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 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.
Currently there are no details, but they’re mentioning SSB support, which might suggest, that they’re using a well known Si4735-D60 or Si4732-A10 chip. Also it is unknown if device might be programmable as original (non-handheld) version of this receiver. Speaker seems to be built in.
Might be interesting to know, if anybody from The SWLing Post has decided to risk ~100 USD to check this out 🙂
PS: Thanks for your outstanding work, I’m checking The SWLing Post daily 🙂
Thank you, Konrad! Yes, I think you’re right in that this is simply another Si473X-based receiver.
Interesting: the aluminum alloy chassis almost seems to be snap-together. The connection tabs remind me of radio kits that use circuit board material at the chassis.
Also, the buttons and labels on the front faceplate seem so “homebrew.”
Like Konrad, I would be interested if anyone has tried this radio. I’m not sure I’d be ready to fork out money on it quite yet, although it is certainly an interesting take on the Si473X.
The PL-380 was one of the first portable DSP radios I purchased. It was mind-blowing at time of introduction and I still have it in my radio arsenal.
Without a doubt, DSP (Digital Signal Processing) technology has forever changed the portable receiver market in so many positive ways:
It’s made portable radios more affordable for consumers
It’s increased the profit margin for manufacturers
It’s made features like SSB mode and variable filter width affordable
When properly implemented, DSP technology can provide DX-grade performance even in Ultralight receivers
All-in-all, DSP technology has made portable receivers more accessible and has undeniably reinvigorated the shortwave radio market over the past decade
All very good things!
But I must admit, I do miss legacy receiver design–for example, dual-conversion frequency synthesized radios like the Sony ICF-SW7600GR:
Or the Panasonic RF-B65:
For me? It’s all in the noise and static.
I think we’re probably all wired a little differently when it comes to how we listen.
I know radio enthusiasts that can pull station IDs out of the noise with their AM or SSB filters set to very narrow widths. I have trouble doing this and tend to actually widen filters when doing weak signal work (assuming there are no adjacent stations). It’s as if the filter in my brain needs more information–more bandwidth–to increase intelligibility. I only engage narrow filters to block adjacent signals or (for narrow bandwidth modes like CW) to decrease the influence and effects of atmospheric/natural noises (QRN).
I find that many DSP portables add a “mushy” audio quality to the static found in the noise floor of the receiver. I hear DSP artifacts and that “watery” quality especially if using headphones. No doubt, it’s the DSP simply doing its thing: minimizing background noise and seeking to clarify voice and audio information. But this actually tinkers (or interferes) with my brain’s ability to pull out intelligible information to some degree.
I find I prefer the audio quality of static in analog receivers.
Of course, a bit of this might also be tied to a receiver’s dynamic range and AGC; qualities I also tend to prefer in my benchmark legacy portables.
Does this make any sense?
In truth, this is difficult to explain and, dear reader, I may very well have lost you here. If not, I’m curious what you think.
Do you prefer the audio characteristics of DSP receivers, or legacy receiver architecture? Are there aspects you like of both? Please comment!
After the initial flurry of reports, interest, and purchases of the XHDATA D-808 portable receiver by radio enthusiasts, the door on USA shipments seems to have slammed shut.
This fine DSP-based portable went live in early December 2017 for USA purchasers when it was offered by AliExpress for $69.98 with shipping. Later, the RadiWow site started selling the radio for nearly the same price including USA shipping.
Now in mid-March 2018, the D-808 is nowhere to be found on AliExpress:
Sure, the RadiWow firm still ships the D-808 to the USA, but for a ridiculous “we don’t really want your business anyway” price. (A company that has a product page with “LOGO” in the corner is certainly not paying attention…perhaps they meant to enter “USD $20” as the cost? :^)
My hope is that XHDATA is working on an exclusive USA distributorship, such as Kaito Electronics Inc. has in this country for Kaito radios, or perhaps the D-808 will eventually be found only on Amazon USA. Maybe the highly regarded EBay seller Anon-Co (Anna) is at work behind the scene to offer this model exclusively.
What’s going on here? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington. He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.
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