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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Tecsun PL-880 Help


Reviews Summary for Tecsun PL-880
Tecsun PL-880 Reviews: 14 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $169.00
Description: Tecsun's 2013 release of their latest worldband radio with FM/SW/MW/LW. Freq range: FM: 870108/76-108/64-108 (user selectable) Tuning Step: 0.01MHz/0.1MHz
SW: 1711-29999kHz Tuning Step: 1kHz/5kHz
MW: 522-1620 kHz with 1kHz/9kHz tuning step
520-1710 kHz with 1kHz/10kHz tuning step (user select)
LW: 100-519kHz, Tuning Step: 1kHz/9kHz
3,050 Station Memories, Alarm Mode, 3W speaker, Earphone and Line-out jacks. Powered via 3.7V Li-ion rechargeable battery or via USB jack (DC 5V, Current >300mA.
Unit dimensions: 192(W) X 113(H) X 33 (D) mm.
Weight 520g (without battery)
Zippered Leather(ette?) slip cover provided along with long-wire SW Antenna, USB charge cable, and stereo earphones. Also included was a dual USB wall adaptor plug for charging the radio.
Product is in production.
More info: http://
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N3NJ Rating: 4/5 Oct 26, 2014 06:14 Send this review to a friend
Highly recommend it!   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just got this nice little reciever by UPS a couple of days ago. My lust for immediate gratification drove me right by the instruction manual. Right out of the box I was able to tune in multiple stations and started having fun right away. C'mon it's only about $160! Well worth the money at least in my universe. I bought it......I like it! I'll let everyone else over analyze it. Great sound and nice little toy for the money. I'm already thinking about getting one to give as a Christmas gift! Nice job Tecsun!
 
BG6RLC Rating: 5/5 Oct 8, 2014 21:27 Send this review to a friend
Great Handheld Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Many reviews were written on Amazon but a lot of hams and quasi-hams are coming here reading reviews. So I'd like to present mine here.

My PL-880 was ordered on Sep. 30, 2014 directly from Tecsun, China and the product was qualified on Sep. 29, 2014 showed on the certificate of qualification card in the package. This might mean PL-880 has been sold well.

Now many reviews hare quite helpful and can be agreed on but I still have something to say about its pros and cons.

Pros:
1, the biggest pro is Tecsun has really listened to consumers' feedbacks and improved PL-880 quite well. In previous or 8819 version, the SSB sound was a little trembling or wooble but the one in my hand gives quite stable sound just as shortwave transceivers do.

2, it has full set of bandwidth choice on SSB mode. Most of the handheld radio don't have this capability so they are not suitble for cw reception but PL-880 has.

3, it has 10kHz wide steps. As far as I've known only PL-880 own this special tuning ability. And without BFO, SSB voice can reproduce more natually. Just as the instruction writes, it can use SSB mode to listen to radio broadcasts for excluding interruptions from neighbor stations. Previously, radios with BFO injection such as S750, PL-600 etc. cannot perform this well. These are what we have been demanding for on Tecsun forum and their engineers really dwelled onto this property delicately.

4, the sound quality for AM and FM is nice, near on par with S750. It can reproduce deep bass and the tremble is also quite clear. Unlike Sangean ATS-909X, PL-880 has the option of 9kHz bandwidth on AM mode so the AM voice can be better recognized from PL-880 than ATS-909X. Actually I wish it could have the 12.5 or even 15kHz bandwidth option. Usually local AM transmitters can transmit signals with audio frequency upto 15kHz. A video clip on YouTube shows there is an AM station transmitting signals with the bandwidth as broad as 20kHz. You can imagine how good the AM sound is.

5, The image interruptions from strong broadcast signals are significantly less than other portable radios. I've tried to scan 7M and 14M amateur bands manually, finding that only 2 frequencies were interrupted. As a comparison, ATS-909X and PL-660 behave much worse.

Major Cons:
1, Like many radio transceivers, SSB sound distorts easily. I really cannot get it! Usually AM and FM sound need much much more dynamics which requires a lot of energy from the radio amplification system while sound on SSB is much narrower but can be easily distorted.

