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

Reviews Summary for Tecsun PL-880
Tecsun PL-880 Reviews: 11 Average rating: 4.0/5 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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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 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.

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.

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.

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.

VK2GJF Rating: 4/5 Jan 5, 2014 20:05 Send this review to a friend
Shows great promise  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just received my 880 from Anon-Co. I was very happy with the customer service they give. On unboxing the radio, I was impressed by the look of it, well made and solid however I did notice what appears to be some very fine cracks in the plastic on the front panel which from reading other reports, may be a result of the manufacturing process. The inclusions and carry case are excellent. The manual is well written and easy to follow. I set some of the hidden parameters as recommended on various reviews on line (mine has 8820 firmware) and calibrated the MW. There are some adjustments I may still make, one being the DSP on/off but will play with that later. I had the opportunity to test against a Tecsun S2000, Tecsun PL310, a Tecsun PL660, A Sangean 909X, Sangean PR-D5 and a Degen 1103. The tests were carried out with the telescopic antennas and the ferrite rods of the radios, no external antennas were used. More comparative tests will be done later but on first impressions, the 880 performs well on MW and SW with pleasant audio. I used 15720khz RNZI for a quick daytime test on SW and 1170khz 2CH, one of my marker MW stations. FM hasn't been tested yet. All receivers were similar with perhaps the Degen 1103 outclassing the Tecsuns on SW. None of the radios came close to the Sangean PR-D5 on MW for performance. A function of the ferrite rod size. I will conduct further evening tests. Using the 880 is a joy, very straightforward to use. I agree with comments made about the Synch detector, not a patch on the Sony 2001D or the Tecsun PL660. I suspect it may have something to do with the DSP architecture this radio is designed around, much like the Sangean 909X. This radio isn't without its quirks nor is it a communications receiver but for a travel portable, it does what it's designed for very well. Would I recommend buying one? Short answer.... yes! I'm sure other firmware versions will be forthcoming over time which may iron out some of the minor foibles but overall, this radio shows great promise and a worthy inclusion in my collection.
KJ6MC Rating: 5/5 Jan 5, 2014 12:24 Send this review to a friend
Excellent $$$/Performance ratio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Much has been written about the shortcomings of this radio. No, it's not the performer that my Drake R8B is. But for casual on-the-go listening, it is quickly becoming one of my favorite portables. (Note- I did return the 8819 version for the 8820 firmware). The dual knob tuning system is a breeze for quickly locating, then zeroing in on ssb signals and the bandwidth selection does fairly good job of bringing in the "tough ones". Yes, the sync is useless, but it was never advertised as being available, so my expectations were low...and I wish it had a bigger ferrite MW antenna. But the sound and build quality are exceptional, and a offers great value for the price.
KB8DNS Rating: 4/5 Dec 25, 2013 18:48 Send this review to a friend
A good. potentially great receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was waiting to buy for several reviews on this new offering from Tecsun, what changed my mind were a few You Tube videos. I own the PL-660 and that receiver is highly rated and I agree, so I was watching with interest, made my purchase after seeing the ability of tuning with a main and fine VFO.
One needs to remember this is a low cost general coverage receiver and very portable, the case is nicely made, this should make for well protected travel, about the size of a 7 inch tablet and about an inch thick. Fit and finish is very good and the knobs are not loose in any way. Button presses are firm and decent action.
The audio output is very good and reminds me of larger table top receivers of the old vacuum tube (valve) radios. Thanks to the push-pull output circuitry.
Tuning with the coarse and fine VFO knobs makes zeroing in on frequency a snap. These are easily made to zero beat through the use of menu-setting modes and are separate for USB and LSB. AM modes can be done is a similar fashion. Once set the rig stays right there.
The receiver has synchronous detection as part of the SSB but here is where there is a lacking. The SYNC is barely function-able. It poorly locks and when it does it has noise with the signal making it a pain to use, so I do not! Since the SSB is part of the SYNC BFO, it too has some weak signal drawbacks but it does work. I find the SSB to be good.
The signal meter along with a signal to noise ratio meter seems to be rather hard to follow than traditional meters of the needle and bar LCD/LED style. They are measured in decibels or dBμ. The signal meter readings are in a number scale where the higher the number, the more the signal strength, I have figured that a number of 34 would about equal an S9. It would seem that it follows the scale of a laboratory signal generator. The signal to noise meter S/N follows in a similar fashion where a higher number means more signal and less noise. This can be useful!
This receiver also has DSP included and this can be helpful but seems to work against the SYNC and SSB. The DSP also seems to have a bearing on the S/N meter. This can be turned off with a menu setting on button 6.
The muting can also be set through a menu set, this allows for less aggressiveness with adjacent frequency interference and seems to help with SYNC and more so with SSB.
A very nice feature are the settable band width filters, there are nine total, five for SSB and four for AM. These help tremendously with adjacent frequency spill over and clarity.
Mine is a firmware? version of 8820, many were sold as 8819 versions but recently can be upgraded to 8820 by Kaito with no charge but for the post. This may mean that the other problems can be adjusted through firmware.
The battery power is done with a Li-ion cell, the 18650. At 3.7 volts, one can have several hours of use on a charge and that takes about 5 to 6 hours. Using the switch-mode charger makes it un-listenable when monitoring the bands, FM is fine. I have ordered an extra for back-up and a charger is not far behind.
Overall the receiver is fun to use and with some fiddling, very usable. Just some refinements and it will be a super receiver
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