Tag Archives: Tecsun PL-680

Reader Survey: Comparing the Tecsun PL-680 and PL-660 on medium wave (AM)

Tecsun-PL-680-MW

[Update: Please note that this survey has been closed, but the audio samples–labeled Radio A and Radio B–will remain to allow others the opportunity to make an evaluation prior to reading the PL-680 review.]

[Update 2: The PL-680 review and readers’ survey results have now been posted! Check it out here.]

The results from the PL-680/PL-660 reader surveys (here and here) have been pouring in! As of this posting, well over 200 readers have participated by listening to and evaluating the two receiver comparison surveys. Thank you!

Yesterday evening, I spent time comparing the Tecsun PL-660 and PL-680 with medium wave reception in mind. I recorded dozens of samples and picked four broadcast recordings I felt best represented receiver performance. Note that this will be my final survey before I post the PL-680 review later this week.

If you’re not familiar with these readers surveys, please read our first post, as it contains all of the vital info and disclaimers.

To participate in this survey, start by simply listening, then fill out the form that follows with your choice of “Best Radio” for each broadcast. All of these medium wave samples were recorded in the evening hours, which I believe is more indicative of receiver sensitivity, selectivity and AGC. Notice that I indicate distance to target station (as the crow flies).


Audio Samples

AM_750_WSB_logo750 AM – WSB Atlanta, Georgia, USA (171 mi/275 km)

Radio A

Radio B

CFZM740 AM – CFZM Toronto, Canada (580 mi/933 km)

Radio A

Radio B

940WMAC940 AM – WMAC Macon, Georgia, USA (204 mi/328 km)

Radio A

Radio B

WLW-Logo700 AM – WLW Cincinnati, OH, USA (271 mi/436 km)

Radio A

Radio B


Submit your response

Click here to use our response form to vote on your favorites, or simply use the form embedded below:

I’ll leave all PL-660/PL-680 comparison surveys open for evaluation until I publish the Tecsun PL-680 review.

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Reader Survey: Comparing the Tecsun PL-680 and PL-660 synchronous detection

PL-680-Sync-Detector

[Update: Please note that this survey has been closed, but the audio samples–labeled Radio A and Radio B–will remain to allow others the opportunity to make an evaluation prior to reading the PL-680 review.]

[Update 2: The PL-680 review and readers’ survey results have now been posted! Check it out here.]

The results from the PL-680/PL-660 reader survey have been pouring in! As of this posting, over 160 readers have participated by listening to and evaluating the AM shortwave audio samples. Thank you!

This morning, I spent time comparing the Tecsun PL-660 and PL-680 with synchronous detection in mind. Time permitting, I hope to publish at least a medium wave audio survey, too, before I post the PL-680 review later this week.   I doubt I will post an SSB reception survey since my digital recorder injects a bit of noise into those recordings.

If you’re not familiar with these readers surveys, please read our previous post, as it contains all of the vital info and disclaimers.

To participate in this survey, start by simply listening, then fill out the form that follows with your choice of “Best Radio” for each broadcast. Please note that I include two recordings per broadcast, but ask that you choose the best radio overall for each broadcast.

For example: if you feel that Radio A is better in the first recording of Radio Australia, but Radio B is slightly better in the second recording (again, of Radio Australia), you still need to chose which radio is best overall in the Radio Australia recordings set.

You’ll note that signal stability varies between the two recordings; this is simply the nature of shortwave radio. Also note that each recording was made within one minute of the other in each set.


 Audio Samples

Radio Australia 9,580 kHz

ABC-Radio-AustraliaBelow I’ve provided two recordings of Radio Australia on 9,580 kHz. In both recordings, I have the PL-660 and PL-680 in normal AM mode for the first half of the recording–you will hear a het (hetrodyne–which sounds like a high-pitch tone) in the upper sideband. About halfway through the recording, I switch each radio into lower sideband sync, which effectively removes the het sound.

I have provided two recordings for each radio since QSB (fading) was fast and deep. Indeed, you’ll note in the second set of recordings that the radios had more difficulty maintaining the sync lock.

First Recording: Radio A

First Recording: Radio B

Second Recording: Radio A

Second Recording: Radio B

Radio Riyadh 17,615 kHz

Saudi-Arabia - Radio-RiyhadRadio Riyadh could certainly be considered weak-signal listening this morning, though their opening on 16 meters was quite good for the time of day.

In the recordings below, I start in AM mode, then switch the radio to USB sync after 15 seconds, and to LSB sync after 30 seconds.

In the first set of recordings both radio’s filters are set wide; in the second set, narrow.

