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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | TECSUN PL-600 Help

Reviews Summary for TECSUN PL-600
TECSUN PL-600 Reviews: 35 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $85.00
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VK2NZA Rating: 5/5 May 25, 2019 07:11 Send this review to a friend
VG price for performance.  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have a shack full of modern and classic flagship transceivers as well as a small collection of portable SW receivers, Zenith Trans Oceanic 3000, Redsun RP-2100, GE Superadio, Tecsun PL-390, Panasonic RF-2200, Panasonic RF-4800.
The Tecsun PL 600 is not the latest offering in the line from Tecsun however I wanted a smaller sized portable than the above radio's and purchased a black coloured PL 600 for the very good online price of $80.00 Australian dollars about $60 US at present.
It came with a free Tecsun AN-06 accessory wire antenna wound on a plastic reel with a plug for the external antenna jack on the radio.
The provided black soft vinyl case is useful and does offer some protection for ther radio.
I find the sound good for the speaker size and FM staions playing music have a clear sound with reasonable bass,not as good as my Redsun RP-2100 however it has a much larger speaker and has sparkling sound with excellent bass.
The FM sensitivity is superb! MW is also very good and living in a rural area of Central Far Northern NSW there are no nearby MW stations and I can pull in a good selection of offerings during the day and obviously many more at night. MW sensitivity nearly as good as my GE Super-radio, FM slightly better.
SW performance is also VG on the whip antenna but excellent with an external wire, no apparent overloading. The selectivity is good with two bandwidth options, howver I would like to have had the 5 bandwidths offered on my Tecsun PL 390.
The SSB is a nice addition and while it does work its not spectacular with fiddly tuning.
I have none of the distortion problems some others have mentioned and do not use the wall wart transformer, I believe this is part of the problem for those who have found distortion or noise.
Using Alkaline batteries I find good service life but not as good as my 46 year old Zenith Trans Oceanic that just goes on and on without new cells.
IMHO the PL600 is unbeatable value for money for performance and ideal for a light weight travelling companion.
N8PGV Rating: 5/5 May 20, 2018 22:03 Send this review to a friend
Great for the money  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Sensitive on AM, FM and SW
SSB works well
easy to use
works well with just the whip antenna
noisy, sensitive to florescent lights, computers, etc. (like most portables)
Overloads on wire (I use the whip mostly)

It exceeds my expectations for a radio at this price point. Solid performance overall. I would buy it again.
SPOCKO Rating: 5/5 Sep 4, 2015 06:18 Send this review to a friend
Great back-up SW radio.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased the PL-600 to 'retire' my Sony ICF 7600-D radio, which was only been used to listen to one frequency on the LW band.
I love the PL-600 so much I brought a second unit within a week.
It is a simple, basic, 100KHz to 30MHz continuous general communication receiver with SSB and all for a very low price! (Do shop around and compare the prices.)
Lovely sound from the speaker, that really surprised me when I turned the unit on for the first time.
If you are new to the SW listening world, you can certainly 'cut your teeth' on this for a very reasonable price. You can move onto one of the other (better?) radios at a later date and hold onto this as a spare.
It has been well used over the last year for all sorts of tasks, morning, noon and even in the middle of the night and I personally love this radio more than the PL-660!
Other reviewers have said it already, buy one and be satisfied. I read their reviews, I brought one and totally agree, then brought another!
Everyone has little 'gripes' about their radios they have. I can live with this radio quite happily and its little 'faults' as it took some time to set the main clock! Read the instructions and give the radio a chance to show you what it can do.
You can buy better and you could buy worst, but at this price, you can only be happy with your purchase.
AK4FP Rating: 5/5 Jul 12, 2014 12:06 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Portable  Time owned: more than 12 months
Tecsun has hit a home run with this medium size portable. It's generally available on ebay and Amazon for around $75. It covers 100 KHz to 30 MHz plus 76 MHz to 108 MHz. FM is a pleasant stereo using headphones. Large speaker for size of radio gives room filling sound. Tuning is accomplished by direct entry, side tuning knob, or scanning. There is an Automatic Tuning feature that allows you to do a quick scan of AM or FM and store all the local frequencies in memory, handy for travel. Has a timed internal charge circuit for the included NiMH batteries. Batteries last about 30 hours in typical use at half volume. The only functional difference between the 600 and 660 is the 660 has coverage for the VHF air band but, with no squelch, it's a pretty useless feature. I have several scanners that can cover the air band much better, so save your money. Build quality is generally excellent, with all the knobs and buttons slop-free and the size and heft is about right for the average male hand.

