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April 30, 2013

Comments

StarHalo

And this is why I went with the 7600GR; you don't have to get out the manual to decipher the Engrish portion to figure out the cheat code sequence to access subsection J and reroute the encryptions etc. et al. ad inf. It's a straightforward, WYSIWYG radio. And there is no debate about its reliability, it's a thirteen year old refinement on a quarter-of-a-century-old design; yes it is aged, so is the Zippo lighter concept.

The one word you'll never see in a review about the Sony is "quirk."

Tudor

The internally generated carrier on the 660 is a design issue acknowledged by the Tecsun engineers. It's strongest in the medium wave band but there are lots of harmonics also in the shortwave bands. It's curious how none of the reviews I read mentioned this problem. Some people do not notice it and some do not care about it. For me that's the main reason I don't like the Tecsun PL-660 (which otherwise would be a good radio).

Bill

No, StarHalo, you don't need to read the manual for the Sony 7
ICF-7600GR. Except of course to set the clock, with its tiny display. Or to figure out that the numeric keypad defaults to accessing the memories and there's no way to get it to stop, so that to directly tune a frequency you have to press direct, then the number, then execute, every single time. But you can always just use the tuning knob. Oh, wait, no you can't. It doesn't have one. Or a volume knob either. As I recall the slower of the two frequency slew rockers does let you tune through frequencies without stopping on each signal and muting the radio between, albeit at a glacial pace.

So the Sony's ergonomics stink, as I said. Oh well, at least to make up for that it is also expensive and sounds bad.

Bill

Ach, the Sony does have a volume knob at the side, if I recall. Sorry, it's been a while since I donated it to a club.

Bill

Tudor, it seems to me most reviews are written right after a purchase and before all the device's faults may be evident. I know I do that myself too often. You never know what quirks and quibbles will drive you mad in the long run until it is the long run.

I see two kinds of online user review: "It's the best ever!" and "it's junk and doesn't work," which means they got a broken one. Unless a product is completely worthless you hardly ever see anything between those extremes.

Then of course any product that isn't total junk (and many that are) will accumulate a crowd of fanboys. The fanboys want to reassure themselves that their toy is the Greatest Thing Evar and will attack anyone who points out a flaw.

Plus people don't use products the same way. In the case of the PL-660 for example the spurious carrier in MW doesn't matter if you don't care to listen to MW, or even just that particular spot on the MW dial.

I did find an online review or two that mentioned the PL-660's spurious signal and even a YouTube video demonstrating it, but it took a lot of looking.

Tom Welch

The Tecsun 600 reminds me of a slimed down Seagean ATS-808a

RobRich

As noted, usage scenarios dictate much regarding each of our radio experiences. For example, I find the PL-660 quiet competent on shortwave, but as previously noted, I have little to no interest in mediumwave, so YMMV there. It is a matter of personal interest.

I also generally use various outdoor antenna systems, even with portable radios, along with preselection and amplification depending upon the desired band and listening situation. Therein, it is hard to compare my shortwave results with someone simply using a portable radio setting on a desk or window sill with the whip antenna extended.

I am of the adage that an antenna system can make or break a listening experience, regardless if one is using a $50 portable, a $600 desktop, or a $15000 commercial receiver.

Sailcat

I've been looking for a reason to buy the 660 and I just can't. It doesn't offer enough of an advantage on SW over my other radios to overcome its shortcomings on MW that would justify the expense. Not to say it isn't a fine radio, but it doesn't meet my particular needs. The 600, on the other hand, looks like a promising candidate.

Doug T.

" a $15000 commercial receiver."

Rob Rich: I'd be quite interested in your view of what the best high-end commercial receiver is.

RobRich

I would be hard pressed to identify the "best" of any receiver, but if money is no object, then the Icom IC-R9500 is a popular offering. About $13k new. Not exactly in my price range for a part-time hobby. ;)

Being a little more realistic, and looking at SWL/HF in particular, let a government department or corporate business take the depreciation by looking at something like a Racal 6790 or a Watkins-Johnson HF-1000 on the used market. The 6790 was around $20k new, and the internals reflect the cost. Load it with filters, the latest firmware, and replace any suspect caps.

That said, for the typical shortwave enthusiast, I find little reason to recommend anything more than the popular Icom R75, even with the stock filters. Perhaps consider the Kiwa mod for increased audio bandwidth if the factory sound is too narrow for your preference.

Spend your money (and/or time, effort, etc.) on the antenna system(s). Case in point, most of my SWL listening these days is done at night via a portable sitting on my nightstand, switched between a couple of outdoor verticals placed away from the house.

Sailcat

Ordered the 600, passed on the 660.

herculodge

Salicat, please send us your impressions of the 600's performance.

Sailcat

I'll do that, big guy!

Jordi

Two days ago, I returned a Degen DE1103 cause when tunning with the knob, a sharp "blip-blip" sound was produced and made a really annoying time trying to catch some station, mainly in very calm spots in SW and LW.

I would like to ask Bill and Sailcat if in your PL-600, have you noted such an anoying distorsion.

Thanks a lot for your opinions!

Bill

I just fired up my PL-600 to see if it had the blip, or chuffing, or whatever noise when tuning. I didn't remember hearing that, but before I said so I wanted to be sure.

I think I can hear just the faintest ticking as it jumps from one frequency to the next, turning the knob, but it is very faint. It seems to be too weak to interfere with any received signal.

The 600 does have a few peculiarities. Aside from the codes you have to use to set the thing up, which I noted in my first review.

One annoyance is that the ATS, which is excellent on Tecsun, doesn't work on the 600's shortwave bands, just FM and MW. (Because these bands are so much smaller than SW, I haven't tried to use ATS on them, so I don't know how well it works even there.)

The second glitch is that direct tuning doesn't work in the expanded AM band. It is as if they adapted this radio from one that topped out at 1600 in MW to one that topped at 1700, but forgot to change the direct tune programming. The result is that if you put the radio in the MW band and punch in 1600, 1610, or 1620, you go to those frequencies directly, but 1630 on up give you the message ERR in the tuning display. You can, however, still tune to 1640-1710 by using the tuning knob or the up-down step buttons.

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