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May 03, 2013

Comments

Spin

As a ham radio operator my only interest in either radio would be their ham radio qualities. For the readers who are hams & own both radios, which radio do you prefer & why?

StarHalo

There are actually people who buy $80+ shortwave radios just for FM?! I would think one of the prerequisites for that price point would be two speakers..

Gary

I thought Bill on this blog preferred the PL-600 over the PL-660 for MW AM.

Ken K. in NJ

The 660 looks EXACTLY the same as the Eton E-10 from the early 2000's. I know there are a few internal differences, but I don't think there's much difference in performance.

I bought my E-10 about 10 years ago as a closeout from Radio Shack for $49. Its a fine rig, good AM DX, excellent on FM and very good sound for its size. It's my In the Trunk radio for if I'm on a day trip or something and feel like doing a dial scan or some on the spot outdoor listening during a break.

It looks like they are still out there on Ebay for 50-60 dollars or so, that might be an alternative to the PL 660.

Here's a link to one, for example:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ETON-E10-AM-FM-SHORTWAVE-RADIO-WITH-POWER-SUPPLY-RETAIL-BOX-WORKS-EXCELLEN-/160895363983?pt=US_Portable_AM_FM_Radios&hash=item25761c6b8f

herculodge

I agree with Ken. I used to have the Eton but sold it. FM sensitivity was good but not as good as the Kaito 1103.

Sailcat

As someone who lives in a rural area in the Northern Sierra Foothills and a guy who likes portable radios, I am very interested in radios that are adept at pulling in MW and FM stations, especially the AM station that broadcasts my favorite baseball team's games. Not surprisingly, strong AM reception is a big selling point for me when I shell out for a new unit. My preferred FM stations consist mainly of NPR stations and one speaker is fine for listening to them, but again, one of my favorite NPR stations is in the Bay Area and good reception is important for pulling it in. On the other hand, I like cruising the SW bands late at night when I am enjoying my main hobby, amateur astronomy. Checking up on Radio Australia and New Zealand is a treat when I am taking a coffee break at 2:00 am. SSB, however, is not one of my priorities. Consequently, I am always on the lookout for a good portable that has relatively strong MW sensitivity as well as good FM reception. Top of the line SW is not as important but I don't want the unit to be deaf on SW, either. Over the past two or three years I have acquired a Sony 7600GR, a Kaito 1103, a Grundig YB 400PE, and recently, a Sangean ATS-900X. None are perfect but all have strong points. I also have picked up a slew of other radios, but the models I listed are in the general category occupied by the Tecsun PL-600 and PL-660. The 600 seems better suited for my particular needs and I just put an order in for one. I shall soon see how it performs. The Pl-660 does not seem to be as attractive to me because of its alleged weakness in the MW area, although I am sure it is a fine radio with strengths that will satisfy other listeners who have different needs than mine. I often think the reason that there is no perfect radio is because we all value slightly different aspects of radio listening. If someone does manage to design the "perfect" radio, however, I only hope I can afford it!

Bill

The PL-660 does look just like the Eton E-10, doesn't it?

I read some reviews though and internally the two radios must be very different. Reviews say the E-10 is single conversion and I believe the PL-660 is double conversion. The PL-660 has sideband including USB and LSB functions and a synchronous detector; the middle knob on the side is the fine tuner for SSB. The button that on the PL-660 turns on the sync shifts the IF frequency on the E-10, as a way of shifting images to somewhere else on the dial. (The idea seems to be that images aren't a problem unless they fall atop a signal you want to hear. When that happens, shift the IF frequency to shift the location of the image, and the problem is solved.) The side knob on the E-10 is an antenna trimmer.

Bill

Gary, you are right about MW. Of the PL-660 I had and the PL-600 I have now, the PL-600 seemed better on MW for sound quality and because of a lack of internally generated spurious signals. The 660 was good on SW. I haven't compared them side by side to know which is best, but the 600 is also good on SW. I'm satisfied with it.

