Tag Archives: Tecsun

Desheng retailing the Tecsun H-501 at 1500 Yuan

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Robert Richmond, who writes:

You probably have seen the info months ago, but I just noted Tecsun China has officially launched the Tecsun H-501 receiver in China priced at 1500 Yuan, which is about $230 USD. Add shipping.

The Chinese domestic market H-501 model on AliExpress and Bangood has been averaging $400+ USD. I have no idea if the Desheng/Tecsun store ships outside China, but it seems like a considerable savings for customers outside of China if actually capable of ordering there.

The Tecsun homage currently features a H-501 banner:

http://www.tecsun.com.cn/

The homepage link for more info takes you to a Desheng/Tecsun sales page including specs, multiple pics, consumer reviews, etc. here:

https://dgdesheng.yswebportal.cc/pd.jsp?id=89

Best Regards,

Robert Richmond

Thank you for the tip, Robert! I’ll be waiting for Anon-Co to distribute the export version of the H-501, but the 1500 Yuan/$230 USD price point is much closer to what I expected rather than those early inflated AliExpress prices.  Thanks again!

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Michael’s impressions of the Tecsun PL-330

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Michael Sharpe, who writes:

Hi Thomas,

Here are some personal observations after playing with the Tecsun PL-330 for a couple weeks, maybe an hour or two a day. I made a point of picking up the 310ET , the CCrane Skywave SSB and the G6 Aviator at the same time for some comparisons.

These comments are in no particular order.

The PL330 is very lightweight compared to the other three. This could be perceived in two ways.

A. The case seems less sturdy than it could be, it creaks and ‘gives’ a little when operating some of the controls that require ‘squeezing’ to activate a button. I would prefer a more solid feel.

B. The radio is very light which is a plus for travelling with hand luggage. You’ll like that 🙂

The backlight can be set to permanently ‘on’, I really like this. None of the other radios do this when on battery power only. I don’t consider any radio ‘portable’ if it is tethered to a power supply. It would be nice if the buttons lit up but let’s stay real here !

Tuning: I am not crazy about the detented operation of the tuning knob, but I recognise that this is a requirement on the lower cost portables that use digital tuning. However…the PL-330 scores highly because the detent clicking is soft and silent. When compared to the Skywave SSB, there is a world of difference. For me, a clicking knob eliminates the option to tune around the ham bands when my wife is trying to sleep. I did email CCrane to ask if a solution may be suggested, but the response was negative. The G6 Aviator wins hands down in this area, but apples to pears !

Memory Tuning: I really like the options here, easy to use and the time selective ETM+ is genius. I also like the easy ‘delete all memories’ option which enables a fresh start at any time.

Audio: It’s not a PL-880 but its Ok for a small portable and the bandwidth option is a big plus. I’m no expert here because I do a fair proportion of my listening with a mono single side earpiece at night.

AM: Seems to work fine. Pulls in everything I normally listen to and seems sensitive and stable enough.

FM: Seems to work fine. Pulls in everything I normally listen to (not much!) and seems sensitive enough. Brilliant that it will suppress stereo unless the headphone socket is used.

SW: I spend a lot of time here and it seems good enough. I did compare reception with the Belka DX and had nothing to complain about. I have learned that keyboard tuning to a frequency near the frequency of interest and then final tuning with the annoying detent knob is the way to go. Also, memory tuning is easy and makes the detent truly functional.

SSB: This my main area of interest as I love to tune around the ham bands, especially when travelling with no access to real ham gear. The fine tuning at 10 Hz with suppressed soft muting is a real winner. It would be nice if soft mute could be disabled completely but I understand this is limitation of the DSP hardware.

Calibration seems easy too with just a long press on the USB button when the audio is zero beat (note the calibration option is for the AM band but utilizes the USB or LSB to zero beat and set). I don’t do this any more, after all, what’s the point when tuning around to listen 🙂 Just twiddle the knob until it sounds good and Bob’s your uncle. I think the ‘Step’ button should replace the ‘Sync’ button and not be shared with the sunken ‘lock’ button. Too squeezy.

SYNC: Don’t bother. I tried it several times, not so much any more. Waste of a perfectly good button. (See SSB above.)

