Re: G8 vs CR-1100 preliminary AM BCB report-FARMERIK
All of the radios you mentioned (G8, PL-380, CR-1110 and PL-600) are on hand here, in this overcrowded shack.
The CR-1110 is a rather odd bird that has far better AM sensitivity on the high frequencies (especially the X band) than on the middle and low band. It was tested extensively against an aligned Sony ICF-S5W on all frequencies from 530-1700 kHz, and was found inferior in sensitivity to that classic model on most AM frequencies, but clearly superior on the X band. It also did not suffer from the ICF-S5W's severe image reception issue, of course.
I did a mini-review of the CR-1100 back in June, which may be of interest to you. Some of the information is dated (such as the praise of the PL-300WT, the only DSP model available at the time), but the rest should give you detailed impressions on the model. Hope you enjoy it!
73 and Have Fun, Gary
Hello All, Very impressed with the performance of the new Tecsun PL-300WT DSP-enhanced Ultralight radio on medium-wave, it was a natural decision to place an order with Amazon.com for the new full-sized Tecsun CR-1100 AM-FM portable, which uses the same innovative Si430/31 DSP chip from Silicon Labs. Today my new CR-1100 portable arrived from Kaito Electronics after a 4-day delay, and payment of $69.99 plus $13.00 shipping (by USPS Priority Mail). The CR-1100 is strictly a Chinese-market portable, to the extent that all of the controls are labeled only in Chinese. Despite this, Kaito has provided a very basic (and poorly translated) English manual, as well as the standard and far more thorough Chinese manual. The AM frequency steps have also been reprogrammed to 10 kHz, matching the North American market. Immediately after arrival, the radio's out-of-the-box AM performance was tested against a fully aligned Sony ICF-S5W portable (which has had the frequency coverage extended to 1700 kHz). The comparison of these two radios proved to be very interesting, and showed that while the CR-1100 has some good DXing potential on AM, it also has some puzzling shortcomings. In comparison to the PL-300WT's sharp DSP-enhanced selectivity, the CR-1100 had a tough time going up against the ICF-S5W, with its common 455 kHz Murata filter. Local slop on the CR-1100 was more troublesome than on the PL-300WT, making it seem like Tecsun programmed the DSP chip to provide a wider selectivity setting on this music-oriented receiver. The ICF-S5W was able to weakly receive KPQ-560 in the null of semi-local KVI-570 in the early afternoon, while the CR-1100 could only produce KVI splatter. Low-band sensitivity on the CR-1100 was very good, but not quite up to the class-leading ICF-S5W standard. Although the CR-1100's low-band sensitivity will match that of the PL-300WT, unlike the PL-300WT, the CR-1100 cannot tune in 1 kHz steps, making it impossible to chase TP's on the 9 kHz splits. The CR-1100 versus ICF-S5W contest became much more competitive on the high band, however, and on the X-band the new Tecsun was clearly far more sensitive than the classic Sony portable. In fact, the CR-1100 sets a new standard for X-band sensitivity among portables, having weak signal performance never experienced in extensive testing here. Weak fringe stations that were barely audible on the ICF-S5W had solid audio on the Tecsun. Also notable in the CR-1100 was the complete freedom from image reception of local stations, a major shortcoming of the classic ICF-S5W. The Sony's image reception detracts greatly from its otherwise stellar performance, but the Tecsun DSP chip appears to have solved the problem entirely. After the out-of-the-box performance test, the CR-1100 was disassembled to check the loopstick construction, and the possibility of alignment. Both the PL-300WT and CR-1100 were designed to have a "no alignment" RF system, in which the DSP chip ensures maximum performance without loopstick peaking, or adjustment of a 1400 kHz trimmer. In the CR-1100, there is a 4.25" x .36" single-coil loopstick in the middle of the cabinet, which seems rather odd because of the extensive cabinet space on both sides which would allow placement of a much longer ferrite bar, if desired. Alignment was attempted by shifting the coil, but this had no effect on the CR-1100's sensitivity on any AM frequency. Apparently DXers will need to accept the CR-1100's sensitivity as delivered, unless they wish to transplant a larger ferrite bar with a coil of equal inductance (which is certainly possible with all the extra cabinet space). The CR-1100 also has a sensitive FM section, although again, for some unknown reason it seemed slightly less sensitive than that of the PL-300WT. Perhaps there is a greater impedance mismatch with the CR-1100's short whip antenna, but in any case the PL-300WT Ultralight can receive more weak FM fringe stations here than the CR-1100. The CR-1100 has a large music-oriented speaker and excellent audio, with analog tone and volume control knobs. The 8-ohm speaker has a 1-watt rated output. The radio also has 300 memories, and various digital tuning capabilities. It operates on 4 "D" batteries, and comes in an attractive black-brown cabinet. It is available from Amazon.com (via Kaito Electronics) for $69.99 plus $13.00 shipping. So after the full evaluation, what would be the CR-1100 verdict for a dedicated medium-wave DXer? If you are a domestic DXer that concentrates on the upper frequencies (especially the X-Band), the new CR-1100 would be tough to beat. Its upper-band sensitivity (and generally good selectivity) is likely to set a new standard for contemporary portables. Urban DXers will appreciate the complete freedom from image reception, and general freedom from spurious products. Hobbyists who enjoy music reception will not be disappointed in the CR-1100's audio qualities. However, if you wish to chase transoceanic DX, or wish to experience the maximum potential of the exciting new Silicon Labs DSP chip, my recommendation would be to pass on the CR-1100-- and go for the new PL-300WT Ultralight model. Its 1 kHz tuning ability and stellar selectivity (plus superior FM sensitivity) make it the obvious choice for most medium-wave DXers. 73 and Best Wishes, Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA)