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November 04, 2013



Nice looking radio. But WOW, $260?

Looks like they are advertising it as their flagship radio. Fairly big - Imperial measurements translate to about 7.5 x 4.5 x 1.3 inches, close to the Sangean ATS-909X, and almost identical to the R2010D.

Only showing a mediumwave selectivity of 40dB @ 9KHz. Certainly not earth shaking if correct. PL-600, PL380, and R2010D spec'ed out at 60dB @ 9 KHz. That is, if you can believe these Asian specs.

Will be interesting to see if it has selectable bandwidth. I would bet sensitivity would be good.

Radio is way past my price point for this type of radio, however.



Surprise! "bestkakuku" dropped their list price for the Tecsun PL880 today to Y19800, or about $200. I suspect that they may have intended gouge early adopters, but backed off based on international scrutiny of their site. Note that on the same site, there is no price listed for the similarly unreleased Redsun RP3100 to evaluate this idea. In any case, it looks like Tecsun is pricing this radio well above the 660 (which is still only $100 with shipping on eBay). I expect lower prices than "bestkakuku" from the HK-based sellers like anon-co.


Another comment, on size. In my view, sometimes bigger is better. It is fun to tune around with my PL-398BT (a bargoon at $50) but those teeny-tiny speakers are pretty low-fi. I find more and more that I want better sound, and, since better sound generally requires a bigger speaker, I plan to look at the new Tecsun for my next radio. I'll keep the 398BT for travelling, specifically because if I want to, I can stream internet radio to it from my phone over Bluetooth.


Around $200 would more realistic IMO for Tecsun to undercut 909X and S750 pricing. :)

Otherwise, if it approaches $300, I suggest spending $200-$250 for an used desktop-class receiver with the words Icom, Kenwood, or Yaesu in the brand, which leaves some budget room for common repairs (memory batteries, failing capacitors, etc.).


During a recent trip, I had the opportunity to lay my hands on a sample of PL880 (which is said to be close to the final version). I can confirm a few things:

From an architecture point of view, PL880 is like an upgraded version of ATS909X. ATS909X didn't make use of any advanced features of the DSP chip at all. On the other hand, PL880 utilisatises multiple bandwdith and DSP SSB (not sure how this is done, the guess of mine and a few others is that a 2nd-IF signal was injected into SSB to pass to DSP chip for decoding as an AM signal). Also, previously it was reported the 2nd IF of PL880 is 455kHz (similar to 450kHz of ATS909X) but now the 2nd IF has been changed to 10.7MHz (which to a great extent elimiates MW image in LW band).

Size-wise it is similar to PL660 (slightly thicker) so not really feasible to have a handle on it.

It does have four AM bandwidths and five SSB bandwidths. The bandwidth is displayed only when you press on the BW key.

ECSS (i.e. listening to AM station in SSB mode) with both USB or SSB are good although the volume is a bit low under this mode. In the sense of reducing adjacent channel interference, you don't really need synchrous detector.

It sounds great! I put a PL660 side by side with Pl880 and listen to some classic station on FM, the PL660 sounds so thin compared to PL880. It is said a 40mm 3-Watt full range speaker is used. From a certain angle of view I can vaguely see the speaker was installed into a complex 3-section housing which includes either a bass reflex structure or a passive speaker for bass enhancement. This confirms my previous speculation that Tecsun has used its experience in developing small media player/speaker to improve the sound of PL880.


What a great first look at the new 880. Glad to hear the review comments and especially the price change comment. I am almost deciding to tempt fate and hope the usual early production run bugs do not plague this product release. At least at first blush it looks like a great deal of thought has gone into the design of this receiver.

I wonder if Tecsun is trying to beat the January release date or if they are pretty much settled on the January release date.



I know what I forgot to ask regarding your first look at the 880. I know this is going to sound like a meaningless question. I am asking because Tecsun's early marketing data mentioned it. Tecsun talks about the new speaker but also talks about a new speaker cover suggesting that there is something special about that as well. The pictures make it look like a metal mesh of some kind but you really can't tell. Did the screen over the speaker look like metal mesh or plastic or something else? Maybe it is something else and the material the mesh is made from is what makes it special. Thanks and thanks again for your post as well...really appreciate it.



I am not entirely sure but the cover looks different from the one on DE1103 (which is metal).

FARMERIK/Richard Hayden

Check Amazon for the PL880 at $149 from Electronix, which I think is another name for Kaito USA.

Jim Nugnes

Wow that is great news. I wonder if that is an intro price or indicative of the real price going forward.

Mark Piaskiewicz

This radio is #1 on this year’s letter to Santa. I’m especially excited about the 10 Hz tuning step on SSB. Aside from making the lack of a synchronous detector less of an issue due to the ease of ECSS, a 10 Hz step is fantastic for receiving digital transmissions. Incidentally, there are iOS apps (probably Android apps too) available to decode various types of digital transmissions including SSTV. Most, if not all of these apps are under $5, a far cry from the multi-hundred dollar stand alone decoders of yesteryear.


Tecsun PL-880 Operation Manual Published
Posted on November 27, 2013 by Thomas



Mark, thanks for the heads up on the apps. It's interesting that there's a morse code decoder; you just set your iDevice near the radio speaker and watch as the letters come in and form into words. That would logically mean we're a step away from an app that allows you to type normally and the iDevice would convert what you're typing into morse code - so you could send and receive morse code without ever having learned it..

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