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New Tecsun PL880

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SouthOrRadio

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Should be released this Friday, $160 on Amazon.

Amazon.com: Tecsun PL880 Portable Digital PLL Dual Conversion AM/FM, Longwave & Shortwave Radio with SSB (Single Side Band) Reception: Electronics

Link to the manual...

http://swling.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Tecsun-pl880-Manual.pdf



Tecsun pl-880

High Performance World Band PLL Synthesized Multi-band Receiver


Details

TECSUN’s latest high-end radio receiver has arrived: PL-880. Equipped with analogue High-IF circuit, multi-conversion and DSP decoding technology, PL-880 has great performance in its sensitivity, selectivity and the interference of mirror stations (image rejection). Besides these technological advances, the introduction of the Auto Sorting Memory function in Tecsun’s latest top receivers provides greater user friendliness and convenience in using stored stations. And to further enhance listening enjoyment, PL-880 is fitted with Class AB type Audio Power Amplifiers and ultra-dynamic full range speakers.





Special Functions:

Multi-conversion processing of incoming radio signals to reduce interference.

SW Single Side Band (SSB): individual reception of Upper Side Band (USB) and Lower Side Band (LSB)

Auto-sorting memory: sorting stored stations automatically according to meter band and frequency, removes duplicate stations.





Frequency Range:



FM: 64 – 108 MHz (Russia) / 76 – 108 MHz (Japan) / 87.5 – 108 MHz (Germany)

MW: 522 - 1620 kHz (band step 9 kHz for Asia / Africa / Europe)

520 - 1710 kHz (band step 10 kHz for Americas)

LW: 100 KHz to 519 KHz (tuning step 1 kHz or 9 kHz)

SW: 1711 KHz to 29999 kHz (tuning step 1 kHz or 5 kHz)









Tuning Methods:



Auto / manual tuning for stations within frequency range (VF mode)



Auto / manual tuning for stations within its memories (VM mode)



Direct keypad entry of a frequency or memory address







Storing Stations Methods:



Manually: tune into a station manually and store them



Semi-auto storage: storing stations during auto-scan



Auto Tuning Storage (ATS): automatically tune into and store stations





Basic Features:

Multi-functional Digital Display shows:

Meter band & frequency

Memory page and location

Signal indicator: S/N ratio and strength

Clock & Alarm

Battery indicator



3050 stations storage locations, divided over 25 memory pages

Manual tuning control: Fast, slow and fine-tuning

Alarm by radio, and with the automatically alarm stopper within 1 - 90 minutes

Snooze function – 5 minutes, repeated three times

Sleep timer from 1 - 120 minutes

Class AB type Audio Power Amplifiers & ultra -dynamic full range speakers, with excellent sound quality

News / Music tone switch

LCD backlight

LCD light on/off switch

Key lock function

Vertical back stand

Local / Norm / DX antenna gain switch: adjust sensitivity when using external SW antenna

SW (& FM) antenna jack

Line-out jack

Earphone jack (3.5 mm)

Speaker (40 mm)

Built-in Charging System to charge lithium (Li-ion) rechargeable battery

Mini USB DC jack (5V / 500mA)





Power supply:

Battery: 3.7V 18650-type lithium (Li-ion) battery (included);

External power source: USB switching adapter with double entry (5V/1000mA & 5V/2400mA) (included)

Unit size 192 x 113 x 33 mm (W x H x D)

Original accessories: 1pc stereo earphone, 1pc SW wire antenna, 1pc protective carrying pouch, 1 pc charging cable, 1 pc Amateur Radio World Map, and English manual.





Sensitivity:

FM (S / N = 30dB) < 3uV

MW (S / N = 26dB) < 3mV/m

LW (S / N = 26dB) < 5mV/m

SW (S / N = 26dB) < 20uV

SSB (S / N = 10dB) < 3uV





Selectivity (Factory default of AM IF bandwidth to narrow band):


FM > 35dB (± 200kHz)

MW / LW > 40dB (± 9kHz)

SW > 40dB (± 5kHz)



S/N Ratio:


FM > 65dB

MW / LW > 40dB

SW > 45dB
 

pinballwiz86

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It doesn't look as nice as the PL-660. It doesn't have the civil air band or sync detection.


Sync detection can be done manually though with USB/LSB and BFO knob.
 

Token

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It doesn't look as nice as the PL-660. It doesn't have the civil air band or sync detection.


Sync detection can be done manually though with USB/LSB and BFO knob.
Look at the sensitivity numbers on that PL-880. Either the manufacturer is being extremely conservative on printed claims or the radio is pretty poor. Example for SSB the sens is listed as &#8220;< 3 &#956;V&#8221;. Less than 3 &#956;V is a pretty wide statement. For example, 2.8 &#956;V is poor sensitivity for an SSB receiver on HF, and fits in the specified range, while 0.28 &#956;V would be decent sensitivity on HF for SSB, and also fits in &#8220;less than 3 &#956;V&#8221;.

