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Reviews For: Tecsun PL-660 PLL World Band Receiver

Category: Receivers: General Coverage

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Review Summary For : Tecsun PL-660 PLL World Band Receiver
Reviews: 63MSRP: 109.9
FM-Stereo /MW/LW/SW SSB/AIR band (118-137 MHz) World Receiver with high sensitivity and selectivity.
Product is in production
More Info: http://
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
VE3LNY Rating: 2013-08-02
I got a bad one Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This is a really great receiver and I liked it a lot, but unfortunately I got one with a serious problem that the dealer was not able to resolve.

My radio had a strong oscillation at around 1MHz which drifted slowly up and down between 970 and 1020 KHz. When it landed on a local AM station, all you heard was a loud squeal. Harmonics of the signal were evident all through the SW band, often messing up reception of WWV.

The radio was off warranty when I sent it in for repair, and I was told there was nothing that could be done.

The radio was unusable for me and I could not bring myself to sell it, so it has gone in the trash.

If it hadn't been for this I would have been happy to give it a 5 rating.
ZL1LK Rating: 2013-08-02
I love it Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I bought my PL660 so I could listen to the 80 and 40 meter ham bands while on holiday over in Australia. I'm often taking part on ham nets and didn't want to miss anything.
So how did this radio perform? It surprised me.... What an amazing radio. SSB was outstanding, there was so much activity from 80 through to 10 meters with no overloading. It is spot on frequency and very easy to tune SSB signals. Even CW signals where a pleasure to listen to.
The tuning is very smooth and it does not chuff of mute the radio while tuning as some other cheap radio do.
Listening to the shortwave broadcast bands is also amazing.
As I bought this radio, I was going to resell it after my holiday, I'm going to keep it now. I'm now shifting to a new house and have packed away all my ham gear and I won't be able to set it back up again for at least two months, so this is where the PL660 come in handy again.
The Air band on this radio is also very good, but the only down fall this radio has, is that it does not squelch the signal on the air band although they manage to get the back ground noise fairly low.

There is a lot of negative comments on this receiver, but it's not a JRC, Icom etc. and never will be. It's a cheap receiver and in my opinion, it's up with the best portable's.

If you are looking for a cheap SW receiver with SSB and the air band, you will not be disappointed. It is built solid and doesn't feel cheap.
KJ4BFH Rating: 2013-06-30
Very competent little radio Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
With so many excellent features on this receiver it is hard to dissect. The pros are numerous and my cons few; the SSB tuning knob is far to shallow, unless you have small fingertips it's difficult to tune. The sensitivity and audio are better than my Grundig YB-400 that I've had for twelve years. The price to quality impressed me. Highly Recommended
WB4MIO Rating: 2013-06-16
Pleased overall.... Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Pros -
Receiver seems to have good sensitivity
Tunes SSB easily.
Relatively easy to operate. Up-down button moves you to the various shortwave bands, direct frequency entry is easy to do, and auto fast/slow when using the tuning knob works well.

Cons -
Low battery capacity with the included batteries (1000 mah)
AC hum if charger is plugged in.

This unit (purchased from must have been returned by somebody or the factory did a sloppy job packing it. The plastic bags were wrinkled, the charger cord seems to have been unrolled, and there is a slight bend in the antenna. If I was not very pleased with the performance I would return it.
KE5JDJ Rating: 2013-05-26
Great For What It Is Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I wish I could give it a 3.75 overall just because I had the tuner shaft freeze up. I hit it with a couple of drops of Rem-oil which freed it just like new.

I think for $110 delivered this is as good as it gets under $250 or so for a new radio. I still prefer the FRG-7. Sp I give it a 4 for performance and usage when grouped with sub-$250 radios....but the controls are not to my personal liking your mileage may vary.
WB9RJL Rating: 2013-05-16
Excellent Radio Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
This is a great little radio. I've had it for
about 6 months now and it seems to work real
good on all of the bands. It is excellent on
shortwave and all of the ham bands using SSB.
Sensitivity is astounding with just the small
whip antenna which is not like most portables
that come with flimsy antennas that are prone
to breakage and getting bent with use. I have
tried using a loop antenna that is currently
coupled to an old TS-520S and I found that it
was not necessary because of the sensitivity.
It actually overloaded the frontend of the
radio. I use it every night for listening to
WWCR and do not have to extend the whip to get
good receive from it. Programming the radio
requires the manual since it gets involved
getting the preset frequencies into it. One
night I had an nteresting problem with it. The
radio would not power down since it was running
on the rechargeable batteries and the charger.
Even disconnecting the charger and batteries
the radio seemed to be locked on the last
frequency that is was programmed to. You could
pull the batteries and charger for a few
minutes and it still stayed locked in on the
same frequency and nothing on the controls
would unlock it or reset it. I knew it had to
be a microprocessor problem. I decide to leave
it powered down with no batteries and charger
not attached. It was left like that for several
hours and when I powered it back up, it came
back to life with no problems. It had to have
a capacitor holding memory on the processor to
do that. Otherwise, for the next 4 months the
problem has never returned. So, if this happens
to anyone else just power it down and leave it
sit with nothing attached for several hours and
then power it back up to see if it comes back
to life. By the way, when it acted up it had
receive and audio you just couldn't adjust the
audio or any of the functions.

