Tag Archives: PL-990

Tecsun PL-990 and H-501 may be the last high-end shortwave portables from Tecsun

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor from China, Mei Tao, who writes:

I would like to share the latest news about Tecsun’s New Products: the PL-990 and H-501.

These day I found that several Chinese BCLers who received the PL990 or H501 one after another–they posted many a detailed pictures of these two radios. Lots of my friends asked me when they could buy these two radios on the market.

Then I asked the Tecsun’s boss, Mr Liang.

He replied that they had begun to supply the PL-990 and H-501, but there were only a quantity of 300 in the first batch. These radios were first supplied to the subscribers who pre-ordered PL-990 or H-501 in October. Therefore other customers would have to wait for the second or the third batch. As for the foreign BCLers, I believe the wait time will be longer.

In addition, there is a bit of bad news: Mr Liang told me that PL-990 and H-501 were the last products he led the team to design, and they were his last masterpieces. In other words, the PL-990 and H-501 may be Tecsun’s last high-end portable and desktop radios. What a pity!

Thank you for sharing this, Mei Tao. Yes, that would be a pity indeed if the PL-990 and H-501 end up being the last high-end portables from Tecsun. I suppose it’s not surprising, though, as I’m sure some of the demand for shortwave radios is on the decline at the same time so many inexpensive DSP-based portables are saturating the market.

Two years ago I heard from a reliable source that Tecsun might be pulling the plug on their high-end portables, so I was quite surprised when I saw the PL-990 and H-501 announcements earlier this year. I suppose these models could be a “last hurrah” and certainly a way to mark the PRC’s 70th anniversary (as we’ve seen on some of the radios’ promotional material).

Regardless, I’m looking forward to reviewing both of these radios. Frankly, I’m quite happy a few hundred production models are in the hands of enthusiasts in China. Hopefully early adopters have given critical feedback to Tecsun so that when the first major production run is exported, the units will have been well-vetted and solid performers.


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Tecsun PL-990 and H-501 at the Shanghai International Audio Exhibition

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

Hi Thomas, here is Shanghai International Audio Exhibition with the new toys:

https://kknews.cc/zh-cn/digital/plamvgp.html

Check out all of the photos and commentary (in Chinese) by clicking here.

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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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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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Tecsun PL-990 and S-9900: A few facts about the new Tecsun radios

Yesterday, we posted a photo of a Tecsun S-9900 “prototype” that was shared by @katsu3_uc on Twitter:

Screenshot of katsu’s tweet with translation by Google.

Shortly thereafter, another image was shared featuring the Tecsun PL-990:

To put this in perspective: there hasn’t been a new product announcement like this from Tecsun since the appearance of the S-8800 nearly four years ago–!

This buzz created a flurry of emails to me in only a few hours.

Readers wanted more information and details about the new radios and, frankly, I wanted to confirm what details we could infer from the photos. I only knew that there would be a “high-performance” receiver introduced this year, but knew very little other than that–I certainly didn’t expect two radios in the works.

So I reached out to a trusted source and now have some solid information I’ll share below:

The Tecsun PL-990

Yes, the Tecsun PL-990 is real. The image above is a correct representation of the working prototype.

There is no official launch date yet, but if all goes well with production and testing, the export version will become available in December 2019 at the earliest. It’s highly unlikely it will ship prior to December–it’s more likely it could ship sometime in early 2020.

The Tecsun “S-9900”

There is a new model in development, but the anticipated design and model number are not as shown in the picture above. When @katsu3_uc corrected his initial post and clarified that the radio in the photo was only a prototype, this was correct. I believe this was one from many years ago.

There are few details about this radio as it is in the early stages of design/development.

Production, availability, and other product details are simply not available yet. I get the impression the chance of it shipping this year are very low.

Stay tuned…

As I learn more about these two Tecsun receivers, I’ll post updates here on the SWLing Post.  I’ll tag updates with model numbers (Tecsun PL-990 and Tecsun S-9900) so posts can be read in chronological order. Note that even though “S-9900” will not be the model number of the second receiver, I’ll use it until we have the new model number.

Of course, I’ll review both radios as soon as they’re ready for evaluation!


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