For Hans and the group PL-310ET first impressions


microcode@...
 

On Mon, Sep 08, 2014 at 02:43:06PM +0000, microcode@... [ultralightdx] wrote:
On Mon, Sep 08, 2014 at 03:24:04PM +0200, Hans Stam hansstam@... [ultralightdx] wrote:
Nice that you have the experience that your 310 is more quiet then the
pl660. And fine if you can tell us about the sensitivity of the 310 and
the 380 on MW.
First impressions are the PL-310ET is not nearly as sensitive on MW and SW
as the PL-660 but this is not surprising. What is surprising is the PL-310ET
is very hot on FM as I believe others have pointed out. The 310 pulls in
stations with full quieting with the whip not extended that the 660 doesn't
quiet fully even with its larger whip extended.

It's not my thing but I believe it's worth giving this rig a try on FM DXing.

The 310's audio into phones on FM stereo is very nice but overall the audio
is thin even into phones compared to the 660, especially on MW and SW.
However it is very listenable and not tiring. Have not spent much time over
the speaker.

The lack of sync on MW/SW is a glaring omission and a definite issue DXing
although the larger selection of filter widths helps. The sync on the 660 is
extremely good and improves listening on that radio significantly in many
situations.

Unfortunately and probably because it's a radio on chip the 310 doesn't seem
to do exactly the same thing all the time. After using it a couple of hours
it seems as noisy if not noisier than my 660 contrary to my initial
impression. It is also very sensitive to the way it's being held, where it's
being held (iPhone syndrome?) and of course where the ferrite is
pointed. Some additional shielding is probably in order.


If you can check also SW, that would be nice..
Again this is a first impression based on a couple hours of listening but
the 310 seems sensitive enough on SW. The issue I have with it is the front
end appears very open and without looking at the signal/noise meter it's
often very hard or even impossible to tell what center frequency the signal
you're hearing is on. While on the 660 you can hear the difference by going
up and down 5 KHz and figure out the center frequency quickly, on the 310 I
found I was often able to move +- 10 or even 15 KHz and couldn't decide
where the center was. Then I realized the radio does know and tells you if
you look at the signal/noise meter. It will be zero or something very small
off-center but will have some positive value on center. This is something
you have to get used to when you're band scanning or stumble across a
station and want to ID it. Narrowing the filter bandwidth doesn't help on
the 310 in this situation nearly as much as it does on the 660.

If I learned one thing in the few hours I spent with this rig I would say I
am not a fan of DSP radios at least not in the portable category. With
conventional radios the responses to switch actions are immediate because
the switch is actually doing something. This radio is sluggish to respond to
switch input because the radio is computer controlled and the switch isn't
actually doing what you want, it's telling the radio what you want. I find
myself blowing past desired filter bandwidth and memory locations because the
radio just can't keep up. It's annoying and needs to be dealt with if you
are running more than one radio because it makes switching back and forth
painfully obvious. You can hear some chuffing in the audio when operating
the controls. This ought to be cleaned up.

The switches are positive and I like the flat rectangular keypad buttons more
than the 660's elongated thin and rolled keys. The display is informative
but I don't like the etched timer box and don't feel it was necessary. The
back stand doesn't seem to keep the radio straight. On a level table the
radio rocks when you use the controls. Otherwise the radio feels tight and
well made.

The ETM memory is a neat feature but it isn't integrated as smoothly as it
should have been. Once you get into ETM you can't get out by toggling the
ETM switch. You have to toggle the regular memory switch and it's not marked
for that and not exactly intuitive. The manual is wrong or unclear about the
backlight timer. The switch doesn't do what it seems it should. I did not
see it documented but you can hold down the 5 key with the power off to
switch the backlight off completely as I believe on the 380.

For the money and for the form factor I think this series of radios (310,
380) are going to be very hard to beat. They do offer amazing capability for
their size. Until I got my 310 and put it next to my 660 (which feels small
to me as my previous radios were mostly boat anchors) I didn't understand
why people were making up names for imaginary subclasses of radios like
"ultralight." When you get your hands on one of these tiny wonders you will
understand there really is a class of radios that fits that term quite well.

I cannot imagine this as an only radio for a dedicated radio enthusiast. It
simply doesn't have everything you want in one radio and although it's very
good it's far from perfect. However it's such a neat little rig and so
affordable that I believe many people will be happy with it as a 2nd or 3rd
radio. And it is certainly a very good travel radio. It's so small and light
it's effortless to pack and bring along.

