Date   

Re: Improving LW

Kevin Schanilec
 

Bonjour, Patrick:

C'est vrai! The PL-310 needs a modification, while the PL-360 has a built-in antenna jack that will accept the external antenna. The PL-360 is the only Ultralight (s0 far) that has this feature.

The PL-310 modification is quite an easy one if you have any soldering skills, or would not be a huge imposition on a friend that does have soldering skills :-) See "PL-310 External LW MW Antenna Mod.pdf" in Folder 6, "Alignment and Modification" here on the Group.

Regards - Kevin

--- In ultralightdx@yahoogroups.com, "balise2001" <aunumero13@...> wrote:

Hi Farmerik,
Thanks for your comments.
I may be wrong due to my limited english, but what I understood is that
Gary's loopsticks don't need any mod' ONLY when used with a PL-360.
Gary wrote : "Although the 7.5" LW loopsticks were designed for the
PL-360 model, they will work with any Tecsun DSP Ultralight radio once
the circuitry is modified to accept the loopstick in place of the stock
ferrite bar. The PL-310 external antenna connector can be rewired to
accomplish this (...)"
Regards,Patrick, south-east France

--- In ultralightdx@yahoogroups.com, "farmerik" <farmerik@> wrote:

I have both Gary's LW and MW antennas for the PL-360. They plug right
into the external antenna jack to replace the tiny little one from the
factory. I also have the Q-stick which couples to any ferrite antenna in
a radio. The jack on the Q-stick allows me to plug a long wire or
Beverage antenna into the jack, and use the Q-stick to couple the signal
from the wire antenna to the ferrite antenna inside a radio. None of
those set ups require any modification of the radio it self. - FARMERIK

--- In ultralightdx@yahoogroups.com, "balise2001" aunumero13@ wrote:

Hi Gary,

Many thanks for your kind reply (as usual !)

Your LW-design loopstick also looks fine and effective but it seems
one has to modify the receiver in order to use it, right ?
The problem is I'm not a technie, and I don't want to open and
tinker with the radio... actually, I do not feel competent to do this
meticulous work.

Thus, I would probably be wiser to order a ready-to-use antenna such
as the Q-stick Henk has recommanded.

Patrick


--- In ultralightdx@yahoogroups.com, D1028Gary@ wrote:

Hi Patrick,

Thanks for your message, and also for your private emails
concerning the
PL-310 (your questions will be answered privately, soon).

Concerning the LW-design 7.5" loopsticks for the Tecsun DSP
models, I have
developed a sensitive LW loopstick with a plug-in style connector,
designed
to fit the Tecsun PL-360 model (which has a loopstick plug-in
jack).
Detailed experimentation was run with five different LW loopstick
designs
(pictured at _http://www.mediafire.com/i/?iv32u55b1ieyd5p_
(http://www.mediafire.com/i/?iv32u55b1ieyd5p) ), and I am
personally using the "E" model (a 1900
uh coil of 100/45 Litz wire on a Type 33 ferrite bar) for NDB
reception. So
far, I have logged NDB stations in 5 states and 4 Canadian
provinces with
this 7.5" loopstick, including a 250w station in the Canadian
province of
Manitoba (248-WG). This particular design has sensitive coverage
of the LW
broadcast band (153-279 kHz) and the NDB frequencies up to about
450 kHz. So
far, I've taken about 15 orders for these LW loopsticks, but
could make
one more for you, Patrick, if you are willing to wait.

Although the 7.5" LW loopsticks were designed for the PL-360
model, they
will work with any Tecsun DSP Ultralight radio once the circuitry
is
modified to accept the loopstick in place of the stock ferrite
bar. The PL-310
external antenna connector can be rewired to accomplish this (the
Laurie Mann
modification), and my own Longwave NDB chaser is a modified
PL-380, with a
cabinet attachment to accept the LW and MW 7.5" plug-in loopsticks
(pictured below).

73 and Good DX,
Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)


Re: Best Audio Quality FM Portable with DX Capability...