2, Sensitivity on 100kHz is on par with PL-600 but far less than S750. It might be a problem caused by the short ferrite antenna. Also on this frequency, the signal shows 4 or 5 dbu on AM mode but shows 46 dbu on LSB mode and 20 dbu on USB mode. So it this phenomenon caused by internal circuit interference?

3, the whip antenna is made of stainless steel which is good but the final part of it is too thin or too weak. I fear that I would bend it someday...

All in all, best radio up to now. However I think there are still some aspects for improvment. It might be that PL-990 can use color display.

 
NS5U Rating: 5/5 Oct 1, 2014 13:45 Send this review to a friend
Replaced a DEGEN 1103  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The Tecsun radio is in everyway an improvement over the DEGEN 1103 which died upon power up after about 3yrs service. The DEGEN had the Kiwa mods and served its purpose well. It was annoying to tune and was anything but intuitive but it worked well and got a lot of play on the ham bands.

The TECSUN is everything the DEGEN was and a whole lot more.

1. The audio is pleasant and warm. Great on FM.
2. The operation is simple and quickly learned
3. Most of the issues noted in previous reviews seem to have been addressed now.
4. Useful bandwidths even for CW
5. Simple memory management and lots of memories
6. Long battery life with the included two batteries and charger
and it will play while charging.
7. Tuning is a joy with direct keypad and then course and fine tuning knobs
8. Direct from China it is a great value with two batteries, ext antenna, charger, nice travel case
9. Purchased from Universal Radio there is only a small premium for support from a solid US business
 
LEMOUSTIK Rating: 4/5 Sep 9, 2014 04:51 Send this review to a friend
A good portable receiver!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Hello everyone.
I am SWL for several years, with long periods stop.
I bought there a few times a frg 100 that gave me satisfaction, used with a dipole antenna in the garden;
I wanted to offer me a recent portable device with a keyboard and especially the ability to transport easily.
With numerous comparative reading, essays and videos on youtube, my choice was directed to a 880 Tecsun PL home, purchase made at Anon.co in China.
The delivery was very fast (I live in France).
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this little recpeteur.
The finish and ergonomics are exemplary.
I had the opportunity to do some tests reception in SW, MW and FM.
I have not tested too long waves, there was little listen.
In Fm reception is excellent, the sound is very good, the quality of the speaker is here;
I tested the SW with AM and SSB that I have not found a reproach him, and do not get a perfectly decode SSB, no problem. does not notice the flaws that have been reported by others.
I also had the opportunity to listen to Asian stations and stations in Africa.
The receiver is sensitive and selective as my FRG 100.
The adjustment of the pass band AM and SSb is a plus and you can listen to stations that are close to each other.
All controls are easily accessible receiver.
The telescopic antenna is satisfactory, even to listen to amateur radio on the 7 MHz, for example.
A 27 meter long wire antenna in the garden gives also good results.
I am very pleased with this little receiver, it probably not replace a high-end device has several thousand dollars, but for 150 euros, I think he does very well what he is asked.

 
W2HP Rating: 5/5 Sep 6, 2014 11:47 Send this review to a friend
Really a nice portable  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm a long time ham and have some very good equipment. Listening to Short Wave and Ham frequencies while on vacation is a added pleasure for me. I have the Pana RF-B65, Sony 2010, Eton etc. Saw a product review in QST from ARRL. I wanted to see and feel more. Purchased the PL-880 from Kaito in CA. Its triple conversion whith a sharp IF filtering. Variable bandwidths for all modes. Its tiny and for all the neg and pos comments taking into concideration its size is remarkable. Its a real winner. 10Hz tuning steps with 500z CW filtering. AGC signal pumping is caused by strong signals. The 880 has a RF attenuator which works very well. The short waves and crowded frequencies clear up with USB/LSB and CW mode like 2010. Its AM signals zerobeat and listing to either sideband. It works well. Now the internal battery, Lithium lasts a very long time. BUT, the switching power cube intros hash into receiver. Not a big deal! Internal antenna is OK. I have the Miracle Antenna which tunes everything and a short RG-174 mini cable to 880. That makes a huge difference and provides sharp tuning to reject outside band interference. Open RF can have intermod! I have the version 8820 and for $160 its a sure winner. No my B65 is not for sale! Pete W2HP hamming since 1954
 
