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

Reviews Summary for Tecsun PL-880
Tecsun PL-880 Reviews: 32 Average rating: 4.5/5 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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KD8OPI Rating: 5/5 Apr 20, 2016 21:53 Send this review to a friend
Great for $150 bucks  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Picked this up for $159 & free shipping. 8820 firmware. Really a 4.5. Compared against my Sony 2010's, Sangean ATS 803A, Icom R75, CR1-A.



-Very solid FM receive and good sound quality, underappreciated in most reviews. I get a lot of stations from the Columbus/Cincinnati/Dayton areas and beyond. Impressive.

-Great bandwidth options

-Standard SW receive, comparable to other like radios; having said that, SW receive with a whip antenna on any radio is like eating soup with a fork.

-Hooked up a full sized external antenna (31' vertical with 32 radials), great SW receive, very good SSB, like blown away good for size.

-Tons of features, some hidden (because they suck and were deactivated and not documented)

-Memories, memories, memories.

- nice ergonomics, the USB battery charger is great and the battery lasts a long time.


-AM sensitivity is average.

-No standard way to hook up an external AM antenna; yes there is a way through hidden features with an 8-combo button press after you reset the radio to do it, as long as you only tune up (really). Not worth it. Get the cheap Sangean/Grundig loop and put it near the radio.

- "Hidden" Sync detection is basically useless. The hidden features mean that some features were undocumented for a reason. Having written this, I think Sync detection is over-hyped and useless a lot of the time. My Icom R-75 is a fantastic radio and the Sync on it was so awful they quit putting it in the radio 10 years ago.

- The manual is good, but its too bad a lot of features have to be discovered by users.

-Wx receive would have made this a great disaster radio.

Its a good portable, no radios in this class are table-top great. With a good external antenna it does well on SW; please don't expect this radio to defy physics and receive off-beam or tough DX with a 2 foot whip antenna. Small enough to be a decent travel radio, especially as you can charge it off a USB.
F6DFZ Rating: 5/5 Jan 19, 2016 08:26 Send this review to a friend
Review with tuning bug corrected  Time owned: 0 to 3 months

My previous review was not positive because recently manufactured PL-880 have a tuning bug that badly affect the tuning of SSB and CW signals when using the Fine Tuning knob.
I am glad to report that Anna from Anon-Co was able to correct this problem by loading in my PL-880 a 8820 firmware without the tuning bug.
I didn't saw any bad side effect with this firmware.
Now tuning, using the Fine Tuning knob, is extremely smooth, without any frequency jumps, without any discrepancy between displayed and received frequency (with the tuning bug, it can be as large as 2kHz), and without shuffling.
Considering its price, this small receiver is quite outstanding, with its 10 Hz steps (50 Hz with Variable Rate Tuning), its selectivity well suited for all modes, even CW.
Nice display, that can be lighted permanently, good ergonomics and the manual is OK.
The battery life is also large and charge is so easy.

On the weak side, I regret that memories don't keep the exact frequency (only to the nearest kHz) and the selectivity.
The sensitivity on the whip antenna is good, but not as good as the Sony ICF-2001D.
Also, the AGC attack time is too long, giving some distorsion to the first character of CW or the first syllable of SSB.

If you are an experienced SWL or ham radio operator, make sure that you buy a PL-880 without the SSB Fine Tuning bug; I can certify that this is night and day between a conform one and one with the bug.

AB1GO Rating: 5/5 Oct 8, 2015 20:07 Send this review to a friend
Nice radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
First, there is a good external review here:

Things I like:

The sound quality is awesome. Not only does the speaker have an enclosure, but it also supposedly has a front-facing passive radiator. It really sounds like a much larger radio.

Tuning ergonomics are pretty good. The tuning is pretty smooth, almost analog. There is some chuffing on shortwave when tuning around powerful signals (the worst being the radio's own birdies). It's nice that the rate varies depending on the mode: fast for AM, slow for SSB (just right for adjusting the tone or zero-beating). The chuffing noise has this weird ~ 1KHz bleedthrough- I remember my old DX-440 did this also, but much much worse.

I'm happy that the battery is replaceable and that it's a standard 18650 Li-Ion cell.