Rick Robinson <w4dst@...>
 

On 1/10/2011 11:19 PM, dhsatyadhana wrote:
...and this just in! I just tried out all of my ULRs with my Grado SR-60 "near-audiophile" and fairly power-hungry headphones, with the volume attenuator. I did A/B tests on various stations here in the Seattle area, and the clear winner from an audio perspective is...
What could cause significant differences in audio when all these small portables, Eton, CCrane, Tecsun, that I've dissected use the same CD1622 audio output chip and the same value caps, resistors, etc. in the audio circuits? The circuits are all identical in the 7 different radios I've examined and are straight out of the CD1622 datasheet posted in the files section. Using quality headphones is obviously the way to test them, but it still leaves me wondering what the determining factors could be. Kiwa and Big Sky Audio have kits to improve the audio in communications receivers which involve replacing polarized electrolytic caps in the audio stages with non-polarized electroylitics and ceramic caps with mylar. I could understand if Tecsun was using a better quality cap, or design, than say Eton, but from what I've seen, that isn't the case. Maybe it's just a case of variables in the particular batch of CD1622s, caps, etc. In that case, my PL-380, or CCrane SWP may be my audio winner. Using good headphones is definitely the way to enjoy FM and also pull out the weak ones while DXing MW.

The CD1622 is made for low coast small footprint portables not for audiophile quality sound. Anyone looking for sound comparable to high end tuners is not going to find it in a $50 portable radio. These are truly "pedestrian" radios meant to sell at a price that the average Chinese worker can afford and not aimed at the US/European audiophile.

I would think Silicon Labs has a high standard of quality control and the audio response out of one Si4734 would be very close to that of another.

Anyone else have any ideas regarding what Kevin and others are noting?

Rick W4DST


Re: Improving LW

balise2001 <aunumero13@...>
 

Bonjour Charly !

It's about the same here (near Chambery) under daylight conditions.
Only 162, 183, 216 and 234 are audible (both France Inter and RMC being pretty weak).

I did not purchase this unit for its LW abilities neither, but I would still improve its sensitivity to catch some NDBs in the 280-500 kHz range.

MW is far better (though it's a powerful station, Saudi Arabia on 1521 is an easy catch in the evening). Just for fun, I also intend to catch the largest number of MW stations.

Regards,
Patrick

--- In ultralightdx@yahoogroups.com, Charly <calpublic@...> wrote:


Hi everyone, et bonjour aux francophones,

I've tested LW this morning from the Paris area with my PL-390 (with a
longer loopstick than the PL-310 ?) :
- 162 : very good
- 234 : very good

Nothing else so far, only a few mumble sometime but not possible to
identified.

Very disappointing, but I did not buy it for LW so I don't mind. It was
the first time I switched my radio to LW ;-). In MW I can catch most of
western Europe (didn't try DX so far).

By the way, on the PL-390, the antenna input jack is labeled "SW ant".
Does this mean that the internal loopstick remains active when the radio
is used for MW & LW ?

Best regards,

Charly


Re: Improving LW

balise2001 <aunumero13@...>
 

Hi Farmerik,

Thanks for your comments.

I may be wrong due to my limited english, but what I understood is that Gary's loopsticks don't need any mod' ONLY when used with a PL-360.

Gary wrote : "Although the 7.5" LW loopsticks were designed for the PL-360 model, they will work with any Tecsun DSP Ultralight radio once the circuitry is modified to accept the loopstick in place of the stock ferrite bar. The PL-310 external antenna connector can be rewired to accomplish this (...)"