KJ4FH Rating: 5/5 Aug 2, 2014 11:38 Send this review to a friend
This Is Now My Favorite Portable SW Radio!!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I currently own several shortwave Radios and have been a SWL Fan before I was a teenager and now I am half a century old. Also been a Ham almost as long. I own an Eton E1XM, Grundig Satellit 750, SONY ICF SW7600 (both the old black & new silver models because of it's very good sensitivity) Also own a DEGEN DE1103 (Good radio for the price), a C-CRANE CC Radio Plus (Great Audio), Ham Rigs such as the ICOM IC-751A (Classic), IC-706MKIIG, I've also owned a SONY ICF-SW77 (was one of the best back in it's day but Sold after I got my Eton E1X). and many more just to name a few as well as being in the Consumer Electronics Repair Business for over 35 years. With all that said I find myself grabbing my Tecsun PL-880 over all my other radios as my Favorite Radio both for ShortWave Listening and as a Ham listening to the various Ham bands in SSB modes. I ordered mine from Anon-Co via eBay for $149.99 and got the newer 8820 Firmware which addressed many of the earlier issues others reported. Also got a super nice carry case with the purchase and an extra 18650 battery and battery charger from Anon-Co free with the purchase! I also ordered a nice clear blue plastic Radio Stand because I like the radio so much from Universal Radio and it fits and compliments the radio nicely. I use the radio mostly late at night in bed with a Portable Sangean ANT-60 Antenna I string across the room and enjoy surfing the bands and listening. It has given me more enjoyment than any other Shortwave Radio I've had in a longtime because it is so intuitive and easy to use. I can find the buttons at night and when I move the tuning dail the radio lights up for a few seconds then the lights shut off to conserve battery. The side dual tuning dials are so nice because you can zero in on a station both in AM or SSB modes. I find myself going back to this radio over and over. I also called a few very well-known places that sell shortwave radios and confirmed the impressions I was experiencing, that others once they had the Tecsun PL-880 with 8820 Firmware were finding themselves grabbing this radio as their go to SWL radio. I have all these SWL radios and more and my most favorite now is the Tecsun PL-880 and the many Filters in the Radio make it a pleasure to listen to AM/SSB/CW. Great Audio! And a great looking and good feeling Radio in your hands! Fit and finish and feel of all controls is very good. I've had my radio for 3 months now and think I've only charged it a couple times. Battery life is extremely good with these Li-ion Batteries. The Hidden features you can find with a simple Google search make the radio even more enjoyable. Can't wait to see what other Firmware versions will bring as I am extremely happy with firmware 8820. I've placed my Tecsun PL-880 next to all my other radios using the built-in Telescopic antenna and find that I am more than happy with the reception! I've even programmed my Radio to turn on for a few minutes every morning on my Favorite station to wake me up in the morning and then in a few minutes it turns back itself back off, but when it turns itself off it surprisingly doesn't just cut off the audio but rather the audio fades slowly out. Very nice touch!! I LOVE this small portable SWL General Coverage AM/FM/SSB/CW Radio!! Great buy at $149.99. This is a very nicely done Radio and for the money it is an excellent buy! I am very happy with mine and if I were to loose it, I would immediately go out and buy another today!
 
AD4C2006 Rating: 5/5 Jul 29, 2014 03:04 Send this review to a friend
Very good for the price  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had previously the PL-600 and it was a good AM radio but very bad for SSB, it had drifting and distorsion of signals received.
Then after reviewing several videos of this PL-880 on youtube, made my mind and after been using it for two weeks I am glad I purchased it.
Mine was shipped from Canada and it works great specially on SSB where it receives with very good audio quality and very stable, the SSB filters works perfect, normally I tune all stations on 2.3 KHz BW, with the antenna all the way extended I can pickup stations from Europe and Africa on 20M as well as any other expensive radio using external antennas, its very sensitive and I do not have any AGC pumping as other users reported.
There are several hidden menues that has to be adjusted to improve the radio performance which I already did.
The antenna in my PL-880 when is bent back will swivel to any angle without any problem or falling.
I consider this radio to be a good investment for the $149 I payed.
The only thing I don't like is the meter reading signals in microvolts, I rather liked to have the 0 to 5 meter as the PL600. Other than that I am satisfied with its performance.

