Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hot new Wouxon HT from China

After several years of heavy use my Yaesu VX5R finally bit the dust a few months ago and I find myself missing not having a dual band HT. I have, for a few months, used a couple of single band portables that I had. One for VHF, the other UHF. But it was rather cumbersome carrying around two radios. I looked thru the catalogs and was faced with all of the Yaesu choices. What I really wanted was an Icom D-STAR portable but was not quite ready to pay that much of a premium to have my voice transmitted with zeros and ones rather than good old analog.

Enter my good friend Russ who always has the latest techie toys. Russ, having recently returned from the Lawrenceville hamfest, had just ordered a hot little dual band HT being sold at the hamfest for $109. It is a Wouxon – a Chinese brand – that may just give the Japanese brands a run for their money. Truth is, a growing number of the lower priced “name brand” radios are already being built in China.

I’ll be honest, I am not a Wal-Mart shopper, and I really don’t like the current US trade situation with China. I am a strong shop local, buy American supporter. That said, I’ve fallen victim to the sweetness of a very low price for an apparently great little radio. I trust my friend Russ who gave me several instances where the Wouxon outperformed one of the major brand radios at the demo table in Lawrenceville.

So, I’ve done my research, read all the reviews, and in a moment of weakness, I have sent $109 to a US distributor for the Wouxon KG-UVD2 dual band portable.

I recommend this gentleman and his website as a good place to shop. He is a “real live person” in North Carolina who will personally answer your e-mail (sometimes is less than a half-hour). Ed reminds his shoppers that all his radios are FCC Type Certified in the USA and warns to beware of dealers selling non certified radios.

It appears to me the Wouxon is manufactured to be sold internationally in both commercial and amateur markets. It is made with a variety of frequency ranges (basically the same radio, just with different frequency bands enabled). And, even before you ask, yes, there is software to make your radio transmit on those other bands.

I won’t make too many more claims inasmuch as I have not received my radio yet but others seem to feel their radio has a pretty hot receiver. I’m anxious to see how it handles intermod in an RF rich environment. I have read of a man who is using these little radios as remote receivers for a repeater!

One think that is universally recommended is that you download the free software to program your new radio from your computer. And, you will be pleased to know that the required programming cable costs only $18.95. And, it is available as a DB-9 or a USB cable. Remember when Kenwood wanted to charge nearly $80 for their cable for the singlebander TM271A? And they boosted their software was also free.

In fact, all of the Wouxon accessories and quite inexpensive. It does not appear the manufacturer is selling you a low priced radio and making up the difference in overpriced accessories.

I have already installed the programming software – actually not an installation at all, just a simple .EXE file to run. If you have used commercial Motorola software to program radios you will find this to be very similar. If you haven’t, don’t worry, it is very easy. But it just reminds me that Wouxon is probably marketing this radio to the commercial market as much or more than the smaller amateur radio market.

So check back here in a few days – Hopefully I’ll have my radio by then and can post an update.