Maxon S1 Review

Radio Supplied By Thunderpole

Features:

8 Channels PMR446 + 69 channels LPD433, 38 CTCSS Tones, 83 DCS Codes

Roger Bleep On/Off, Key Tones On/Off, Digital S/RF Meter, VibrAlert

Backlit LCD Display, 10 Memory Channels, Key Lock

High/Low Power (500mw/10mw), Channel/CTCSS/DCS Scan,

VOX, Power Save, Power Supply/Drop in charger Included,

1500mAh Li-ION Battery

5 Watts RF (Export Version Only)

Web Price 74.99 (Pair)

Introduction

The Maxon S1 is a semi-professional PMR446 radio which has a wide range of features at an affordable price.  As well as the standard 8 PMR446 channels is has 69 LPD channels with 38 CTCSS codes and 83 DCS codes. The radio has a good solid feel and the rubber buttons are well laid out. It definitely looks the part and when you use the radio you feel like you are using a well made piece of equipment. The radio is supplied as a twin pack with a twin drop in charger, two belt clips and two 1500 mAh Li-ION battery packs. According to the documentation the battery packs give approximately 15 hours of use.

The radio has a clear, easy to read display which shows the current channel, CTCSS, power setting etc. The radio itself is surprising small considering that it is jammed full of features, this is mainly due to the Li-Ion battery pack which fits in the back of a radio just like a mobile phone battery. If like me, you like to carry spare batteries, the good news is that spare batteries are available at very affordable prices. A  quick search on the net came up with original Maxon batteries for as little as 11 each.

Other features include:

10 memory channels which can store combinations of channel, CTCSS, DCS.

User Selectable Scan - Scan all the PMR446/LPD channels, scan memory channels only, scan CTCSS, or scan DCS.

VibrAlert(Silent Paging) - The radio can be set to vibrate instead of making an audible call tone. 10 Call Tones available.

Automatic Battery Saver, Battery Low Indicator, Keypad Lock.

Selectable Power Output - High 500mw(PMR band only) and Low 10mw. (EXPORT mode gives 5W/500mw/10mw output on all channels)

5 VOX(Hands Free) sensitivity settings.

 

The radio is turned on by pressing the central power button for 3 seconds. I must admit that I prefer a rotary On/Off/Volume control myself but that is just a personal preference. To the sides of this button we have the CALL and Hi-Lo Power buttons. Volume and channel change buttons are located on the left and right side of the keypad, with the MODE and Lock/Enter buttons in the middle. The PTT button is on the left hand side along with the Light/Monitor button (Refered to as a 'Maximum Range Extender' in the documentation). Pressing and holding the Light/Monitor button for 5 seconds will completely open the squelch allowing you to listen for weak stations. The squelch level itself is not adjustable on this radio, you can either have it on or off.

On the top of the radio we find the Headphone/Charging socket.

The audio from the internal speaker is excellent with a high output volume. Outgoing audio is also excellent. All stations reported a good clean transmission from the radio.

Accessing all the features is very easy, all you need to do is press the MODE button until you reach the function you wish to alter then use the UP and DOWN arrows to change your selection.

In common with other radios that include the LPD channels the SCAN function scans the 8 PMR446 channels then the 69 LPD channels. If you only want to scan the PMR446 channels you will need to store the PMR channels into the memory channels, then you can scan just the 8 PMR channels. This radio has CTCSS and DCS scanning as well which can be very useful when trying to contact other stations who have chosen privacy codes. Of course you need to bear in mind that they may not always want to be contacted!!!

One minor niggle is that the scan is rather slow. The radio only scans at less than one channel per second, taking 10 seconds to scan the 8 PMR channels. Other radios such as the Intek can scan all 8 PMR channels in under 2 seconds.

On The Air

Firstly I made contact from my house to a friends house approximately 1 mile away. I was in the upstairs bedroom and my friend lives in a bungalow. A good strong signal with excellent audio was reported at both ends. I was able to maintain contact while walking around my house even when I went downstairs.

The next contact was made with Ken, a station living 3 miles from my house. He was out walking his dog in an open field. Once again good reports at both ends. This time I was only able to maintain contact in the house whilst upstairs. Going downstairs resulted in a very patchy signal, which is to be expected at this range. However going out into my front garden I found that an acceptable signal could be acquired to enable the conversation to continue.

Next a bit of DX work, so back up to the top of our local pit heap at a height of approximately 100 feet above the surrounding houses. Contacts were made with Stan - 1 Mile, Arthur 3 Miles, Peter - 5 Miles and finally Dave - 10 miles. All the stations were at home apart from Dave who was out in his tractor working on a farm. Good reports were received from all those contacted.

The radio appears to have a very sensitive receiver and is on par with other similar radios.

I also made a few tests with a neighbour in the next street with the power setting on low(10mw). Contact was possible without any problems.

The signal meter on the radio is a little small and only has 4 signal bars but does give you an estimation of how good you are receiving another station enabling you to turn or move into a favourable spot when talking to other people.

Conclusion

Another great little radio. Full of features with great performance. Value for money is excellent (You get two of these radios and a drop in charger for a similar price to a single semi-professional radio from other manufacturers).

The battery packs are a good idea making the radio very compact but you will have to purchase an extra battery if you intend to use the radio for very long period without charging.

Transmit and receive audio is very good. There is also a wide range of accessories available for this radio.

Whilst testing the radio on the low power setting of 10mw it proved almost impossible to flatten the batteries. This is a handy feature when talking to someone who is only a few hundred meters away from you.

The radio can be altered to produce 5 watts of output power, something that licensed radio operators could make use of on the 70cm band.

On a personal note I would have liked to see an adjustable squelch and a better signal meter but that's just me being picky!

So overall a well built quality radio which is packed with features and gives a good performance.

Many thanks to Thunderpole for supplying the radio.

PLEASE MENTION 'DELBOY' WHEN CONTACTING THUNDERPOLE

Video:

 


Power Modification:

It should be noted that all tests were carried out with the standard European 500mw radio and NOT with the export version which can give 5 watts of output power. For details of the 5 watt modification please visit my UNOFFICIAL UHF CB PAGE. Thunderpole WILL NOT  modify this radio and any modifications made to the radio will render the warranty void.


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