Hector
AD4C
 
W4BRX Rating: 2/5 Jul 28, 2014 05:20 Send this review to a friend
Needs Improving  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought the PL-880 to have a bedside radio to listen to the 40 mtr. and 80 mtr. hams bands. For this purpose the radio is not very good. I am sorry that a purchased the radio before reading reviews.

PROS:
1. The radio is very attractive and has reasonably good sound on AM.
2. It receives 31 and 25 mtr. SW bands quite well with built-in telescoping antenna. It receives the AM broadcast band clear channel stations quite nicely in the late evening hours.
3. I received one with good tuning encoders; course and fine tuning are nice features.
4. Nice travel case along with the spool of wire for external antenna are nice touches.

CONS:
1 Unsatisfactory SSB reception-distortion and AGC pumping; unsatisfactory CW reception--fluttering.
2. LW band is not sensitive; will not even receive local airport ADF beacon.
3. Built-in telescoping antenna does not swivel so it is difficult to use with the radio's flip-out backside stand.

Tecsun should have worked out the bugs before bringing the radio to market. If the ham band related bugs can be ironed out, the radio would be worth the $149 price.
 
KF2YD Rating: 2/5 Jul 25, 2014 22:05 Send this review to a friend
Tecsun PL-880 Review  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The radio still has serious flaws and defects in its design which Tecsun never corrected which makes me upset and very disappointed in the Tecsun Engineers. The 1st thing was that it was very difficult and annoying when trying to listen to a weak station because the signal would pop in and out due to a defect in the design of the built in noise reduction system. I also noticed that when listening to morse code signals there was a noticeable amount of flutter present on the tone . The last or 3rd defect in the design was noticed when the sychronese detector was turned on and you could detect more audio distortion. All in all the radio works but it still is not better then my old trusty Sony SW7600GR.
 
KD9AUR Rating: 3/5 Feb 11, 2014 17:46 Send this review to a friend
SSB Audio Distortion  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I wrote an earlier review of this receiver with firmware revision 8819. I returned it for a refund, and despite assurances I would not be charged a restocking fee, I was hit with a 20% fee from the Amazon vendor. Also, it was speculated in the Yahoo group for this radio that Kaito would have a representative join the group so we would have direct access to the US distributor. This has yet to happen.

Kaito has managed to obtain a firmware updater from Tecsun, so they can now upgrade receivers to the latest firmware revision. You do have to send the radio for California for this service, but it is better than having to send it back to China. There is still no way for users to update the radio in the field. The USB port is for charging only, and no mods from the manufacturer have been made available to rewire the port for user updating.

I have since had the opportunity to evaluate another radio, this one with the latest version firmware 8820. This revision did address some of the problems, enough that I will bump it a star to a 3. But, it continues to have SSB problems, especially with weak signals, On strong signals the SSB works well enough, but if there is interference, or you have a weak signal, the audio will break and distort.

I, and others in the Yahoo group, have played with the "Easter Egg" settings to no avail to cure this problem. The current speculation in the Yahoo group with SSB users like myself is that this is a hardware design problem of the AGC.

It has been said that the poor performance of the sync detector can't be held against Tecsun because they never advertised the radio has having it in the first place. It is more or less a "bonus". I feel the same way about these hidden functions (such as the soft mute). If Tecsun is not advertising that they are there or providing instructions in their use, can we speculate that these are also "bonus" functions that may, or may not be reliable?

I can't answer that question, or if the SSB problems I was experiencing are indeed a hardware design problem, or a fixable firmware problem. All I can say is that potential buyers need to do their research on this radio before buying, and I highly recommend the Yahoo users group for this.

I have since bought a Sangean ATS-909X, and I am much, much happier with the SSB and overall performance of this radio in comparison to the PL-880. The only problem I had was somewhat weak sensitivity on the whip antenna. I have since done the $1.00 4:1 BALUN mod on the whip antenna, and now the ATS-909X is easily more sensitive than either the PL-660, PL-880, and my Sony 7600GR.

 
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