Cheap and Cheerful. The new world order in Ham radio gear.
In the last couple of years, a range of cheap ham radios have started to come out of china. These radios were not great a couple of years ago, but now they offer good performance for not a lot of money. I was looking for a cheap radio for my work bag, to have my ham bands with me when I’m driving in the work car (no permeant radios allowed to be setup in the work car) and travelling with work.
There are a number of brands that all offer a similar range of features and are a similar price, the Wouxun is sold locally so has acma compliance and means its legal, and is the one i chose.
The radio works and performs like a similar spec’ed Icom or Yaesu handheld. RX performance and audio is similar to the other brands, and so far in use I haven’t had any issues. Battery life has been very good. The desktop drop in charger has 240v input and a 12v input allowing a range of charging options.
The radio is a dual band, with twin receive, however, the radio only outputs audio from one band at a time, you can listen to VHF+UHF, VHF+VHF or UHF+UHF. and change to a single band radio with the push of a button. It has 200 memories, more than you need. Repeater reverse, power and other functions are easily accessed from the menus. The squelch is a digital system, adjustable through the menu. The radio has full CTCSS functions.
The menu system is generally straight forward, but having access to the manual initially is handy, once you configure it and setup for your use, you should really not need to go into the menu again. a PDF of the manual is available from this site Its a slow site (and a 12mb PDF). I have the manual on my smart phone.
Some of the neater additional features, that have already been useful when camping is the inclusion of a “LED Light” that can be turned on with a button of the side of the radio, handy for that middle of the night DARK toilet run! The HT also comes with a FM broadcast band radio, handy for that morning “health” walk while also listening on the local repeater.
The only thing the radio does not have that I miss is coverage of the AM aircraft band. But for the money, I can’t really complain!
The free CHIRP open source programming software allows radio programming and makes setting up the radio really easy. Including menu functions and other control. Even setting the function buttons for different applications. again, many sources on the net for “pre-made” files for local areas.
For some of my accessories, i have used Radio Buy (both on ebay and directly) and they have been very quick in delivery, 4 days from Hong Kong for my programming cable, 12v Cig lighter adaptor and Speaker Mic. Many suppliers for bits on the internet, both locally and Oversea / Ebay.
If you are looking for a 5w dual band full featured ham handheld radio, the wouxun is hard to pass up.