Clever Radios

Dane Trethowan <grtdane@...>

I now have a Tecsun PL365 radio which is rather unique in several ways.
Looking at the radio at first glance you could be forgiven for thinking the radio was a cordless phone handset, that’s the type of design we’re looking at with the Tecsun PL365 but just because the radio is small doesn’t limit the radio in capabilities.
Packed inside this little beauty is a fully fledged communications receiver without some of the functionality admitedly of its bigger Brothers and Cousins but functional, useable and practical nevertheless.
Performance is good across all bands and tis is amazing given the size of the radio.
Again not to the standard of the big boys but good enough for most situations.
The radio has a 40CM long telescopic whip antenna aerial for FM and SW.
A built-in ferrite rod is used for AM however the radio does come with an extension antenna socket for AM and takes full use of this with the supplied AM plug-in ferrite antenna.
This arrangement provides some great advantages over conventional ferrite antenna arrangements, the main being that the antenna can be “Homed” into the direction of the station you’re trying to receive.
The external Ferrite bar is only 3 inches long so don’t expect miracles from this antenna but its pretty good and adds directionality to the radio when receiving AM.
The external AM antenna jack means of course that bigger antenna units can be used such as a dedicated outdoor AM antenna or Tecsun’s own desktop tuneable loop antenna which plugs straight in.
Radio listeners will be pleased to know that the PL365 boasts a very nice SSB mode tuneable down to 10HZ which means that SSB reception of voice communications can be tuned to sound incredibly natural
As we’re talking SSB I think it time to mention the Shortwave coverage of the PL365 which goes all the way up to 30MHZ
Again performance on Shortwave is surprisingly good given the radio has such a short telescopic whip to work with, here’s to the benefits of DSP and SDR Radio yet again <smile>.
The radio has 500 memories though I’ve not got to the point of using those yet.
One function I’m looking forward to trying is the “Easy Tune” function.
The “Easy Tune” function is very similar to those auto scan functions you find on modern-day radio sets but the main difference being that “Easy Tune” puts the strongest signals it finds into a dedicated bank of temporary “Easy Tune” memory locations.
You can browse through these locations and transfer the stations stored there to permanent memory locations, a very similar arrangement is found on Radio Scanners.
The PL365 comes with a set of earbuds which sound perfectly reasonable and the radio receives FM stereo.
Buttons on the radio are about the size of match heads except for the power button which is big and rectangular in size.
The radio has no keypad, obviously the designers went with the idea of putting as much as is possible into memory and using the tuning thumb wheel to browse memory locations.
There is a micro USB port on the side of the radio though I haven’t been able to work out what this is for yet.
I’m powering the radio with 3 AA batteries which are stored in the bottom of the unit.
Speaker sounds a little tinny reminding me of the early transistor radio sets I had as a child, still perfectly listenable all the same and even better when using the supplied earbuds.
I bought my PL365 from Tecsun Radios Australia for $100 Australian so an absolute bargain.

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