IZ8SFJ Rating: 2013-05-08
AIR band and miscellaneous. Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.

Many reviews around this model were left, nearly all positive especially when thinking of SW/SSB's great performance.
Nevertheless few words were spent on AIR Band which is in my opinion an interesting "add on" for a multiband radio.
For sure it is an original choice not yet adopted by competitors in the same market category.
My impression is that VHF band looks very sensitive even when RF ampli switch is on "NORMAL" position.
"DX" switching gave me the chance to catch signals from aircrafts flying hundreds of miles far. For example I have been able to hear at my QTH clear traffic broadcasted by local APT in Naples as far as Rome Approach to Leonardo da Vinci APT.

Despite the remarkable features, I think people are about to buy the "660" will do well to take confidence with some oddities in its way of working which unfortunately sound like a real limitation in the use.
First, no scan function is available on AIR band for both VFO and memory mode. Only manual tuning through the rotating knob is possible. In addition the stepping is doggedly set on "Slow/Fast" position making the band exploration very uncomfortable.
As a hint: dial a FM frequency (i.e. 88 MHz) and select "FAST" step, then move (-PAGE+) to the memory block where AIR frequencies are stored and push VF/VM button twice so as to release the frequency in VFO mode with FAST step activated. This procedure will enable a manual tuning 25kHz spaced that is the one suitable for AIR band scanning. I know all that is quite tangled but at last the buttons sequence will become familiar to the user.
Oddly the model does not come with a kind of squelch, either adjustable or built-in. Such a bug is in my opinion unaccountable if compared to the category to which the radio would aspire to belong to.
As a result of that after few minutes the listening turns out to be boring and unbearable when no carrier busies the channel in between. By the way there is much talk around a dinamic squelch modification for SW listening whereas nothing is written about this essential modification. Dunno ..
I would spend some more speech on further aspects needing to be improved.
For instance the ferrite antenna cannot be cut off when using the ext ANT jack: could someone explain why Tecsun technicians do consider DX-ing on LW/MW bands like an option ? As long as things do not change I suggest the inductive loop antenna AN-200 to strengthen MW signals at least. Be aware this antenna works great.
Last but not least you all will have noticed the S-meter is just a theoretical matter. Unreliable, not effective, it’s for reference only.
I don’t want to split hairs but also to be said an OUT recording jack would have made this unit more complete and incomparable for competitors as far as connections and control buttons are concerned.
Rating 4/5 due to the price (purchased in China for $108), otherwise 3 out of 5.

DXTUNER Rating: 2013-04-16
Tecsun did a good job with this. Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Every bit as sensitive as its older brother, the PL-600, on shortwave anyway, but a huge improvement in SSB audio. I'm not saying that the PL-600 has bad sideband audio, but it does distort a bit on really strong signals. Not so at all on the PL-660. It sounds almost like a Drake on sideband.

I feel that the PL-660's MW section is slightly weaker than the PL-600 though. Not deaf or anything, but the 600 astounds me on MW, especially for a $72 radio. The PL-660 by comparison I'd say is 'pretty good' on medium wave. I don't know the reason for the difference. Air band (VHF) works well, no external antenna needed at my location for that. Plus I can tune it in proper 25 kHz steps. Big plus there. The selectable sideband synchronous detector option, something usually found only on higher grade receivers, works without a hitch. It might shock you.

Overall the PL-660 seems very different than the PL-600, although it looks similar and, sure, I suppose its worth the extra $40. Not that you should discard the PL-600, that's a capable radio in itself.
M0XEC Rating: 2013-03-26
A nice little radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I had been looking for a small portable radio that includes the HF bands and which ideally has direct frequency entry. I had considered the Sony ICF-SW7600GR, the Eton G3, the Degen 1103 and the Tecsun PL660. The Sony was selling for £100 on Amazon, but did not have Air Band. I could purchase the Eton G3 locally for a similar price but it has very mixed reviews. The Degen 1103 was the cheapest of the bunch but appears to have analogue tuning but is considered reasonable for the price. The Tecsun PL660 was selling for £159 from Amazon but can be purchased for around £75 direct from the Far East. However I came across a used PL660 in the UK, advertised as one year old for £63, complete with a TG34 active antenna. I understand the PL660 usually comes with a ‘wire antenna’ on a spool, so I presumed the TG34 was an ‘upgrade’. . I understand the PL660 usually comes with a ‘wire antenna’ on a spool, so I presumed the TG34 was an ‘upgrade’. I preferred the black version and this was silver, but in the end, having considered everything, I decided to buy it.

