A Chinese Invasion ???

The TYT TH-UVF1

TYT TH-UVF1

Now we all know that the Chinese government is buying up our government’s debt these days but it seems that the Chinese have no intention of stopping there.

I recently noticed that some of the better known Ham Radio stores like AES and Universal Radio now sell the TYT and the WOUXUN (pronounced Oh- Sheng) HT’s. I was also a bit surprised to see a full review of one of the WOUXUN radios in a recent QST.

So you might ask yourself; why are these radios gaining traction in the Ham Radio stores and what is so attractive about these radios anyway? I have to fess up and say that I don’t actually own one of these HT’s but have spent a fair amount of time chatting with Joe, w2ofd about his recent purchase. Joe recently bought the TYT TH-UVF1 dual band HT and has favorably commented about its features and functionality on several occasions.

Joe’s recent purchase from Lentini Communications included the desk charger, car charger (for a limited time), software and programming cable for under $150 (shipping included). When listening to his TYT, the audio is strong and sounds very natural. Joe happens to also own a few Yaesu HT’s and as far as I am concerned, the audio of his TYT is superior to those radios.

Like most (if not all) new radios sold these days, programming is best done via the computer. I own the Kenwood TH-F6A and find that the advantage of programming it with the computer adds a new dimension to the term “user friendly”.

Programming via the computer makes frequency updates and adding alpha-numeric id’s a snap. Loading different, preprogrammed (profiles) into the radio  is a real asset when away from the home QTH.

Rather than repeat the radio specs here, I have included a few links for your review.

http://universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/5565.html

http://universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/5541.html

http://universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/5547.html

Pros:

Wide Band Receive, Clean Design, Solid Construction, Included Extras, Programming Software, Audio Quality, Low Cost

Cons:

Poorly Written User Guide

Wrap Up:

If you are looking for a nicely designed radio (with extras) for a very reasonable price and you have the patience to decipher the user manual, then, in my opinion the TYT TH-UVF1 is a great buy for the money.

Review Of The Wouxun KG 669 mono band HT

“Thanks for buying wouxun brand KG-669 series transceiver. This transceiver is novel in design, strong function, stable behavior and easily operate, we believe the quality and function of the product will make you satisfying”.

Whew! Those are the first two opening statements of the user manual. So, with that in mind, the stage is set for the body of the manual and the product itself. Before continuing, I want to be honest and say that a friend of mine actually purchased this HT. However, we spent quite a few hours together trying to translate the contents of the Wouxun manual to be made “satisfying” and apply it to the “strong function, stable behavior and easily operate” HT.

An exact excerpt from the Wouxun Web site: “Established in 2000, located in Quanzhou city Jiangnan high technology industry zoon. Quanzhou Wouxun Electronics Co. Ltd is the professional developer, manufacturer and marketer WOUXUN brand serial wireless interphone, intercom battery, battery charger etc, communication apparatus. Since establishing ,we have offered the countless new products of communication of high quality and at a reasonable price to the …”. I never knew that “professional companies” establish themselves in the “zoon”. So much for the “professional company’s ability” to afford English translated spell-check software.

When the box arrived, it was marked “TOY” on the outside. We both began to wonder if that is how shipment of these and similar radios are able to bypass FCC regulations and TYPE A acceptance. I feel that the radio should be treated as a toy and used only as a receiver. Personally, I would not want to jeopardize my FCC license by transmitting with one of these “toys”.

Wouxun Kg-669 HTNow that the company background and my personal disclaimer is out of the way, I’d have to begin by saying the general feel of the radio is good, rather solid actually and far better than we anticipated. Delivery took about 10 days and the purchase included a desk charger, belt clip and hand strap.

The first feature (feature?) one might want to change is the rather annoying female voice mimicking your every move. Changing this “feature” from Jiangnan dialect to accented English makes it tolerable, at least to a point. In my opinion the translated voice sounds much like a 15 year old girl with an accent and fully clogged nasal passages. In reality, after the novelty wears off, I’d just disable it, even if that required heating up the soldering iron. Next I should mention that the advertising is deceiving and you may get the impression that these are “DUAL BAND” radios. Look over this “feature” list and note the “Output power” description:

DTMFencoding and DTMFdecoding
. Output power VHF 5W/UHF 4W
. VOX (Level adjustable)
. 105 groups D.C.S/50 groups CTCSS
. Allcall, groupcall and selectcall.
. ANI (Caller ID)
. Scrambler available(Optional accessory)
. 128 memory channels and 1 group emergency channel
. Voice guide (Chinese /English)
. Channel steps(5K/6.25K/10K/12.5K/25K)
. Wide/Narrow bandwidthselection (12.5KHz/25KHz)
. Three color back light can be selectable .
. 1200mAh Li-ion batterypack and intelligent charge
. Frequency/Channel/Frequency+Channel display mode
. Multi scan mode(TO/CO/SE)
. Calling ring and ring overtime auto answer
. Multi silent mode(QT/QTADT/QTXDT)
. Alarm/Emergency calling
. Keyboard lock(Auto/Manual)
. Talk around function
. Busy channel lockout
. Programmable by computer
. Menu/Channel reset
. FMradio function
. Car charger (Optional accessory)

One begins to notice things that seem rather odd. Scrambler mode (which requires an optional chip) and FM radio. The impression I get here is that these radios are most probably used on job sites for scrambled two way communication. I have visions of various “groups” here in the US and other locations around the world buying up bunches of these “toys” with the optional scrambler chip, then transmitting god knows what type of messages on the 2 meter band. I just hope it’s my own personal paranoia and that it never actually becomes reality.

Be careful if you do decide to key up transmitter. In our area some of the police frequencies are above the Amateur 2 Meter band allocation and the radio is fully capable of transmitting there as well. Programming the 669 was difficult. Together, I’d say we have a combined experience of 25 years buying and selling a very long list of equipment. But, this “toy” sadly beat us into submission. No matter how many times we went through the skimpy and horribly translated user manual, we were unable to get the memory channels properly loaded. As it turned out, programming the repeater output, input, CTCSS tone, repeater splits independently and then storing ALL the information into the selected memory channel is how to beat the memory storage problem! Oh yes, just one more thing as an example of “toy” status; Switching the radio between “frequency mode” (VFO) and “channel mode” (Memory) requires powering the radio off and then on with the menu button held down.

In conclusion, for a few more dollars, go out and purchase a brand name mono-band radio which you know is FCC type accepted. Get yourself an easily understandable user manual and avoid being annoyed by the design flaws and silly features of a “toy”.

A copy of the Wouxun KG-669 User Guide