Regards,
Patrick, south-east France


--- In ultralightdx@..., "farmerik" wrote:
>
> I have both Gary's LW and MW antennas for the PL-360. They plug right into the external antenna jack to replace the tiny little one from the factory. I also have the Q-stick which couples to any ferrite antenna in a radio. The jack on the Q-stick allows me to plug a long wire or Beverage antenna into the jack, and use the Q-stick to couple the signal from the wire antenna to the ferrite antenna inside a radio. None of those set ups require any modification of the radio it self. - FARMERIK
>
> --- In ultralightdx@..., "balise2001" aunumero13@ wrote:
> >
> > Hi Gary,
> >
> > Many thanks for your kind reply (as usual !)
> >
> > Your LW-design loopstick also looks fine and effective but it seems one has to modify the receiver in order to use it, right ?
> > The problem is I'm not a technie, and I don't want to open and tinker with the radio... actually, I do not feel competent to do this meticulous work.
> >
> > Thus, I would probably be wiser to order a ready-to-use antenna such as the Q-stick Henk has recommanded.
> >
> > Patrick
> >
> >
> > --- In ultralightdx@..., D1028Gary@ wrote:
> > >
> > > Hi Patrick,
> > >
> > > Thanks for your message, and also for your private emails concerning the
> > > PL-310 (your questions will be answered privately, soon).
> > >
> > > Concerning the LW-design 7.5" loopsticks for the Tecsun DSP models, I have
> > > developed a sensitive LW loopstick with a plug-in style connector, designed
> > > to fit the Tecsun PL-360 model (which has a loopstick plug-in jack).
> > > Detailed experimentation was run with five different LW loopstick designs
> > > (pictured at _http://www.mediafire.com/i/?iv32u55b1ieyd5p_
> > > (http://www.mediafire.com/i/?iv32u55b1ieyd5p) ), and I am personally using the "E" model (a 1900
> > > uh coil of 100/45 Litz wire on a Type 33 ferrite bar) for NDB reception. So
> > > far, I have logged NDB stations in 5 states and 4 Canadian provinces with
> > > this 7.5" loopstick, including a 250w station in the Canadian province of
> > > Manitoba (248-WG). This particular design has sensitive coverage of the LW
> > > broadcast band (153-279 kHz) and the NDB frequencies up to about 450 kHz. So
> > > far, I've taken about 15 orders for these LW loopsticks, but could make
> > > one more for you, Patrick, if you are willing to wait.
> > >
> > > Although the 7.5" LW loopsticks were designed for the PL-360 model, they
> > > will work with any Tecsun DSP Ultralight radio once the circuitry is
> > > modified to accept the loopstick in place of the stock ferrite bar. The PL-310
> > > external antenna connector can be rewired to accomplish this (the Laurie Mann
> > > modification), and my own Longwave NDB chaser is a modified PL-380, with a
> > > cabinet attachment to accept the LW and MW 7.5" plug-in loopsticks
> > > (pictured below).
> > >
> > > 73 and Good DX,
> > > Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)
> >
>


Re: Improving LW

Charly <calpublic@...>
 


Hi everyone, et bonjour aux francophones,

I've tested LW this morning from the Paris area with my PL-390 (with a longer loopstick than the PL-310 ?) :
- 162 : very good
- 234 : very good

Nothing else so far, only a few mumble sometime but not possible to identified.

Very disappointing, but I did not buy it for LW so I don't mind. It was the first time I switched my radio to LW ;-). In MW I can catch most of western Europe (didn't try DX so far).

By the way, on the PL-390, the antenna input jack is labeled "SW ant". Does this mean that the internal loopstick remains active when the radio is used for MW & LW ?

Best regards,

Charly


--------------------------------------
From: balise2001
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2011 12:55:24 -0000
To: ultralightdx@...
Cc:
Subject: [ultralightdx] Re: Improving LW

I checked reception on LW, yesterday at 22z with my TECSUN PL-310 :

153 : traces
162 : weak to fair
171 : traces to nil
177 : traces
183 : good
189 : nil
198 : traces
207 : weak
216 : fair
225 : traces
234 : good
252 : fair
I did not check 261-270 and 279.

This is very poor assuming I live in a (quiet) rural area.
Using a Degen de1103, from the same place of course, I was able to dig out 171-Morocco at local noon.

Regarding NDB : a single one is audible, located 15 km from home.





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Re: Improving LW

Rik
 

I have both Gary's LW and MW antennas for the PL-360. They plug right into the external antenna jack to replace the tiny little one from the factory. I also have the Q-stick which couples to any ferrite antenna in a radio. The jack on the Q-stick allows me to plug a long wire or Beverage antenna into the jack, and use the Q-stick to couple the signal from the wire antenna to the ferrite antenna inside a radio. None of those set ups require any modification of the radio it self. - FARMERIK

--- In ultralightdx@yahoogroups.com, "balise2001" <aunumero13@...> wrote:

Hi Gary,

Many thanks for your kind reply (as usual !)

Your LW-design loopstick also looks fine and effective but it seems one has to modify the receiver in order to use it, right ?
The problem is I'm not a technie, and I don't want to open and tinker with the radio... actually, I do not feel competent to do this meticulous work.

Thus, I would probably be wiser to order a ready-to-use antenna such as the Q-stick Henk has recommanded.

Patrick


--- In ultralightdx@yahoogroups.com, D1028Gary@ wrote:

Hi Patrick,

Thanks for your message, and also for your private emails concerning the
PL-310 (your questions will be answered privately, soon).

