Having two more members of the family licensed is not a problem in my house because there are usually enough radios to go around. That is apart from when we all want a 2m/70cm hand held such as when we go on RAYNET exercises, so I needed to buy some more radios. The question was what to buy? I have for a long while had the belief that if you buy cheap you buy twice, but a couple of good portable dual banders would cost me around £600 and then I would need spare batteries, which for Kenwood, Yaesu or Icom could easily cost another £100. A base charger would also have to be bought separately and even then we could only charge one rig at a time. I was reminded that one of my Kenwood G71Es had an annoying fault too. I now needed three rigs and that was in the silly money area of spending. I did not fancy spending around £1,000 just so we could stand around in yellow jackets five or six times a year. The alternative was cheap Chinese handhelds and I had been amazed at the one I bought for four metres so Wouxuns it would be.
The Wouxun KG-UVD1P was what I had in mind and I am very pleased with what I have bought. The dual watch KG-UVD1P covers a wide range of frequencies that include the 2m/70cm bands. I had been seriously skeptical of these things when they first appeared on eBay but several people I had spoken to both on and off air were raving about them and when I saw an independent analysis of their output I was convinced. These radios (or at least the ones tested) are as clean as anything the Japanese are putting out. Quality is good but they are not yet up to the standards of build quality we have come to expect from the Japanese manufactures, but the Chinese are getting there and the big boys have produced some truly awful rigs themselves before now.
Sensitivity is slightly better than my Kenwood G71Es and all the audio reports I have had have been excellent. The answer to the question “How is my audio?” has always been “It sounds like you!” so it is at least as good as all my other radios. The S-meter bar chart is either all or nothing, but most portable rigs suffer from this. With my Kenwood on the rubber duck I cannot access the local 70cms repeater whilst sat at my computer, but the KG-UVD1P gets in easily and I have been told I am Q5, this is despite both radio putting out similar power levels.
The rigs came with a base charger, power wart and cigar socket charging lead, earpiece hands free, belt clip and a strap. The manual is better than most of the other Chinese rigs have and programming is very easy with the free to download software and a cheap programming lead, which also fits some Kenwoods including my G71Es. Then there are those extras such as the built in broadcast receiver and torch, no Japanese rig has those. On the cons side there is the antenna that is a reverse SMA plug, but adapters are available cheaply enough now. Spare batteries are cheap (£8-12 including postage) and a cell pack that takes five AA batteries can be bought for around £6 including postage, which kind of future proofs the rig from the “Sorry they don’t make batteries for those anymore” syndrome.
I have programmed all our local repeaters in to memory along with all the FM simplex frequencies. So by leaving the radios in ‘Channel’ mode there is no chance of accidentally transmitting out of band. However for someone who wishes to listen were maybe they should not these radios could almost double as a scanner. As a for example they cover St. John Ambulance frequencies of around 160mHz and the 440mHz free band, both of which might be useful when on Raynet type activities.
I bought five of these radios because it was as cheap to buy five as four individual radios and it cost me only £333 with postage so we now have one each and a spare for the next member of our clan to get licensed. When I took them to show our Raynet group three people were impressed enough to ask me if I could get them one and down at the Mold radio club I got a similar response. Now if only I could get hold of a container full...Mmm!
So for the price if one good Japanese rig I have five. Yes these are almost disposable radios but the big manufactures should really be worried. I am waiting for them to do a dual watch rig that covers 50 to 70mHz or something that covers 23cm and I will buy again. Wait for the ruffles when they start to put out mobile and base transceivers. If the Jing Tong is the Trabant of the radio world then these Wouxuns are Volkswagens with a Skoda badge, but soon I believe they will be up there on the racing grid competing on equal terms with the best radios the world can produce.
For those still worried, according to the FCC OET website this transceiver was “Type Accepted” on February 16, 2010. FCC ID: WVTWOUXUN04 , (For Part 90).