Author Topic: Radio Review & Comparison: Tecsun 660 (old) vs. 680 (new)  (Read 3298 times)

Offline Alan Georges

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Radio Review & Comparison: Tecsun 660 (old) vs. 680 (new)
« on: February 22, 2015, 07:28:13 PM »
As usual, good content over at the SWLing Post:
http://swling.com/blog/2015/02/a-review-of-the-tecsun-pl-680-with-reader-survey-results/

Tecsun is coming out with a slightly revised version of their venerable 660 AM/FM/SW receiver.  The SWLing post has done a series of reader/listener surveys over the past week, and then bundled those and their own review into one article.  The bottom line is that the new radio is ~$30 less expensive, marginally better on SW, has an improved synchronous receive (already pretty good on the 660), is noticeably worse on nighttime AM DX, and FM reception can wait until another review.

My take: long-range nighttime AM is the most important broadcast band for preparedness.  It sounds like this new radio is pretty good, but a step down in AM performance is a big step in the wrong direction.  I'm going to keep my eyes open for close-outs on the older 660 model, both for a spare and for some upcoming birthday presents.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Radio Review & Comparison: Tecsun 660 (old) vs. 680 (new)
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2020, 05:28:15 PM »
I'm going to tag on to Alan's older thread.......

I've been trying out a few SW portables lately and have been uniformly impressed with the Tecsun product line.  Right off the bat I have to say that the PL-660 is definitely still an extremely competitive receiver and an enormous value buy at <$100.  Granted it doesn't have the speaker quality of the newer $150 PL-880 but it is the only Tecsun product that does a good job with synchronous SSB.  I do like the controls of the 880 a little better, as well as the fact that it runs off 18650 cells and uses USB for charging, but there's no getting around the fact that the 660 performs as well or better in terms of receiving signals, and does so at a lower cost.

Even against the lunchbox sized Tecsun S-8800, my current benchmark SW performer, the better AM (probably the best of Tecsun's AM receivers) and speaker performance are really the only thing you miss from the 8800 when switching back to the 660.  It still really hits the sweet spot in terms of performance/price and I don't think you can go wrong with it 5 years after AG started this thread. 

The XHDATA D-808 is probably the closest competitor in terms of size, band coverage, and price but I haven't noticed that the 808 has dramatically improved performance, plus it's not quite as intuitive to operate than the Tecsuns.  I do like the use of 18650 and USB charging on the D-808, similar to the Tecsun PL-880. 

One of the only other portable SSB receivers like the PL-660 that does Air Band is the much smaller CCrane SkyWave SSB, which is a phenomenal performer for its size and manages to add in Weather Band reception and alerts, too.  RadioJayAllen calls the SkyWave SSB the Swiss Army knife of radios, and I would agree, but that comes at the expense of speaker performance and increased cost above the PL-880.  Apparently the XHDATA D-808 stole the design of the SkyWave, which the US based CCrane company had invested a lot into developing and obviously is a distasteful example of intellectual property theft.

A few Tecsun offerings are found at Amazon but more models are available at a lower price from Anon-Co Hong Kong.  I bought my PL-660 from them for $85 just as Chinese New Year and the coronavirus panic was kicking off and they still got me my radios in less than a week and some reviews claim their deliveries arrive in 4 days. 
« Last Edit: February 10, 2020, 02:18:44 AM by FreeLancer »

Offline leadeye

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Re: Radio Review & Comparison: Tecsun 660 (old) vs. 680 (new)
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2020, 09:34:36 PM »
I just picked up a Tecsun  PL660 from universal radio. I was using the County Comm GP5. What a world of difference. First night I listened to Hams talking from Maine to Puerto Rico and Kansas to Nevada while I sat in  the NC piedmont. I'm not sure where I wil go receiver wise from here but glad I purchased it.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Radio Review & Comparison: Tecsun 660 (old) vs. 680 (new)
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2020, 11:47:25 PM »
What’s Universal charging?

Offline leadeye

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Re: Radio Review & Comparison: Tecsun 660 (old) vs. 680 (new)
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2020, 11:10:54 AM »
Amazon wanted to charge around 130 with shipping and Universal was 119. Universals shipping was faster also. I received it on the third day instead of a week. Prices are up on these but I am still pleased.

Offline Sailor

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Re: Radio Review & Comparison: Tecsun 660 (old) vs. 680 (new)
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2020, 05:28:11 AM »
Any comparison to the Sony SW7600 GR?  I love this radio for it's performance, but not the ergonomics. 

Offline armymars

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Re: Radio Review & Comparison: Tecsun 660 (old) vs. 680 (new)
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2020, 11:20:00 AM »
  I've been using the GP5 with my QRP transmitter and a TR switch. would the 660 work better?

Offline leadeye

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Re: Radio Review & Comparison: Tecsun 660 (old) vs. 680 (new)
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2020, 04:45:39 PM »
So I understand this correctly. You Are using the GP5 to receive the signal. In that case I'd recommend the 660. I will put a review up of the GP5 vs. 660 tonight on the forum with a layman's perspective.

Offline Greekman

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Re: Radio Review & Comparison: Tecsun 660 (old) vs. 680 (new)
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2020, 12:00:39 AM »
thanks for this....if there is such a difference in performance, you saved me from a mediocre buy. I tended to favor the GP5 for portability

Offline Bradbn4

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Re: Radio Review & Comparison: Tecsun 660 (old) vs. 680 (new)
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2020, 12:43:12 PM »
The pictures sort of look like a version of my old yacht boy radio. 

What I need to find / buy / make is a nice "small" AM/FM radio antenna that I can hook up to hardware in my basement.
SW would be a bonus feature....no problem if I have to have 3 antennas...

Offline Greekman

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Re: Radio Review & Comparison: Tecsun 660 (old) vs. 680 (new)
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2020, 03:17:29 PM »
there is not much into it when it comes to receive only antennas....
you will need a length of simple wire on the outside of the house. between this you will need a coax (rg58 is a good choice, but ANY kind will do) to shield the EM interference. Connect (solder if possible) the wire on the center core of the coax...connect a lug compatible to the radio on the other end of the coax (center core again), or you can fix a crocodile clip to it and clip on the radio's now antenna.

Now regarding length of antenna wire, leadeye mentioned 14 and 23 feet of in his review post.
As far as i can remember both these lengths fall into the "random wire listening antenna" suggested lengths. these will be good to go. Longer lengths is said to "load" the reception circuit of the listening radio too much.
And the stronger the signal one gets, the stronger the background noise is,gains practically nothing on such listening radios...