The Tecsun brand offers a rather long list of small radios, and this Tecsun PL880 Portable Digital PLL Radio is one of their pricier (comparatively speaking) models. It’s not exactly new, but its features continue to impress among lots of radio listeners. In this Tecsun PL880 review, you’re going to understand why that is.
Table of Contents
Tecsun PL880 Review
So why is this a bit more expensive than your usual Tecsun radio? Here’s a list of the features that you’ll want to know about:
Aside from the radio itself, your purchase includes stereo earphones, a YSB charging cable, the included 18650 rechargeable battery, and an external shortwave antenna. You get everything in a carrying pouch, including the manual.
This isn’t a large radio at all, since it measures about 7.5 inches wide, 4.5 inches high, and 1.25 inches thick.
About half the front side of the radio is reserved for the speaker, while the other half is for the various buttons and the digital display.
This radio offers full range coverage of various bands besides AM and FM. This allows you to also listen to Longwave, Shortwave, and Single Side Band radio.
With its AM capabilities, you can use this for DXing, which is an activity that involves trying to get AM reception from great distances. You may even get broadcasts from Eastern Europe such as Slovakia and Romania, or from Asian countries like Japan and Vietnam.
The telescoping whip antenna here is justly famous in the shortwave radio community, as it can really receive signals from much farther distances.
This comes with a lot of features such as analog High-IF circuit, multi-conversion, and DSP decoding technology.
Setting aside the jargon, what you have here is a very sensitive radio that may be able to pick up stations that other regular radios can’t. That’s especially noticeable in the AM and shortwave bands, as you may find yourself suddenly listening to Moroccan music (or even spy communications, you never know).
Compared to other radios, the clarity of the sound is terrific here. The anti-interference technology in this radio keeps everything clearer.
It helps that the speaker here isn’t your usual tin can speaker, as it offers a better sound than what you get with cheaper speakers. You have the bass/treble EQ switch, but basically Tecsun has set the sound nicely on its own. It doesn’t sound annoyingly tinny at all.
Of course, you can always use the earphones supplied, or your own expensive earphones or headphones.
There are several basic ways for you to find a station you can listen to.
ATS or Auto Tuning Storage
This automatically scans the available stations in the band you pick. Each station it finds is then saved in a memory slot.
Don’t worry about running out of memory slots either. You actually have 25 storage pages for your memory, with a total of 3050 slots for your favorite stations.
You can use a particular page of memory slots for stations and frequencies that are available for a particular time (such as 3 AM). Of course, you may also want to use pages for other types of groupings (with a page for music, another page for sports broadcasts, etc.).
Auto VM and VF
With VM, you can automatically let the radio tune to the stations and frequencies you’ve saved in your memory slots. With VF, you can tune within the frequency range.
You can also just turn the tuning knob yourself to find the stations you might like. In this case, you have one main tuning knob and another knob for fine tuning.
With the numerical keypad, you can always just enter the frequency of your favorite station. Or you can enter the number for the station you saved in your memory slots.
As you may already have noted, this is powered by a rechargeable battery that’s include in the purchase. You can use the 5V USB port to recharge the battery, even while you’re listening to the radio.
Because it charges with USB, you can use the same charger for all your other mobile devices.
This comes with a lot of technical-sounding features, including muting threshold, dynamic noise reduction, and synchronous detection. There’s even a line-out here for recording stuff.
But you also find simple yet practical features here that you can easily use. These include a sleep timer, an alarm, and even a snooze function.
- Gives you AM/FM radio, plus long wave, shortwave, and SSB radio
- You get absolutely clearer signals compared to other radios
- You may find yourself listening to broadcasts in other countries
- 3050 memory slots, with 25 pages
- Several tuning methods available
- Features with sleep timer, alarm clock, and snooze function
- Comes with rechargeable battery
- Comes with lots of features (which may be more than you need)
- Is there really anyone broadcasting using longwave in the US?
What is DXing?
This is a fun activity that challenges you to find AM stations farther than you normally would get. That usually means getting AM stations from other countries (and not just Cuba or Canada, either).
Why can’t I get these faraway AM stations?
You need to set up your antenna outside the home.
At what time is it best to get these stations?
Try late at night and after midnight, as you may get better reception.
How’s the coverage of Tecsun PL880 radio?
This radio provides a long rage coverage with AM/FM.
Is the battery is rechargeable?
The battery is rechargeable with the built-in charger.
How is the performance if I take this on the trip?
This Tecsun PL880 radio is one of the best portable radio yet. You can take and use this radio on any trip without any tension.
How is the durability of Tecsun PL880 radio?
According to customer reviews, the Tecsun PL880 radio is one of the most durable radios. However, It also depends on your use.
It doesn’t really matter why you want to listen to shortwave, longwave or SSB radio. Perhaps you want alternative traffic report broadcasts, or you want to listen to air traffic controllers talk. Maybe you just want to find remote stations from such far-flung places as Romania or Indonesia.
Regardless of the reasons, this is the radio that will work for you. It’s not surprising that our Tecsun PL880 review isn’t the only one to rave about this small radio. It’s great and well worth your money.
Also read: Tecsun PL-360 Radio Review from our expert