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Review of the Wouxun KG-UVD1P Amateur/Commercial Dual Band Handheld Transceiver.

FCC ID:WVTWOUXUN04  Part 90 Type Accepted

Introduction:

Note: While legal and designed for commercial operation, this review comes from the point of view of an Amateur Radio Operator.  As such, most information is addressed to amateurs who understand the terminology that is used in the review.

Wouxun is a Chinese company that makes two way radio equipment.  Initially, their offerings were for commercial eqipment for sale outside of the USA.  In 2010, Wouxun sought and received FCC Type Acceptance for the commercial radio services in the USA. (Part 90) At that point, the KG-UVD1P was no legal in the USA for commercial AND Amateur (ham radio) purposes.

As soon as the amateur community got word of the type acceptance, these radios began to sell in immense numbers, due to an extremely low cost.  ($130 average)  This is an unheard of price for a dual-band radio.  Typically, a dual band will cost over twice as much.

While they are gaining popularity, are they really thar much of a bargain?  Are they durable?  Are they reliable? Do they work well?
Read on, all this will be explained.

Initial observations:

After receiving my radio, I found it to be an attractive, light, and sturdy looking radio.  The radio, with its battery was lightweight and comfortable to hold.  It is smaller than many handhelds.  About 4.5 inches by 2 inches by 1.5 inches thick, not including antenna, this is a pretty small rig.  The plactsic case is undoubtedly polycarbononate, which can take a lot of abuse.

Features:

This radio has a multitude of features.  For brevity, I will not address them all; but they are listed below:

• Frequency Range (Depending on area
136-174&350-470 MHz (RX/TX)
136-174&400-480 MHz (RX/TX)
136-174&420-520 MHz (RX/TX)
136-174&400-470 MHz (RX/TX)
136-174&245-250 MHz (RX/TX)
136-174&216-280 MHz (RX/TX)
136-174&225-226 MHz (RX/TX)
144-148&430-440 MHz (RX/TX)
FM broadcast: 76-108 MHziRXj
• SOS Function
• 1750Hz tone
• DTMF Encoding Function
• CTCSS/DCS Scan
• English Voice Guide
• FM Radio
• Wide/Narrow Bandwidth Selection(25khz/12.5khz)
• Priority Scan, Add Scanning Channel
• High/Low Power Selection
• Channel Name Edit and Display
• 50 Groups CTSS/105Groups DCS
• Multi Step Frequency:i5K/6.25K/10K/25K/50K/100Kj
• Multi Scan
• VOX Transmission
• Transmit Overtime Voice Prompt
• Begin/End Transmitting BEEP Prompt
• Auto/Manual Keypad Lock
• Wire Clone and computer programmability.
• Stopwatch Function
• Lowe Voltage VOICE prompt
• Busy Channel Lockout

For hams, notice there are versions that include the 220 band!

Basic operation and programming:

For commercial use, the radio can be programmed via software and functions enabled or disabled to be compliant with Part 90 regulations.  Dealers can program for you, or the communications departments for companies can do this.

For Amateur use, front keypad programming and operation is legal.  Again, with computer programming software (free to download from Wouxun) programming can be simplified, as well as enabling certain features.  The software, and cable to program the radio, is not required, although it makes programming, and in some cases, operation a lot easier.

Bear in mind, this is a review, not a how to.  Nonetheless, I will address certain points that make this radio different from most amateur handhelds on the market.

Repeaters must be programmed by transmit and receive frequency individually.  The offset, while able to be programmed into the radio, and can save some time when programming memory channels, is a bit cumbersome.  This is designed for commercial purposes.  Its flexibility also adds complexity.  To scan the memories, you must have the scan enabled when programming and storing channels.  This stays, and cannot be changed, unless you reprogram that memory channel.  If you want to lock out a channel, there is no easy "skip" function.  You will have to reprogram the memory.  Both of these operational details are MUCH easier accomplished via the programming software.
Most other manual programming options, are actualy simple to figure out, once you have had time to use the radio.  The "MENU" button followed by a number or numbers allows access to operation/programming functions. 

One note:  It is noticed that if a channel is programmed via computer software, most functions cannot be changed in the field.  This is due to safeguards in place when used as a commercial radio.  For commercial use, two way radios cannot be field programmable.  These radios can easily be programmed to eliminate any programmability. 

Channels can be programmed with an "Alpha Tag" common in both amateur and commercial radios to give a name alphanumerically, rather than just a number.

Like all Amateur rigs, the front keypad allows for multiple functions; both for programming, and operation.  When operating, the keypad functions are well laid out and as with all equipment, with use of the radio, make sense.  The keyboard and display have a backlight, that will turn on for a few seconds after a keypress.  The backlight is very effective.

This radio has dual displays, which can indicate two different frequencies.  Selecting your transmit frequency is easily accomplished by a single keypress.  Also, with a single keypress, you can eliminate the second frequency display.

Operational Review:

Yes, I know... FINALLY!  Sorry.  These radios require a lot of background.

Receive audio is robust and accuratly reproduced.

Transmit audio has been well received by those who I have talked to.  Make it a point to "close talk" to the radio, or you could be hard to understand.

The stock antenna is for the most part, the best I have ever seen.  based on use with higher gain aftermarket antennas with previous handhelds, I would say the stock antenna holds its own... very good.

Battery life is EXCELLENT.  I've had it go a couple days without a recharge.  If you ragchew, maybe less.  The batteries range from 1300 mAh to 1700 mAh, depending on seller.  Based on prewvious experience with handhelds, these rank first place in battery life.  As with all Lithium Ion batteries, the included charger is a "smart" charger.

While this radio has UHV and VHF capability, there is no "dual receive"  it is more like a "dual watch"  Whatever frequency has activity first, wins.  As such, full duplex operation is out.  You most certainly can program a transmit frequency on uhf and a receive frequency on VHF. 

Many folks look at "Range" of the radio.  Being a ham, we use repeaters.  Commercial operators also use repeaters.  Direct point to point communications via handheld is rarely used in these instances.


Let's just say, I have used my radios to communicate via satellite to hams across the USA.  These satellites are hundreds of miles away.. or say thousands, depending on orbit path.  Yes... these radios make it into outer space!  :)  On land, I've made it a few milles point to point.  When connected to an external base antenna, I've made it a whole lot of miles :)

A point.  The antenna connector.  It is an SMA connector... However
it is an SMA MALE, which is the reverse of almost all radios.  Adapters are avalable.

The radio has a rubber gasket around it, and around the power connections for the battery.  It is nor rated as being waterproof; but it probably will survive a little bit of wet conditions.

Final Thoughts:

The cost, features, and performance of this radio make it well worth the money.  I have three!  Two cover the 70 cm band, and one covers the 220 band.  (all cover 2 meters also, being dual band)
I have the computer software, so it is easy to program.  On the fly in the field, operation is easy.  I've never had any problems.  I've dropped my radios several times.  They still work (and look) great.

I recommend getting the programming cable and software.  It makes it easier.

By the way... I have mad MANY contacts via satellite.  As such, count it as a good Sat rig!