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Author Topic: What does one give up when going with a Chinese HT instead of a big brand?  (Read 46732 times)
SMAUG
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Posts: 59




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« on: July 19, 2013, 07:41:06 AM »

I'm curious.

I hear they perform great, but are not easy to program through the radio.

How about everything else? What are the practical differences?

How about the difference between Wouxun and BaoFeng?
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Jeremy (KC9ZHE)
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"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
-Abraham Lincoln
K6LCS
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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2013, 09:37:49 AM »

My favorite 2M/440 HT has been the Yaesu FT-60R - since it was introduced in 2004.

I own too many HTs. (There ... I said it. First step in the “HT addiction” recovery process ... )
Most retail for more than the FT-60R. But the FT-60R is a GREAT value for anyone looking for a
solid 2M/440 handheld. The FT-60R debuted at Dayton in 2004. It was a great bargain then -
and remains so today. Among its features ...

-1,000 memories
-receives (essentially) 108mHz to a gig
-large, legible display
-EASY to manually program (one-page cheat sheet at K6LCS.com)
-bulletproof case design*
-strongest belt clip of any ham HT chassis on the market
-great receive audio

... as well as a unique battery setup: You can populate the optional
FBA-25 AA case with either NiMH cells or alkalines, and have full TX
power available (if you really need it).

Side note on batteries: I have been using Maha’s 2700mAH NiMH AA cells
in a pair of FBA-25 cases - with one of Maha’s intelligent AA cell chargers.
A great combination. Properly maintained, I should achieve about 750
complete discharge-charge cycles from them.

Compare the FT-60R to the sub-$100 units that are flooding the market?
In my mind, there is no comparison. I am amused at the "reviews" by owners
of the cheap rigs: MOST reviews have the phrase, "For the price ... it's a good
rig ... "

When one popular model was released, it was not properly creating CTCSS
tones. They were a little "off" frequency, not allowing some people to hit
repeaters they could literally see. But people didn't get upset with this failure:
"It's a good rig for the price ... "

Some of these rigs have "reverse SMA" antenna connections, meaning you either
dismiss your investment in "traditional" SMA antennas, or purchase an adapter.
"That's OK, for the price, it's a good radio ... "

To me, being able to manually program a frequency away from the house and
a computer should be a task that EVERY ham should be able to perform. With
the Yaesu FT-60R, I no longer have to carry 'round my one-page cheat sheet -
it is intuitive and actually easy to manually program the FT-60R. I have yet to
read a comment regarding most of the sub-$100 units, claiming them to be
"easy to manually program." "Ya gotta purchase a progarmming cable and use
their software, 'cause they are a pain to manually program" - is the constant
these of reviewers. "But for the price ... "

And on and on. Think the Yaesu FT-60R is too expensive at $150? Well, back in
1994, I purchased a Standard C558a 2M/440 HT at HRO. Had to purchase a
chip to DOUBLE to the memories to a whopping 200! NO alphanumerics on the
display. No wide-range receive. No software available to program it. With an
extra battery and a speaker-mic, it was about $500 out the door.

My advice? Do yourself a favor and save up a little more and get a proven
radio. One that has a demonstrable track record of excellence. One that uses
more commonly-available antennas. One that you can learn how to manually program
in just a few minutes.

Clint Bradford K6LCS
909-241-7666 - cell

(*) - Well, not literally bullet-proof. But MANY of my audiences for my satellite
talk saw me toss my FT-60R across the floor - literally - to show off its
durability. Do not try that at home: It was a "controlled" circumstance for me
(minimum of indoor-outdoor carpeting, and I "rolled" it as it left my hand. But
still pretty remarkable - AND surprising! - to see a radio tossed thirty feet across
the floor and survive. I would NOT do that with, say, my Kenwood TH-F6a (which
costs twice what the FT-60R does).
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Clint Bradford, K6LCS
http://www.work-sat.com
WA8UEG
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Posts: 391




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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2013, 11:57:40 AM »

The Woxun works great for me, simple to program via the software, not so simple through the menus but does everything I need it to do. I have even worked satellites with it. The biggest difference I have noticed is inter mod on the Woxun VS "Big Name" hand helds. This is not a problem where I live but would be a concern if I lived in a metro area or next to a police or fire station.
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KC9NVP
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Posts: 81




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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2013, 05:09:40 PM »

I have an Icom T90 that needs repair, rubber membrane switch failure, as well as Wouxun KG-UV6D.  The Wouxun is a great radio, and after studying the manual and some of the on-line information, I can quickly program or change any of the memory locations.  Have not tried to program yet by computer.  I also programmed the Icom T90 and V8 by hand as well.  Once the sequence of keys for any of them is understood, it was easy.  It helps to write out the information you want to program into the radio, i.e., freq, tone, off set etc.