First Recording: Radio A – (wide band filter)

First Recording: Radio B – (wide band filter)

Second Recording: Radio A – (narrow band filter)

Second Recording: Radio B – (narrow band filter)

 


Submit your response

Click here to use our response form to vote on your favorites, or simply use the form embedded below:

I’ll leave all PL-660/PL-680 comparison surveys open for evaluation until I publish the Tecsun PL-680 review.

Spread the radio love

Reader Survey: Comparing the Tecsun PL-660 and PL-680 on AM shortwave

Tecsun-PL-680

[Update: Please note that this survey has been closed, but the audio samples–labeled Radio A and Radio B–will remain to allow others the opportunity to make an evaluation prior to reading the PL-680 review.]

[Update 2: The PL-680 review and readers’ survey results have now been posted! Check it out here.]

I’ve been spending a little time with my new Tecsun PL-680 today, and it’s been most interesting. Of course, I’ve already begun to form a few opinions about the radio and am taking notes. Yet I never believe a shortwave radio can be judged in one sitting; there are simply too many variables to account for, such as minute changes in propagation, fading, local radio interference, all of which can have a temporary effect on performance. It’s better to judge a radio after having used it over the course of at least a week or so, in diverse reception conditions.

Still, as I tuned the PL-680, I was already wondering how it compared with its predecessor, the PL-660–? And since I’ve received at least ten emails from readers curious about the same thing, I thought I might start a series of blind audio tests in order to let our readers decide for themselves.

So…ready for some fun?

TecsunPL680andPL660

Below, I’ve embedded eight recordings comparing the PL-660 and PL-680 on shortwave. All of these are recordings of broadcast stations, no SSB yet (I simply didn’t have the time today).

To participate, just listen, then fill out the form that follows with your choice of “Best Radio” for each broadcast. But do note the following:

  1. I’ve attempted to set the audio levels equally on both radios. Iused the broadcast in the first recording to set the audio levels; they remain at this level for the remainder of the recordings. Nonetheless, you’ll note that one of the radios seems to have lower audio on a couple of the higher-band recordings; this is not due to any change in the incoming volume nor adjustments to the audio levels.
  2. As seen in the photo above, I used a Zoom H2N digital recorder to make these recordings on the tailgate of my truck.  Any time you hook a digital recorder up to a radio on the medium wave or shortwave bands, you most likely will inject a little noise. When I listened to each radio without the recorder in-line, I determined that the Zoom injected very little audible noise.
  3. The assignment of “Radio A” and “Radio B” was chosen by a coin toss–so pretty much at random!
  4. I included two recordings of WWV on 25 MHz. This is because the reception conditions from WWV change in a a matter of minutes, which would provide recording variation. I thought it would be best to include two such recordings.
  5. Both radios have the gain set to “DX” and bandwidth set to wide. None of these recordings employ synchronous detection. The telescopic antenna was fully extended on both units. Additionally, both radios had the tone control set to “bass.”
  6. No less relevant: it was 32F/OC with strong wind gusts and blowing snow in my face when I made these recordings. But I knew our readers would understand (and likely appreciate) this dedication to the absorbing art of  SWLing…just as I appreciate your participation in judging this head-to-head radio showdown!

Audio Samples

9,395 kHz – Radio Prague via Global 24 (strong signal example)

Radio A

Radio B

25,000 kHz – WWV Fort Collins, CO

Radio A – 1st recording

Radio B – 1st recording

Radio A – 2nd recording

Radio B – 2nd recording

17,620 kHz – Radio France International (weak signal example)

Radio A

Radio B


Submit your response

Click here to use our response form to vote on your favorites, or simply use the form embedded below:

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Unboxing the Tecsun PL-680

Tecsun-PL-680-6When I got home, after a very long day, I found that FedEx delivered the Tecsun PL-680 I ordered from Anon-Co.  I haven’t even had a moment to listen to the PL-680 yet, but I hope to make time tomorrow.

Tecsun-PL-680-7

I’m happy to see that the PL-680 has hassle-free, well-designed packaging: a simple cardboard insert inside the box, yet everything was held in place firmly (no rattling).

Tecsun-PL-680-2

The PL-680 comes packaged in its padded case.

Tecsun-PL-680-3

Once it’s removed from the box, you can see the accompanying accessories: four standard Tecsun AA rechargeable batteries, one external wire antenna, one set of earphones and one AC adapter/charger.

Tecsun-PL-680-4

 

The PL-680 was enclosed in a poly bag inside the padded case–it also ships with a protective plastic film over the display.

