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Tecsun PL-660 Question

N9JCQ

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Aug 30, 2005
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437
#1
Guys I have a question regarding the PL-660. First let me say that this is my second PL-660. My first one lasted about 4 years before it gave up the ghost. I ordered a replacement and it arrived Saturday. I started to program AM stations here in the Chicago area. I set up the antenna for "DX," and the bandwidth to be wide as I had on my previous radio. The first one I entered, 620, WTMJ from Milwaukee, came in nice and strong and clear audio. The second entry, WSCR, 670 AM in Chicago was entered as normal. I saw I was receiving a signal on the S-meter bar. It was full scale, but no audio at all came out of the radio. I then set the antenna to "local" and out popped WSCR, altough a bit muddy sounding but perfectly understandable. I then set the bandwidth to narrow and the signal was perfect at that point. For each of the Chicago AM stations I entered, this event repeated itself. It was as if the front end of the radio was being swamped. My previous PL-660 never had that issue, if it is indeed an issue. I find the AM reception to be usually sensitive with this radio. Or perhaps, I had a someway compromised radio previously. Any thoughts? Should it go back to Tecsun? Oh and I should add that I find the shortwave and FM to be roughly equal to the previous radio.
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
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582
#2
Sure sounds like front end overload. AFAIK that radio lacks a variable attenuator but IIRC there is a local-DX antenna switch on the side of the radio.
If you live near any of the 50kw flamethrowers in the Chicago area your radio could be easily overloaded.
btw... WLS and WGN can generally be heard here in the Detroit area with good sigs all day long.
 

N9JCQ

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#3
Its odd as my original PL-660 never did this. Sure wish this thing could pick up CKLW, but its not a time machine . Thanks for your response.
 
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Sep 2, 2012
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#4
I don't know much about Tecsun PL-660, but my gut reaction is that something is haywire with your radio. I'd get another one and see if that does the same thing. I haven't read of any Tecsuns blocking out like that. A modest perusal of PL-660 reviews says there were sensitivity and some overload issues (distortion) on excessively strong signals, but I didn't see anything about blocking, which is what your comments seem to describe.
 

N9JCQ

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#5
I am gong to call Kaito/Tecsun tech support today. Its overloading of the MW frontend. It will likely go back for a new one.
 

N9JCQ

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#12
It's on its way back to Kaito/Tecsun. Something is offf with it. They wouldn't exchange it, only return it. So once my payment is returned I will buy another.
 

N9JCQ

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Aug 30, 2005
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#14
Ok so I had a weekend to play with my new/replacement PL-660. First, this new one is clearer sounding than the recent returned radio as if more highs are coming through. This is after the audio select was set to "high." It matches my original PL-660 (2012?) that I thought was dead. I manged to resurrect last week and it works fine except it won't charge the batteries anymore.

This replacement radio performs the same on MW and HF as my previous one of a few weeks ago. Local MW stations here in Chicago seem to swamp the radio when the antenna selector is set to "DX." Milwaukee stations and those that I try to DX across the country come in fine on this same setting. When I move the selector to "regular" or however its labeled, it helps clear up some of the stations but not the biggies. The "Local" setting does the trick though. So it appears on the more modern PL-660s, there is some sort of amp in there or its a better receiver chip than my original one. My original PL-660 does not show as dramatic a shift in reception on MW and HF as these two new PL-660s. Oddly, my old PL-660 goes through batteries noticeably faster than either of these two new radios.

The only issue I am having with this new replacement is that some of the key pad buttons (SSB), (Stereo/Filter). ("4," "0") are stiff and stick. I am trying to work them free so they work on the first touch. If not, it's going back as well. It may sound that I am displease with the Tecsun, I am not. When it works, it works great. Its fun to take on vacation or to sit on the deck and sip beer and listen to the world.

One bonus out of these experiments is that I was asking the YL to comment on what she was hearing between the radios. While I was doing these tests, I tuned in KDKA as clear as a bell, just like WGN here. I told her that KDKA was out of Pittsburgh and she was blown away. She gets the MW dxing finally... Progress!
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
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#15
Sounds like front end overload with the switch in the "DX" position as you mention.
This is not surprising given your location in relation to some of the 50kw blow torches.
Did some quick internet research, it appears you have a couple of 50kw stations near you,
Doing some quick figuring, looks like
WGN and WBBM that would put in a nearly 100 mv/m or more signal at your QTH.
WSCR would be the next strongest. That would explain the front end overload.
Fortunately, from your description, it seems like the "local" switch provides enough attenuation on the new radio
to clean things up.
 

N9JCQ

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Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 30, 2005
Messages
437
#16
Sounds like front end overload with the switch in the "DX" position as you mention.
This is not surprising given your location in relation to some of the 50kw blow torches.
Did some quick internet research, it appears you have a couple of 50kw stations near you,
Doing some quick figuring, looks like
WGN and WBBM that would put in a nearly 100 mv/m or more signal at your QTH.
WSCR would be the next strongest. That would explain the front end overload.
Fortunately, from your description, it seems like the "local" switch provides enough attenuation on the new radio
to clean things up.
It makes it inconvenient when DXing and such to switch back and forth but I will get over it. Like I said, my original PL-660 from several years ago does not display this overload at all. I just wanted to share that with the class. It still a really nice little portable.
 
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