At this price point I believe they ought to clean up the rough edges in user
interface, noise, and add synchronous detection. That may require a chip
revision, I haven't looked to see whether it is there and just not
implemented in this radio or whether it's not there at all. Otherwise it's a
very good value and hard to fault for what it is.

--


Hans Stam <hansstam@...>
 

Thanks for your email and impressions..
and overall, you get what you pay for the price of this radio.
So we can t expect the features of a receiver that cost a lot more..
Do I understand well that you are a bit disappointed?
What about 380, still better in your opinion?
 
Hans
>
>
> On Mon, Sep 08, 2014 at 02:43:06PM +0000, microcode@...
> [ultralightdx] wrote:
>
>> On Mon, Sep 08, 2014 at 03:24:04PM +0200, Hans Stam
>> hansstam@... [ultralightdx] wrote:
>>
>>> Nice that you have the experience that your 310 is more quiet
>>> then the
>>> pl660. And fine if you can tell us about the sensitivity of the
>>> 310 and
>>> the 380 on MW.
>>>
> First impressions are the PL-310ET is not nearly as sensitive on MW
> and SW
> as the PL-660 but this is not surprising. What is surprising is the
> PL-310ET
> is very hot on FM as I believe others have pointed out. The 310 pulls
> in
> stations with full quieting with the whip not extended that the 660
> doesn't
> quiet fully even with its larger whip extended.
>
> It's not my thing but I believe it's worth giving this rig a try on
> FM DXing.
>
> The 310's audio into phones on FM stereo is very nice but overall the
> audio
> is thin even into phones compared to the 660, especially on MW and SW.
> However it is very listenable and not tiring. Have not spent much
> time over
> the speaker.
>
> The lack of sync on MW/SW is a glaring omission and a definite issue
> DXing
> although the larger selection of filter widths helps. The sync on the
> 660 is
> extremely good and improves listening on that radio significantly in
> many
> situations.
>
> Unfortunately and probably because it's a radio on chip the 310
> doesn't seem
> to do exactly the same thing all the time. After using it a couple of
> hours
> it seems as noisy if not noisier than my 660 contrary to my initial
> impression. It is also very sensitive to the way it's being held,
> where it's
> being held (iPhone syndrome?) and of course where the ferrite is
> pointed. Some additional shielding is probably in order.
>
>>> If you can check also SW, that would be nice..
>>>
> Again this is a first impression based on a couple hours of listening
> but
> the 310 seems sensitive enough on SW. The issue I have with it is the
> front
> end appears very open and without looking at the signal/noise meter
> it's
> often very hard or even impossible to tell what center frequency the
> signal
> you're hearing is on. While on the 660 you can hear the difference by
> going
> up and down 5 KHz and figure out the center frequency quickly, on the
> 310 I
> found I was often able to move +- 10 or even 15 KHz and couldn't
> decide
> where the center was. Then I realized the radio does know and tells
> you if
> you look at the signal/noise meter. It will be zero or something very
> small
> off-center but will have some positive value on center. This is
> something
> you have to get used to when you're band scanning or stumble across a
> station and want to ID it. Narrowing the filter bandwidth doesn't
> help on
> the 310 in this situation nearly as much as it does on the 660.
>
> If I learned one thing in the few hours I spent with this rig I would
> say I
> am not a fan of DSP radios at least not in the portable category. With
> conventional radios the responses to switch actions are immediate
> because
> the switch is actually doing something. This radio is sluggish to
> respond to
> switch input because the radio is computer controlled and the switch
> isn't
> actually doing what you want, it's telling the radio what you want. I
> find
> myself blowing past desired filter bandwidth and memory locations
> because the radio just can't keep up. It's annoying and needs to be
> dealt with if you are running more than one radio because it makes
> switching back and forth painfully obvious. You can hear some
> chuffing in the audio when operating the controls. This ought to be
> cleaned up.
>
> The switches are positive and I like the flat rectangular keypad
> buttons more than the 660's elongated thin and rolled keys. The
> display is informative but I don't like the etched timer box and
> don't feel it was necessary. The back stand doesn't seem to keep the
> radio straight. On a level table the radio rocks when you use the
> controls. Otherwise the radio feels tight and well made.
>
> The ETM memory is a neat feature but it isn't integrated as smoothly
> as it
> should have been. Once you get into ETM you can't get out by toggling
> the
> ETM switch. You have to toggle the regular memory switch and it's not
> marked
> for that and not exactly intuitive. The manual is wrong or unclear
> about the
> backlight timer. The switch doesn't do what it seems it should. I did
> not
> see it documented but you can hold down the 5 key with the power off
> to
> switch the backlight off completely as I believe on the 380.
>
> For the money and for the form factor I think this series of radios
> (310,
> 380) are going to be very hard to beat. They do offer amazing
> capability for
> their size. Until I got my 310 and put it next to my 660 (which feels
> small
> to me as my previous radios were mostly boat anchors) I didn't
> understand
> why people were making up names for imaginary subclasses of radios
> like
> "ultralight." When you get your hands on one of these tiny wonders
> you will
> understand there really is a class of radios that fits that term
> quite well.
>
> I cannot imagine this as an only radio for a dedicated radio
> enthusiast. It
> simply doesn't have everything you want in one radio and although
> it's very
> good it's far from perfect. However it's such a neat little rig and so
> affordable that I believe many people will be happy with it as a 2nd
> or 3rd
> radio. And it is certainly a very good travel radio. It's so small
> and light
> it's effortless to pack and bring along.
>
> At this price point I believe they ought to clean up the rough edges
> in user
> interface, noise, and add synchronous detection. That may require a
> chip
> revision, I haven't looked to see whether it is there and just not
> implemented in this radio or whether it's not there at all. Otherwise
> it's a
> very good value and hard to fault for what it is.


