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HF/MW/LW Equipment - For general and technical discussion of all receivers which cover the HF bands. For HF tranceiver discussion please use the Amateur Radio Equipment forum above.

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Old 11-22-2014, 8:46 AM
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Default Took the plunge-----PL-880

After debating back and forth, and reading everything I could about the 660 vs. 880. I went ahead and purchased the 880.I am VERY happy with this radio------quite impressive features. Which I am still trying to figure out, such a well written manual. LOL Other owners know what I am talking about. Thank God for the internet! I can't add a whole lot to what others have said but, the sound (speaker) on this radio is unreal-----my wife even commented on how such a small radio sounded so good! Only had it a few days, plan to really dig into this weekend. I did have one question, can anyone recommend a back up battery? Would like to have a 2nd (even 3rd) on hand. Also anyone have a Li-ion charger recommendation? Thanks Mike
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Old 11-22-2014, 3:25 PM
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I'm sure you'll be happy with it. When it works I've heard it's a great receiver. This unit has been out for a while now so the manufacturer may have fixed the most, how should I say it.. obvious issues. Also I think I read somewhere that this radio is a triple conversion receiver, most portables are only dual, and if that's true it might be the only portable that's triple, but I may be wrong. And it has some very advanced features indeed, like variable bandwidths. And with the variable bandwidths you can tune to e.g CW (morse) signals better than most other portables.

I watched a video on youtube showing that and, wow, CW worked great on it! And the audio is superb too. I may get one myself in the future...
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Old 11-22-2014, 4:08 PM
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As long as you got one without issues - there have been some grumblings of poor QC with some of these radios - this is a very nice portable in the under USD200 class. Here are a few links you should check out...

http://forums.radioreference.com/hf-...-features.html

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Tecsun_PL-880/info

http://forums.radioreference.com/rec...r-project.html

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Old 11-22-2014, 4:45 PM
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Mike, thanks for the links! I did check my firmware right away, it is 8820. That's the latest documented one I can find. Off to do some reading in the links, Mike
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Old 11-22-2014, 4:54 PM
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Haley check out the SWLing Post, they have info on the radio as well as hidden features.
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Old 11-22-2014, 5:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ka3jjz View Post
As long as you got one without issues - there have been some grumblings of poor QC with some of these radios - this is a very nice portable in the under USD200 class. Here are a few links you should check out...

http://forums.radioreference.com/hf-...-features.html

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Tecsun_PL-880/info

http://forums.radioreference.com/rec...r-project.html

Mike
cronst10, the first link Mike put was to the SWLing Post-----your right, lots of good info. Quite a few topics on the 880. Learned a lot already! Mike
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Old 11-22-2014, 8:40 PM
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The 'first timer project' is a very useful one for most portables, not just the 880. Essentially, it adds a bit of static protection as well as a simple adjustable gain control - particularly useful if you put a good sized antenna on it - say 50-75 foot inverted L.

Out in Iowa you may not experience much in the way of overloading, but you never know...Mike
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Old 11-23-2014, 8:37 AM
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Mike, been looking through the project thread, and actually thinking about building 2-3 of them.My be a good winter project here. I have been just using roll out wire antennas, or alligator clips with speaker wire of various lengths with good results. Every now and then in the 28-30 mhz. range I do get strong image reception from a NWS tower, it is about 1-2 miles from my house. I can see it out my window as I type. Shows up on some of the scanners in odd spots at times also. Mike
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Old 12-06-2014, 3:23 PM
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Wow! I just picked up a Tecsun PL-880 (firmware 8820) and they got it *nearly* perfect. So far no qc issues, but we'll see how that goes as my 909x died a year or so back.

Outstandingly clean and LOUD audio should you wish. Boneshaking bass if you hold it in your hands. The bass/treble control is kind of superflous since I leave it with full fidelity. It could use a tad more high end, but unless one is an audiophile, that won't be a big problem with this radio.

I got it for my grab-n-go setup and charge it with either my Anker 8 or 14 watt folding solar panels. Using 5v usb input to charge the li-ion battery means I'm no longer carrying my AA / Maha charger setup around - as much as I loved those. I'm slowly converting my portable setup to the simplified 5vUSB > Li-ion when I can.