Reception on almost all signals is amazing. AM BCB is nearly as good as the "real" GE Superadio and beats anything put out by C Crane. Very good sensitivity and selectivity of FM with many distant (500-750 miles) stations being received. The single 1/8" jack antenna input works for FM and SW but not AM. AM uses the 4" ferrite core antenna mounted inside the case with excellent nulling, making the 600 useful for AM DXing.

There are three levels of sensitivity control and two for selectivity. For general SWL, the wide selectivity and DX sensitivity are a good compromise for separating most stations while still maintaining good voice and music quality. The narrow selectivity setting is, I'd guess, about 4 KHz compared to about 6 KHz in wide setting. It will separate close SW stations with ease and even do a decent job with ham stations on top of each other. Amateur reception was a real surprise. You can take a crowded segment of the 40 meter band and separate all but the most powerful signals. The BFO works much like most modern ham radios. Leaving it in the center detent position will usually be spot on for USB or LSB. The BFO knob on the side allows for tuning in slightly off freq stations. Reception of ham signals is better than any other portable I've owned and can serve as a good backup receiver in the shack. Frequency drift is non-existent. Just as a test, tune to the NY/Gander VOLMET on 10051 MHz, USB. 99% of the time, it will be right there with almost no BFO adjustment required. The manual doesn't state so but I'm almost certain the telescopic antenna is amplified. If you live in an urban area, the telescopic antenna with maybe 10 feet of wire attached with an alligator clip is all you'll need for good DX. I live in a rural area and run a 100' flattop mounted 30 feet up with no overloading. I'd be amazed if the radio doesn't have some overloading problems in a strong signal area. However, my own tests with the 10 feet of wire produces almost the same signal strength as my 100 footer so you aren't losing much by not having an external antenna.

The display is quite large for this size and class of radio. A bright amber LED backlight floods the whole screen with no dark areas. The frequency is displayed in large numerals in the center with band data and the S meter to the side. As usual with portables, the S meter isn't anywhere near calibrated but does give you a general indication of signal strength.

As a comparison, I used a Kaito 1103 (Tecsun is also made by Kaito) and a Sony 2010. The 600 handily beat the 1103 in almost every category. The only exception was stereo sound quality, which I rate as slightly better in the 1103. The 2010 has sync control, not present in the 600, so there is a little more bleedover with some signals. When it came to SW signals, anything the 2010 could hear, the 600 could hear, although the Sony had a better noise floor. Amateur SSB signals were actually better received on the 600. I'd rate the 600 superior to the 1103 and about 95% of the 2010.

One final thing. The power transformer was made for 240 volts, so the wall wart provided is also a stepdown 240-120 transformer. At least on my sample, this wall wart was the cause of a lot of line noise, making the radio almost unusable on some frequencies. Running the 600 on batteries is the answer. It's a very quiet radio on batteries and is more resistant to things like dimmer noise than most portables.

In my experience, you won't find a better quality radio for even three times the price. The Chinese keep producing high quality shortwave radios, and each generation seems to improve. Once they get into ham radios, the current crop of companies is in big trouble.
AD4C2006 Rating: 4/5 Jul 8, 2014 10:50 Send this review to a friend
Afordable small receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just got this small receiver last saturday morning by noon, after installed batteries and read the manual briefly wich is not much help, could figure it out completeley.
My good and bad comments are these:
1- Very small and easy to travel with it within the nice pouch that came with it.
2-Rechargable batteries can stay in the radio to be charged.
3- Allow changing the tunning rate with three settings, slow, normal and fast.
4- Very sensitive in all bands.
5- Wide and narrow filters help to get rid of some band noise and adjacent stations specially on AM.
1- Its almost useless for SSB reception, the BFO is unstable,tone is not pure, it has some hum or AC in it making the stations tuned on SSB sound garble.
2- Pickup all fuorescent lights from the house making annoying noise that can't be deleted because the lack of a good NB circuit.
3- Easy to overload AGC circuit, in some cases, the external antenna can't be used, even the attenuator has to be engaged.Most of the time I use just the whip antenna fully extended to avoy the overloading causing audio distorsion.
4-The side audio quality switch is just highs low pass filter, it would be better if they had there a variable control to have better audio quality control.

