The TEF6686 Radio

What is it, who makes it and why I can't live without it.

Well, there it is. It's your Full Band Radio Receiver. It's made by people with Chinese sounding names. There are two types; there's the blue type and there's the model shown above, which is all silver metal. Some of the metal radios have three controls on the right; the newer ones have just two. You can buy these from Alibaba or eBay or Amazon. If you look hard enough you might find one for less than $100USD but I paid $129 for mine. It's worth the price.

If you've used a Sony XDR-F1HD (or other similar Sony models), you know how great those are as far as sensitivity and selectivity. Well the TEF radios are as close to those of the Sonys as any radio is going to get.

You know that the Sonys don't overload. This radio does not overload. You can buy an SMA to F adapter, hook up your outdoor FM antenna, point it into a strong local station and you'll find that the radio does not overload.

If you've used SDRs, you know that RDS data many times is slow to decode. Maybe not PI codes, but everything else. This radio gives you instant RDS on all fields (PI/PS/Radiotest/Pty). I don't know how it does that, but it does. The radio is magic.

There is a guy on Discord who keeps making upgrades/improvements to the TEF6686. As of this writing (10/26/23) he has made some changes to the GUI for the US region. The user has the ability to tune in either 100 or 200khz steps. The radio will show both PI codes and their callsign equivalents. The Pty codes are correct for the US (RBDS).  RDS data decoding is instantaneous  Honestly, people. What more could you want in a portable radio???

Sensitivity is like a Sony XDR. Selectivity has been measured to be just a db or two less than a Sony XDR but better than the iconic McIntosh MR78, which I've always wanted to own but never could afford.  I can afford this.

Here's a chart from the WTFDA Forums posted by WHJ that compares some of the 6686's specs with other SDRs/tuners. Selectivity and sensitivity are right up there with the Sony XDR-F1HD.

This radio has an active forum on Discord, where the performance of this radio keeps being pushed to its limits, and new limits established. Why would you not want to own one of these?

Okay, lets talk about knobs; not any old knobs but the knobs on this radio. If you look at the photo, mine has two on the right (some versions have three). On the bottom right you have your on/off/volume control. On the upper right you have your tuning knob which also changes the various choices in the radio's menu, once you get into the radio's menu.

The red button on the right front does two things. A quick press will change your tuning steps. Press and hold for a second or two and you'll go into the radio's main menu. Once you get there, press the top right knob to scroll through the varous choices and make any changes as needed. There are many options in the main menu. Take a look at all of them.

The yellow middle button will toggle between mono and stereo. The blue button changes between AM/FM/LW/SW etc.

I don't know, but a certain radio club may be offering one of these as a prize in the summer 2024. You've been advised.



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The first skip of the season noticed on May 7th, 2022 MAY 7, 2022 Es 1530 WJXM 95.1 Marion, MS PI:6ECE 1538 WAFN 92.7 Arab, AL PI:5537, Adult Hits, PS:FUN92-7, Radiotext: The Greatest Hits on Fun  Radio 1542 WKUL-FM 92.1 Cullman, AL PI:0000, PS: WKUL-FM, Pty: Undefined 1546 WMPR 90.1 Jackson, MS PI:  […]

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