Plugging the PL-360 7.5" Loopsticks Into the Tecsun PL-380


Gary DeBock
 

Hello All,
 
For those interested in weird loopstick experimentation, a Tecsun PL-380 model has been successfully modified to accept the 7.5" plug-in loopsticks (AM and LW) developed for the PL-360 model.
 
Using a strange collection of plastic parts and dubious Radio Shack components, a small "docking port" was designed and assembled for attachment to the top of the PL-380 cabinet, using the same "rubber lock" shock absorbing system that has proven successful in the PL-360 7.5" loopstick models. In the case of the PL-380, however, there is no whip antenna tip (or antenna plug-in jack) that can be used for mounting the 7.5" loopsticks-- so both had to be designed from scratch.
 
A .25" O.D. 1" long section of a Levelor blind plastic wand served nicely as the loopstick frame rubber hose mount, and a Radio Shack 1/8" phone jack (part number 274-0248) served not-so-nicely as the plug-in jack, mainly because of the cheap quality of the material. Both were secured in vertical holes drilled in a cut-up section of a Swanson Level Square, glued to the top of the PL-380 cabinet. Various photos of this fanatical contraption will be uploaded to the Ultralightdx photos section, in a new file.
 
The original design had the stock loopstick antenna in-circuit whenever the 7.5" plug-in antenna was unplugged, meaning that either antenna could be used as desired. This system actually worked for a while, until the temperamental Radio Shack plug-in jack decided to go on strike (a mechanical connection issue), making me wonder why I ever used it in the first place. Eventually I decided to disconnect the stock loopstick, and use only the 7.5" plug-in loopstick, which has always worked perfectly in this weird experiment. The PL-380 DXing performance with this 7.5" plug-in loopstick is equivalent to that of the fixed-frame 7.5" loopstick PL-380's, which was the goal of the project.
 
Because of the low quality of the Radio Shack phone jack and some other mechanical refinements that would optimize this project, it would be best not to take orders for similar PL-380 cabinet modifications until these improvements are made. For those 22 DXers who have already received their PL-360 7.5" plug-in loopsticks, however, this project may eventually provide a way to enjoy great transoceanic AM (and LW) DX on the PL-380 model-- simply by plugging in their existing 7.5" loopsticks.
 
73 and Good DX,
Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)
 
                                                                          
 
     

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