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Reviews For: Tecsun PL-310 Portable Receiver

Category: Receivers: General Coverage

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Review Summary For : Tecsun PL-310 Portable Receiver
Reviews: 8MSRP: 35 - 45
FM Stereo/SW/MW/LW D.S.P. Receiver.
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
M5RFD Rating: 2017-02-24
A bit Disappointing Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Due to good reviews on here and via a number of websites extolling its virtues, I decided to purchase a PL-310ET from Anon-co in Hong Kong. With their usual efficiency (I have dealt with them before), the radio arrived within a week of ordering. With great anticipation, I plugged in my external dipole and hit the 'ETM' button. This was about 23:00. I was somewhat suspicious when I saw that it had saved stations up in the 15m band. Once the ETM had done its scan, I started to go through the saved stations. Up in the 15m band, I was getting images of RRI on 7220, and this was all the way down through the bands. Along with this were multiple stations being received on a number of frequencies. Out of the 65 'hits' by the ETM, more than half were images or spurious signals. Not a good start! So I coupled it via my home brew preselector and tried again. Somewhat better this time with a lot of the multiples gone. I decided to try it the following day during day-light hours to judge any improvements and indeed there were, but still not as expected. So contacted Anon-co and they agreed to replace it. They asked me to return the old one, and would send out the new one if I emailed the mailing receipt so I wouldn't have to wait for them to get the old one back first. Thats what I call service! The replacement came yesterday, and whilst improved, is not as good as I was expecting. Perhaps there is a batch where QC has fallen off a little, I don't know.
Having said all that, I was using it last night via the preselector, and was getting good DX from a number stations on the 75 and 60m bands. Images and spurious signals are improved on this one. My primary purpose is to take it out and about during the summer months, so I think for that use it will be fine. I do find the filter selections very useful and lets face it, this is a DSP radio, of minute footprint, that pulls in stations from all over the world, for just over £30! What else really should we expect! Most of my broadcast DXing and listening is done using a Yeasu FT-450D, which has excellent DSP filtering, but that is nearly 20 times the price (yeh OK you get a transmitter and ATU thrown in as well!).
If your expectations are not too high (as mine were), then this is an excellent take-anywhere receiver which will fit in your pocket.
K1QQQ Rating: 2017-02-01
poor-poor Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I got one several months ago and it stinks. The selectivity option seems to do about nothing and the audio is terrible.

I have seen many reviews from persons loving it for the money but I might guess there might have been a factory change or ? and the latter batches do not equal the earlier.
KF2YD Rating: 2017-02-01
NOT WORTH THE MONEY Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
First of all the audio sound quality is terrible sounding on the AM (Mw) band. When the DSP bandwidth set between 4 to 6 khz you can hear a hissing sound and only some very faint high audio frequencies ( no mids or bass at all ). If you change the DSP bandwidth between 2 to 3 khz it sounds a little better but the base sounds very thumpy and unnatural sounding. For some reason the Shortwave band sounds better and the FM band sounds the best.

Conclusion: The sound quality on the AM band is terrible, SW is a little better and the FM band sounds the best. Overall the Tecsun PL-310ET is a cheaply made radio which probably will not last as long as a Sangean or Sony radio.

Suggestions: If you want a similar small sized multiband radio I would suggest you purchase the C.Crane Skywave radio. It will cost approximate twice as much but it has better sensitivity on AM and Shortwave and the sound quality is better.
VK3LZ Rating: 2015-07-16
Excellent small portable. Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I own two of these, one lives in my desk at work (earlier 310 version) and the other one in the side bag on my Harley (later 310ET version). Both have been totally reliable despite the rough life they lead. They work wonderfully on FM, well on AM and very well on Short Wave (the later version is slightly nicer to tune on SW). They have no BFO (which I occasionally miss) but the smaller size vs other Tecsum radios with SSB is worth it in my opinion. I use these more than my larger Tecsun 660 (even though that works somewhat better) because of the convenient size.
N8FVJ Rating: 2014-12-11
Stunning pocket Receiver Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
One can imagine a full size SW radio should perform well. This tiny PL-310ET is amazing for the pocket radio size and the telescoping antenna being about 1/2 the length of larger SW radios does not seem to limit the PL-310ET sensitivity.

I compared this PL-310 to a Grundig GL-450DX. I find the GL-450DX to perform as well as my Kenwood R-1000 on AM- believe it or not. I did buy two GL-450DX receivers and one has a performance edge over the other on weak signals. Perhaps that is why the 3.8 rating on eham. Users either like or highly dislike the GL-450DX.

The PL-310 is a sensitive receiver. The DSP controlled 5 bandwidths is an interesting option. 6, 4 & 3kHz are usable on AM. The 2 and 1kHz is really too narrow for any AM signal. The receiver is a dual conversion design that controls images. A nice feature in such a small receiver.

The speaker has a surprising audio response considering the small size and provides crystal clear non 'tinny' sounding audio on the shortwave bands. Although the FM stations have no bass response unlike the GL-450DX, I consider the PL-310 a radio for news with many subjects not mentioned on the standard US broadcast networks.

Weak signal reception is just ok, as the GL-450DX performs better. The GL-450DX has a quieter front-end. Ditto on the PLL too. However, the PL-310ET PLL is not terribly noisy due to the internal DSP chip set.

The PL-310 digital display provides plenty of information plus unlike the GL-450DX can display the time & receive frequency at the same time by swapping with the signal strength function that I find kind of useless. The backlighted orange display with black digits is very easy to read.