Concerning the LW-design 7.5" loopsticks for the Tecsun DSP models, I have
developed a sensitive LW loopstick with a plug-in style connector, designed
to fit the Tecsun PL-360 model (which has a loopstick plug-in jack).
Detailed experimentation was run with five different LW loopstick designs
(pictured at _http://www.mediafire.com/i/?iv32u55b1ieyd5p_
(http://www.mediafire.com/i/?iv32u55b1ieyd5p) ), and I am personally using the "E" model (a 1900
uh coil of 100/45 Litz wire on a Type 33 ferrite bar) for NDB reception. So
far, I have logged NDB stations in 5 states and 4 Canadian provinces with
this 7.5" loopstick, including a 250w station in the Canadian province of
Manitoba (248-WG). This particular design has sensitive coverage of the LW
broadcast band (153-279 kHz) and the NDB frequencies up to about 450 kHz. So
far, I've taken about 15 orders for these LW loopsticks, but could make
one more for you, Patrick, if you are willing to wait.

Although the 7.5" LW loopsticks were designed for the PL-360 model, they
will work with any Tecsun DSP Ultralight radio once the circuitry is
modified to accept the loopstick in place of the stock ferrite bar. The PL-310
external antenna connector can be rewired to accomplish this (the Laurie Mann
modification), and my own Longwave NDB chaser is a modified PL-380, with a
cabinet attachment to accept the LW and MW 7.5" plug-in loopsticks
(pictured below).

73 and Good DX,
Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)


Re: Improving LW

balise2001 <aunumero13@...>
 

Hi Gary,

Many thanks for your kind reply (as usual !)

Your LW-design loopstick also looks fine and effective but it seems one has to modify the receiver in order to use it, right ?
The problem is I'm not a technie, and I don't want to open and tinker with the radio... actually, I do not feel competent to do this meticulous work.

Thus, I would probably be wiser to order a ready-to-use antenna such as the Q-stick Henk has recommanded.

Patrick

--- In ultralightdx@yahoogroups.com, D1028Gary@... wrote:

Hi Patrick,

Thanks for your message, and also for your private emails concerning the
PL-310 (your questions will be answered privately, soon).

Concerning the LW-design 7.5" loopsticks for the Tecsun DSP models, I have
developed a sensitive LW loopstick with a plug-in style connector, designed
to fit the Tecsun PL-360 model (which has a loopstick plug-in jack).
Detailed experimentation was run with five different LW loopstick designs
(pictured at _http://www.mediafire.com/i/?iv32u55b1ieyd5p_
(http://www.mediafire.com/i/?iv32u55b1ieyd5p) ), and I am personally using the "E" model (a 1900
uh coil of 100/45 Litz wire on a Type 33 ferrite bar) for NDB reception. So
far, I have logged NDB stations in 5 states and 4 Canadian provinces with
this 7.5" loopstick, including a 250w station in the Canadian province of
Manitoba (248-WG). This particular design has sensitive coverage of the LW
broadcast band (153-279 kHz) and the NDB frequencies up to about 450 kHz. So
far, I've taken about 15 orders for these LW loopsticks, but could make
one more for you, Patrick, if you are willing to wait.

Although the 7.5" LW loopsticks were designed for the PL-360 model, they
will work with any Tecsun DSP Ultralight radio once the circuitry is
modified to accept the loopstick in place of the stock ferrite bar. The PL-310
external antenna connector can be rewired to accomplish this (the Laurie Mann
modification), and my own Longwave NDB chaser is a modified PL-380, with a
cabinet attachment to accept the LW and MW 7.5" plug-in loopsticks
(pictured below).

73 and Good DX,
Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)


Re: Improving LW

balise2001 <aunumero13@...>
 

I checked reception on LW, yesterday at 22z with my TECSUN PL-310 :

153 : traces
162 : weak to fair
171 : traces to nil
177 : traces
183 : good
189 : nil
198 : traces
207 : weak
216 : fair
225 : traces
234 : good
252 : fair
I did not check 261-270 and 279.

This is very poor assuming I live in a (quiet) rural area.
Using a Degen de1103, from the same place of course, I was able to dig out 171-Morocco at local noon.

Regarding NDB : a single one is audible, located 15 km from home.


Re: Improving LW

Henk_Verdru
 

--- In ultralightdx@yahoogroups.com, "balise2001" <aunumero13@...> wrote:

Many thanks for tip Henk !
This 'Q-Stick' seems fine... is this ferrite rod only avaible from R+ in Florida or is it possible to order in Europe ?

