Help Me Pick My Shortwave Receiver

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MikeThompson

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Hi all,
I'm hoping to get some advice on which model would best suit my needs and wants right now. I'm new to the hobby but I've had good results from my great grandfathers 50 year old Grundig and a 100ft wire antenna all my my eaves. There are inherent limitations to the Grundig and would like something new.

I will be listening indoors from the same location generally. I'd like to get a nice range of frequencies to listen to and I've heard I can pick up HAM conversations through Single Side Band? Listening to air traffic sounds interesting too. Needless to say the old Grundig can't do that!

So I've come across these two, the TECSUN PL-660 ($180 CDN roughly) and the Eton Elite Executive ($225 CDN shipped). On paper the stats look very similar. I've watched some reviews and they both look like solid radios.

Which one would better fit my needs? Is the Eton worth $40 more?

Thank guys!
 

ka3jjz

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According to the Universal website, the Executive is currently not available.

While portables have their place, for a fixed location, if it were me, I'd be looking at a Software Defined Radio if you want to keep your expenses down. The SDRPlay units are very good and have an outstanding support website. The link is;


And their support catalog where you can learn a lot about how to go about using and setting up the SDRs) can be found here


To my knowledge this is the only SDR distributor that does this.....Mike
 

WA8ZTZ

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Have the Tecsun PL-600 here and have been pleased with the performance for a portable. The PL-660 adds synchronous detection,
selectable LSB/USB, and VHF air. It has provision for an external SW antenna which will greatly enhance your reception.
The SDR is a ton more radio but may be a rather steep learning curve for somebody new to the hobby.
 

ka3jjz

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True but it's a great way to spend time if you're caught inside due to COVID....Mike
 

WA8ZTZ

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Whatever you finally decide upon, just make sure that it has provision for an external SW antenna.
Had an opportunity to play with the PL-600 for a while outdoors this afternoon. With the built in whip,
CFRX 6070 (simulcast of CFRB Toronto) and Gander Radio VOLMET 10051 were barely readable.
However, when connected to the PAR EF-SWL antenna strung between a couple of trees both stations
were loud and clear.
 

MikeThompson

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There are more reviews on the Tecsun 600 and 660(none for the Eton yet)here
Thanks! I hadn't found that before. Strange the Eton has no reviews at all. I didn't know there was a 600 and a 660, I'm trying to find the main difference between them (other than cost)

The SWLing Post has a lot of review information
Found that before, that site is a great resource and really got me interested in shortwave again.
 

ka3jjz

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The only issue you might run into using a portable (and to be truthful, many of the cheaper SDRs) is breakthrough from FM, TV or MW stations that are too close to you. If you do have this issue, there are filters (and in the worst case, a passive preselector) that can greatly help with this
problem. This is a common issue in many urban areas and is really a product of a radio that doesn't have enough front end filtering to keep this junk out. The plastic case is practically invisible to RF, so that would be another consideration...Mike
 

cognetic

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Good Choice!! Enjoy the PL=660!!
I recently researched & reviewed several radios in this category of small and portable. Every one of the Eton's trialed seemed to have less clarity in audio and fidgety/finnicky adjustments compared to the Tec Suns. The better sound performer of the small-sized Eton lot was surprisingly the Elite mini - price and portability are great, in terms of cons the buttons/adjustments are again fidgety/finnicky, limited features.
All the C Crane models I trialed had very poor audio, as well. Their designs are pretty dated.
My portable Midland ER310 weather alert radio had better audio than these two brands (ETON and CCrane).

I find a lot of the receivers of these common brands tend to get overloaded with external antennas and use of the attenuator function necessary.
Foldable (for portability) loop antennas and long wires are what I use for external receive antennas... YMMV

The Tec Sun line, especially the PL-880, has become my favorite brand at this time in this category of receivers. Love the ergonomics and superior sound on the 880. For a bit more "extreme" portable/mobile (& fixed), I tend toward the ICOMs and Yaesus (i.e. 817/857) receivers/transceivers.

- cognetic
 

MikeThompson

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In a lot of reviews I read the 660 and 880 were neck and neck for a lot of performance questions. For a beginner casual SWL (that means short wave listener right? Lol) it should be a great radio.

It is just on the slowest boat from China right now.
 
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