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

Show all reviews of the Tecsun PL-880

You can write your own review of the Tecsun PL-880.

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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