2021 Ultralight Radio Shootout Review Ready for Download


Gary DeBock
 

The 39-page 2021 Ultralight Radio Shootout review is available for download! Fully detailed reviews of the XHDATA D-808, Radiwow R-108, C. Crane Skywave (Basic and SSB), Tecsun PL-330 and the Tecsun PL-380 are included, with honest descriptions of the strong and weak points of every model. Finally, a detailed Shootout section compares each model's MW sensitivity, MW selectivity, FM sensitivity, SW sensitivity and AIR band sensitivity in fight to the finish! The Final Verdicts tell you who is still standing--- and why! https://dreamcrafts.box.com/s/8y6855bnfmy45rnk46mzr7hb4pwjz8u8

Good DX to All,
Gary DeBock, N7EKX
Ultralight Radio Group Co-Founder


Paul Blundell
 

I have just had a quick look, this is amazing and you have clearly put a huge amount of time and effort into it.

Paul

On Sun, 2 May 2021, 17:50 Gary DeBock via groups.io, <D1028Gary=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
The 39-page 2021 Ultralight Radio Shootout review is available for download! Fully detailed reviews of the XHDATA D-808, Radiwow R-108, C. Crane Skywave (Basic and SSB), Tecsun PL-330 and the Tecsun PL-380 are included, with honest descriptions of the strong and weak points of every model. Finally, a detailed Shootout section compares each model's MW sensitivity, MW selectivity, FM sensitivity, SW sensitivity and AIR band sensitivity in fight to the finish! The Final Verdicts tell you who is still standing--- and why! https://dreamcrafts.box.com/s/8y6855bnfmy45rnk46mzr7hb4pwjz8u8

Good DX to All,
Gary DeBock, N7EKX
Ultralight Radio Group Co-Founder


Jock Elliott
 

Gary,

Wow, this is terrific stuff . . . thorough, useful, and deftly written. Well done! Put a Gold Star on your chart.

Cheers, Jock


Peter 1956
 

Thanks Gary,
I've been looking forward to this :)

Peter


radiojayallen
 

Gary,

Great article...I enjoyed every minute of it!

Jay


Michael.2E0IHW
 

Oh Gary,

Wish I hadn't viewed  this . . .

Piggy bank is near empty, so mope I must.

Whoa - eureka - I could resurrect my ultralight galena cats-whisker
and squeeze it into a legit-size wee box.

But, yea, I am altruistic - so congratulations y'all!
If the cheeky sunspots allow, there might be some mighty enthralling DX
over the next few days.

Michael UK


On 02/05/2021 08:50, Gary DeBock via groups.io wrote:
The 39-page 2021 Ultralight Radio Shootout review is available for download! Fully detailed reviews of the XHDATA D-808, Radiwow R-108, C. Crane Skywave (Basic and SSB), Tecsun PL-330 and the Tecsun PL-380 are included, with honest descriptions of the strong and weak points of every model. Finally, a detailed Shootout section compares each model's MW sensitivity, MW selectivity, FM sensitivity, SW sensitivity and AIR band sensitivity in fight to the finish! The Final Verdicts tell you who is still standing--- and why! https://dreamcrafts.box.com/s/8y6855bnfmy45rnk46mzr7hb4pwjz8u8 Good DX to All,
Gary DeBock, N7EKX
Ultralight Radio Group Co-Founder


Gary DeBock
 

On Sun, May 2, 2021 at 06:38 AM, radiojayallen wrote:
Gary,

Great article...I enjoyed every minute of it!

Jay
Jay and All,

Thank you all very much for your positive comments on the 2021 Shootout!

Jay, coming from the Master Reviewer, your comments are a special honor.

Gary
 


C B
 

Hi Gary,

Thank you for your thorough and very informative 2021 Ultralight Shootout and review article! You obviously put forth a significant effort compiling this review. I enjoyed reading every bit of the article! Well done!

73 and Best of DX,

Craig Barnes

On Sunday, May 2, 2021, 10:25:46 AM MDT, Gary DeBock via groups.io <d1028gary@...> wrote:


On Sun, May 2, 2021 at 06:38 AM, radiojayallen wrote:
Gary,

Great article...I enjoyed every minute of it!

Jay
Jay and All,

Thank you all very much for your positive comments on the 2021 Shootout!

Jay, coming from the Master Reviewer, your comments are a special honor.

Gary
 


Emily Keene
 

Gary, I enjoyed your extensive radio comparisons, and thank you for such a thorough and clear "shoot-out". I have the radios you featured, and although I know 'mileage may differ' from one example to another, your results match my own observations. Thank you again for putting this article together.

Emily Hastings Keene, New Jersey



Sent from my Virgin Mobile Phone.


Paul B. Walker, Jr.
 

