Tecsun PL 390 Filters on AM

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Alex Lawler
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Tecsun PL 390 Filters on AM

Post by Alex Lawler » 25 Aug 2015 17:18

I know the 390s FM performance has been discussed but how good is it in regards to selectivity when using the 1khz filter? Is it capable of separating stations for TA dx? I have a Degen which although has good sensitivity on MW it struggles with selectivity and unlike the 390 doesn't have adjustable bandwidths. For example I always get 8 to 9 kHz splatter on adjacent frequencies. Is the 390 superior?
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Tim Bucknall
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Re: Tecsun PL 390 Filters on AM

Post by Tim Bucknall » 25 Aug 2015 19:13

of course its better

the 1khz fiter is more like 3.5 but still hugely superior to the degen
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Alex Lawler
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Re: Tecsun PL 390 Filters on AM

Post by Alex Lawler » 25 Aug 2015 19:38

Thanks.
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Re: Tecsun PL 390 Filters on AM

Post by Alex Cator » 25 Aug 2015 22:11

Tim Bucknall wrote:of course its better

the 1khz fiter is more like 3.5 but still hugely superior to the degen
Thanks Tim. Even though the '1 kHz' filter is more like something like 3 or 3.5 kHz, the selectivity is still amazing. In terms of both sensitivity and selectivity, the narrower, the better! :)
I have a Tecsun PL-390 and it is a fantastic portable MW DX machine. Although this was in the winter (I think), my PL-390 managed to get indoor reception of France Bleu 107.1, from Villebon-sur-Yvette on the outskirts of Paris, on 864 kHz during the daytime at home here in East Harling, despite the station being sandwiched between the two AM transmitters of my local station BBC Radio Norfolk on 855 and 873, which is something none of the car radios I have used is capable of doing.
Before the AM aerial cable inside my Grundig G5 (which receives the same things the DE1103 would get) broke when fitting the new narrow filters for FM, the AM was also very selective in the 'narrow' position, also managing to get France Bleu despite BBC Norfolk, as well as RÚV Rás 2 from Hellissandur, Iceland, on 189 during the night despite Europe 1 on 183 and BBC Radio 4 on 198.
For serious MW DXing on a PL-390, Alex, I would recommend headphones because you would find it easier to understand the presenters on the weak stations such as those from the USA and Canada. I could understand a few words of the ads on WMEX from Boston, MA (1510) just before sunset, one morning a dull summers' day before sunset, when there was heavy rain. There was also very little solar activity and therefore very good transatlantic MW DX. If it wasn't for the headphones, I doubt I would've understood a word as the speakers are very small! :lol:

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Re: Tecsun PL 390 Filters on AM

Post by Alex Lawler » 26 Aug 2015 06:06

Thanks Alex, Im going to order a 390 soon.
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Re: Tecsun PL 390 Filters on AM

Post by Alex Cator » 26 Aug 2015 13:30

You're welcome! I think that a modified DE1103, KA1103, E5 or G5 and a PL-390 is a very good combo for DXing. Definitely for FM as the G5 is more sensitive, whereas the PL-390 copes better with strong signals.

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Alex Lawler
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Re: Tecsun PL 390 Filters on AM

Post by Alex Lawler » 30 Aug 2015 21:02

Alex did you get your G5 modded? Also do you get any intermod on the MW band on the 390? I'm guessing LW will be affected by some sort of intermod.
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Re: Tecsun PL 390 Filters on AM

Post by Alex Cator » 31 Aug 2015 18:44

Alex Lawler wrote:Alex did you get your G5 modded? Also do you get any intermod on the MW band on the 390? I'm guessing LW will be affected by some sort of intermod.
Thanks Alex. There is no 'super-strong' MW transmitter here (the strongest is Postwick, which is still a little way away) so none of my receivers overload on MW. It's just that the PL-390 is a deaf LW radio, but it's sensitive enough to get Polskie Radio Program Jedynka on 225 kHz from Poland every night here in Norfolk.
Regarding modification, yes, my G5 is fitted with two MuRata 10.7HY 110 kHz filters. By the way, they are asymmetrical, with better selectivity above than below locals. For example, on a dune in Zandvoort on the west coast of Holland, with a tropo towards the UK, I managed to get Lincs FM from Belmont on 102.2 despite local Radio 538 from Hilversum on 102.1 without much splatter at all, yet there was too much splatter from Radio 538 for reception of Town 102 on 102.0. Apparently, 80 kHz filters are all symmetrical which would be nice.

