Paul S. in CT
Yes, that 990x is the new version. At that price and likewise for the H501 its a MAJOR dissapointment.
1.) In the meantime, my PL-330 arrived this afternoon. Set up and running without incident. AM/SW/FM, and USB/LSB function checked... all as advertised. Noted that the 1kHz offset on AM removes the soft-mute. SSB with the 0.01kHz (10Hz) tuning increments does function on AM-BCB. Minor nitpik is that one should tune 1kHz low for USB as the radio ADDS 1kHz to the receiver. Likewise, the opposite occurs using LSB.
Buttons a bit small, but have that nice indent function sadly lacking on the ATS-405. If you don't need the SSB or "Sync", I'd stick with the PL-310/380.
2.) I don't know the why for this, but since I bought the R9012 radio, I've noticed an increase in battery life. I believe this is a combination of using the Tecsun A200 passive loop, and an improvement of my standard-use Rayovac AA alkalines. Would you belive 550+ hours continuous?
Using the loop improved life from just over 400 hrs average to 500 hours. And I think the new tub of batterries 'high energy' with date code of early 2029 improved the time more. The most recent pair of AA's could operate the radio down to 0.94V (1.88V total). All of my previous batteries would quit at 1.05V (total 2.10V). This last pair of new batteries went 608 hours continuous.
So in closing there are some new tricks here that may influence a decision. For about US$45 one gets either a PL310/380 or a R9012 + A200 loop. For AM-BCB this looks like a coinflip, but the PL-310 really excels at SW and FM. And the R9012/loop gets one emergency radio type life from a pair of AA's. If one needs SSB theres the Tecsun PL-365 or this PL330 in the US$70-80 range.
Paul S. in CT FN31nl
PS: that soft mute question... As far as I know its an Automatic Gain Control function that amplifies the strongest 10db of signal, and reduces lower-powered signals. The problem is that the atmospherics may cause the signal to fade. This causes the soft-mute function to go from a loud signal to a barely audible signal (aka: pumping). Fading normally produces this effect, but soft-mute makes it worse. The SYNC function is supposed to help this by supplying the carrier wave that fades. The problem with THAT is the audio is part of that faded carrier. Many of us here and in the Amateur community are of the opinion that the audio frequencies are NOT affected by the fading, just the carrier. Providing a carrier will recover the audio. Yet another 'can of worms' so to say.