It shows an 'ext ant' jack ; What is the point of using such an accessory with an external antenna ? (Sorry for the stupid question...)

Your english is very fine ;-)

Patrick


Quoting the dxtools-website, the "ext ant" jack is used "to optimally couple the signal from an external antenna to a portable radio's front-end circuitry". But, personally, I only use the Q-Stick through inductive coupling "by placing it in close proximity to the radio."

Henk


Re: Improving LW

Henk_Verdru
 

--- In ultralightdx@yahoogroups.com, Russ Edmunds <wb2bjh@...> wrote:

The longer the wavelength, the larger the antenna needed for good reception. That's why the typical ultralight doesn't do well on LW. I'll let others speak to what's available to help the signals.

Russ Edmunds
Correct, but this rule doesn't explain why the Tecsuns underperform on LW in comparison with e.g. Sony's SRF-M37L (even with all its shortcomings) which has a shorter antenna.

Henk


Another new state - SD

Kevin Schanilec
 

Hi all:

With just a few minutes to DX tonight, at 0600 UTC I put a null on 1060-Calgary with the PL-310 and heard another C&W station underneath, which was unexpected. Soon there was "...Dakota Radio Group, serving South Dakota since 19xx, this 1060 AM KGFX" It's 1 kw at night, but with a little westerly lobe in their theoretical pattern, it was just enough. Or, they've got pattern problems and/or are still on day power: I'll take it either way!

This is a new station for the all-time log, and while I have heard SD before elsewhere on the dial, this is the first SD station, and state #23, for the barefoot ULR log.

Kevin S
Bainbridge Island, WA


Re: Best Audio Quality FM Portable with DX Capability...

chronos83
 

Kevin, thank you so much for your efforts! I promise that since we will most likely have a "Snow Day" this week, after clearing the driveway and returning some library books (love walking in the snow with the flakes falling) I will be looking at reviews on the Tecsun PL-606.
Does anyone else on the board have comments on the audio reproduction quality of the PL-606 on the FM band?

:-)

~Bryan M.


Re: Best Audio Quality FM Portable with DX Capability...

Kevin Schanilec
 

...and this just in! I just tried out all of my ULRs with my Grado SR-60 "near-audiophile" and fairly power-hungry headphones, with the volume attenuator. I did A/B tests on various stations here in the Seattle area, and the clear winner from an audio perspective is...

...the Tecsun PL-606!

I figured the PL-606 would be similar to the PL-310, but the highs are much more extended and crisp, better stereo imaging, and it has plenty of audio power despite the smaller form factor. Wow, it really is a quantum step above the PL-310 from an audio perspective on FM, the latter sounding almost muffled in comparison. The PL-310 was somewhat more sensitive, though, owing to its slightly larger whip, but the PL-606 comes with a whip extension to solve that. The PL-380 is somewhere in-between audio wise, not as crisp and captivating as the PL-606. Again, none of these have the rock-solid low end of a good home tuner set-up, but still quite serviceable.

I thought the PL-606 and the G8 (PL-300WT) sounded quite similar, with the really good high frequency response, but the G8 simply cannot drive the Grado headphones very well. It does fine with the more efficient Sennheiser PX-100's.

Next to the PL-606, the Sangean DT400W, Tecsun PL-210, and Sony SRF39 sounded quite poor. My little Sony M37V actually sounded pretty good with its extremely wide filtering, but is very underpowered, has trouble keeping stations apart, and wholly dependent on the headphone cable for an antenna.

So, the PL-606, besides being an excellent MW set, is also (in my assessment, anyway) the cream of the crop for FM audio as well.

Kevin S

--- In ultralightdx@yahoogroups.com, "dhsatyadhana" <dhsatyadhana@...> wrote:

Hi Bryan/all:

I thought the word "pedestrian" rang a bell... that was my review of the G8 from a while back. (Note: I have since come to believe that the 25 dB is meant as the SNR threshold above which stereo kicks in, since the stereo separation is clearly better than that.)