The example I received had evidently been well looked after or had received little use. It was clean, with no marks, scratches or signs of wear on either the radio or the pouch. It quickly became evident that this unit was more than a year old as there was a sticker in the battery compartment stating it had been manufactured in 2010. Still, overall the unit was in excellent condition.

In terms of ergonomics, the buttons are a little small and fiddly but manageable, and the rotary controls all work well. The buttons do not appear to light up and the LCD display light will only stay on while tuning or for about 3 seconds and there seems to be no option to make it stay on. Not a major problem but it would have been nice to have the option. The BFO control has a notch that makes it easy to find the central position, but the centre point is not marked. If the BFO adjustment actually needs to be close to the centre position the notch could make it awkward to get a precise setting, whereas a smooth movement with a painted centre mark would probably have sufficed.

The radio produces ample volume, but the AM signal is so much louder than FM that it tends to startle the listener so care is needed when switching from FM to AM mode. I would say that FM stereo performance is below par with the signal often being noisy, although switching to mono mode usually clears this up. Overall, the sound is relatively free of distortion and is quite acceptable even on a pair of very ordinary earplugs. Of course, this is not a HiFi device, but on a pair of decent stereo headphones the FM stereo sounds quite reasonable. To me, the treble setting on the tone control sounds a little tinny, whereas the bass setting sounds rather dull. Perhaps not applying any filtering at all might have given a more balanced response but this is where personal preference also comes into play.

Long and medium wave AM signals seem to come through loud and clear and shortwave performance is very good and that’s just using the whip antenna. The TG34 active antenna that I received with my set does improve shortwave reception and helps to pull weaker signals out of the noise a little, but it does amplifies the static somewhat as well and, despite the obvious switch, does not work at all on MW. Maybe the seller decided to keep the original wire antenna with good reason. I tried connecting a 30ft (10m) random to the whip and this worked well also. Incidentally, I connected to the whip because I came across a forum post warning about the lack of static discharge protection when using the antenna socket so I’m not taking the risk of connecting an antenna to the socket until I can put the appropriate protection in place. The DX attenuator setting makes the receiver so sensitive though that moving your hand near the controls affects the tuning. The ‘normal’ setting works well for most part though.

I compared the Air Band against my AOR8000 scanner, which admittedly has a better and more suited whip antenna. I live a few miles from the nearest airport (Stoughton, Leicester) so I wasn’t sure how successful this would be, but on this occasion I did pick up a signal on 127.100Mhz and could hear the control tower loud and clear. I did notice that some responses aircraft came through faintly on the AOR8000, but they did not come through at all on the PL660. I then discovered that switching the attenuator switch to DX mode enabled these fainter signals to be heard on the PL660 as well and I could then hear pretty much everything on both receivers. I think the AOR scanner still had the edge though. The Tecsun PL660 seems to have a lower noise floor than the AOR8000 and its larger speaker does seem to produce a clearer output, but the scanner has a squelch control and seems to pull in the weaker signals a little better.

The sync detection feature works although I’m not sure that it always consistently improves weak signals. Sometimes it does seem to pull in a weak signal better, but then some stations seem to sound better on normal AM. On SSB, the BFO works quite well although it takes a delicate touch sometimes to get it spot on. It might have been nice if one could program smaller steps for more accurate tuning, but at this price the arrangement seems to work reasonably well.

I haven’t tried the radio on re-chargeable batteries yet so I can’t comment on how long they last. I’ve turned off the charging feature for now and am using alkaline batteries. For the two weeks that I’ve been using them with moderate use, they are still going strong.

Overall I would say that if purchased directly from the Far East, this radio is good value for money. I’m not sure I would have paid £159 for it though. I don’t have a basis for comparison with the other models mentioned, but it compares well with my DX394 desktop receiver and I am pleased with it.
W1EAT Rating: 2012-12-24
Great for CW and SSB Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Most of the portable radios I have tried haven't really been usable for CW and SSB. They drifted or overloaded too easy or tuned using up/down buttons or some other glitch that made them aggravating.

The PL-660 works fine for me as a companion to QRP CW transmitters. My OMNI-V sounds better and works better, but the PL-660 is entirely usable. I use my regular antennas and the "local" RF setting and it doesn't overload.

For $105 it's a keeper.