Tuning for cw / ssb is the best I have ever encountered in a portable going all the way back to my Sony in 1979. Bandwidth selection actually works great.

The only issue that bugs me is that on cw / ssb is the agc-attack is too slow. So for moderately strong signals, the start of each transmission is distorted until the agc kicks in. Reducing the gain switch helps, but you end up with a worse s/n ratio, so you have to take your pick.

So sure enough, it can't even come close to the CommRadio CR1a. Still, that is apples-to-oranges difference.

For FM, be sure you didn't accidentally change the hidden 50/75us FM deemphasis. I must have done that while playing around (hold the #5 key down to toggle) and my high-end returned.

You can leave the display light enabled even when off, so be sure to check that in case you don't notice it and throw the radio into a drawer for a year.

Overall, I REALLY like this thing, but cw/ssb is kind of just goofing around until they fix that agc-attack delay. Reminds me of the analog Tecsun S2000 / Grundig 750 problem, but hopefully a software tweak could tighten that agc up.

So far, this is a keeper, but will it live a decade or more like my 7600gr? Time will tell.

Last edited by hertzian; 12-06-2014 at 3:32 PM..
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Old 12-06-2014, 3:51 PM
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hertzian, not a bad little portable for the buck. I always enjoy reading your posts. Yes, it's not a CR1a, but for those who are on a "budget" it will give them a decent receiver for home or travel.
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Old 12-06-2014, 4:18 PM
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Thanks - I agree. The 880 was surprising.

Audio is so pleasantly clean, and the audio chain blew me away for a radio of it's size. In a noisy emergency, you'll definitely be able to fill the room with sound. Listener fatigue is important to me, and this one shows very little of that to my ears. Amplifier hiss drives me nuts, and the 880 so far doesn't bug my ears at all.

I swore I would never own another portable ever again, and while not perfect, the 880 brought a smile to my face. Hope it holds up. My Sony 7600gr is officially retired.

Last edited by hertzian; 12-06-2014 at 4:22 PM..
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Old 12-07-2014, 7:11 AM
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Default ...but memory management issues

I agree with the above comments and observations....but memory management is not well programmed.

I received my 880 a couple of weeks ago - delayed by 4 months due to a postal strike in SA. Compliments of yet more government inefficiency, our national power generator has implemented rolling blackouts which has led to a couple of excellent evenings of aero dxing in an rfi-free urban envirnment here in Johannesburg.

This radio has performed very well on its whip bringing in Mumbai on 8879, Santa Maria on 8906 and Manilla on 8903. WWV and H were strong on 5 and 10 as were many of the volmet frequencies. Spurred on by this performance I loaded about 70 usb aero frequencies over 5 memory pages. loading is quite a convoluted mission!

This morning I added a few more frequencies and wanted to keep the channels of each page in ascending frequency order. The sorting function works very well - but it puts all modes back to AM and it's a mission to change them all back to usb and re-store.

So, a sensitive radio with poor memory management. And that's a shame.
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Old 12-07-2014, 8:55 AM
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Agree with the above comments. This radio continues to surprise me, lots of nice (undocumented ) features. One thing I do like is if you are in USB/LSB mode, and want to go to the next band up or down, hit the arrow keys and your there. Same for the HF broadcast bands, all the bands are programmed in, nice touch. Probably not a big deal to some, but my last portable SSB/SW was a RS DX398.

Battery life seems to be quite long, really like using the 18650 battery, a first for me. I have been charging it with one of my Iphone chargers, works fine. The filters, can't say enough about these, right on the mark IMO. Perfect for SSB listening, even for CW/ALE types of transmissions. Sensitivity is above anything I own, and for a portable , would not be surprised if it's not one of the best, especially considering the price.

The ONLY negative for me is the manual, not the worst I have ever seen, but very close. So many features not even mentioned in it. As I said in my first post, I am glad their are sites that document all these "extras". Wishing everyone good luck, for the longevity and quality of this radio! Mike
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Old 12-09-2014, 3:34 AM
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They really should put the secret settings in the manual! For one, depending on where you live, the difference between 50 and 75us deemphasis (hold down the 5 key) for FM makes a big difference!

