2m/70cm Mobile Transceiver
Radio Supplied By Delcom-Radio Price at time of review: £209
Dual Band, Dual Display, Dual Speaker, Dual Simultaneous Reception, With Voice Prompts
Wide Frequency Coverage: 136-174MHz + 400-480MHz RX/TX
65-108MHz FM Broadcast Band RX
Full Cross Band Functionality, 999 Memory Channels, Remote Head Mounting, Tri Colour Backlight
High Power Output (VHF:50W / UHF:40W), CTCSS/DCS Encode/Decode, DTMF Microphone
The radio comes in a full colour cardboard box. Contents: Radio, Microphone, Manual, Mounting Brackets, Screws, Mic Holder, Spare Fuses, Flat/Inclined Facia Plates and CAT5E Patch Cable for remote head operation.
The first thing you notice about the radio is the weight, its heavier than it looks. This is due to the fact that most of the outer casing is in fact a giant heat sink to dissipate the heat generated by the 50 watts output power. In fact the bottom of the radio carries a warning sticker which states "CAUTION: HOT SURFACE - Avoid contact during prolonged use". There is also a cooling fan on the rear of the radio to assist in the cooling process.
The front panel of the radio has a large LCD display which is easy to read. The controls are generally well laid out apart from the channel/frequency change which is located right next to the microphone lead. For someone like myself who has larger hands this makes operation of this control a little fiddly at times, but not bad enough to cause major concern. The Dual control knob on the right of the radio at first glance appears to be a volume and squelch control - WRONG! - This is actually a dual volume control with the inner control being the volume for VFO A and the outer control being a volume control for VFO B.
The radio has two built in speakers, one for each VFO. For some strange reason one is bigger than the other. Not sure why this should be the case. It does not affect the operation of the radio in any way but I do find it strange that the two speakers are not the same size!
The overall quality of the radio construction is very good. The radio seems very robust and looks as if it would take a few knocks. As with most Chinese radios the control knobs/buttons have a slight 'plasticy' look.
The supplied microphone is a keypad style DTMF type. The microphone has an in built speaker with a rotary volume control on the top, this is for when you operate the radio via the remote head facility. One of the menu settings allows you to choose which speakers are active on the radio - The radio speakers, the microphone speaker, or all the speakers can be selected. The build quality of the microphone is very good and on par with the major radio manufacturers (Most of which normally sell their DTMF microphones as an additional option).
The mounting bracket is also well constructed and is held onto the radio with 4 small screw in bolts.
In Use/On the air:
The first thing I noticed was how good the supplied microphone feels in the hand. It's not too big and it's not too small, just right. The backlit buttons are easy to see even in the dark and all of the main functions of the radio can be accessed from the microphone either directly from the numerical buttons or via the MENU button. The addition of a built in speaker and rotary volume control is a real bonus when operating using the remote head facility.
NOTE: The radio has an SO-239 antenna connector not the N-Type found on some other radios.
Upon turning the radio on you are greeted with the "Wouxun UV920P" name for a few seconds then the radio displays the dual frequencies last used.
The dual volume control on the right of the radio can set the volume independently on each band. Now I feel the need to mention that on my radio I personally found it difficult to get the volume just right. I found that I could turn the volume down from number 16 to number 2 and the volume decreased much as you would expect but I found that even on volume number 2 the audio was still a little too loud for a quiet shack. Then when you turn the volume down to number 1 it suddenly becomes very, very quiet, with number 0 turning the sound off all together. So I found the volume too loud on 2 and too quiet on 1. This isn't so much of an issue in a noisy environment such as when you are out mobile as you would inevitably need a higher volume level anyway but as I say in a quiet room it is a little annoying. My solution was to attach an extension speaker which had its own volume control (You are actually able to connect TWO extension speakers to this radio - One for each band!).
You can simultaneously listen to a station on VHF and UHF but you can't listen to two stations on the same band at the same time. I.E. You can listen to someone on 145.550 AND listen to someone on 433.550 at the same time but you cant listen to someone on 145.550 and 144.550 at the same time - The first station to transmit will override the other transmission in this case. Similarly if you are scanning on one VFO you cannot receive on the other VFO at the same time. This shows that the claimed "Twin Band Simultaneous Reception" has it's limits. However in most situations I found the dual receive to be very useful.
