Tecsun PL 600 first impressions

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WA8ZTZ

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After hearing many good things about this radio, finally got one for myself. Had a chance to try it out for the first time last evening.

The initial set up is quite easy and involves setting some codes with the keypad to select battery type (alkaline vs. NiMH), activate the LW band, and set AM channel spacing (10 kc for US). Once these and the clock is set, the operation is pretty intuitive.

First, gave LW a try. Was able to tune in 3 local (within 40 miles) NDBs. That may not sound too impressive, but this was from my basement with no antenna other than whatever ferrite is in the radio!
This may be one portable that actually performs on the LW band.

The AM broadcast band was noisy here last night with lots of QRN. Almost continuous static crashes from nearby thunderstorms. Not good for DXing but was still able to get a feel for the operation of the radio. Sensitivity seemed to be on a par with some other of my portables in side by side comparison. At least as good as the Eton Field and Traveler III but not quite as good as the CCrane EP. The PL 600 likes to be rotated. The nulls are quite sharp and the peaks are well defined. This will be a good set when it comes to separating stations on the same frequency. Hooking it up to the CCrane TCA antenna was like going to afterburner, it really made a big improvement.

Going to SW. only had time for a brief check but tuned in Gander Radio Volmet 10051 and was rewarded with a solid S4 signal. Again, this was in the basement. Used just the built-in whip for an antenna. Didn't want to hook up an outdoor antenna with all the thunder crashing around, Really didn't have to touch the BFO knob (just left it in its center detent) to make out the USB signal.

The direct entry keypad is an especially nice feature. It saves a lot of tuning around.

My first impression of this radio is very favorable.
 
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WA8ZTZ

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Feb 23, 2014
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Had an opportunity this afternoon to do some more experimenting with my new Tecsun PL 600 on LW and AM BCB.

On LW with only the internal antenna, performance is good for a portable. But with the aid of an external antenna ( in this case 50' wire) inductively coupled to the set via a homebrew passive tuner, this radio really comes alive. On a quick scan through the beacon band was able to log 18 NDBs. This was during daytime so not too bad. Best DX was 245 YZE Gore Bay ON about 225mi.

Going to the AM band, in a side by side comparison with a Satellit 750 and Eton Traveler III, the Tecsun was a bit better than the Satellit 750 but not as good as the Traveller III. This was with no external antenna, just the internal antenna in each set. My first impression was that the PL 600 and Traveler III were about equal but with more time today to really put them to the test, the Traveler III was the definite winner. The Traveler III continues to amaze me with such good AM band performance in such a small package.
 

baybum

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Tecsun PL-600 Positive Review

I went with the PL-600 and am VERY happy with it. I was monitoring a QSO in about 30 seconds.
It's just what I needed. VERY easy operation. Punch up a band, tune through it, save what you hear in a memory. SSB sounds fine, AM, FM for the ball games and talk radio.

Best QSO so far was from Italy while the radio was on second floor of my house, antenna half way up.

This site is a great way to see what's active. It updates continuously...
Ham Radio Deluxe - Top 50 DX Spots for ALL

For $83 shipped, from USA, can't go wrong.

P.S. The wall wart gets really REALLY hot, even when not charging. I sent Kaito an email. Maybe they'll shoot me a new one.

I give the radio an A. If the keypad was lighted, I'd give it an A+

Mike
 

WA8ZTZ

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Feb 23, 2014
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Enjoy your PL-600.

You will find that an external antenna will greatly improve performance. The antenna jack on the set is for a HF shortwave antenna. You will need to inductively couple an antenna to the radio to enhance AM or LW reception.

Have put lots of hours on mine the past 4 months and still on the first set of AA alkaline batteries.
 
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