Re: For Hans and the group PL-310ET first impressions

Hans Stam <hansstam@...>

Thanks for your email and impressions..
and overall, you get what you pay for the price of this radio.
So we can t expect the features of a receiver that cost a lot more..
Do I understand well that you are a bit disappointed?
What about 380, still better in your opinion?
> On Mon, Sep 08, 2014 at 02:43:06PM +0000, microcode@...
> [ultralightdx] wrote:
>> On Mon, Sep 08, 2014 at 03:24:04PM +0200, Hans Stam
>> hansstam@... [ultralightdx] wrote:
>>> Nice that you have the experience that your 310 is more quiet
>>> then the
>>> pl660. And fine if you can tell us about the sensitivity of the
>>> 310 and
>>> the 380 on MW.
> First impressions are the PL-310ET is not nearly as sensitive on MW
> and SW
> as the PL-660 but this is not surprising. What is surprising is the
> PL-310ET
> is very hot on FM as I believe others have pointed out. The 310 pulls
> in
> stations with full quieting with the whip not extended that the 660
> doesn't
> quiet fully even with its larger whip extended.
> It's not my thing but I believe it's worth giving this rig a try on
> FM DXing.
> The 310's audio into phones on FM stereo is very nice but overall the
> audio
> is thin even into phones compared to the 660, especially on MW and SW.
> However it is very listenable and not tiring. Have not spent much
> time over
> the speaker.
> The lack of sync on MW/SW is a glaring omission and a definite issue
> DXing
> although the larger selection of filter widths helps. The sync on the
> 660 is
> extremely good and improves listening on that radio significantly in
> many
> situations.
> Unfortunately and probably because it's a radio on chip the 310
> doesn't seem
> to do exactly the same thing all the time. After using it a couple of
> hours
> it seems as noisy if not noisier than my 660 contrary to my initial
> impression. It is also very sensitive to the way it's being held,
> where it's
> being held (iPhone syndrome?) and of course where the ferrite is
> pointed. Some additional shielding is probably in order.
>>> If you can check also SW, that would be nice..
> Again this is a first impression based on a couple hours of listening
> but
> the 310 seems sensitive enough on SW. The issue I have with it is the
> front
> end appears very open and without looking at the signal/noise meter
> it's
> often very hard or even impossible to tell what center frequency the
> signal
> you're hearing is on. While on the 660 you can hear the difference by
> going
> up and down 5 KHz and figure out the center frequency quickly, on the
> 310 I
> found I was often able to move +- 10 or even 15 KHz and couldn't
> decide
> where the center was. Then I realized the radio does know and tells
> you if
> you look at the signal/noise meter. It will be zero or something very
> small
> off-center but will have some positive value on center. This is
> something
> you have to get used to when you're band scanning or stumble across a
> station and want to ID it. Narrowing the filter bandwidth doesn't
> help on
> the 310 in this situation nearly as much as it does on the 660.
> If I learned one thing in the few hours I spent with this rig I would
> say I
> am not a fan of DSP radios at least not in the portable category. With
> conventional radios the responses to switch actions are immediate
> because
> the switch is actually doing something. This radio is sluggish to
> respond to
> switch input because the radio is computer controlled and the switch
> isn't
> actually doing what you want, it's telling the radio what you want. I
> find
> myself blowing past desired filter bandwidth and memory locations
> because the radio just can't keep up. It's annoying and needs to be
> dealt with if you are running more than one radio because it makes
> switching back and forth painfully obvious. You can hear some
> chuffing in the audio when operating the controls. This ought to be
> cleaned up.
> The switches are positive and I like the flat rectangular keypad
> buttons more than the 660's elongated thin and rolled keys. The
> display is informative but I don't like the etched timer box and
> don't feel it was necessary. The back stand doesn't seem to keep the
> radio straight. On a level table the radio rocks when you use the
> controls. Otherwise the radio feels tight and well made.
> The ETM memory is a neat feature but it isn't integrated as smoothly
> as it
> should have been. Once you get into ETM you can't get out by toggling
> the
> ETM switch. You have to toggle the regular memory switch and it's not
> marked
> for that and not exactly intuitive. The manual is wrong or unclear
> about the
> backlight timer. The switch doesn't do what it seems it should. I did
> not
> see it documented but you can hold down the 5 key with the power off
> to
> switch the backlight off completely as I believe on the 380.
> For the money and for the form factor I think this series of radios
> (310,
> 380) are going to be very hard to beat. They do offer amazing
> capability for
> their size. Until I got my 310 and put it next to my 660 (which feels
> small
> to me as my previous radios were mostly boat anchors) I didn't
> understand
> why people were making up names for imaginary subclasses of radios
> like
> "ultralight." When you get your hands on one of these tiny wonders
> you will
> understand there really is a class of radios that fits that term
> quite well.
> I cannot imagine this as an only radio for a dedicated radio
> enthusiast. It
> simply doesn't have everything you want in one radio and although
> it's very
> good it's far from perfect. However it's such a neat little rig and so
> affordable that I believe many people will be happy with it as a 2nd
> or 3rd
> radio. And it is certainly a very good travel radio. It's so small
> and light
> it's effortless to pack and bring along.
> At this price point I believe they ought to clean up the rough edges
> in user
> interface, noise, and add synchronous detection. That may require a
> chip
> revision, I haven't looked to see whether it is there and just not
> implemented in this radio or whether it's not there at all. Otherwise
> it's a
> very good value and hard to fault for what it is.

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