The ATS function (scans for all stations) works well (on LW, MW and FM at least, didn't try shortwave).

It's cool that there is a function to re-sort the memories.

The DSP-based selectable bandwidth filter is awesome. My FT-857D has this!

It's nice that you can use SSB on MW and LW.

The timed LCD back light does the right thing.

It's funny that there is no AC adapter included (no need since cell phone adapters are ubiquitous)- no doubt this helps with the safety cert and world-wide shipping. The included accessories are nice though: a long wire for shortwave, a nice case. The large "Amateur Radio World Map" is awesome. They should include a timezone conversion dial for the full retro experience.

Things I don't:

Annoying birdies. The more powerful ones are at these frequencies: 3262, 6525, 7916, 15832, 22962, 23750, 25834, 27556, 29097.

It has a tuning mode and channel mode (VF/VM key). When you switch between bands (for example between AM and FM), it always resets to tuning mode. I wish it kept the current mode.

The backlight is nice, but to really use the radio in the dark you need some kind of lighted keypad. Wish it had this..

It only has 24 hour time: wish it had a mode for AM/PM.

The LCD is not large enough: The consequence is that one space is shared between clock, RSSI, "band" (like "31 meters"), channel and alarm. There is a button to select which function to display. It can be annoying because the display pops up stuff I don't want, like the "band". You need to wait a few seconds until the pop-up is done before it reverts to RSSI.

It would be nice if you could label the memories (if only there was more LCD space..).

The industrial design is pretty nice (particularly the speaker grill) given what it is: which is a cheap plastic case. Apple could do a better job, but would cost 5 times as much. Anyway, be gentle with it. I can easily see the stand breaking, for example.

Some reported images from powerful AM stations.. I didn't see this (the one near me reads 70 dBu- I can get its harmonics, but no images that I noticed).

Oh, the "DNR" hidden feature (6 key) does not exist on mine. It shows 8820 firmware, but the "build date" doesn't work either.

Summary: This is quite an awesome radio, especially given its size and price.
KK4TBJ Rating: 5/5 Apr 27, 2015 18:38 Send this review to a friend
Great radio that punches over its weight  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Wanting a decent multiband radio, I purchased an Eton Satelit 750. After a few weeks I returned it to Amazon because I was disappointed with its performance vs cost. With some research and reading of owner reviews, to include here, I purchased the PL-880.
To my delight, this radio outperformed the 750 quite easily on AM reception, pulling in stations the 750 could not. The FM reception is great and, as reported by many sources, the sound is really great.
I have to invest some time in learning the functionality of this radio, to include exploring its shortwave capabilities(but I didn't really buy it for shortwave, that's a bonus for me). Having said that, this radio is highly recommended for the what it offers and what it delivers, for $150.
KB3RPI Rating: 5/5 Apr 17, 2015 09:00 Send this review to a friend
Good Radio 👍 has features that my Degen 1103 did not hav  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Great little radio purchased on eBay on April 2015 for $150 dollars for replacement of my Degen 1103. Right away I noticed on the PLL that the sound is much deeper and clearer than the 1103. Yea it cost 30% more than the 1103. My AM reception in Orlando Fl is pretty good I am pulling in channels that I could not with the 1103. I would have to say that as far as SW is concerned the 1103 was slightly better. Overall I am happy with the replacement 😎
W5TVW Rating: 4/5 Mar 8, 2015 19:13 Send this review to a friend
information lacking on excellent receiver.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is preliminary! I am so far EXTREMELY impressed by this little box! It does have flaws, but it is EXTREMELY usable!
Whoever wrote the latest instruction manual doesn't know quite how to handle the English language. I STILL cannot make what's written in the book work fully in the receiver.

Is there REALLY a simple way to program the memory slots with the frequencies it is capable of handling? I see what appeared to be an information source (Tecsun PL-880 Yahoo Group) is sadly NO MORE!

Anyone knowledgable out there who can steer me to how to manipulate the memory pages that works?

This set is a GREAT standby receiver for the amateur bands in spite of minor flaws that exist from reports and "Missing" information that wasn't included in the instruction manual!