Switching between VFO's is easy and is achieved by simply pressing button 1. You can of course just listen to one band if you so wish. Pressing button number 8 turns off the unselected VFO replacing the frequency display with "WOUXUN".
Direct frequency entry is possible by pressing button 2 and typing in the required frequency via the number buttons either on the front panel or on the microphone.
So what does it sound like on the air?
I first spoke to Stan, a local station about half a mile from my home QTH. I speak to Stan almost every day so he would be able to give a good report of how my voice sounded on this new radio. Stan immediately commented on how good my audio was, saying that it was strong and clear and he actually preferred it over my normal radio which is a Yaesu. Now that did surprise me as I've always had excellent reports from my Yaesu.
So time for another check. This time up to Alan who is located near Alnwick approximately 25 miles from my home QTH. Again I was told that my audio was excellent. I had the output power set to LOW which is approximately 5 watts so I was once again very please with this report.
I spoke to several other local stations and they all gave the outgoing audio a good report and I found the receiver to be very sensitive and able to pick out even the weakest of signals.
Scanning: Pressing the SCAN button sets that radio scanning up the frequencies. the direction of the scan can be changed by pressing the UP/Down arrows on the microphone. I found the scan to work at a reasonable speed, not fast, not slow but somewhere in between. There is an option in the menu which selects how the radio reacts to a received signal. The scan can be made to stop completely, pause for 5 seconds waiting for you to make an action, or carry on when no signal is received for 3 seconds.
Programming Memory Channels: The enclosed users guide gives no clues as to how you manually program memory channels so I tried, and tried, and tried and tried but only managed to program 1 memory channel and to honest I don't know how I did it! If anyone can enlighten me as to how you manually program the memories on this radio please email me!!!!
After giving up trying to manually program the memories I decided to order the programming cable and downloaded the software from the Wouxun website.
Programming the memory channels suddenly became so much easier!
You simply type the TX/RX frequencies along with any CTCSS/DCS/Power settings etc into an Excel type layout and write the information to the radio. This literally takes seconds. The radio then reboots and all your settings/channels are stored in the radios memory. You are also able to program the FM Radio channels and all of the radios other settings via the software - Click on images below to enlarge:
So to make the most of this radio the programming lead is a must!
This could have been a fantastic radio but the slightly limited "Twin Band Simultaneous Reception", the seemingly impossible task of programming memory channels without a programming lead and the poorly graduated volume control do let it down a little.
However, none of these niggles seriously spoil the enjoyment you get out of using the radio. The radio is a pleasure to use, the outgoing and incoming audio is very good, the receive is very sensitive (As good as any other radio I've used before), the microphone feels good in the hand and gives access to all the radio settings and functions, and the radio is very well constructed!
So, bearing this in mind and the fact that it is MUCH cheaper than its rivals, it is a great radio that should give you many years of service!
|Features:||09/10||No lack of toys to play with that's for sure. Backlit DTMF mic a real bonus.|
|Appearance:||08/10||Pleasing to look at but a little 'plasticy' on closer inspection. Buttons/Labels a little small.|
|Ease of use:||07/10||Channel change in an awkward position. Basic operation fine. Optional programming software/lead recommended.|
|TX/RX performance:||09/10||Actual TX and RX both superb, impossible to fault. However, volume control is a slight irritation.|
|Value for money:||10/10||Excellent value (£140 cheaper than the Yaesu equivalent) and wide RX/TX a bonus.|
Many thanks to Delcom-Radio for supplying the radio.
Direct Link to Radio On DelCom Website: http://www.delcom-radio.com/...../wouxun-kg-uv920p-mobile-dual-band-radio.html
Wouxun Website: http://www.wouxun.com/
English Manual: http://www.wouxun.com/DownView.asp?ID=181&SortID=29
Programming Software: http://www.wouxun.com/DownView.asp?ID=178&SortID=28
Photos (Click images for bigger):
Radio supplied by Delcom-Radio Supplies/Repairs
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