Battery: I actually like the battery choice. I get that AA’s or AAA’s are a good choice for emergency use because of availability but in an emergency you would probably have your phone with you, and some means of charging it. Just have an appropriate cable or adapter in the bag and you are good to go. My current phone uses the usb micro, as does the PL330 so I may be a little biased at this time.

Antenna: For portable use, the existing antennas work fine. The SW input jack works and the ability to switch the AM signal source between the internal ferrite and the external jack is a nice touch if you want to experiment.

I cut the wrist strap off, not sure what benefit this offers but they all have them. I must be missing something ?

A rear stand would be nice but it stands on its base reasonably well.

So….for around $60, it’s a no-brainer in my book.

Hope this helps. I’m no expert when it comes to deviation ratios, 3rd order intercepts, microvolt sensitivity etc. etc. but these are my impressions from a guy who just likes to play with radios.

Best wishes

Michael (N9YZM)

Thank you for sharing your impressions of the Tecsun PL-330, Michael! I’ve also been testing the PL-330 and find that it is a great value for $60–certainly a low-cost alternative to the C.Crane CC Skywave SSB (although I much prefer the build quality of the Skywave). My family life has been so busy this past month, I’ve had little dedicated time to do comparisons, but it appears to me that the PL-330 is a solid performer.

Thanks again for sharing your assessment, Michael!

Click here to check out the Tecsun PL-330 (export version) at Anon-Co.

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Video: Nick compares the new Tecsun PL-368 with other portables

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Nick Booras, who writes:

Hi Thomas

I posted a video of this radio compared to a couple other popular radios. Thought your viewers might be interested. This 368 is a significant improvement over the 360 and 365.

Thank you so much for sharing this, Nick! People who love the form factor of the PL-360 and PL-365, should appreciate the new Tecsun PL-368. Thank you again!

Click here to check out the Tecsun PL-368 on eBay (partner link supports the SWLing Post).

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Any experience with the Tecsun TU-80 enthusiast-grade FM tuner?

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

Hi Thomas -I hope you’re keeping well.

[…]I have had my eye on the Tecsun TU-80. However, I seem to find no videos on its use and no reviews. Perhaps it’s because it’s new.

I wonder if any of the SWLing Post readers have some info about it.

Post readers: If you have any experience using the Tecsun TU-80 FM tuner, please comment. I am not familiar with it. Very curious if it might be a great dedicated FM DXing receiver. It is pricey ($530 US on eBay).

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Rob compares horizontal and vertical SWL random wire antennas

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rob Zingarelli, who shares the following guest post that originally appeared on his blog in October, 2020:


Shortwave Antenna: Vertical or Horizontal?

by Rob Zingarelli

This is a question that has circled around on the fringes of my consciousness for years now, but one that I’ve never quite found time to test.  And it is a simple question: When using a random wire antenna with a portable shortwave receiver, is it better to string the wire vertically or horizontally, or does it even matter? Mostly this is a question when out camping, because arranging a 19′ wire vertically is usually a good bit more involved than just stringing it out along some nearby bushes.

Before going any farther, I want to point out that this is an exercise in ordinary backyard shortwave listening with relatively inexpensive equipment.  There are many, many better-engineered and more costly solutions to the technical challenge of shortwave scanning, and this does not address any of those sophisticated approaches.  This is for the person who opens up the box and wonders about the best way to hang the included long-wire auxiliary antenna.

Equipment:  Tecsun PL-660 SW/AM/FM/Air Band receiver, with its included 19′ random-wire antenna.  Internal battery power used.

Conditions & Time: Clear local weather.  hamqsl.com’s nowcast of band conditions were fair from 3.5-14.35 MHz, and poor for higher frequencies, with SFI = 72, SN = 26, A = 5, K = 1.  Time was 21:00-21:30 UTC, or 4-4:30 pm local CDT.

Procedure:  Out in the backyard (typical residential neighborhood, well-spaced ~150′ between houses, above-ground power lines 125′ away), suspend random wire from ground to its full length.  This was achieved using a length of paracord over a tree limb, with the tree trunk ~30′ from the radio’s location.  With the PL-660’s antenna gain control set to “Normal” (i.e., the mid-setting of Local-Normal-DX) and the bandwidth set to narrow, use the receiver’s automatic scan function to see how many stations were received.  Make notes of the number of transmissions detected, reception characteristics and quality, and any perceived noise levels.  Re-orient the antenna to a low horizontal position, over two sawhorses approximately 3′ high (see picture), and repeat.