I would opine that the Tecsun PL-310 is probably the best bet for what you're after. It and the PL-300WT (Grundig G8) are the most sensitive ULRs on FM, while the PL-310 has a more robust audio section. The PL-380 is slightly less sensitive due to its shorter whip antenna, but has the stronger audio section. All three have the amazing DSP selectivity that is equal to or better than my Yamaha T-80 and probably most other stock home tuners. I think they sound quite good, not like an audiophile home tuner, but still quite good, especially for portable use. Doing A/B tests with the Yamaha T-80, generally recognized as a "decent", there was no stark differences to my somewhat discerning ear (I'm no audiophile by any means). The PL-310 is also the choice for sensitivity and selectivity on AM as well, another of your criteria.

One tip - I use a Radio Shack headphone volume attenuator to decrease the volume a bit, which entails turning up the radio a bit more. There is some electronic hiss at the headphone jack, but the attenuator wipes that out quite nicely. The slightly larger audio output of the PL-310 easily overcomes the increased attenuation, while the G8's audio stage has a tougher time of it.

As Gary mentioned, good headphones are definitely required; not only because the supplied Tecsun ear buds are quite horrible, but also because the one thing that the ULRs don't have is a solid bass portion, which is evident when comparing them with a good home tuner and amp. However, if your out-and-about headphones are the Koss Porta-Pros, Koss KSC-75's (which have the Porta-Pro drivers, if I recall) or other bass-rich cans, in my opinion the weaker low end in the ULRs is more than made up for. My everyday headphones are the Sennheiser PX-100's - I highly recommend them. They are sensitive and sound quite good. I also have a pair of Grado SR-60's, which the PL-310 can drive decently, but not as authoritatively as the PX-100's.

As for sound stage, closing my eyes when comparing the PL-310 with the Yamaha T-80, I thought they were quite similar, with the T-80 getting the nod though. The PL-310 could be accused of being a bit too "left-right" as opposed to having more depth.

As for the other models you list (Sony T615, Sony S-84, DT-400W), they have nowhere near the selectivity and fall well short in the sensitivity department as well in my opinion. None have a whip antenna, so you're dependent upon your headphones for an antenna.

As for sound, I just did a test with the PL-310, DT400W and SRF39 (about the same thing as the S84, probably a bit better actually), and the PL-310 was the clear winner - not even close! Even with the whip antenna fully retracted and housed, it picks up stations quite well, and sounded a LOT better (bass, sound stage, separation), even with the DT400W's bass boost on. Reception on the DT400W was decent with the headphone antenna, while the SRF39 was really having problems staying locked on. In all, the PL-310 was thumping the other two quite handily. My T615 is on loan, so I can't comment on that right now, but from what I recall it wouldn't be much better than the other also-rans above, especially since its small audio section is likely not up to the task as is the three-battery PL-310.

The new Tecsun PL-100, just put on sale, likely has the same sensitivity and selectivity, although it may have a lesser audio section output, mush like the PL-360 is my guess, and the reception will be entirely dependent upon the headphone wire doubling as an antenna. If you want it as a jogging radio, the headphone cable antenna may in fact be preferable, though! For $19.99 plus shipping, it may well be worth a shot.

Hope this helps - Kevin S
Bainbridge Island, WA

--- In ultralightdx@yahoogroups.com, "chronos83" <chronos83@> wrote:



Gary, I apologize. As soon as I read the positive press regarding the RF performance of the G8, I set my googling wild, and on this site here:

http://www.dxer.ca/file-area/cat_view/87-ultra-light-radio-files-area/94-ultralight-radios

saw this review here in PDF format:

http://www.dxer.ca/file-area/doc_download/237-a-review-of-the-grundig-g8-and-tecsun-pl-300wt

and thought you wrote it! Credit goes to one Mr. Kevin S. of Bainbridge, WA. His writeup is quite thorough.

:-)

~Bryan M.
----------------------------------------------------------------------


Bryan, I think you may have seen a G8 review that was written by another
Gary... the only detailed G8 review that I have written is the one included
in the 2009 Ultralight Radio Shootout review, posted at
_http://www.mediafire.com/?nokcjzwtyzt_
(http://www.mediafire.com/?nokcjzwtyzt) . FM stereo separation was not one of the testing criteria.


Re: Best Audio Quality FM Portable with DX Capability...

Kevin Schanilec
 

Hi Bryan/all:

I thought the word "pedestrian" rang a bell... that was my review of the G8 from a while back. (Note: I have since come to believe that the 25 dB is meant as the SNR threshold above which stereo kicks in, since the stereo separation is clearly better than that.)