Navigating around the bands is simple with direct frequency entry. The GL-450DX only has a Q-Tune (quick tune button) that jumps around the band in large frequency steps. If the 5kHz fast tuning step was not available the GL-450DX would be a real painful experience. Unlike the GL-450DX of 5 or 1kHz tuning steps, the PL-310ET appears to only tune in 1kHz steps on the AM shortwave band. If an alternate tuning option exists, I have not found it.

Another form of tuning is the ETS function. Apparently this radio is capable of intelligently seeking out stations thru the DSP recognizing voice and storing the stations. It can scan the entire shortwave band. Personally, I have not used this function, however others claim it works well.

There are no chargers or charging cords included. These are available aftermarket.

The radio cost $44 shipped from Asia and at that price is a real bargain. I doubt another radio with digital display and direct frequency entry at the time of this review can outperform it for the price.
F61 Rating: 2013-06-18
An Inexpensive DSP radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've owned this set only a few months, but owned one previously for over a year back in late 2009, when these first came out. So bear with me, theres some interesting expeiences here.

Most of these inexpensive DSP sets require adequate they are quite prone to digi-noise from LCD TV's, Computers, Plasma TV, and switched power supplies including wall-warts. My initial PL-310 was not well shielded (or defective), and had tones and birdies when isolated outdoors on the AM-BCB only. I suspect this was due to internal display and MPU noise leakage.

The noise-floor of these sets are not comparable to a DE-1103 which pretty much hammers down the noise. So one is left pulling stations out of the weeds. And the PL-310 does rather well at it on AM-BCB. And that noise floor due to propagation and local influences like Sub-Audio-Heterodynes (aka flutter) can raise havoc. There is a function of the AGC circuit called Soft-Mute, and will engage/disengage on weak reception. Coupled with "flutter" this makes listening unplesant with a noted "pumping" sound. Fortuneately, the design-engineers allow that offsetting the tuning by 1 kHz will shut-off the Soft-Mute. One has to raise the volume a level or two. In the 3 1/2 years of building, Tecsun has not put in a hard-wired On/Off for this function. Outside of the AM-BCB its rarely needed, and that is probably the answer.

As other reviewers have pointed out the audio-bandwith selection and filtering is superior at this price-level. The Low IF of about 45kHz keeps SW and AM-BCB imaging to a minimum. Kudos to SiliconLabs for designing this after the Sony analog version. Low-IF is the way to go.

Where the PL-310 really shines as does its siblings the PL-380/606 is on FM. Very hard to beat in general, and seems to be limited to sibling rivalry at this price level.

SW holds it's own against others under $100, what the antenna lacks the BW selection helps. What these DSP sets don't have is SSB. And thats a turn-off for most Amateur Radio Enthusiasts. And is very much the reason for a 4/5 rating. The PL-310 is just not quite everything, but what it does, is well done.

DXTUNER Rating: 2012-07-29
Your jaw will drop. Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
The PL-310 is an interesting radio, to say the very least. Its tiny, $60 shipped, has limited coverage and no SSB yet it has Dx characteristics & features that larger communication receivers could only dream of. Not the least of which is an awesome selection of AM bandwidths: 6,4,3,2 and 1 kHz. While the PL-310 has become a 'niche' classic among a special breed of MW Dx'ers (and it is good at that) I still believe it's strongest suit is shortwave.

Pull up the little telescopic antenna, which isn't a lot longer than my hand, tune to WWV and the signal will boom in with stunning clarity. It will make your jaw drop. All the broadcast stations will do the same. Note: I did manage to put together an outboard BFO which couples nicely to the PL-310, for SSB demodulation. Contact me if you want the circuit. A typical 455 kHz oscillator will not work on the PL-310.

The PL-310's MW Dx'ing strength is mainly due to the choice of bandwidths. On FM as well the selectivity is all the rage. The bottom line of my review is that the PL-310 isn't a routine, cheap pocket radio. It is extremely special. Buy it, use it, learn what it can do and you will see.
VK3DWZ Rating: 2012-02-14
One of the best Pocket Portables. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This little wireless receiver won an award in the 2011 edition of the World Radio TV Handbook and, after living with it for a little while, I can see why. It's an ideal set to carry around--weight just 187 grams--and, really, after hearing it you'll want nothing better.

Coverage is Long-wave, Medium-wave, Shortwave and V.H.F. (64 - 108MHz--altho this can be "reduced" to 87.5 - 108MHz, if necessary).

Sensitivity is rather good and even at our QTH where there is virtually no medium-wave reception, we can receive quite a few M-W stations (albeit at a very low level). Short-wave sensitivity is fair to good using the (very short) whip aerial. This is one reciever that benefits from being connected to a large, outdoor aerial. And large aerials do not worry it at all!

F-M sound is amazing. For test purposes (only) I tuned into a "Top-40" wireless station and connected a pair of high quality earphones to the earphone jack. The sound was excellent, with good stereo seperation.

Our sample came from an eBay seller in Hong Kong and was obtained at a very low price, thanks to the strong Australian Dollar. The seller included, at no extra charge, rechargeable Ni-cd cells, a USB cable and a 230V mains adaptor. I have not used this adaptor as it's very flimsy and looks dangerous!

The display is rather good. It includes: "battery-life" display, current temperature, signal strength and even a signal-to-noise reading. The set can be locked off when not in use.

All in all, it's a very nice little wireless receiver. Don't let the lack of a B.F.O./Product Detector put you off.