microcode@...
 

On Tue, Sep 09, 2014 at 02:48:42PM +0200, Hans Stam hansstam@... [ultralightdx] wrote:
Thanks for your email and impressions..
You are quite welcome. I am new to the group and hope to be able to
contribute something. The 310 has been out for a while and I'm sure many
reviews covered it better than I did, especially since I have been away from
the hobby. But I am excited to give a brief report because I am getting back
into radio again and am amazed at what you can get for not very much money
and in a tiny package.

and overall, you get what you pay for the price of this radio.
Yes, I think there's no question about that. It's a very good value.

So we can t expect the features of a receiver that cost a lot more..
Right and I think that is to be expected. But refreshingly quality was not
sacrificed. They seem to get the cost/performance/feature balance right
which I think is saying a lot, really.

Do I understand well that you are a bit disappointed?
No, not at all. I consider it a work in progress and I'm happy that Tecsun
is bringing these radios to market and making improvements. How many
products have we seen that come out and never get better? Tecsun seems to be
listening and making changes and improvements and that is a very good
thing. R&D is usually so expensive and hard that most companies don't do a
very good job of it or need to charge an arm and a leg for their products. I
think Tecsun hit the sweet spot in offering a pretty nice range of models
perhaps even too many models with most anything you want in a portable.

But if you want more capabilities and features you have to go to a
physically larger and more expensive Tecsun just as you would with any line
of radios.

What about 380, still better in your opinion?
I don't have a 380 but as I understand it the 310 and the 380 are
essentially the same radio except it was explained to me here on the list
earlier that the 310 has an antenna jack and a conventional tuning knob
while the 380 has a tuning wheel and no antenna jack. And I believe he also
mentioned the speaker in the 310 was bigger than the one in the 380.
Otherwise the radios seem identical.


Hans Stam <hansstam@...>
 

Nice comments, thanks!

Yes I agree, Tecsun is doing a good job and they listen to the customers..
And who wants more, get the 660 or the 880, but these radios are also not perfect..

This afternoon I was reading about the Tecsun BCL3000, of course not for this group, but I was wondering if this receiver is well sold, have read different comments on it..

Hans

On Tue, 9 Sep 2014, microcode@... [ultralightdx] wrote:

Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2014 13:06:37 +0000
From: "microcode@... [ultralightdx]" <ultralightdx@...>
To: "Hans Stam hansstam@... [ultralightdx]"
<ultralightdx@...>
Subject: Re: [ultralightdx] For Hans and the group PL-310ET first impressions
On Tue, Sep 09, 2014 at 02:48:42PM +0200, Hans Stam hansstam@... [ultralightdx] wrote:
Thanks for your email and impressions..
You are quite welcome. I am new to the group and hope to be able to
contribute something. The 310 has been out for a while and I'm sure many
reviews covered it better than I did, especially since I have been away from
the hobby. But I am excited to give a brief report because I am getting back
into radio again and am amazed at what you can get for not very much money
and in a tiny package.

and overall, you get what you pay for the price of this radio.
Yes, I think there's no question about that. It's a very good value.

So we can t expect the features of a receiver that cost a lot more..
Right and I think that is to be expected. But refreshingly quality was not
sacrificed. They seem to get the cost/performance/feature balance right
which I think is saying a lot, really.