Any "help" out there from the ex-Yahoo user group on this electronic "jewel:"?

SHORTWAVELISTENER101 Rating: 4/5 Feb 6, 2015 06:01 Send this review to a friend
Grundig Satellit 750 in a Sony ICF SW-7600GR's cabinet  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The PL-880 is Tecsun's latest addition to its line of Shortwave Radios and I have owned one for approximately a month and one half. Here is my review


- 3050 Memories with Up to 2400 for Automatic Tuning Storage

- Elevation Panel

- Secondary display alternates between time, signal strength and alarm setting

Solid world band sensitivity

-Sleep Timer (see cons)

-2 Tuning Knobs (see cons)

-Synchronous Detector (see cons)

-Digital signal processing

-Full range speaker provides excellent audio quality (better than that of the Grundig Satellit 750 Lap Portable)

-Excellent Selectivity

-Worthy Single Sideband Performance, aided by precise 10 HZ tuning steps, a LSB/USB switch and good stability (see cons)

-One step tone control

-Multiple bandwidths (4 for AM mode, 5 for Sync mode and 5 for SSB mode)

-Japanese and Russian FM 64-108 MHZ

-Only radio under $500 to have triple conversion circuitry

-Clock can be set while radio on (allows for it to be synchronized to time stations)


-FM and MW sensitivity not as good as some other similarly priced portables

-Sleep timer difficult to turn of permanently

- Tuning knobs mute (can be remedied by a hidden feature)

- Mediocre synchronous detector

- Bandwidths in Sync and SSB mode too narrow

- Overloading takes place when long wire antennas are used


- Manual

- External Antenna

- Ear buds

Features not mentioned in the manual:

- Synchronous Detector with LSB/USB Selection

- Adjusting Muting Threshold

- Digital Noise Reduction

- Adjustable FM De-emphasis

- Adjustable Line-Out Level

- Seconds on/off for clock

- MW and SSB Calibration

- Force Receiver to accept LW/MW antennae into the external SW antenna jack

Verdict: The Tecsun PL-880 is a great receiver for regular shortwave listening and it contains many features. However, if you are looking for a shortwave portable suitable for DXing, purchase its cheaper predecessor (the Tecsun Pl-660) instead.

KE5GGY Rating: 5/5 Jan 24, 2015 00:50 Send this review to a friend
This Rig Rocks!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I learned about this radio from several of the SWL groups on Facebook. I'm an active ham operator, own many radios and have pretty high standards and expectations regarding radios, especially when paying over $150.

The Tecsun PL-880 is a winner.

I love the feel of the rig. It feels well made...solid. The knobs have a smooth feel and the rig seems very well assembled.

The sound is superb and possibly the best sound I've heard from a portable.

The rechargeable battery is a great feature to the radio. And, I seem to get many hours of use before needing to recharge.

What's most impressive with this rig is how well it performs with just the internal and whip antennas on the ham and AM bands. In fact, it easily beats my Sangean 909x in this area. (Note: The Sangean and Tecsun perform similarly on my external wire antennas)

This is now my official 'road warrior' radio. It will be in my suitcase for all road trips. The well designed carrying case really protects the radio.

I recommend the Tecsun PL-880 highly and will probably buy another radio soon. A hot rig and a very good value. Buy one, you will not be disappointed. Email me if you have any questions or join us on 3.916 MHz nightly between 7 and 10 PM Central.


KP4MLF Rating: 5/5 Jan 10, 2015 13:23 Send this review to a friend
My favorite daily radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
After made a lot of research looking for a very good shortwave radio i ends buying one this guys. I accept that i was scary because I never owned anything in that brand in my life and dont know any person that have one as well.

After received in a nice case with some goodies and notice that the battery last for very long (plus they sent me an extra one) i can say that im impressed. Is heavy and feel like a "Real Radio" not like a toy. Recently I found that im using the radio most for daily use for local stations thanks to their awesome audio quality than for shortwave. is my daily use radio now. I love the feature that you can have the backlight activated by when use the radio but also have a switch to leave it on, that is perfect! Many times I prefer use this little boy for monitoring HF bands than my big rigs because the audio is a LOT better.
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.

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.

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