My Tecsun PL-600 arrived yesterday in the post at work, and I couldn’t wait to get home and fire up the bad boy. I had been thinking about getting this radio (or one of the similar models) for quite a while as I was using an inexpensive SilverCrest receiver for a couple of years as my main SWL radio.
Overall, I’m delighted with my new radio, and I’ve only just being using the included external antenna so far; I hope to get a multiband dipole antenna built for even better reception. I have no doubt that the Tecsun PL-600 will do me for years to come, so if you’re on the fence about buying one, just take the plunge and get it!
As there aren’t many, I’m going to outline the cons first, then the pros:
- The external antenna socket is a jack socket, rather than a shielded socket that would work straight away with antenna plugs without an adapter.
- The battery charger setup is a bit finnickety, and the instructions a little unclear. Also, the batteries are crap, so replace them with cells with a rating of 1200mAh or more.
- It seems to be quite prone to electrical interference, even from its own AC charger, which is a pain when you have useless batteries.
- It’s difficult to get SSB transmissions tuned in well, but that’s probably more to do with my own inexperience and antenna setup.
- It has an external antenna socket, and comes with a random wire antenna and spool.
- The SSB features is great fun, especially when I’ve never listened to hams on a set like this before
- The frequency range is nice and broad, covering from tropical bands right up to 29.999 MHz.
- The bandwidth filter is very useful in picking out stations from other interfering transmissions.
- Three frequency inputs: rotating knob, up/down button scrolling, and number pad – this makes quickly going to a frequency extremely easy.
- I found the sound quality to be very good, despite some reviewers saying it was too ‘tinny’
So far I’m very happy. The pros by far outweigh the cons for me, as most of the cons can be easily overcome. Including postage, the Tecsun PL-600 cost me about €65, which was money well spent. I bought it thanks to the many excellent reviews by people much more experienced at SWL than me, so I refer you their reviews if you’d like more information.
If you’re brand new to radio, you will probably have to learn a little bit about shortwave before being able to get full enjoyment from this radio; but it’s still a good radio to start off with if you have patience and enthusiasm for radio. If, like me, you’ve been working off various cheaper radios and are looking for the next step up, this is most definitely it.