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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Tecsun PL-380 FM/SW/MW/LW DSP Receiver Help

Reviews Summary for Tecsun PL-380 FM/SW/MW/LW DSP Receiver
Tecsun PL-380 FM/SW/MW/LW DSP Receiver Reviews: 5 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $50
Description: TECSUN PL-380 DSP (Digital Signal Processing) FM stereo/MW/SW/LW multiband portable radio. It uses the Silicon Labs si4734 digital signal procesing chip. It offers superior sensitivity and selectivity.

There aree 550 memory presets total. Two sets of automatically stored memories mean you can have one set at home and one set to use each time you visit a new location.

It tunes: FM 87 ~ 108MHz (Russia 64 ~ 108MHz, Japan 76 ~ 108MHz, USA 87.5 ~ 108MHz)
MW 522 ~ 1620kHz (USA 520 ~ 1710kHz) with 9kHz / 10kHz tuning step selectable
LW 153KHz to 513KHz
SW 2300KHz to 21950KHz

Features include 12/24 clock with alarm, control lock, signal strength and S/N display, sleep timer, lighted dial, 7 tuning modes, temperature reading, stereo FM reception through the earphones, 5 bandwitch settings and (1, 2, 3, 4, 6kHz).

It uses 3 AA batteries, and can recharge them through an external USB cable. The radio comes with zipper carrying case, ear buds, manual and a clip-on external antenna.

Unit size: 135 x 86 x 26 mm (W x H x D)
Product is in production.
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WA1UFO Rating: 5/5 Mar 23, 2019 07:00 Send this review to a friend
A great little radio!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I am 69 and have been playing with radios since I was about 7 or so. Have been a ham for 33 years and used to have all tube gear and did most of my own work on it.I did military comms for the US Army as well. I bought the little Tecsun even though I have a lot of portables most of which have ssb capability so didn't care about this when I ordered this little gem. Simply put I am really having loads of fun with this little guy whether its sw, fm or mw. With the variable bandwidth feature it is really easy to make a really weak signal usable in many cases. The fm performance is astounding and I am surrounded by hills and mountains. The short whip does a fine job on sw and fm and I love the size. One night I could here Cuba coming in on 530 khz and when I coupled it with my Tecsun loop aerial the signal became listenable with great Cuban music. Turning the radio and loop 90 degrees to port I could hear the ethnic station in Toronto. For 46 bucks I congratulate Tecsun for the features, design and performance. As I said it is a real gem.
KI5WW Rating: 5/5 Apr 9, 2014 11:50 Send this review to a friend
Surprisedperformance  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was surprised by the performance of this low priced radio. It was odd how i ended up with this radio but after hooking up an ext ant and auto programing this thing i smiled and said, ill be darn, how cool is that. I like it just fine. After programing the auto feature, which it absolutely does that for you, i then use it to search out gud english language sw stations, then i tune in the icom 7600 to that freq for great results. The 380 is an outstanding tool in the ham shack. Im still kinda awed a little over auto search feature. My 3800.$ icom wond do that. Why not?
K9YC Rating: 5/5 Aug 11, 2013 13:29 Send this review to a friend
A Superb Radio at a Bargain Price  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I'm a retired broadcast engineer, and have been listening to AM and FM radio for nearly 60 years. I own two excellent FM receivers (a Technics ST9030 and a Carver TX11B), the Sony HD AM/FM radio, and three GE Super Radios. A few months ago, another broadcast colleague turned me on to the Tecsun 380. Its performance is amazingly good, better than the Technics and the Carver, better than the GE Super Radio on FM (although not better on AM) and as good as the Sony.

The only important characteristic I have not tested is its ability to reject VERY strong local signals -- like big guns a few miles away. That's because I live out in the country, with no nearby broadcasters. The Technics and the GE Super Radio really shine in that respect. But where the Tecsun (and the Sony) shine is their ability to find weak stations in between two much stronger ones.

I've seen reviews complaining of poor reception, but that's NOT the fault of the radio. Nearly all homes and neighborhoods are full of noise sources that kill reception, especially on AM -- battery chargers and wall wart power supplies for all sorts of equipment, Plasma TV sets, computers and computer monitors, and low voltage lighting. My home is relatively free of that stuff, because as a ham radio operator, I've worked to clean all of it up, so I hear a lot on the AM and shortwave bands.

This radio is also easy to couple to an outdoor antenna -- a simple "alligator clip lead" from the center conductor of the coax to the Tecsun's single rabbit ear antenna, and you'll hear everything that outdoor antenna picks up, or you can couple the built-in loopstick to a long wire antenna.

There's an "Easy Tuning Mode" that when selected, will scan the band to which the radio is set, find all the carriers, and put them in ETM memories that the tuning knob now selects. Or ETM can be disabled, and the tuning knob tunes normally across the band.