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Alex Lawler
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Re: Tecsun PL 390 Filters on AM

Post by Alex Lawler » 31 Aug 2015 20:28

Thanks for the info, so although the 390 is deaf on LW it's adequately sensitive for for MW. Last question then how do you find it's performance during the day for groundwave reception. Cheers.
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Re: Tecsun PL 390 Filters on AM

Post by Alex Cator » 31 Aug 2015 22:41

The PL-390 is a very good MW radio. At daytime, I have been able to receive all three high-powered Dutch signals (675, 747 and 1008, the first two will probably close down in 19 mins from when this was posted) at home, along with Lille 1377, Wavre 621 and I think Nordkirchen 549. I think I have also received Villebon-sur-Yvette 864 even in the summer though I'm not sure.
At night, I have heard All India Radio from Rajkot, India on 1071 as well as WMEX from Boston, MA on 1510. As on any other radio, the MW band at night is also crowded full of Spaniards, some of which make my local station, BBC Radio Norfolk, difficult on both 855 and 873! :lol:

Alex Cator
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Alex Lawler
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Re: Tecsun PL 390 Filters on AM

Post by Alex Lawler » 01 Sep 2015 00:01

Just ordered a 390, with the amount of European closures since I last dxed the MW band I'm hoping for some more exotic results.
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Re: Tecsun PL 390 Filters on AM

Post by Alex Lawler » 02 Sep 2015 17:31

Just received the 390 and it is OK but certainly not much superior than the Degen. The 1khz filter seems wider than 3.5. On 693 5 Live splatters up to 700 kHz on the 390 (1 kHz filter) and splatters up to 701 kHz on the 1103.
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Re: Tecsun PL 390 Filters on AM

Post by satnipper » 02 Sep 2015 17:52

Absolutely correct - the 390 (and 310) are "ok" portables for $30. I would actually be more generous and say for the price they are good travel units to take mobile and when on trips. However "DX Machine" and "very good MW radio" are comments to be taken with a very large pinch of salt. Those phrases should be applied to the AOR7030, JRC NRD535D, Perseus SDR, Elad FDM-S2, Lowe 225/255, classic Racal and Collins etc. These all cost more than two cinema tickets...

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Alex Lawler
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Re: Tecsun PL 390 Filters on AM

Post by Alex Lawler » 02 Sep 2015 18:10

Yes, fair point. Actually looking at it from that perspective it is quite good. Whilst selectivity is a disappointment it does have impressive sensitivity and I'm fairly positive it stands a chance of Asian or TA dx providing I stay away from the powerhouses. France bleu on 864 is coming through but Norfolk on 855 occasionally splatters.
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Re: Tecsun PL 390 Filters on AM

Post by senderjaeger » 04 Sep 2015 00:17

Alex Lawler wrote:I know the 390s FM performance has been discussed but how good is it in regards to selectivity when using the 1khz filter? Is it capable of separating stations for TA dx?
Yes, definitely. I agree that the actual bandwidth is rather about 3.5 kHz, but it's suitable for TA DXing if the DX signals aren't too weak and adjacent QRM is not too strong. With my PL-380 (the same radio except for the second speaker and apparently larger internal antennas of the 390), I could pick up the stronger US stations like WBBR, WMEX and WWKB, using my home made box loop antenna. For getting WWKB, I had to tune to 1518 kHz to escape the European interference on 1521, of course. After all, I think the results exceed what one would expect from such a tiny and cheap portable.
satnipper wrote:However "DX Machine" and "very good MW radio" are comments to be taken with a very large pinch of salt. Those phrases should be applied to the AOR7030, JRC NRD535D, Perseus SDR, Elad FDM-S2, Lowe 225/255, classic Racal and Collins etc. These all cost more than two cinema tickets...
Of course, those little Tecsun DSP portables can't compete with the real "DX machines" you mentioned when it comes do digging out the really difficult DX close to strong local signals, but they can offer surprising results for the money if propagation is good and an external antenna is used. Sometimes I wish something like the PL-380/390 had already existed when I started DXing in the mid 80s. Concerning selectivity on FM and MW, the PL-3XX series clearly outperforms my beginner's portable, the Grundig Satellit 400, which set me back about 15 times as much in 1986.

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Re: Tecsun PL 390 Filters on AM

Post by Alex Lawler » 10 Jan 2017 11:28

If anyone is interested I'm selling the radio for £19.99 plus PP. It's in good clean condition but only comes with soft carry pouch.
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