antenna for restricted spaces!

I think it may be of interest to people not knowing/willing to wind their own baluns, at that point one may just need an enclosure to protect the balun and putting up a receive antenna will be as easy as 1-2-3.

Thank you for sharing this! Readers: Grayhat has been encouraging me to deploy a LoG antenna at my home and I do plan to do so in the coming months. Please comment if you use a LoG similar to the KK5JY model and what your results have been.

Thank you again for the tip, Grayhat!

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Video: Comparing audio of Tecsun PL-990 and PL-680

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Steve Lebkuecher, who shares this video which compares the speaker audio of the PL-990 and PL-680:

Click here to view on YouTube.

I would love to hear a comparison with the PL-880 since the PL-880’s audio is also superior to that of the PL-680.

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What is the cheapest radio?

I assume people who read this blog have so many things in common, one of them is a love for gadgets, especially radios and SDRs. To others, a radio is a radio, but not to us. We invest so much money and time to obtain and play and experiment with different tools and compare them. I have had so many SDRs and some traditional radios (not as much as Thomas, though) and I really get the best that I can afford for my needs.

But one day walking in a local electronics shop in Berlin/Germany, a small radio caught my eye, not because it was any special or different than other pocket-sized radios, but because of its price tag. It was the first time I had seen a single digit price for a radio!

I bought it without hesitation, for 9,99€ and later I realized it’s even cheaper in Austria: 6€ !

I’m talking about “ok. ORF 110”, an AM/FM radio running on two AAA batteries and using analog knobs and no display. Nothing special can be found on this little device; It has power on/off button, AM/FM band switch, volume knob, analog frequency knob, earphone socket and an internal telescopic antenna with a maximum 18cm length. And it does even come with 2 years of warranty.

The first thing that I did was compare it with my beloved portable radio: the Sony ICF-SW100, and I must say that I’m amazed. This little radio is on-par with Sony on FM; Unfortunately I can’t receive any AM signals from my apartment, so there wasn’t much that I could test there. But overall I’m really satisfied with the reception and audio quality. This can be a good companion for anyone who wants to have a cheap backup radio.

Here’s the link to the product: https://de.ok-online.com/de/radios/radios/orf-110.html

I wonder if you know of anything even cheaper? I would love to see and try what would be the cheapest (I haven’t searched the Chinese websites though. I was looking for something that I can buy here in Europe without spending on shipping or customs).

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Gospell product lineup for IBC 2019 includes the GR-22 portable DRM radio

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

SWLing Post readers might be interested in learning about Gospell’s newly-announced DRM receivers and active antenna products. The GR-22 “pocket-sized” “full-wave” receiver that’s supposed to be available for purchase by June 2020 seems especially interesting.

(Source: Gospell Press Release)

Gospell to announce the DRM monitoring system and imminent release of portable DRM receiver, and more

Chengdu, China – Gospell, a leading supplier of pay TV system and equipment, satellite TV receiving products and microwave products, announces its product lineup for IBC 2019. The company will debut several new products featuring DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) for both consumer and industry market, including:

    • GR-22 – Portable DRM/AM/FM Receiver
    • GR-227 – DRM Car Adapter
    • GR-301 – DRM/AM/FM Monitoring Receiver
    • GR-310 – Audio Broadcast Monitoring Platform
    • GR-AT3 – High Performance Active HF Antenna

GR-22 is a sleek and classy portable radio from Gospell, the contemporary stylistics of exterior design fits in your personal style, crystal clear DRM digital radio and AM/FM brings practicality and comfort to your daily enjoyment. Despite its pocket-size, it’s a nifty full wave band receiver packed up in a tiny body that enables you to explore a wide variety of radio stations. It is also future-proofed for the next generation DRM-E technology. You have access to all the presets, station names, program details and even Journaline news on the easy to ready large LCD in a simple and intuitive way. Sleep timer set your radio to automatically switch off or wake up at your convenience. Listen to your favorite radio programs anywhere you like with 4 x AA batteries or connect it to mains. GR-22 is a multi-functional radio that is flexible to your listen habits. GR-22 will be available for purchase on Q2 2020.

GR-227 is a car digital radio adapter that utilizes most advanced interference and noise cancellation technology to receive digital radio in car while achieving the best audio quality and serve it to the car audio system over aux cable or by transmitting over an unused FM frequency. The receiver is fully compatible with DRM standard that is being deployed over the world, with its latest audio codec xHE-AAC. Based on software defined radio technology, GR-227 is ready for the emerging DRM-E standard that extends the DRM broadcast to FM band.

GR-301 is a high performance monitoring receiver that supports DRM, AM and FM. GR-301 supports the collection of key parameters of audio broadcasting, including SNR, MER, CRC, PSD, RF level, audio availability and service information. The collection and uploading of parameters meets DRM RSCI standards. The GR-301 can work independently or be deployed with other receivers to become a node in the service evaluation network. The GR-301 supports the xHE-AAC audio codec and is capable of handling the latest DRM-E standard through software upgrades.

GR-310 is a management platform designed for audio broadcast monitoring and receiver control purposes, it manages the geographically distributed GR-301 receivers. The platform can formulate receiving schedules, configure the receivers to perform receiving tasks, perform real-time browsing of the reception status, store historical data, and visualize the statistic data in a intuitive way. In addition to monitoring and analyzing data, the GR-310 platform also supports real-time audio monitoring and configuration of alarm conditions, alarms will be triggered when rules are met.

GR-AT3 is a high-performance active monopole antenna with reception frequency ranges from 0.3 to 50MHz. It is designed to work in harsh environments with respect to strong man-made noise and stern natural conditions. It is compact and easy to install, supplied accessories enable rapid installation. The antenna is comprised of a wide band amplifier in an IP67 waterproof aluminum body together with an active element made of a stainless-steel. The solid construction ensures durability and maintenance-free operation.

“We’re constantly working to ensure we’re bring the latest technology in our product”, says Haochun Liu, assistant to general manager, “These products underscore the Gospell’s commitment to providing easy access to high quality information at affordable prices. Both consumer and industry can benefit from it.”

Gospell will be exhibiting at IBC 2019 in the Amsterdam International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) Hall 3 C67, September 13-17. To schedule a meeting at IBC 2019 or access a sample of the featured IBC showcase, email haojq@gospell.com

About Gospell

Established in 2001, Gospell Digital Technology Co Ltd (GOSPELL). is a hi-tech enterprise with R&D, manufacturing, business consultancy and planning, trade, delivery, project implementation and after sales service, acting as a complete DTV and triple-play solution provider for Digital TV/OTT related projects. Headquartered in GOSPELL INDUSTRIAL PARK at Chenzhou, Hunan Province for CPE related production manufacturing, GOSPELL also has its office in Shenzhen for business/marketing management and administration, in Chengdu for R&D and headend/transmitter system production/debugging and Customer Service Center, and in 12 cities in China as well as international offices in India, Africa and Mexico.

Thank you for sharing this, Ed. Looking through the press release, I don’t see any DRM radios where they note shortwave reception, however, the GR-22 is being called a “full wave band receiver.” Perhaps “full wave” is their way of indicating shortwave reception?

It looks like the GR-22, and all of the products listed above, are squarely targeting the new DRM market in India.

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