There are a lot of user-programmable memories (separate from the ETM memories), there's an Alarm Clock function. The PL380 runs on three AA cells, and if they are rechargeable batteries, they can be recharged from a USB port. There's a headphone output that drives a stereo rig quite nicely (and cleanly), and the headphone amp makes my Sony MDR-7506s sound pretty good (although a bit lacking in bass). Audio bandwidth in AM mode is adjustable in steps between 1 kHz and 6 kHz, and that wider setting is relatively pleasing for SWLing, though certainly not hi-fi (since there's little wide bandwidth music on AM nowadays, that matters little).

The Tecsun PL-series radios, like an Insignia FM-only HD Radio model sold by Best Buy are DSP radios built around chips from Silicon Labs.

I hooked the Carver, Technics, Sony, Insignia, and PL380 up to the same outdoor antenna, looking for challenging FM receiving situations. One I found consisted of a distant NPR translator on 91.7 MHz sandwiched in between much stronger stations on 91.5 MHz and 91.9 Mhz. The Carver and Technics units were full quieting on 91.5 and 91.9, but had nothing but noise on 91.7. All three of the DSP radios -- the Sony, the Insignia, and the PL380 were nearly full quieting on 91.7, with some QSB.

One ham friend has a PL390 and says its better on AM because its larger case allows a larger loopstick. Another ham friend to whom I had shown my PL380 bought a larger PL660, which has the same advantage, adds SSB and Aircraft band. Both are quite pleased with their Tecsun radios.
HFHAM2 Rating: 4/5 Mar 27, 2013 18:29 Send this review to a friend
Nice little radio but...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have a number of short wave portables and didn't really need another, however, the big draw for me was small size/portability and the Easy Tuning Mode (ETM) which scans all the shortwave bands and puts the stations found into memories that you can easily and quickly scan through when it's finished. As there is much less on shortwave these days and especially so here in West Coast USA, this is a great time-saver when trying to find something worth listening to.

As a small portable radio, it works very well, is pretty sensitive and selective with its DSP filters of 6, 4, 3, 2 and 1 KHz bandwidth.

The fly in the ointment though is that it lacks a high-frequency cut-off (News/Music tone switch) which is a great shame as it can be annoyingly "hissy" on short wave. You can compensate for this by using the bandwidth filters to cut-off the hiss, but of course, the tighter you close down the bandwidth, the more muffled the signal becomes. Another annoyance is the overly fast AGC.

Otherwise, it's a really neat little radio and probably the best in it's size/price class.
KWDAVIDS Rating: 5/5 Jan 24, 2012 14:33 Send this review to a friend
Best $50 dollar radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This is a great little radio. It uses a DSP chip to achieve sensitivity and selectivity that just wasn't available in this price range before. The back-lit display is bright and easy to read. The controls are arranged logically and labeled sensibly, and even though the radio does a lot of things, you won't need the manual after the first time.

The 550 memories are arranged in two sets. One is ATS where the radio scans and stores the stations it receives. This works fine. You can manually add and remove stations. The other is the Easy Tuning Mode (ETM) which works like ATS, only with a separate set of memories. You invoke ETM when you visit a new location and in a couple of minutes, all the available stations are there for you to scan through, but not at the expense of messing with your home ATS memories. I've traveled with the radio, and this feature is super.

I have a lot of portable radios and the PL-380 is hands down the best FM receiver I have ever seen. I easily pick up off the whip antenna a 1500 watt station (WCQS) about 65 miles away that the station engineer says I shouldn't be able to receive. There's not a hint of noise.

Shortwave is very good with 18 uV sensitivity. The 5-step bandwidth selection is effective at eliminating interference. Direct frequency entry as well as variable step tuning offers flexibility. The tuning step varies (1 or 5 kHz) depending on how fast you spin the control. It takes a bit of getting used to. However, with ETM, you might just find youself not using the tuning knob much.

MW reception is OK, but there are better radios if that's your main interest. LW works, but I haven't spent any time on it.

For convenience, the radio can recharge AA Nimh batteries with a standard mini USB cable. I've run mine for a couple weeks on a charge (YMMV). It has a control lock, temperature readout, dial light, alarm (buzz or music) with snooze, sleep timer and comes with a ziper case that can also accomodate your ear buds.

I have over 50 portable shortwave radios. Nothing in this price class touches the Tecsun PL-380. The Tecsun PL-660 (bigger, heavier and more double the price) is a little better on shortwave, but the PL-380 is best on FM.

A review wouldn't be complete without SOME complaining.

The radio doesn't have SSB capability. AM performance isn't best of breed. I found the tuning knob stiff (maybe it's just mine). There is no external antenna jack. The buttons don't light up.

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