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April 30, 2010

Comments

Stu M.


At 141mm wide, this may fall out of the ultralight category for BcB DX-contesting purposes. I like the full HF spread (but without SSB it doesn't make a lot of sense).

One good thing -- separating the ATS memories from user-input is a real smart move. A true traveler radio.

Ken K.

I don't know about anyone else, but I for one am becoming totally confused by all these different Tecsuns. It's impossible to keep track of which one has which features and strengths.

Of the four, I bought the PL380 only to later find that the PL 310 is somewhat preferable for AM DXing due to the slightly larger antenna. I'm happy with the PL380 (it's excellent on catching FM stations) but I can't help thinking I would have been happier with the PL310 even though it's an earlier model (by about 6 months).

ix

pl-600 and pl-450 are almost identical, double conversion analog. the 3x0 series is DSP

how do 310 and 380 differ? definitely confused there

Kevin S

I have a PL-450, and yes it is a bit large to be an Ultralight, but it is still rather small. Its features include two bandwidths on AM (same filters as the in the PL-600), but doesn't have the SSB that the PL-600 does.

Doing a quick comparison with the much larger Sony 7600GR and the smaller Tecsun PL-310 just now:

AM: sensitivity on the PL-450 and the 7600GR are essentially the same(!), and the selectivity choices on the PL-450 are better. The PL-310, ostensibly the most sensitive Ultralight, was jealous while listening to the other two pull in weak stations (i.e., it was noticeably less sensitive). However, with night-time conditions, and especially with a passive antenna such as the Terk Loop, the DSP bandwidths on the PL-310 would allow it to be the overall AM leader IMHO.

FM: the PL-310 had a good laugh here, being easily more sensitive and selective than the other two. The PL-450 was doing OK; the 7600GR, with presumably very poor filtering and image/mixing product problems, couldn't even detect the weak signals that the PL-310 had a good hold of and the PL-450 was struggling with - quite dismal.

SW: using the whip antennae, the 7600GR held the edge over the PL-450 in sensitivity, with the PL-310 not that far behind. With so few SW stations around, the filtering advantage of the PL-310 (and to a lesser extent the PL-450) is probably not that important.

So, as a travel portable, the PL-450 would be a good all-around choice, although without synch or SSB, there are some limitations depending on your desires. A PL-600 is not that much more expensive and is likely more sensitive on AM (and has SSB), and the PL-310 costs about as much and offers a lot as well, so the niche that the PL-450 fills is perhaps a fairly narrow one.

The PL-310 and PL-380 differ in that the 310 is more sensitive on both AM and FM, but I like the ergonomics and lack of "soft mute" (decrease in volume when tuning off-frequency) of the 380 better. So, both get a fair amount of use, and both are substantially better on AM, LW and SW that the PL-300WT (aka Grundig G8).

Kevin S

One more thing on the PL-310 and PL-380: they both have internal "birdies" (tones) on AM, which show up on various frequencies, especially on the high end of the band. With a passive loop helping out, the tones are much less pronounced, but they can be irritating to some. With a really big signal level, such as with local stations or with a high-power passive antenna such as I use, I don't hear the birdies at all. The PL-450 doesn't have such problems, so is to be commended for that.

Mark Roberts

Some time ago, I wrote up a description, with photos, of my PL-380 at http://my.opera.com/markrobt/blog/2010/01/11/a-new-favorite - as far as I know, the PL-380 is the only one of the PL-3xx series with Easy Tuning Mode, essentially a second bank of tuning memories. I don't have a PL-310, but I understand that its performance is quite similar. All the PL-3xx radio models use the same DSP chip; what distinguishes them for the most part are their features.

As the blog post points out, I was looking for good FM performance in a portable; with the Tecsun radios, I finally was able to find what I was looking for, though the FM audio quality could be a little bit better. But it's good enough.

Gary

I agree with Kevin on the FM sensitivity of the 7600GR -- it's not very good. That it has no FM mono switch makes it unusable on many of the stations I'd like to listen to. Oddly, my DT-400W has better FM sensitivity, just using headphones as the antenna. It does have an FM mono switch for those weak stations. My CCRadio-SW is far more sensitive than these other two on FM.

I'm interested to see how the PL-660 turns out, and how much it costs. Having a sync detector can be very useful.

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