To put that value in perspective, radios such as the Icom R75 have manufacturer claimed SSB sensitivities of around 0.16 &#956;V at HF frequencies (generally indicated as conservative by third party reviewers), or on the order of 15+ times better than the specification for the PL-880.

The other sensitivities listed are similarly vague or odd, using less commonly used &#8220;standards&#8221; of reference.

However, this is common for some vendors, and Tecsun did the same thing for the PL-660 as well as other of their offerings.

And by the way, you cannot do &#8220;sync detection&#8221; with SSB and a BFO. You can receive an AM signal (DSB Full Carrier) using SSB, no problem, but that is not sync detection. While you are getting the advantages of SSB reception you are not getting the advantage of reduced selective fading, one of the key features of Sync Detection. One of the ways to get similar to Sync Detection performance is if you have a radio with dual VFO&#8217;s, put one in LSB and tuned to the freq and one in USB and tuned to the freq, have the audio of both mixed. Still not sync detection (such a technique does not lock to the carrier), but closer, and less susceptible to selective fading than a single SSB channel would be.

T!
 
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SCPD

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It's no R75 for sure Token, but for some folks new to SW and want to get their feet "wet" some of these portables can help them make the decision whether to invest in better rigs down the road. Some of these portables aren't bad for starter radios or just to have in an emergency situation, but I agree that they are no way near the desktop radio capabilities.
 

Token

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It's no R75 for sure Token, but for some folks new to SW and want to get their feet "wet" some of these portables can help them make the decision whether to invest in better rigs down the road. Some of these portables aren't bad for starter radios or just to have in an emergency situation, but I agree that they are no way near the desktop radio capabilities.
Was not attempting to compare it to the R75 as such, only to say the numbers advertised are odd or are presented in an odd manor. The R75 was just a convenient model to use as an example, and one anyone can look at the web site and confirm what I said. Any desktop I can think of, including very low end, would have sensitivity numbers many times better than the “less than 3 microVolt” quoted, as would many portables. I have to think they took the lazy way out on the spec, and just published one they knew every production unit could hit, that way it would be hard to reject one as “out of spec”.

Also, not putting the radio down in any way. However, at its cost point ($200 list, $160 street) you are starting to talk about real performance on the used market or in the lower end SDR market (like the Softrock Ensemble II, decent if not quite great). I personally am not a fan of portables, but that is just me, I can’t fault them, they just don’t fit my use. With that said, there are a few around here ;)

T!
 

SouthOrRadio

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From the 660 manual:

2. Sensitivity
FM (S/N=30 dB) Less than 3 &#956;V
MW (S/N=26 dB) Less than 1 mV/m
LW (S/N=26 dB) Less than 5 mV/m
SW (S/N=26 dB) Less than 20 &#956;V
SSB (S/N=10 dB) Less than 1 &#956;V
AIR (S/N=10 dB) Less than 5 &#956;v

From the 880 manual

2. Sensitivity
FM (S/N=30 dB) Less than 3 &#956;V
MW (S/N=26 dB) Less than 1 mV/m
LW (S/N=26 dB) Less than 5 mV/m
SW (S/N=26 dB) Less than 20 &#956;V
SSB (S/N=10 dB) Less than 1 &#956;V
AIR (S/N=10 dB) Less than 5 &#956;v

From the 380 manual

2. Sensitivity
FM (S/N=30dB) 3&#956;V
MW (S/N=26dB) 1mV/m
LW (S/N=26dB) 10mV/m
SW (S/N=26dB) 20&#956;V
 
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SCPD

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Token I understand exactly what you were pointing out, I respect what you and others who have more knowledge on this subject. I started out with a portable and have learned a great wealth of info from you guys. Thanks to all.
 

Token

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From the 660 manual:

2. Sensitivity
FM (S/N=30 dB) Less than 3 &#956;V
MW (S/N=26 dB) Less than 1 mV/m
LW (S/N=26 dB) Less than 5 mV/m
SW (S/N=26 dB) Less than 20 &#956;V
SSB (S/N=10 dB) Less than 1 &#956;V
AIR (S/N=10 dB) Less than 5 &#956;v

From the 880 manual

2. Sensitivity
FM (S/N=30 dB) Less than 3 &#956;V
MW (S/N=26 dB) Less than 1 mV/m
LW (S/N=26 dB) Less than 5 mV/m
SW (S/N=26 dB) Less than 20 &#956;V
SSB (S/N=10 dB) Less than 1 &#956;V
AIR (S/N=10 dB) Less than 5 &#956;v
Then the SSB sensitivity is a good bit better than the original posted specifications in this thread. I wonder where those numbers came from? &#8220;Less than 1 &#956;V&#8221; is still a pretty broad statement, but much better than the 3 &#956;V originally posted.

Still sounds like a number selected to allow production variances. I would bet the &#8220;average&#8221; unit is a fraction of that. I know my old DX-400 portable exhibits around 0.3 &#956;V (@10 dB S/N, narrow filter selected), even after all these years.

T!
 