I would opine that the Tecsun PL-310 is probably the best bet for what you're after. It and the PL-300WT (Grundig G8) are the most sensitive ULRs on FM, while the PL-310 has a more robust audio section. The PL-380 is slightly less sensitive due to its shorter whip antenna, but has the stronger audio section. All three have the amazing DSP selectivity that is equal to or better than my Yamaha T-80 and probably most other stock home tuners. I think they sound quite good, not like an audiophile home tuner, but still quite good, especially for portable use. Doing A/B tests with the Yamaha T-80, generally recognized as a "decent", there was no stark differences to my somewhat discerning ear (I'm no audiophile by any means). The PL-310 is also the choice for sensitivity and selectivity on AM as well, another of your criteria.

One tip - I use a Radio Shack headphone volume attenuator to decrease the volume a bit, which entails turning up the radio a bit more. There is some electronic hiss at the headphone jack, but the attenuator wipes that out quite nicely. The slightly larger audio output of the PL-310 easily overcomes the increased attenuation, while the G8's audio stage has a tougher time of it.

As Gary mentioned, good headphones are definitely required; not only because the supplied Tecsun ear buds are quite horrible, but also because the one thing that the ULRs don't have is a solid bass portion, which is evident when comparing them with a good home tuner and amp. However, if your out-and-about headphones are the Koss Porta-Pros, Koss KSC-75's (which have the Porta-Pro drivers, if I recall) or other bass-rich cans, in my opinion the weaker low end in the ULRs is more than made up for. My everyday headphones are the Sennheiser PX-100's - I highly recommend them. They are sensitive and sound quite good. I also have a pair of Grado SR-60's, which the PL-310 can drive decently, but not as authoritatively as the PX-100's.

As for sound stage, closing my eyes when comparing the PL-310 with the Yamaha T-80, I thought they were quite similar, with the T-80 getting the nod though. The PL-310 could be accused of being a bit too "left-right" as opposed to having more depth.

As for the other models you list (Sony T615, Sony S-84, DT-400W), they have nowhere near the selectivity and fall well short in the sensitivity department as well in my opinion. None have a whip antenna, so you're dependent upon your headphones for an antenna.

As for sound, I just did a test with the PL-310, DT400W and SRF39 (about the same thing as the S84, probably a bit better actually), and the PL-310 was the clear winner - not even close! Even with the whip antenna fully retracted and housed, it picks up stations quite well, and sounded a LOT better (bass, sound stage, separation), even with the DT400W's bass boost on. Reception on the DT400W was decent with the headphone antenna, while the SRF39 was really having problems staying locked on. In all, the PL-310 was thumping the other two quite handily. My T615 is on loan, so I can't comment on that right now, but from what I recall it wouldn't be much better than the other also-rans above, especially since its small audio section is likely not up to the task as is the three-battery PL-310.

The new Tecsun PL-100, just put on sale, likely has the same sensitivity and selectivity, although it may have a lesser audio section output, mush like the PL-360 is my guess, and the reception will be entirely dependent upon the headphone wire doubling as an antenna. If you want it as a jogging radio, the headphone cable antenna may in fact be preferable, though! For $19.99 plus shipping, it may well be worth a shot.

Hope this helps - Kevin S
Bainbridge Island, WA

--- In ultralightdx@yahoogroups.com, "chronos83" <chronos83@...> wrote:



Gary, I apologize. As soon as I read the positive press regarding the RF performance of the G8, I set my googling wild, and on this site here:

http://www.dxer.ca/file-area/cat_view/87-ultra-light-radio-files-area/94-ultralight-radios

saw this review here in PDF format:

http://www.dxer.ca/file-area/doc_download/237-a-review-of-the-grundig-g8-and-tecsun-pl-300wt

and thought you wrote it! Credit goes to one Mr. Kevin S. of Bainbridge, WA. His writeup is quite thorough.

:-)

~Bryan M.
----------------------------------------------------------------------


Bryan, I think you may have seen a G8 review that was written by another
Gary... the only detailed G8 review that I have written is the one included
in the 2009 Ultralight Radio Shootout review, posted at
_http://www.mediafire.com/?nokcjzwtyzt_
(http://www.mediafire.com/?nokcjzwtyzt) . FM stereo separation was not one of the testing criteria.


Re: Best Audio Quality FM Portable with DX Capability...