Sawhorses spaced ~17′ apart. Radio and notepad can be seen on ground in front of the near sawhorse.

Results:  For the vertical antenna orientation, 32 stations were detected between 5959 – 15730 kHz.  Nearly all were intelligible, with those at the lower end more steady and those a the higher end much more variable in strength.  For the horizontal antenna orientation, 21 stations were detected between 9265 – 1570 kHz.  Similar overall signal quality was heard for the received stations in either antenna orientation.  More noise was noticeable at the lower frequencies between the stations for the vertical antenna orientation.  However, this was significantly below the received signal levels, and not an issue in the overall listening quality.

Conclusions & Discussion:  Suspending the wire antenna vertically worked better, especially at the lower frequencies.  Getting a wire up 21’+ vertically is usually not as convenient as stringing it horizontally, but it may be worth the extra effort, depending on the location, campsite, nearby trees, etc.  The overall conditions were typical for fall camping weather, with fair-to poor radio propagation conditions, so this result should be broadly applicable for how SW portables are often used.  This result may change with propagation and radio noise conditions, both for atmospheric and local noise sources.  Testing will continue as propagation conditions improve with solar cycle 25 getting underway.

——-

Addendum, 10/12/20: While writing this up yesterday evening, it occurred to me that I hadn’t tested the PL-660’s built-in whip antenna.  This comparison is important, because sometimes the wire antenna is too cumbersome to deploy.  So, how does the whip antenna compare?

Conditions & Time: Overall, very similar to yesterday.  hamqsl.com reports fair conditions from 3.5–14.35 MHz, and poor for higher frequencies.  SFI = 72, SN = 26, A = 3, K = 1.  Same time of day as yesterday’s testing.

Procedure: Repeat of yesterday, with the whip antenna added to the test.  The whip was oriented vertically.

Results: For the vertical 19′ wire, 31 stations were found by the auto-scan function between 2380 – 15770 kHZ.  Electrical noise was low but audible in the 3 MHz region, fading to none at higher frequencies, and not a significant source of interference with any stations.  For the horizontal wire, 15 stations were found between 9265 – 13630 kHz.  Electrical noise was barely audible.  With the whip in use only 1 station was found.  Switching the antenna gain to its DX (most sensitive) setting, 6 stations were found.

Revised Conclusions:  Adding to yesterday’s conclusions, the whip antenna functioned but was vastly inferior to the wire antenna in either configuration, even with the gain set to DX.  Today’s results with the wire antenna were, unsurprisingly, very similar to yesterday’s, given that the ionospheric and weather conditions were nearly identical.  Noise was not a factor in receiving for any of these antennas or configurations, but did noticeably increase for the vertical wire antenna.


Thank you for sharing this, Rob! It’s experiments like this that help us determine, especially, what antenna setups work at our own particular locations since RFI characteristics can vary so much.  I’m guessing had your horizontal wire been elevated to even 20′ off the ground it might have produced better results, but sometimes this can be difficult to achieve. I like how you used the auto search function to determine the number of stations you could receive with each setup and it was a great addition to include the built-in telescoping whip.

Thank you again for sharing your results with us!

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Photos of the new Tecsun GR-99 emergency radio

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

Hi Thomas:

I’m happy to tell you that yesterday [January 29, 2021] Tecsun released a new model Emergency Radio. I’ve included some photos:

The GR-99 includes FM, AM and SW bands. As most of today’s radios, it is also based on the DSP chip which offers good performance. It can be powered by the built-in Ni-MH battery and two AA batteries.

This radio also features hand crank power generator which can charge your device such as smartphone through the micro-USB cable. In case of emergency, GR-99 with flashlight and SOS alarm can give you a hand.

Nearly a month ago, I helped to test the prototype of this radio and gave them my advice. Now it’s great to see it on sale.

At last, provide you with a photo of me, almost two years ago. I took this selfie with my radios.

Oh I must admit that several radio in this photo were my friends’.

Sincerely

Mei Tao

Ha ha!!! I love the photo, Mei Tao–absolutely brilliant!

I’m happy to see that not only is Tecsun still producing an emergency radio with an analog dial (which requires less of the battery than a digital display), but also is still including the shortwave bands.

Thank you very much for reporting on this early production run Tecsun radios, Mei Tao!

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