David, 73
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N5INP
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Posts: 1276




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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2013, 05:25:49 PM »

I got a Baofeng UV-5R since getting back into the hobby and am very impressed with it. The only drawback is the manual that comes with it is almost useless. But I realized this before buying it and since there was a lot of effort put into re-writing the manuals by plain English speakers I wasn't worried.

I use the Chirp program to set it up and I also got a 14.4" replacement antenna. It works great and would not reverse my decision to get it. The best part is it was less than $50.  Smiley
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KA4POL
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Posts: 2096




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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2013, 10:09:34 PM »

I'm curious.
Good reason to try something new/different.
Quote
I hear they perform great, but are not easy to program through the radio.
That depends. You actually can get used to programming which also could be done via a computer. The manuals are crap, however, there is real good help to be found in the Yahoo Groups. There is a hyperactive group for the Baofeng UV-5R. They got all the help you can imagine.
Quote
How about everything else? What are the practical differences?
There are marginal differences. Main difference is the price. When buying one of those in question you should buy through a US supplier to be on the safe side concerning FCC rules.
Quote
How about the difference between Wouxun and BaoFeng?
Internally there is virtually no difference.

At that price I'd give it a try for sure.
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AI8O
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« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2013, 08:11:58 AM »

I'm curious.

I hear they perform great, but are not easy to program through the radio.

How about everything else? What are the practical differences?

How about the difference between Wouxun and BaoFeng?

I personally own a Wouxun KG-UVD1P.

It is a very basic HT and has few bells and whistles.
It provides me with with basic analog operation, it does this well , and this is all I need in a HT.

It's fit and finish is much better than the Alinco DJ-596T handheld I owned in the early 2000's

Since I live  out  in the boonies, I don't need to change the programmed channels very often, so ease of programming channels manually is not a major concern to me.
I just use the KG-UVD Commander program on the computer to make any changes.


The  MAJOR attraction for me is the price. If I lose it, isn't as big a hit as losing a $400 Kenwood 91AD.

As to Wouxun vs Baofeng, I have seen and looked at Baofeng and the Wouxun's seem to me to be a bit better constructed.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 08:14:10 AM by AI8O » Logged

Semper Ubi, Sub Ubi!
K2OWK
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Posts: 1073




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« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2013, 03:29:23 PM »

I have a Wouxun about three years old I paid about $100.00 for. I have the carrying case and an external speaker microphone. Total cost less then $120.00. It has worked perfectly. It is super easy to program with the commander program and not so easy from the keyboard. The difference between the Baofeng and the Wouxun is size (Baofeng is smaller), Power out (Wouxun is 5 watts high VHF, Baofeng is 4 watts) and of course price. The Baofeng is less then half the price of the Wouxun. The Hams in our club swear by the Baofeng as an excellent radio. New one cost less then fixing any of the brand name radios. My Wouxun has more bells and whistles then I can stand or use. It even receives FM radio and has a built in handy flashlight. It has more memories then I will ever use and more submenu-es then I will need or use. To boot it can even be programed to speak in Chinese (yes it does speak).

Just an opinion. Take it for what it is.

73s

K2OWK
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KC8Y
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Posts: 257




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« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2013, 05:37:08 PM »

I just got the UV-5R ...getting back into portable operation on 144/440 mgs.  I'm agree with N5INP view.  BUT my first programming software is the one by RT Systems, next trying CHRIP . I should have it ALL setup & on the air in 2-weeks ??

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K1CJS
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« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2013, 05:40:26 AM »

I was curious about them too, and ordered a Wouxon, I believe it was the UV-5R.  (It was a while ago, when they first came out.)  It arrived DOA.  Wouldn't even turn on.

