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I have been happily using the Yaesu FT-60r for my primary 2 meter handheld and portable for all my travel needs - Travel that includes 1 month in Hawaii annually.
Truth be told, I do not have a 2 meter / UHF handheld with me all the time - which kind of defeats the purpose of being a Ham radio operator who is licensed with an emphasis on emergency response and knowing what to do "after or during the big one".
I needed a good radio comparable to the Yaesu that I could toss in the back of my kit bag or in the trunk of the car and not worry about bashing it or scuffing it up -- or worse, have it fall into the wrong hands.
Because the Wouxun KG-UVD1P dual band portable is very, very affordable at $139 dollars - somewhat less than the Yaesu - which by itself is a fabulous and durable unit.
The question is: Can a Chinese made radio be worthy of placing your trust in during a time of crisis -- or even day to day radio operations.
Quick answer: So far, a resounding yes!
Back up a step - The good folks at Fleetwood Digital Products, Surrey/Vancouver B.C. Canada contacted me about lending me one to play with... long term, short term - they were OK with either.
I received a sample Wouxun KG-UVD1P dual band portable in a timely fashion from Fleetwood - well packaged and padded.
The Wouxun KG-UVD1P dual band portable comes with 2 antennas (both for the same 2 bands of operations, a universal adapter for SMA antennas, a battery charger, fairly lucid instructions, software, belt-clip, Lith-ion battery and the radio - and a fancy certificate of authenticity (signed in English and Chinese - very cool!).
Photo Right - The Wouxun KG-UVD1P dual band portable is well packed for travel. Love the certificate! It's the real deal.
The Wouxun KG-UVD1P dual band portable comes pre-checked by the folks at Fleetwood with the battery pre-charged - a nice touch that adds a dose of confidence to the purchase.
Getting up and running: Every radio purchase deserves a solid turn of the operating manual - and The Wouxun KG-UVD1P dual band portable is no exception. However well written the manual is, the Wouxun KG-UVD1P dual band portable does things slightly differently - and that is not necesarily a bad thing - it just requires a bit of 'intellectual adjustment'.
The Wouxun KG-UVD1P dual band portable is menu or option driven - pretty much anything you want to do (generally associated with programming) requires pressing a sequence of buttons. Once you get the bulk of the frequency or repeater programming done, you are pretty much good to go - programming complete, you are down to a button or two to push when you power up.
Photo lower right - The Wouxun KG-UVD1P dual band portable next to the Yaesu FT-60r looks like almost the same radio. The Wouxun KG-UVD1P dual band portable weighs half as much - but do not be deceived: part of he weight is in the differences in the battery. The Wouxun KG-UVD1P dual band portable uses a 1.4 Amp hour Lith-ion battery - works out to around an hour or so of talk time between charge ups (provided you, like me, spend 98% of your time listening and 2% talking -- you will find that you might need to charge it up every 2 weeks or so if you have it on 10 to 15 minutes of day. More on the power saving features later!
First use: After a couple of serious reads of the manual, I get down to the task of getting "Channel 1" into the radio. I might as well mention now that there are many owners that buy a "programming" cable for The Wouxun KG-UVD1P dual band portable and opt not to go through the programming routines - Sure, we could have done that - but my motto is: Always do things the hard way in the event that you have to in the future!
The bottom line with this handheld is that 'when you are in programming mode' - you are actually in frequency or VFO mode. To be clear, you are either using the radio in Memory mode or you are programming it in some fashion. Plan on doing a lot of Simplex? Program in those channels - and don't try to 'think' about using it is VFO mode - because it is not the same as your trusty Yaesu FT-60r.
Here is the thing about the Wouxun KG-UVD1P dual band portable: Unless you are in a memory mode, you are in a pre-programming mode - and I need to be clear on this lest the concept become confusing.
Example: At any given moment after power up (and it remembers what it was doing last...), if you are in frequency mode, you are also set in all the settings prior to the last frequency entry to memory. That is, if your repeater tone was on 100hz and your frequency shift was at -600 khz, then that is the mode you are in during "VFO" or frequency mode. So the point of all of this is: It is a radio that should always be in MEMORY mode... unless of course you are programming it. Capiche? I hope so. It is a trivia thing - and yes, it is NOT like the true dual mode Yaesu (and I assume ICOM handhelds...). This is an inexpensive radio that in the area of overall performance - shines as well as most Yaesu or ICOM handhelds at a fraction of the price. A $139 dual-bander is going to have some annoying issues - and for me, this mode driven concept for the Wouxun KG-UVD1P dual band portable was the only thing that bugged me. And yes, I am totally over it!
So, after power up and some dial twiddling and button pushing, I have set one of my local repeater tones and off-sets up, and the right input frequency and boom, I am on the air in high or low power (Power is also menu-option) driven but there is a "button" you can push during transmit to toggle power levels... handy!
My sample Wouxun KG-UVD1P dual band portable covers 2-meter high VHF and the 220Mhz Amateur band spectrum. Output on a full battery is 5W on High band VHF and around 3.5W on 220Mhz. Low power is around 1W on all bands - which as it turns out is plenty o' radio juice over rugged terrain.
Curious broad frequency coverage: Something you need to know about the Wouxun KG-UVD1P dual band portable: The radio will transmit on any frequency you set it on. So be careful! Because it is an all-band multi-purpose radio; it's a ham radio, it's a utility radio, it's a marine radio and it's a police radio! Know your band plans folks and avoid interferece with other services! Radios like the Yaesu FT-60r (in North America) know their boundaries - The Wouxun KG-UVD1P dual band portable does not. Observe this carefully! The last thing you want to do is interfere with a Police operation or military frequency.
To be continued!
June 4, 2011
Colin Newell in Victoria
- Advise on buying an inexpensive portable Worldband...
- In World-band radio / Portable receivers
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