Upstairs / Downstairs

Sharing the Love

I have some shortwave radios upstairs in my study where I spend most of my time at home. Some other are downstairs on a shelf above my workbench in the shop. I talked about my upstairs and downstairs radios in my article, Sharing the love (see article for photos). Since then that division of radios in two groups has been remarkably stable, except for new radios, including, a Tecsun PL-880 and a Tecsun PL-990, both of which are upstairs.


Among the upstairs radios, the most-often used are the Tecsun PL-880 and PL-990. I just can’t decide between those two. The Tecsun PL-330 is also there, but it’s now primarily used as a travel radio. The official upstairs list is:

  • Tecsun PL-990
  • Tecsun PL-880
  • XHDATA D-109
  • Tecsun PL-330
  • XHDATA D-219
  • Tecsun PL-118 (FM only)

I use upstairs radios outdoors, where I hook up my 20-ft wire up a tree antenna (WUT). I go out when I’m trying to grab a particular station that I’ve read about online, or try to follow the changing frequencies of the Music 4 Joy broadcast. There’s just too much electrical noise to use them indoors where they’re stored, near the computer. I’ll also grab an upstairs radio when I’m going somewhere, perhaps to the park, to try some listening.


The most-often used downstairs radios are the Tecsun PL-660 and the Eton Elite Executive. The other ones there are used for comparison, testing and frankly some are just stored.

I use downstairs radios in three ways. Downstairs is where my MLA-30+ antenna terminates and so when I use that antenna, it’s most often with a downstairs radio and that’s more often at night. Downstairs is a walk-out basement that’s open to the north and east and there’s a spot that is relatively far away from electrical interference and sometimes I listen to radio in that spot using the receiver’s telescopic antenna. I also use those radios when I’m going outdoors for comparisons using the WUT.

Car radio

My car has a built-in FM radio, but I also carry a Degen DE15 shortwave radio and a reel antenna that I can plug in and clip on somewhere.

Degen DE15 AM/FM/Shortwave radio

The DE15 is an older digital signal processing (DSP) unit and it’s quite good for a shirt pocket radio. SW coverage is 2.3 – 23 MHz. It uses 3 AAA batteries that can be recharged in car with a USB cable.

[Update] At least for now, the DE15 is downstairs and my Raddy RF75A is in the car since it has weather band. Unfortunately, my new car only has a USB-C charging port and that won’t work with any of my radios.


The question for the future is whether to sell one of the high-end Tecsun radios (the PL-880 or PL-990) and cut down the number of upstairs receivers. Also, should I put the PL-330 in the car, a better radio that’s not getting much play these days?

Soon I’m expecting a new radio, an HF F111 that looks like a Bluetooth speaker with a radio in it costing around $15. It will probably go downstairs.

[Update] The HF F111 is neither upstairs nor downstairs. It’s at the Goodwill store. What a load of junk!

And of course, I bought another radio, an XHDATA D-109WB (the third D-109-series I have). It’s the weather band version of the D-109. I ordered my original D-109 right after it went on sale, and shortly thereafter XHDATA contacted me to say it had shipped but was defective (a problem with direct entry of some frequencies) and that they were sending me another one. That made two. The working model is upstairs. The recalled one (which works fine except for direct entry of some shortwave frequencies), is used as a bedside clock radio. I suspect the new weather band version will go upstairs and the previous one downstairs.

There is another radio upstairs in separate place, a Mesqool CR1009 Pro. It’s a weather radio with a shortwave function that’s virtually useless. Since the XHDATA will provide weather, the Mesqool might go down for storage. Since it’s solar powered, I may still keep it upstairs in a window.

Update: 2024

There have been some changes upstairs. I sold the PL-880 and added a Sihuadon R-108 and a LiJiANi Rd239. The DE15 has been replaced by a Raddy RF75A in the car (the DE15 is now downstairs). There is also an XHDATA D-608 looking for a place to live.

About Kevin

Just an old guy with opinions that I like to bounce off other people.
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One Response to Upstairs / Downstairs

  1. Kevin says:

    The HF F111 is simply awful. It’s more likely going to Goodwill than downstairs.

    I brought the Degen DE15 inside (downstairs) and put the PL-330 in the car — but then took it out of the car for a trip. Perhaps the RF75A will be best for the car.

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