The battery on mine appears to be a protected type with a pcb at the positive end, and it didn't overcharge it - it stopped at 4.199v as measured on my Flukes. I'm assuming that the pcb would stop at 4.25v or so, and at 2.5v at the bottom end for protection. At the same time, pressing the 4 key to choose your *normal* low-voltage shutoff between 3.4 to 3.7v is pretty neat.

I just wish that maybe in the future, they would allow for end-user updating of firmware fixes. If that were to happen, like fixing the ssb agc-attack time to be faster, and fixing the memory mode storage issue, would really make this thing a total game changer. I really don't want to wait for the "990" model.

Perhaps the engineers are broadcast-centric - that is they assume ssb issues are always a matter of adjusting rf-gain or attenuation, when other things, such as agc-attack time are just as important. There is some great attention to detail, like the S-meter function, but on the other hand little things that have rough edges that if smoothed out, would set a precedent for others to follow and make this a "classic" to be remembered.

Still, for AM/FM, the 3 watt class AB amplifier and super-powerful mylar speaker are blowing my mind.

Last edited by hertzian; 12-09-2014 at 3:39 AM..
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Old 01-04-2015, 12:13 AM
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I had several of these when they first came out, both 8819 and 8820 firmware. I did not like the SSB at all, so I did not keep any of them.

I just received a new Tecsun PL-880 for Xmas, and much to my surprise this appears to be a significantly improved version. The firmware still shows 8820, but there are changes. I decided to open the radio and have a look.

I posted several photos of the internals in the photos section of the PL-880 Yahoo Group, one of which shows the mainboard is now at Version 10. It has a date of 01/15/2014. The first models out show 7/6/2013 at Version 7. What the changes were and why they were made is unknown, but they must have done some improvements because the SSB on this sample is quite acceptable.

I also verified the SI chip being used: it is a Silicon Labs SI4735, Firmware Revision 6.0. There is a photo of the SI chip, and also of the speaker and passive radiator besides the main board. https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/...zax/1193097641

There is a mod in the group to improve the SSB. Here is a quote from the group:

The mod is supposed to reduce the frequency modulation of the tone when the signal is strong. Especially noticeable on CW. The result is cleaner CW tone.
It doesn't fix the amplitude distortion caused by the AGC. Unfortunately, the AGC is implemented in the DSP firmware. Same guys who developed the mod probed the voltages around the IC under the "DNR" shield, which is the 10.7 to 455 converter, and didn't find any pins that changed with the signal strength. Same result for RF circuits. The whole RF-IF chain operates at a fixed gain (other than the manual switch at the very front).
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Old 06-25-2017, 3:42 PM
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Does anyone hacked the Firmware to enable NFM on the CB Band?
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Old 06-26-2017, 7:15 PM
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The best place to find such a mod, if it exists, would be in the aforementioned Yahoo group. See post 3 of this thread

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Old 06-27-2017, 2:19 AM
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I saw the Chipset dont support NFM.
And the Bandwith for SSB is maybe not hight enoght to pipe the Data from an Digital Radio Channel into "Dream".
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Old 06-27-2017, 6:39 AM
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The BW of the SSB setting has nothing at all to do with Dream. A DRM signal would be physically tapped from an IF output, much in the same way as a discriminator tap would be used in a scanner to run, say, UniTrunker, but in this case, you would be using Dream. Again, the yahoo group is the place to go to find out if anyone has ever done this to this radio, or even if it's possible.

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Old 06-27-2017, 8:49 AM
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I have applied for this group. If or when the give me access is not unclear.
Quote:
A DRM signal would be physically tapped from an IF output, much in the same way as a discriminator tap would be used in a scanner to run, say, UniTrunker, but in this case, you would be using Dream.
sure when the signal have a bandwit of lets say 10khz (?!) but the max setting on the radio is 4khz i never could run the decode becouse 60% of the signal is missing.

The Chip on who I found on the Datasheet do not support SSB so maybe the use some trick the devide an AM Carrier to get SSB?!
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