Spin, I tuned ham signals with both the 600 and 660 to make sure it could be done. I have no idea which is better for that, though, since I'm not a ham and have no interest in it. The 660 does have separate settings for USB and LSB, though, while the 600 merely has SSB on and SSB off. They both have fine tuning knobs (the center knob on the side; top is tuning, bottom is volume) to clarify the signal. I don't know whether having separate USB and LSB settings implies better performance for SSB signals. Perhaps you could tell me!

Bill

Both the 660 and 600 are good sets. They're more complicated to set up than some other radios on the market, but to be fair, this is largely because they came with a boatload of features. For example, the PL-600 has a charging function that is fussy to set up. The classic Sony ICF-SW7600GR avoids this problem by just not having a battery charger at all! (Which may be the best solution, really. There's a lot to be said for charging your NiMH batteries in any of the very nice wall chargers you can get just about anywhere.)

The 660 is more advanced than the 600. This is true in features-- the synchronous detector and so on. It's also true in ergonomics. The 600's setup code system is a bad idea. The 660 does without it, one way or another, as do the various other newer Tecsun portables.

Tecsun really is into shortwave portables, aren't they? They have a bewildering array of models on the market. They learn fast too!

If they could fix the 660 to have the performance on MW (and FM?) that the 600 does, they'd have a world-beater.

In fact, I can imagine the advertising campaign for the perfected model now. "The New Tecsun PL-666. One Hell of a Radio!"

Paul

Are Car Radios on the Way Out?
http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/best-cars-blog/2013/05/Are_Car_Radios_on_the_Way_out/

Ed S.

Sailcat, have you ever tried a CCradio-SW?

Drive-In-Freak

I can't compair the 660 to the 600 as I don't own both, but I can tell you I'm quite happy with the 660's MW performance. That being said it is NOT a DX rig on AM/MW.
I say if you want something that'll really pull in the AM/MW dx skip over ALL of the modern offerings and find yourself a Superadio 1 or 2, or an old Panasonic RF-2200. There's nothing else quite like them. Also worth mentioning is the Realistic DX-440/Sangean 803a.
Modern receivers? All of the CC radios overload in even moderately strong signal arias, and the CC+ and CC2 both sound awful do to the midrage speaker. The older Grundig S-350 models are on the same level as a $10 Sony pocket radio, and the S-450 is a noise bucket with knobs (though it's good at surviving a fire...lol).

There's a good reason why it's said that they don't make 'em like they used to; They don't.

Sailcat

Ed S asked, "Sailcat, have you ever tried a CCradio-SW?"

I have the CCRadio-SW and it is a fine radio. It isn't quite as strong on MW as its brethren, the CCRadio-2 or the EP but it is no slouch, either. It is terrific on FM and it does a very respectable job on FM, as well. Additionally, its audio is full and warm. I like it and I use it often.

Sailcat

Edit: I should have said it does a respectable job on SW. I didn't include it in my list of compact radios because of its somewhat larger size. For that matter, nor did I include "subcompact" radios such as the very good Tecsun PL-380 or CCRadio-SWP.

james patterson

Concerning the Tecsun PL600 and PL660 reveiws show AM receiption quite poor and noisey.But all other bands seem okay.I dont own one myself yet,but waiting on shipping,I should have one very soon.But my suggestion
is for better AM receiption,see if the coil on the Ferite rod can be moved.I have owned many portable AM receivers and quite offen at manufacturing,the coil on the Ferite is not set in the correct position.When I buy one,the first thing I check is AM receiption and I have been suprized by just moveing that coil a fraction one way or the other,makes alot of difference.The coil will be sealed by glue normaly in its position,so be very carefull not to disturb any wireing and desolve the glue,after moveing and testing the AM receiption reseal with Candle Wax,incase having to move it again in future.Sometimes even different parts of your country effects AM receiption.Normaly moveing the coil closer to the end of the rod is what you do to improve receiption.Try this by takeing off the back cover of the receiver where you should be able to veiw the ferite rod,hopeing access to it is not difficult.Please post your replies and see if this improves receiption.The AM band as well as all other bands are expected to work well as with our DXing hobby.

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