K0OD

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From early reports, the PL-880 offers four bandwidths on AM, including a very wide 9 kHz for hifi, and five bandwidths on SSB, one of which is probably narrow enough for good selectivity on CW or digital. It has 10 Hz tuning steps and appears to display SSB frequency down to 10Hz. It would be remarkable if it were really that accurate.

I'm also impressed that it <<MAY>> have a calibrated signal strength meter. Those features are groundbreaking in a radio of its price and size class. This will be a popular portable for hams..

As for sensitivity, band noise rather receiver generated noise is what almost always limits sensitivity. Excessive sensitivity can get a radio into trouble. The PL-880 should be plenty sensitive enough.
 

Token

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As for sensitivity, band noise rather receiver generated noise is what almost always limits sensitivity. Excessive sensitivity can get a radio into trouble. The PL-880 should be plenty sensitive enough.
Are you saying the receiver is substandard and suffers a higher receiver generated noise floor, thus lower sensitivity? Or did you leave a “than” out of there and are saying band noise (atmospheric, natural, and man-made noise) is the limiting factor, and not native radio sensitivity? If this last is your meaning then location and frequency are going to be major players. For example at my location my average noise floor (2.4 kHz BW) with my main antenna on frequencies above 10 MHz is less than roughly -124 dBm. This is far below 1 µV and so the limitation for detection and usability of low level signals would indeed be the radio, not band noise. On the other hand, my average nighttime band noise levels below 7 MHz would indeed probably make a 1 µV level more than acceptable.

A good, unscientific, rule of thumb for if you have enough receiver sensitivity is to plug in the antenna. If the noise floor of the receiver increases when tuned to an empty segment of band and you plug in the antenna then you have enough, if there is no change between antenna connected and not connected then you might be lacking in sensitivity.

Excessive sensitivity can get a radio into trouble when the rest of the receiver or system is not up to the task, i.e. something like high sensitivity but low dynamic range is undesirable, as would high sensitivity and low image rejection. But if properly designed a very sensitive radio is pretty much nothing but a plus. Many radios exhibit HF SSB sensitivities of better than 0.2 µV, and have no related negative performance issues. Why do manufacturers go to the effort of designing radios to such a level if “less than 1 µV” is plenty sensitive enough?

Certainly there are conditions and locations under which sensitivity is a secondary concern, however better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

I think you missed the point of what I said. I was not saying the radio was not sensitive enough. You might want to go back and take a closer look at what I said in post #5 and #8. The claim of the manufacturer is apparently “less than 1 µV”. What I was saying was this seems an ambiguous claim, as if chosen to allow wide unit to unit variation without having to call one “out of specification”. “less than 1 µV” could well be 0.2 µV, and quite good, but it also might be 0.99 µV, and relatively insensitive compared to some other radios on the market. But what spurred my initial response was the original post, which appears to have contained incorrect information, stating that the HF SSB sensitivity was “less than 3 µV”, and something near 3 µV would be relatively deaf by modern standards.

T!
 

K0OD

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" Or did you leave a &#8220;than&#8221; out of there and are saying band noise (atmospheric, natural, and man-made noise) is the limiting factor, and not native radio sensitivity?"


Yep I accidentally left out "than." I generally agree with you. Higher sensitivity might be important on higher frequencies and with the built-in whip antenna..

The early info released by Tecsun about the 880 was severely lacking even after shoppers contacted them with questions. Marketing is certainly not their strength. Anyway, PL-880s are already reaching U.S. buyers, which is impressive,
Photos: Unboxing the new Tecsun PL-880 | The SWLing Post

Do you agree that the 880 is groundbreaking in several ways?
 

LCRay

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Made the mistake of ordering a new product with apparent issues
I liked the 660 so much that I broke my rule of waiting a bit on a new release!
My 880 is firmware version 8819 and Tecsun is already on 8820
SSB tuning is very poor and w/ an older firmware version you will be disappointed IMHO

At $160 it will be returned and reordered when Tecsun resolves reception and noise problems
 

SCPD

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LC, SWLing post has several hidden features on adjustments to that radio. Don't know if you have seen the articles there. On the home page, right side, scroll down almost to the bottom and you will see pl 680, click on and it will show articles on hidden features to the radio, may help you out.
 

LCRay

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LC, SWLing post has several hidden features on adjustments to that radio. Don't know if you have seen the articles there. On the home page, right side, scroll down almost to the bottom and you will see pl 680, click on and it will show articles on hidden features to the radio, may help you out.
Thanks, I visit the SWLing site daily

Access to hidden features appears to be dependent on the firm wave version

The SSB tuning issue is my main complaint

BTW - I suspect the radio was rushed to market before Xmas season
 

ka3jjz

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There is a reference to another interesting hidden feature - a sync detector. It will be interesting to see how well it works. Evidently this one selects either upper or lower sideband - a distinct difference from other low end syncs, that only work on the AM mode and not sideband

The advantage here is that this enables you to potentially escape interference on either the lower or upper sideband, making it easier to hear the station. Very interesting

Mike
 
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