Tecsun PL-380 "Soft Mute" (or lack thereof)

Gary DeBock

Hello All,
For those interested in whether the newer PL-380 models have the irritating "soft mute" function disabled or not, a recent shipment from Joyce at "Anon-co" may be of interest.
For experimentation (and for forwarding to other DXers), three PL-380's were ordered from Joyce on December 29th. She kindly upgraded the shipping to EMS (express mail) at no additional charge, so that the radios were received today.
All three of the PL-380's were manufactured in December, and all have two screws in the battery compartment. The serial numbers are also similar: 
All three were tested against a soft mute-enabled PL-310, to see if there was any difference in the soft mute performance. Similar to the other two PL-380 models here, tuning the new PL-380 models 1 kHz up or down from a weak station's frequency did result in a reduction of signal strength, but it was a moderate reduction, not the very steep drop off in audio like on the PL-310. This was with the DSP filtering set at 1 kHz (typical in TP-DXing). The PL-380's were also checked for intermittent signal drop out during weak station reception, but did not have this soft mute-related issue, either.
Whereas one of the first two PL-380's received here had instability on the SW bands (with intermittent oscillations, as reported in the PL-380 review), all of the three new PL-380's have stable SW reception. One of the new models does have a tuning control which seems slightly stiff, however, and one new model seems to have slightly lower AM sensitivity than the other two (I suspect a loopstick issue, which would make this model a nice candidate for a transplant :-)
In general, there doesn't seem to be any real evidence yet that Tecsun is changing the PL-380's to the full soft mute mode, but any DXer receiving one of the official "new models" is requested to notify the group ASAP if soft mute changes are suspected.
73, Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA)

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