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Author Topic: Help with a Tecsun PL-660  (Read 4872 times)
JUJUJULIA
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Posts: 7




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« on: March 23, 2013, 02:47:36 PM »

Hi folks,
I'm new to the SW & ham radio world. After doing a little research I bought a PL-660 off of eBay from Kaito Electronics in Monclaire, CA. Sounds like a dealer. This radio was advertised as having been used for a few hours only. I paid a total of $87 with shipping.
I received it and indeed it looks brand new. Problem is, I can't hear any SW stations. FM works but that's certainly not why I bought it. I've got both antennas hooked up. I've tried manually tuning it and pressing the VF/VM button so it could try scanning, and nothing. Taking it outside I found one Chinese station that was very muffled. I'm afraid this radio is a lemon. The sellers highlighted the word "USED" on the receipt. If they think they can knowingly sell a defective item on eBay then they are going to be surprised. If this radio is defective it will go right back to them and they're going to pay the shipping too.
Can someone who has experience with this model please tell me a step-by-step directions to tuning to a SW station you know should be audible here in the San Francisco Bay Area?
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NO2A
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Posts: 754




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« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2013, 06:59:19 PM »

Pick a band that is open day or night,like 40 meters.(7-7.3 mhz) Do you hear anything there? At the very least you should hear WWV time announcements on 2.5,5,10,15,20mhz.(or at least 10 or 15 mhz) At nightime the lower bands,up to about 10 mhz should be heard. Are you using any kind of external antenna? Even a few feet of wire will often work much better than a supplied whip. If you`re not at least hearing activity (broadcast) on the lower bands,something is wrong.
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JUJUJULIA
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Posts: 7




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« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2013, 07:47:55 PM »

Thanks for answering, NO2A. I did manage to hear the time signal at 10000khz but interference was pretty bad. At lower frequencies it managed to pull in one born-again Christian station playing music, with a lot of interference. Is this the norm? I'll try later in the evening, but I spent nearly $100 and had hopes of listening to BBC news and the news from Spanish and Italian (RAI) stations - in order to find out what is going on in the world, and perhaps in case of emergencies - and instead get this little box that seems to have decent reception only in FM. Now I tried MW with better luck: I can listen to some Mexican stations.  But still - I don't know if it's worth $100. I also tried pressing the SSB button (I know nothing about hame radio) and heard some really weird noises and some (hardly discernable) chipmunk-like voices. This radio has excellent reviews, but if it's only good for AM/FM/MW then I bet I can get something for $10-$30 that will have the same functions.
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KJ6ZOL
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Posts: 340




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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2013, 01:37:50 AM »

It's not that the radio per se is a bad radio, you just got a used lemon. Sounds like you got ripped off, Julia. Let me guess, you will try to return it and get the runaround. I would recommend buying from a Hong Kong or China seller, look at the ad to see where they're from. Most Hong Kong sellers don't sell used stuff, they know that returns are a hassle for their American customers so they only sell new stuff. You would think that a US seller would be more trustworthy, but I have found that's not necessarily the case. Look CLOSELY at the ads, the radios you want have Chinese writing on the back and will operate off 220v (Chinese AC). If you can get a Chinese domestic model, you will usually pay less and get a brand new radio. I feel your pain, I once paid big $$$$ for a blood pressure monitor that was advertised as "new" only to find it was USED and didn't work. By the time I found this out, the seller had vanished.
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KJ6ZOL
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Posts: 340




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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2013, 01:55:00 AM »

Julia, is this the ad you were referring to?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Used-Tecsun-PL660-AM-FM-SW-Air-SSB-Synchronous-Radio-Black-/251248778268?pt=US_Portable_AM_FM_Radios&hash=item3a7f981c1c

It clearly says used. You just didn't pay attention. Maybe next time you'll actually read the ad thoroughly. Well, maybe he'll take it back, and you can buy a new one. New, this radio costs no less than $85. Some Chinese sellers make you pay $30 shipping. It's worth it, imo.
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G3RZP
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« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2013, 03:25:56 AM »

I believe that the BBC has stopped HF broadcasts to North America.
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TANAKASAN
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Posts: 933




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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2013, 03:36:23 AM »

Hi Julia

If you have the radio working on Medium Wave and you managed to receive some of the WWV time signals then it's a start. The reason for my post is a quick explanation of the weird noises and the chipmunks when you pressed the SSB button.

When you tune in a broadcast station on Medium Wave you are trying to receive a station that is transmitting AM or Amplitude Modulation. As you tune across the transmission you will find that clearest reception is in the middle of the signal and it gets weaker either side.

The ham radio broadcasts are different because we use either CW (Morse) or SSB (Single SideBand). When you press the SSB button you're turning on an extra section in the receiver called a BFO or Beat Frequency Oscillator and this is essential for receiving CW and SSB signals. A picture of your receiver shows three knobs on the side, Tuning, Volume and SSB BFO and all three knobs need to be adjusted for clear reception. A rough guide to tuning in is as follows:

1) Tune across a short wave band until you hear the high pitched voices

2) Alter the BFO knob until the pitch changes and voices get clearer

3) If no position of the BFO knob works then move the tuning control a little bit and go back to step (2).

One other thing that may help is a better antenna. Thirty feet of wire thrown out of a window or across the nearest tree will probably bring in a lot more stations.

Hope this helps!

Tanakasan
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3651




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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2013, 09:54:55 AM »

JUJU:  OK, you bought a USED radio off eBAY which doesn't work as you expect.  You're incensed and are thinking of sending it back and getting a refund. 

Now boys and girls, all those who think JUJU took one up to the feathers and will get his money back, raise your hands.

OK, now tomorrow's lesson will be ............................
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JUJUJULIA
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Posts: 7




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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2013, 05:30:17 PM »

JUJU:  OK, you bought a USED radio off eBAY which doesn't work as you expect.  You're incensed and are thinking of sending it back and getting a refund. 

Now boys and girls, all those who think JUJU took one up to the feathers and will get his money back, raise your hands.

KJ6ZOL: You just didn't pay attention. Maybe next time you'll actually read the ad thoroughly.


Sorry, guys... but I did pay attention. The item was similar to the link you showed, but it did not say "all functions tested working"; instead it said "used a few hours; like new." It seemed to me to be a great deal - better than $115 from Hong Kong, and having to wait for it, and better than $149.99 + tax + shipping from Amazon (total $170). And  K8AXW, I am not "incensed". I am not even angry. Just surprised. Surprised that a local dealer would knowingly put a defective item for resale on eBay (it likely was returned to them because of the defect).
I'll raise my hand. Don't you know eBay has Buyer Protection? I am certain I'll get my money back. This was advertised as a short wave radio and it was not disclosed that the SW function does not work. I might have to pay for return shipping; but patience.  Btw, K8AXW, what does "take one up to the feathers" mean? I've never heard that expression, and even Google doesn't know. Also FYI, I am not a male, as your post reveals. Maybe you didn't notice the last half of my username, Julia? As for what tomorrow's lesson will be, I've learned that there are some people on this forum who are jaded with cynicism. Patience.
That being said, thank all of you again -- those of you who have shared their wisdom and provided helpful insights:  TANAKASAN, G3RZP, NO2A, & also KJ6ZOL.
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K5TED
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Posts: 694




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« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2013, 09:08:12 PM »

IMO, you should have taken the advice given in your previous thread, that is, to skip the portable radio, save a few more bucks and get a good used table radio.

Live and learn.
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KJ6ZOL
Member

Posts: 340




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« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2013, 08:57:37 PM »

JUJU:  OK, you bought a USED radio off eBAY which doesn't work as you expect.  You're incensed and are thinking of sending it back and getting a refund. 

Now boys and girls, all those who think JUJU took one up to the feathers and will get his money back, raise your hands.

KJ6ZOL: You just didn't pay attention. Maybe next time you'll actually read the ad thoroughly.


Sorry, guys... but I did pay attention. The item was similar to the link you showed, but it did not say "all functions tested working"; instead it said "used a few hours; like new." It seemed to me to be a great deal - better than $115 from Hong Kong, and having to wait for it, and better than $149.99 + tax + shipping from Amazon (total $170). And  K8AXW, I am not "incensed". I am not even angry. Just surprised. Surprised that a local dealer would knowingly put a defective item for resale on eBay (it likely was returned to them because of the defect).
I'll raise my hand. Don't you know eBay has Buyer Protection? I am certain I'll get my money back. This was advertised as a short wave radio and it was not disclosed that the SW function does not work. I might have to pay for return shipping; but patience.  Btw, K8AXW, what does "take one up to the feathers" mean? I've never heard that expression, and even Google doesn't know. Also FYI, I am not a male, as your post reveals. Maybe you didn't notice the last half of my username, Julia? As for what tomorrow's lesson will be, I've learned that there are some people on this forum who are jaded with cynicism. Patience.
That being said, thank all of you again -- those of you who have shared their wisdom and provided helpful insights:  TANAKASAN, G3RZP, NO2A, & also KJ6ZOL.

If a deal sounds too good to be true, IT IS. I know some prices for the 660 are ridiculously high, but I found some on ebay that are $85 + $30 shipping for a guaranteed brand new radio. IMO it's worth shelling out the extra $$$$ for something that's not used. If you're talking about high end HF gear, used is your best bet, but with some little Chinese radio like the 660 it's best simply to swallow hard and pony up the cash for a brand new one. I'm not made of money either, but sometimes a bargain is a bargain for a REASON. There ain't no free lunch. Ebay has all sorts of protections, but people are still people.
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K5TED
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Posts: 694




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« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2013, 08:39:52 PM »

I'd drop $75 on a good used DX-440 before that Kaito mess.
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KJ6ZOL
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Posts: 340




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« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2013, 11:23:19 PM »

I'd drop $75 on a good used DX-440 before that Kaito mess.

The 440 is nice, but it's an energy hog. My Degen 1102 does everything my old 440 did, with a fraction of the power consumption, and rechargeable batteries too. I gave away my 440 to an immigrant family from Russia who wanted to listen to broadcasts from home. The 440 uses six D batteries, IIRC, plus two AA's just for the clock. The new radios from China use three AA's, and rechargeable ones are supplied. I feel the same way about the Sony 2010. Nice for its day, but obsolete now, and eats batteries. Some people remind me of the old WW2 vets who would get in a lather circa 1957 when Junior brought home a Sony transistor radio, thundering "I remember Pearl Harbor!" Seriously guys, stop living in the past.
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K5TED
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Posts: 694




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« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2013, 05:14:58 PM »

I'd drop $75 on a good used DX-440 before that Kaito mess.
Some people remind me of the old WW2 vets who would get in a lather circa 1957 when Junior brought home a Sony transistor radio, thundering "I remember Pearl Harbor!"

Exactly which people? Last I looked, all the radios mentioned in this topic are made in China or Taiwan. No mention of lather.

Can we interest you in a good dummy load? It's all the rage.
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