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Initial Review of the Tecsun PL-330


Paul S. in CT
 

I bought mine a week ago through eBay for about $80. Aliexpress also had/das them for a few $'s cheaper, but some sellers cannot ship to USA. The Box indicates 3/2020 build ver. 1. No serial number in the radio, or as a tag. Instruction manual in Chinese.

It sets up as my older Tecsun DSP's as far as time, and the English buttons are concerned. Placement of the buttons are a bit odd, and these function buttons are a bit small. Nonetheless things went smoothly. The "dial light" is a pleasant yellow, not too bright. The included battery is at least partially charged, and shows 2 of 3 bars right now. The case itself is good looking and of a solid build. For as light-weight as it is, it does not feel cheap. The buttons have a nice tactile feel to them, as opposed to a squishy feel. The rotary encoders for frequency and volume are a bit slow without a lot of indent.

The reception of AM-BCB is as good as the original PL-310, and better than the PL-310et I borrowed. I will say that the 330 is NOT a daytime DXer, and the 310 was also weak in this respect. This in regards to a habitually noisy suburban environment in Cent. CT USA. 1030 WBZ Boston (150mi) weak with hash, and WGY 810 in Schenectady, NY (140mi) non existant. WWKB Buffalo 1520 (225mi) illegible in the hash... 550 WGR Buffalo did better but still poor. Pointing the radio towards New York City (80-100mi) garnered good reception of 540 WLIE, 660 WFAN, 880 WCBS, 740 WNYH, 1010 WINS, and 1130 WBBR. Fair to poor on 820 WNYC. WWRL on 1600 didn't get here midday, but WWRU 1660 did, though fair. All these receptions were made offsetting the intended channel by 1kHz to avoid Soft-Mute.

Skywave RX at night brings out the Eastern USA with exeptions due to co-channel. All Chicago-5 heard well here 670, 720, 780, 890, and 1000. 650 WSM, and 750 WSB after 9PM, and KWKH and WDFN on 1130 duke it out behind big-sig WBBR on 1130. 1120 KMOX St Louis, KDKA Pittsburgh, KYW Philadelphia, CJMS 1040 Montreal when nulling WHO Des Moines and WVON Avon, NY. CHLO (ex-CIAO) Brampton, ON and R. enciclopedia Cuba on 530. Nighttime is the right-time for DX. No KOA or KPNW, or WWL just yet... its early in the season.

FM is just as good as it gets with DSP, picks up clean signals with meter readings like 03:01,02:00. If its there the PL-330 and PL-310 will get'em.

SW gets here too. I don't find too much different than an originaal PL-310,and a bit better than the "et" model. Being high-powered, all thats needed is that the transmitter is pointing in your direction. From here in the N. E. USA RRI, REE, CRI, and Greece all get here. Time signals on 3330, 5000, and 10000 all have their better reception periods, 3330 CHU is best almost all night here.

USB/LSB both work very well with the 330, a feature not found on the PL-310/et/380. This is where the extra $$'s go. And IMHO its worth it. Having owned a Grundig G5 (Degen 1103-PLL clone), aviation weather could be heard from NY/Gander and Trenton (Canada) military routinely. But the 50Hz increments were a bit coarse for "dialing it in". And Shannon (Ireland) Volmet was rather weak with volume bump needed. The PL-330 has a 10Hz tuning step, and does dial it in nicely. New York Aviation is off-air/silent, so only Gander gets here, and it does better than the G5. The mild surprise is Shannon Volmet gets here with improved legibility and signal. Trenton mil-Volmet has been dicey as reported in other "io" groups, and it did come in weakly once in several tries. It did have a weak meter reading with hash. Shannon had weak hash and Gander mild hash. If you want USB/LSB reports are the PL-365 and this PL-330 are both worth the extra US$30. For SYNC detection the PL-660 shines... the PL-330 DOES NOT. Much like Long Wave, its a selling point, nothing more. At least for US$70-80 I don't feel ripped-off. If I were buying a PL990(x) or H501, I'd be VERY dissatisfied to the point of returning it.

As for the Amateur bands, I'll leave that to the Amateurs that routinely receive such for their opiniion. As a civilian, I'll step aside. But I do think that the SSB on this model is worthy at least.

So there are my opinions as a newling to the PL-330. Its a good 4 of 5 with a little plus for the SSB, and a little minus for the SYNC and LW band.

Regards
Paul S. in CT FN31nl


Paul Blundell
 

Thanks Paul for the initial review. It sounds like for the money is a great little radio.