We all know which ultralight radio I prefer :)



On Sat, May 1, 2021 at 11:50 PM Gary DeBock via groups.io <D1028Gary=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
The 39-page 2021 Ultralight Radio Shootout review is available for download! Fully detailed reviews of the XHDATA D-808, Radiwow R-108, C. Crane Skywave (Basic and SSB), Tecsun PL-330 and the Tecsun PL-380 are included, with honest descriptions of the strong and weak points of every model. Finally, a detailed Shootout section compares each model's MW sensitivity, MW selectivity, FM sensitivity, SW sensitivity and AIR band sensitivity in fight to the finish! The Final Verdicts tell you who is still standing--- and why! https://dreamcrafts.box.com/s/8y6855bnfmy45rnk46mzr7hb4pwjz8u8

Good DX to All,
Gary DeBock, N7EKX
Ultralight Radio Group Co-Founder


Paul Blundell
 

I have now had a chance to fully read this, the level of detail you have gone to and the expert knowledge of these radios is clear from your review.

Paul

On Sun, May 2, 2021 at 5:50 PM Gary DeBock via groups.io <D1028Gary=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
The 39-page 2021 Ultralight Radio Shootout review is available for download! Fully detailed reviews of the XHDATA D-808, Radiwow R-108, C. Crane Skywave (Basic and SSB), Tecsun PL-330 and the Tecsun PL-380 are included, with honest descriptions of the strong and weak points of every model. Finally, a detailed Shootout section compares each model's MW sensitivity, MW selectivity, FM sensitivity, SW sensitivity and AIR band sensitivity in fight to the finish! The Final Verdicts tell you who is still standing--- and why! https://dreamcrafts.box.com/s/8y6855bnfmy45rnk46mzr7hb4pwjz8u8

Good DX to All,
Gary DeBock, N7EKX
Ultralight Radio Group Co-Founder



--
Paul


Johnny
 

That write up was awesome!  It literally forced me to buy another radio!  ;)


Johnny


 

I have only just come across this. You must have spent a huge amount of time working on this. It is a good read and has given me some ideas of radios to look at.


Gary DeBock
 

On Mon, Aug 9, 2021 at 08:25 PM, Frank Standford wrote:
I have only just come across this. You must have spent a huge amount of time working on this. It is a good read and has given me some ideas of radios to look at.
Thanks Frank,

Major Ultralight Radio reviews like this take place every few years, with detailed articles written in 2009, 2015 and 2021. The 2015 Shootout review (with several models still offered for sale) is posted at Gary DeBock’s 2015 Ultralight Radio Shootout Review | The SWLing Post

Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)


Gavin
 

Thanks Gary for the really detailed descriptions, photos and comparisons.

I'm not an advocate for the Tecsun PL-330 largely because I totally hate its soft mute function. However one can reduce its effect by off-tuning the frequency or switching to SSB even on AM (and zero beating on frequency). Sync reception is often useless but can be improved, station by station, using the frequency alignment function (done in SSB mode). Overall if one learns these tweaks, although tiresome, it can become a lot more useful radio especially when combined with an external antenna which I note ultraliters often carry around anyway (eg passive loop). Another quirk/feature is different bandwidths in SSB mode which if one zero-beats an AM station then offers better selectivity than the AM bandwidths and better reception than Sync. Finally a small piece of plastic superglued onto those bandwidth and ETM buttons makes the radio so much easier to use.
An English manual and the "hidden features" discovered by users is posted here... 
https://ultralightdx.groups.io/g/main/files/3%20Radios,%20Reviews,%20Manuals/Radio%20Manuals/Tecsun%20PL-330


Gary DeBock
 

<<<   I'm not an advocate for the Tecsun PL-330 largely because I totally hate its soft mute function. However one can reduce its effect by off-tuning the frequency or switching to SSB even on AM (and zero beating on frequency). Sync reception is often useless but can be improved, station by station, using the frequency alignment function (done in SSB mode). Overall if one learns these tweaks, although tiresome, it can become a lot more useful radio especially when combined with an external antenna which I note ultraliters often carry around anyway (eg passive loop). Another quirk/feature is different bandwidths in SSB mode which if one zero-beats an AM station then offers better selectivity than the AM bandwidths and better reception than Sync. Finally a small piece of plastic superglued onto those bandwidth and ETM buttons makes the radio so much easier to use.
An English manual and the "hidden features" discovered by users is posted here... 
https://ultralightdx.groups.io/g/main/files/3%20Radios,%20Reviews,%20Manuals/Radio%20Manuals/Tecsun%20PL-330   >>>

Thanks Gavin,

Like you, I'm not much impressed with the PL-330 overall, mainly because I think that Tecsun could have worked out these design and construction quirks (that you describe) before marketing the radio. The radio does have some strong points (as described in the Shootout), but unless you must have SSB and don't want to pay a little more for the far superior XHDATA D-808, there isn't much point in purchasing this model.

Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)


 

This was a really enjoyable read and gives a great overview of these models. I will keep your thoughts in mind when I look for new models.

 
 
Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 2021 at 3:46 PM
From: "Gary DeBock via groups.io" <D1028Gary@...>
To: main@UltralightDX.groups.io
Subject: Re: [UltralightDX] 2021 Ultralight Radio Shootout Review Ready for Download
On Mon, Aug 9, 2021 at 08:25 PM, Frank Standford wrote:
I have only just come across this. You must have spent a huge amount of time working on this. It is a good read and has given me some ideas of radios to look at.
Thanks Frank,

Major Ultralight Radio reviews like this take place every few years, with detailed articles written in 2009, 2015 and 2021. The 2015 Shootout review (with several models still offered for sale) is posted at Gary DeBock’s 2015 Ultralight Radio Shootout Review | The SWLing Post

Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)
 


Mike Wolfson <nwhkr319@...>
 

I've got doubts about the Tecsun PL330 over concerns about build and parts quality.  It offers too many features for the price.  I have a gut level  feeling that  corners were cut to sell it as that price.  Still remember the long term problems that cropped up with rhe Grundig 800 and the E1.

Mike

On Tue, Aug 10, 2021, 5:26 PM Gary DeBock via groups.io <D1028Gary=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
<<<   I'm not an advocate for the Tecsun PL-330 largely because I totally hate its soft mute function. However one can reduce its effect by off-tuning the frequency or switching to SSB even on AM (and zero beating on frequency). Sync reception is often useless but can be improved, station by station, using the frequency alignment function (done in SSB mode). Overall if one learns these tweaks, although tiresome, it can become a lot more useful radio especially when combined with an external antenna which I note ultraliters often carry around anyway (eg passive loop). Another quirk/feature is different bandwidths in SSB mode which if one zero-beats an AM station then offers better selectivity than the AM bandwidths and better reception than Sync. Finally a small piece of plastic superglued onto those bandwidth and ETM buttons makes the radio so much easier to use.
An English manual and the "hidden features" discovered by users is posted here... 
https://ultralightdx.groups.io/g/main/files/3%20Radios,%20Reviews,%20Manuals/Radio%20Manuals/Tecsun%20PL-330   >>>

Thanks Gavin,

Like you, I'm not much impressed with the PL-330 overall, mainly because I think that Tecsun could have worked out these design and construction quirks (that you describe) before marketing the radio. The radio does have some strong points (as described in the Shootout), but unless you must have SSB and don't want to pay a little more for the far superior XHDATA D-808, there isn't much point in purchasing this model.

Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)


radiojayallen
 

Mike,

It's funny that you mention the Satellit 800 and E1 because they are top performers and the E1 was a breakthrough in some ways, as a portable with Sync which worked (very well) in three modes (Upper, Lower and Dual Sideband), plus Passband tuning and variable AGC timing. I have no other portables with all these features so although I wish they hadn't had the problems, when you got a good one (as most were) you have something really special. I still have my Sat 800 and two E1's and although I had to remove the sticky mess on my E1's I would never part with them.

Also consider that more often than not these problems are blown out of proportion on the internet. Think about the Sony 2010. It's an excellent radio but you can read for days about issues they were susceptible to. It is unfortunate it had these issues but the 2010 still stands as a great radio.

But to get to your point, I don't think the PL-330 is liable to be problematic because of its features which are all part of a DSP chip...these features are there to be enabled or not enabled by the designers and you could disable them and not materially affect the reliability of the radio.

Jay


Mike Wolfson <nwhkr319@...>
 

Good points.  I remember quality issues with different production runs on the 800 and E1.  I had 2 2010s and had to get one repaired because of the fet issue.  No radio is perfect.  I may be off base with my opinion of the 330.  I have a Skywave and feel confident about how it will hold up longterm.  My impression is that it's a higher quality radio than some of the other ultralights out there.

Mike

On Thu, Aug 12, 2021, 6:42 AM radiojayallen <radiojayallen@...> wrote:
Mike,

It's funny that you mention the Satellit 800 and E1 because they are top performers and the E1 was a breakthrough in some ways, as a portable with Sync which worked (very well) in three modes (Upper, Lower and Dual Sideband), plus Passband tuning and variable AGC timing. I have no other portables with all these features so although I wish they hadn't had the problems, when you got a good one (as most were) you have something really special. I still have my Sat 800 and two E1's and although I had to remove the sticky mess on my E1's I would never part with them.

Also consider that more often than not these problems are blown out of proportion on the internet. Think about the Sony 2010. It's an excellent radio but you can read for days about issues they were susceptible to. It is unfortunate it had these issues but the 2010 still stands as a great radio.

But to get to your point, I don't think the PL-330 is liable to be problematic because of its features which are all part of a DSP chip...these features are there to be enabled or not enabled by the designers and you could disable them and not materially affect the reliability of the radio.

Jay