Jay Heyl
 

On Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 07:52, <D1028Gary@...> wrote:

 
The practical solution would be to purchase high quality stereo headphones and/ or external speakers to use with the Ultralight radios, which will result in a dramatic improvement in FM audio quality.

I wasn't sure whether to mention this or not, but since other high end audio reproduction gear has been brought up elsewhere in this thread I guess I'll go ahead. It's also very much in keeping with the spirit of ultralight. 

I had for some time been looking for some small speakers to use with my laptop. I love the laptop, but the speakers are horrible. In preparation for an extended holiday trip I began searching for something to fill this need. On an audiophile headphone site I found several references to the foxL speakers made by Soundmatters. They are pocket sized speakers that put out a sound that's hard to believe from such a small device. They use two one-inch drivers that have a surprising range, and magnify the bass by using the battery as a passive radiator. It's an amazing piece of engineering. If you're looking for highly portable room-filling sound, this may well be the ticket. 

The same drivers are also used in the Jambox by Jawbone. The Jambox has some interesting features missing from the foxL, like the ability to update the firmware. I got the Jambox for my brother for Christmas (because the foxL was on serious backorder and wouldn't have been delivered in time, even though I ordered at the beginning of November). He didn't seem impressed with the whole concept, but once I got him to actually give them a try he seemed very pleased. He was playing some music in the garage one day and I didn't see where it was coming from. I thought he must have had a good sized boom box behind the car. Only later did I notice he was streaming music over Bluetooth from his iPhone to the Jambox. 

Like many ultralight products, neither of these speakers can compete with a good, full sized home audio system. But I can't easily take my $4000 home stereo speakers to work with me every day. Hell, I can't even get my home system in my car. For the size these speakers put out very impressive sound. If you're looking for something to improve the sound from your ultralights, this might just be the ticket. 

  -- Jay


Re: Best Audio Quality FM Portable with DX Capability...

chronos83
 

Gary, I apologize. As soon as I read the positive press regarding the RF performance of the G8, I set my googling wild, and on this site here:

http://www.dxer.ca/file-area/cat_view/87-ultra-light-radio-files-area/94-ultralight-radios

saw this review here in PDF format:

http://www.dxer.ca/file-area/doc_download/237-a-review-of-the-grundig-g8-and-tecsun-pl-300wt

and thought you wrote it! Credit goes to one Mr. Kevin S. of Bainbridge, WA. His writeup is quite thorough.

:-)

~Bryan M.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Bryan, I think you may have seen a G8 review that was written by another
Gary... the only detailed G8 review that I have written is the one included
in the 2009 Ultralight Radio Shootout review, posted at
_http://www.mediafire.com/?nokcjzwtyzt_
(http://www.mediafire.com/?nokcjzwtyzt) . FM stereo separation was not one of the testing criteria.


Re: Herewith, a question I'm embarrassed to ask ...

Gary Kinsman
 

Hi Peter,

With a ferrite bar antenna, the strongest signals are perpendicular to the bar, and the nulls are parallel to the bar.

Regards,
Gary

--- In ultralightdx@yahoogroups.com, Peter Laws <plaws0@...> wrote:

A loopstick, as found in, say, a Tecsun PL-606, has the nulls
broadside to it, right? With the strongest signals off the end,
right? Right?

Or am I all orthogonal???

And yes, given that I am a radio hobbyist and have been for a few
decades, I should know this.


Ultralight Scoreboard Back Online

John Cereghin <jcereghin@...>
 

Hi, all,

The Ultralight Scoreboard is back online at www.pilgrimway.org/dx.

As for my DXing, I'm still trying to do the Ross 30-Day Challenge but
I haven't been able to do a lot of DXing lately. I'm only at 171
stations. But I did log Algeria-549 tonight on the PL-310 for UL log
765.

--
John Cereghin WDX3IAO  KB3LYP
Smyrna, Delaware
My radio page www.pilgrimway.org/dx
The Ultralight Scoreboard  www.pilgrimway.org/ulradio


New FM only DSP radios

Tom Welch
 


Herewith, a question I'm embarrassed to ask ...

Peter Laws
 

A loopstick, as found in, say, a Tecsun PL-606, has the nulls
broadside to it, right? With the strongest signals off the end,
right? Right?

Or am I all orthogonal???

And yes, given that I am a radio hobbyist and have been for a few
decades, I should know this.

--
Peter Laws | N5UWY | plaws plaws net | Travel by Train!