Paul

On Wed, Oct 21, 2020 at 1:03 PM Paul S. in CT <dxrx@...> wrote:
I bought mine a week ago through eBay for about $80. Aliexpress also had/das them for a few $'s cheaper, but some sellers cannot ship to USA. The Box indicates 3/2020 build ver. 1. No serial number in the radio, or as a tag. Instruction manual in Chinese.

It sets up as my older Tecsun DSP's as far as time, and the English buttons are concerned. Placement of the buttons are a bit odd, and these function buttons are a bit small. Nonetheless things went smoothly. The "dial light" is a pleasant yellow, not too bright. The included battery is at least partially charged, and shows 2 of 3 bars right now. The case itself is good looking and of a solid build. For as light-weight as it is, it does not feel cheap. The buttons have a nice tactile feel to them, as opposed to a squishy feel. The rotary encoders for frequency and volume are a bit slow without a lot of indent.

The reception of AM-BCB is as good as the original PL-310, and better than the PL-310et I borrowed. I will say that the 330 is NOT a daytime DXer, and the 310 was also weak in this respect. This in regards to a habitually noisy suburban environment in Cent. CT USA. 1030 WBZ Boston (150mi) weak with hash, and WGY 810 in Schenectady, NY (140mi) non existant. WWKB Buffalo 1520 (225mi) illegible in the hash... 550 WGR Buffalo did better but still poor. Pointing the radio towards New York City (80-100mi) garnered good reception of 540 WLIE, 660 WFAN, 880 WCBS, 740 WNYH, 1010 WINS, and 1130 WBBR. Fair to poor on 820 WNYC. WWRL on 1600 didn't get here midday, but WWRU 1660 did, though fair. All these receptions were made offsetting the intended channel by 1kHz to avoid Soft-Mute.

Skywave RX at night brings out the Eastern USA with exeptions due to co-channel. All Chicago-5 heard well here 670, 720, 780, 890, and 1000. 650 WSM, and 750 WSB after 9PM, and KWKH and WDFN on 1130 duke it out behind big-sig WBBR on 1130. 1120 KMOX St Louis, KDKA Pittsburgh, KYW Philadelphia, CJMS 1040 Montreal when nulling WHO Des Moines and WVON Avon, NY. CHLO (ex-CIAO) Brampton, ON and R. enciclopedia Cuba on 530. Nighttime is the right-time for DX. No KOA or KPNW, or WWL just yet... its early in the season.

FM is just as good as it gets with DSP, picks up clean signals with meter readings like 03:01,02:00. If its there the PL-330 and PL-310 will get'em.

SW gets here too. I don't find too much different than an originaal PL-310,and a bit better than the "et" model. Being high-powered, all thats needed is that the transmitter is pointing in your direction. From here in the N. E. USA RRI, REE, CRI, and Greece all get here. Time signals on 3330, 5000, and 10000 all have their better reception periods, 3330 CHU is best almost all night here.

USB/LSB both work very well with the 330, a feature not found on the PL-310/et/380. This is where the extra $$'s go. And IMHO its worth it. Having owned a Grundig G5 (Degen 1103-PLL clone), aviation weather could be heard from NY/Gander and Trenton (Canada) military routinely. But the 50Hz increments were a bit coarse for "dialing it in". And Shannon (Ireland) Volmet was rather weak with volume bump needed. The PL-330 has a 10Hz tuning step, and does dial it in nicely. New York Aviation is off-air/silent, so only Gander gets here, and it does better than the G5. The mild surprise is Shannon Volmet gets here with improved legibility and signal. Trenton mil-Volmet has been dicey as reported in other "io" groups, and it did come in weakly once in several tries. It did have a weak meter reading with hash. Shannon had weak hash and Gander mild hash. If you want USB/LSB reports are the PL-365 and this PL-330 are both worth the extra US$30. For SYNC detection the PL-660 shines... the PL-330 DOES NOT. Much like Long Wave, its a selling point, nothing more. At least for US$70-80 I don't feel ripped-off. If I were buying a PL990(x) or H501, I'd be VERY dissatisfied to the point of returning it.

As for the Amateur bands, I'll leave that to the Amateurs that routinely receive such for their opiniion. As a civilian, I'll step aside. But I do think that the SSB on this model is worthy at least.

So there are my opinions as a newling to the PL-330. Its a good 4 of 5 with a little plus for the SSB, and a little minus for the SYNC and LW band.

Regards
Paul S. in CT FN31nl







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Paul