Tecsun-PL-680-5

Wow! The PL-680 certainly looks like a spitting image of the PL-600. I believe this is a good thing as I always preferred the look of the PL-600 over that of the PL-660.

More to come tomorrow! Follow the tag PL-680 for all posts about this new Tecsun radio.

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The Tecsun PL-680 now shipping

pl680-frontantenna-big

SWLing Post reader, Steve, writes:

Anna [at Anon-Co] has the PL-680 in stock according to a email I received from her this morning. Readers who are interested in ordering the radio should be aware of the Chinese New Year and the potential for delays.

Thanks, Steve. I received a similar email from Anna. They have listed the PL-680 on their website and, I’m sure, will post on eBay soon. The price is $95 US plus shipping; a reasonable price, if the PL-680 is an improvement over the PL-660.

I have already ordered a PL-680 from Anon-Co and it is on the way. I paid extra for FedEx shipping, so it should arrive before week end. I’ll post updates as I test this radio.

As Steve mentions in his note, Anon-Co will observe the Chinese New Year and will be unavailable from February 13th to the 26th.

I *should* have at least a preliminary review posted before the 26th so those of you who are tempted by the PL-680 will at least have some insight prior to purchase.

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Tecsun PL-680 could be available in January 2015

(Image source: Nevada Radio)

(Image source: Nevada Radio)

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Steve, who writes:

Anna from Anon-co (eBay seller) sent me this little tidbit of info on the PL-680 […] I thought I would pass it along given your interest. At least we know it is a real product and could be available as early as next month.

[From Anna:]

“The PL-680 I believe may be available mid-January, but this is still an estimation. As far as I can say at this moment, I believe it is a model very similar to the PL-660, but with a different outlook (similar to PL-600). Whether there are any other changes like the speaker or performance wise I don’t know at the moment. We’ll have to wait for a little while still. I also don’t have a price indication yet, so this too takes some time still.”

I’ll buy the PL-680 as soon as it’s available and review it. It’ll be interesting to see how it compares–performance-wise–with its older siblings: the PL-660 and PL-880. My hunch is that it’s simply a cosmetic re-design of the PL-660, with a few tweaks perhaps. I find it so interesting that Tecsun borrowed from the design of the PL-600–a radio that’s been on the market for several years. In truth, I’ve always preferred the body design of the PL-600 over the PL-660.

We’ll post all updates with the tag: PL-680

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The Tecsun PL-680: A new portable in the works?

PL-680-Nevada

(Photo source: Nevada Radio)

SWLing Post reader, Antonio, writes:

“It seems that a new radio is on the horizon. Nevada Radio, in the U.K., has announced the new Tecsun PL-680.”

Thanks, Antonio–admittedly, I was completely unaware of this upcoming model. Based on the photo (above) via Nevada Radio, the PL-680 looks very much like the PL-600.

Unlike the PL-600, the PL-680 appears to have USB/LSB selectable AM synchronous detection.

Here are the specifications/features per Nevada Radio:

Frequency ranges :

  • FM:     87 – 108 MHz
  • MW:    522-1620 kHz
  • SW:    1711-29999 kHz
  • LW:    100-519 kHz
  • AIR:    118-137 MHz

Features :

  • FM stereo / MW / LW / SW SSB / AIR band (118-137 MHz)
  • Dual conversion for MW / LW / SW with excellent sensitivity & selectivity
  • Synchronous detector (USB / LSB)
  • SW Single Side Band (SSB) with BFO control
  • 1900 station memories
  • Multi-tuning methods:
  • Auto tuning storage (ATS)
  • Auto-scan tuning with 5 seconds pre-listening
  • Manual tuning
  • Direct keypad entry
  • 9K/10K tuning step for MW (adjustable AM tuning step (9K/10K)
  • Sleep timer from 1-120 minutes
  • Dual alarm clock with adjustable auto turn off stopper from 1-90 minutes
  • DX / Normal / Local antenna gain
  • Treble / Bass tone selection
  • Back light and snooze function
  • Signal strength & battery consumption display
  • Direct reset function
  • Built-in rechargeable function (Ni-MH rechargeable battery only)
  • Extra long telescopic antenna
  • FM/SW antenna jack
  • Stereo earphone jack
  • DC jack (6V)
  • Power sources: 4 x UM3 (AA size) batteries (excluded) or DC 6V adaptor (excluded)
  • Dimensions – 190 x 35 x 112mm  WHD

So far, I’ve seen no information regarding pricing/availability. I will update the SWLing Post with information about the Tecsun PL-680 as soon as it becomes available. Simply follow the tag: PL-680

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