Friday, August 09, 2013

The new Tecsun PL-880

The new Tecsun PL-880 sounds promising

The Tecsun PL-880 (Photo:

Last night, I discovered news of the new Tecsun PL-880 on Jeff’s excellent blog, the Herculodge.

Out of all of the current shortwave radio manufacturers, Tecsun seems to be one of the only companies making new models for the radio hobbyist–models with important features like SSB, bandwidth control, fine tuning steps, capable AGC, etc.

According to a comment Owl left on this post, it sounds like the PL-880 could be a performer:

Two photos of Tecsun’s new model PL880 appeared yesterday. It uses an analog+DSP architecture similar to ATS909X but has made some significant improvements (4 AM bandwidth + 5 SSB bandwidth) and better audio compared to previous Tecsun portables.

I will plan on reviewing the PL-880, once it hits the market. If it’s no larger than my Sony ICF-SW7600GR, it might make for a great travel radio. Posted on August 8, 2013 by Thomas


In Tecsun BBS forum we saw a new Tecsun PL 880 model picture

which is written as FM STEREO / LW / MW / SW-SSB PLL SYNTHESIZED RECEIVER - yet in the description area we can see the mention of DSP - how ii it? We wonder...

From first look it appears to be a advanced version of PL-380 with bigger tuning knobs - bigger than PL660 and a new style of speaker cover - the speaker also claimed as new dynamic speaker - we can see... a so-called ultra-dynamic full-range speaker is used. The design of the audio section of PL880 might have benefited from Tecsun’s experience on making a few portable media-players (Tecsun A3/D3/X3/etc.) in the past couple of years.
We should note PL380 is a DSP portable and PL600 or PL660 is PLL Synthesized receiver not DSP.

They claimed the AM section of this new model adopts an architecture similar to ATS909X, i.e. dual conversion to 2nd IF of 450 KHz which is then inputted as RF signal into Si4734/5 and further down coverted to the IC's "low IF" for DSP decoding. so it is PLL Synthesized and IF is based on DSP just like Sangean it seems.

It doesn't say anything about RDS which is great on Sangean ATS909X, and can’t remember that any Tecsun radio has RDS support.

 They said 18650 Li-ion rechargeable batteries are used in this model.

Like Sangean it includes separate LSB/USB but 10 Hz step for SSB (implies dual PLL?). You know Sangean ATS 909X has 40 Hz fine tuning on SSB so better resolution eh?

No mention of Sync. detection is a big loss like Sangean over Sony ICF 7600GR.
There are four (2.3/3.5/5.0/9.0 kHz) AM bandwidths and five (0.5/1.2/2.3/3.0/4.0 kHz) SSB bandwidths. This could be a huge improvement over ATS909X which makes no use at all of the seven IF bandwidth provided by Si4735. But Tecsun users already know that Tecsun's DSP portable always came with 5 bandwidth options 1/2/3/4/6 kHz  from PL310 and they are very sharp.

Sizes: 192 mm x 113 mm x 33 mm, that is about 7.5 x 4.4 x 1.3 inches
Can be charged via miniUSB power socket like many other Tecsun portables.

If you ask me whether should go for this one, I will say no because I havn't tested it yet and I found non DSP Tecsun PL 660 pretty outstanding then other Tecsun DSP based receivers.
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