Do I understand well that you are a bit disappointed?
No, not at all. I consider it a work in progress and I'm happy that Tecsun
is bringing these radios to market and making improvements. How many
products have we seen that come out and never get better? Tecsun seems to be
listening and making changes and improvements and that is a very good
thing. R&D is usually so expensive and hard that most companies don't do a
very good job of it or need to charge an arm and a leg for their products. I
think Tecsun hit the sweet spot in offering a pretty nice range of models
perhaps even too many models with most anything you want in a portable.

But if you want more capabilities and features you have to go to a
physically larger and more expensive Tecsun just as you would with any line
of radios.

What about 380, still better in your opinion?
I don't have a 380 but as I understand it the 310 and the 380 are
essentially the same radio except it was explained to me here on the list
earlier that the 310 has an antenna jack and a conventional tuning knob
while the 380 has a tuning wheel and no antenna jack. And I believe he also
mentioned the speaker in the 310 was bigger than the one in the 380.
Otherwise the radios seem identical.



mediumwavedx
 

Hi microcode@,

Can you tell me what the dBµ cap is on the display.. does it max out at 63 dBµ or will it read higher?

Thanks,

Bill
 


microcode@...
 

Hi,

I'm sorry, I don't know the answer to that. I don't live near any high power
stations so it's going to be hard for me to check. I suppose you could try
writing Tecsun about that. Have the engineers over there participated in any
forums or mailing lists?


On Tue, Sep 09, 2014 at 08:49:22AM -0700, mediumwavedx@... [ultralightdx] wrote:
Hi microcode@,

Can you tell me what the dB?? cap is on the display.. does it max out at 63 dB?? or will it read higher?


Thanks,


Bill
--


mediumwavedx
 

Scott Willingham used to check in here, from SI Labs, though the manufacturer has the ability to set the limit when customizing the software. May try to write Anon-co (eBay vendor). He would know.

Rumors had it that it peaked out at 90+.

Thanks anyway.

Bill


microcode@...
 

On Tue, Sep 09, 2014 at 11:21:10AM -0700, mediumwavedx@... [ultralightdx] wrote:
Scott Willingham used to check in here, from SI Labs, though the
Nice! I would think SI and Tecsun would get a lot of ideas from hardcore users.

Rumors had it that it peaked out at 90+.
If I see it get that high I'll be double checking the seams on my tinfoil
jogging suit ;-)

But I will let you know if I see big numbers.


hansstam@...
 

Hi..

As for the noise between the Tecsun PL660 and the Tecsun PL380, I watched this youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FTDJ2uE1uA

And it was clear in this test that the Tecsun PL380 picked up less noise then the 660.
So this is very important for me and I think that the 380 willl be my receiver..

Hans

From:  "microcode@... [ultralightdx]"
To:  "Hans Stam hansstam@... [ultralightdx]"
Subject:  Re: [ultralightdx] For Hans and the group PL-310ET first impressions
Date:  9-9-2014 15:06:37


 

On Tue, Sep 09, 2014 at 02:48:42PM +0200, Hans Stam hansstam@... [ultralightdx] wrote:
> Thanks for your email and impressions..

You are quite welcome. I am new to the group and hope to be able to
contribute something. The 310 has been out for a while and I'm sure many
reviews covered it better than I did, especially since I have been away from
the hobby. But I am excited to give a brief report because I am getting back
into radio again and am amazed at what you can get for not very much money
and in a tiny package.

> and overall, you get what you pay for the price of this radio.

Yes, I think there's no question about that. It's a very good value.

> So we can t expect the features of a receiver that cost a lot more..

Right and I think that is to be expected. But refreshingly quality was not
sacrificed. They seem to get the cost/performance/feature balance right
which I think is saying a lot, really.

> Do I understand well that you are a bit disappointed?

No, not at all. I consider it a work in progress and I'm happy that Tecsun
is bringing these radios to market and making improvements. How many
products have we seen that come out and never get better? Tecsun seems to be
listening and making changes and improvements and that is a very good
thing. R&D is usually so expensive and hard that most companies don't do a
very good job of it or need to charge an arm and a leg for their products. I
think Tecsun hit the sweet spot in offering a pretty nice range of models
perhaps even too many models with most anything you want in a portable.

But if you want more capabilities and features you have to go to a
physically larger and more expensive Tecsun just as you would with any line
of radios.

> What about 380, still better in your opinion?

I don't have a 380 but as I understand it the 310 and the 380 are
essentially the same radio except it was explained to me here on the list
earlier that the 310 has an antenna jack and a conventional tuning knob
while the 380 has a tuning wheel and no antenna jack. And I believe he also
mentioned the speaker in the 310 was bigger than the one in the 380.
Otherwise the radios seem identical.