I got this wonderful radio as a birthday gift a couple of years ago from my wife (after pestering her) and I've loved it ever since. It reminds me in some way of the FT-818 - it's not the best in the world, but you just bond with it.
I liked how it looked from the get-go and I liked how it came as a complete kit with leather carry case, wire antenna, telescopic and even an earplug. The whole tidy package cost me £149 from Martin Lynch & Sons. The radio oozes quality and you'll never feel like you've bought something cheap.
Apart from covering the ShortWave band, MediumWave and LongWave, the radio also receives FM VHF and even the AirBand (something that I often monitor in the background). Additionally it has SSB and automatically switches between USB & LSB.
The radio's sensitivity is extremely good for a radio at this price point and the only criticism I can aim at it is that it can, at certain frequencies, be TOO sensitive when connected to an outdoor antenna - it gets overloaded. But that brings me to the main feature of this radio - it works superbly on its telescopic antenna - even in an electrically noisy household.
Broadcast radio from stations on the other side of the world are pulled in easily and with very little fading. The AGC seems a little eager when you first tune into a signal, but it very quickly stablises. The SSB functions really well and there's been many a time when I've comfortably listened to the HAM bands on the telescopic antenna, indoors. Outdoors with the supplied wire connected, it's amazingly good!
FM VHF is also good but not perfect as far as I'm concerned. The quality of the audio is just missing something, but I'm always quite critical when listening to FM. Airband on the other hand is spot on! The radio isn't too good on batteries, but then I've only used rechargeables - it's probably much better on quality Lithium AA's (4).
The PL-680 has two very nifty stands - a small pull-out stand at the bottom to stop it being easily tipped over, and a larger one on the back which allows you to have the radio on a desktop at a 45 degree incline. Nice!
2000 Memories make it easy to store your frequencies allowing good spacing. The display is large enough to read easily and has a good signal meter. There's a built-in clock with two timers and a SLEEP function (which drives me potty because I keep inadvertently switching it on). There's also a nice LOCK feature to keep it from being accidentally activated in your rucksack.
So there you have it. A fabulous little radio for around the house or in your rucksack when you're out having a picnic. To finish off, I thought I show how it performs with its telescopic antenna against a £3000 radio connected to a 52ft G5RV dipole.
I'm no video-editor, lol.
FM-stereo/MW/LW/SW/SW SSB/AIR band with high sensitivity,
selectivity and user-friendliness
FM band coverage: 76 – 108 MHz
Shortware Single Side Band (SSB) with upper sideband (USB)
and lower sideband (LSB)
Equipped with Synchronous Detector and Dual Conversion
technology for MW band; this greatly enhances the receiver’s
sensitivity, selectivity, image rejection, and interference from
FM/SW external antenna jack sensitivity selector: DX/Normal/
Local antenna gain
Multiple tuning methods
Store up to 2000 stations (manually, semi-automatic and fully
Equipped with a high-sensitivity acoustic speaker with treble/bass
tone control switch (FM-stereo via earphone)
Auto Alarm-Off Timer: when the alarm goes off, the preset radio
station will play for 1-90 minutes
Sleep timer (1-120 minutes) to turn off the radio automatically
Built-in charging function
Powered by 4 x AA (R6) size batteries, DC 6V
Luxury carrying case
Dimensions: 188 x 116 x 31 mm