In general its a good SW portable receiver that is very affordable for users but don't expect a high performance as a good Grunding, or an old Drake R8, oor a newer Icom IC-R75, the old saying apply here: "you get what you pay for".
My price was very afordable trough amazon,com, just $63.
I am planning to take it with me in all my travels. Its very small and cute.

Thanks to all readers
KB1VXP Rating: 5/5 May 6, 2014 19:55 Send this review to a friend
Solid radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I'm an avid SWL and hold a general class amateur license. I often listen to short wave on my Yaesu and Kenwood rigs. This PL 660 is as sensitive as these transceivers. The Synch detector works quote well and is very helpful pulling in those weaker pirate stations. I was very surprised at the sensitivity and overall quality of operation that this radio offers. It's a fantastic deal at $129.
PD0PRA Rating: 3/5 Sep 8, 2013 05:09 Send this review to a friend
OK for the money  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've ordered an PL-660 though a taobao agent together with some other HAM stuff. Nice radio comple with antenne etc.
Hooked in on a antenne, FM and normal AM woring OK. Tried SSB but it was unstable and some kind of humming in the audio. No difference on both the AC adapter or on batteries. Not OK.
Opened the radio and did the TA2057 mod but no result, still the same problem.
Tried to adjust the BFO (variable capacitor) trimmer, also no result. Next to the 2 red BFO trimmers the is a 1 uf tantalium capacitor wich i suspected to be faulty. I only had 15 uf on stock and replaced it. The radio is now working fine on SSB.
DXTUNER Rating: 5/5 Apr 11, 2013 15:59 Send this review to a friend
Excellent SSB and MW for the price.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I'm a utility Dx'er and a MW Dx'er. Words barely express how pleased I am with the Tecsun PL-600. For my purposes its superior to the Kaito KA-1103 and Realistic DX-440/Sangean 803A. Am I saying its the world's most perfect DX'ing machine? No, its a $72 portable radio and, understanding that, its amazing what it does hear. I can listen for hours to Hams, aeronauticals, marine and other utilities on this radio -- just like I can on a communications receiver.

Whether or not you should use an external antenna depends on your specific environment. For me I get get better Dx on the PL-600 using just the telescopic whip AND on battery power. Judiciousness is the key. If you instinctively cram a 'long wire' antenna into any portable radio, while using a power adapter, you could be setting yourself up for bad reception. On radios like this less is usually better. Also, here's a tip for MW reception: Raise the telescopic antenna. Why? I don't know the exact reason, but it could be that the telescopic laying on the back of the radio interfers with the internal MW antenna. Raising the telescopic off the back of this radio does bump things up a little bit on medium wave.

Anyhow, just consider it a small economy car. Don't try to drive it like its a Mack truck and you should enjoy the Dx'ing ride.
VU3KOD Rating: 5/5 Apr 11, 2013 10:22 Send this review to a friend
A handy hf Rx at low price.  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I purchased PL600 in September 2012 for $83 inclusive postage after comparing with PL660 on Ebay. Both models have same sensitivity. Radio's sensitivity is good through 80 mtrs. to 17mtrs. But senstivity is average on 15, 12 and 10 mtr. bands. The 3 selectable antena gain switch is not useful. I listen 40 and 20 mtr bands in morning and evening walk with telescope ant. Usb and Lsb tuning knob is not critical and there is no drift. I suggested many swl friends in India and they are enjoying learning the hamming.

Puranik. Vu3kod
WOODWEASEL Rating: 5/5 Apr 6, 2013 08:43 Send this review to a friend
A really nice unit!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Although overshadowed by the new PL-660, the PL-600 is a really a wonderful unit. The lack of signal noise is a welcome surprise, and the lack of SYNC is hardly an issue. The SSB works well, and is helpful at times. Included accessories only sweetens the deal. I've dump the rechargables, as I prefer the "Ultimate Lithiums" instead. Fit and finish are very good, and the ergometrics are natural. I truely enjoy this radio, and at the closeout prices, a real bargain. This is a late build, high serial number direct from Electronnix (Kaito) California via Amazon.
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