So, I would say that you first of all sacrifice the quality of a good handheld.  The programming isn't easy--unless you get the software, but that could be said of other handhelds too, and the manual isn't at all easy to follow--adding to the programming problems.  So you sacrifice the understanding and the use of the features--until you can figure them out.

But paramount is that you sacrifice the repairability.  Unless you buy from certain dealers, you can't get it repaired easily--and that is the number one drawback to some of us.  Others would argue that "It's only $40, so throw it out and get another," but for some of us, $40 is not so easy to come by!

I've spoken to some who have bought these, and one common thing they mention is when these radios start having issues (start to let go) you're SOL.

It's your money--and your decision.  If you want a knock around, throw away radio, these units may be for you.  If, however, you want something you can depend on and not worry about letting go right in the middle of something that may be important one way or the other, get a better, more expensive handheld.  There are a few from the big three that average around $100.  You'll be happier and better off in the long run.  Of course, YMMV.
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N5INP
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« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2013, 10:18:52 AM »

I was curious about them too, and ordered a Wouxon, I believe it was the UV-5R.  (It was a while ago, when they first came out.)  It arrived DOA.  Wouldn't even turn on.

The UV-5R is a Baofeng.

Quote
... and the manual isn't at all easy to follow--adding to the programming problems.  So you sacrifice the understanding and the use of the features--until you can figure them out.

Until you figure them out? Not true at all, the manuals have been re-written and are very clear and useable right here -

http://www.miklor.com/uv5r/

Quote
But paramount is that you sacrifice the repairability.  Unless you buy from certain dealers, you can't get it repaired easily--and that is the number one drawback to some of us.  Others would argue that "It's only $40, so throw it out and get another," but for some of us, $40 is not so easy to come by!

How much does it cost to ship in a Yaesu or Icom or Kenwood and get it repaired? Let's see, I checked and found an authorized Kenwood service center here -

https://www.fthgroupinc.com/service/welcomecomm.php

Service for ham products out of warranty is -

Amateur Radio Repair Labor Rate    $75.00/hr + parts

So if you paid for shipping, and paid for 2 hours labor, and parts, were talking close to $200. That's around four new UV-5R HTs.

As for the reliability compared to other brands, it's only speculation unless we have objective data to examine. Do you have any factual objective data to compare?
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N5INP
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« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2013, 05:18:22 PM »

Addendum: I just checked Amazon and you can get the UV-5Rs for $32 ea.

So $200 / $32 = 6.25  - so 6 UV-5Rs for $200.

SIX.  Shocked
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K1CJS
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Posts: 6055




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« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2013, 05:21:46 AM »

W5INP, I figured I got the model # wrong.  Shame on me for not taking the time to verify it.

The point I was getting at is this:  It certainly doesn't cost much--but it is (or was) more prone to failure, is a buggar to get repaired and could let go again at any time.  By the time you finish over the life of the HT, you could end up spending just as much if not more than you would by getting a higher priced unit--even if you just threw it away and got another!  73!   
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N5INP
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« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2013, 06:09:21 AM »

W5INP, I figured I got the model # wrong.  Shame on me for not taking the time to verify it.

No, I'm not W5INP - I'm N5INP.  Undecided

Quote
The point I was getting at is this:  It certainly doesn't cost much--but it is (or was) more prone to failure,

I know, but I'm not conceding that it is more prone to failure. There simply isn't any objective data to make a judgment on that, unless you know of where this data is located.

Quote
... and could let go again at any time. 

Again - no objective data to make a call on that. In fact any piece of equipment could "let go at any time".

Quote
By the time you finish over the life of the HT, you could end up spending just as much if not more than you would by getting a higher priced unit--even if you just threw it away and got another!  73!   

I'm just not buying that conclusion - sorry. It's based on an assumption that it fails more often than the "Big Three" which can't be supported by objective data. Take a Yaesu FT-60R dual band HT. On AES it costs $160. At $32 ea. Thats equivalent to buying 5 UV-5Rs. Even if a UV-5R failed several times after warranty due to poorer quality (which I'm not conceding it does), I would still be saving money buying them!

You said -

Quote
I was curious about them too, and ordered a Wouxon, I believe it was the UV-5R.  (It was a while ago, when they first came out.)  It arrived DOA.  Wouldn't even turn on.

A little story. My other hobby is model railroading. A year ago or so I ordered a Bachmann N scale locomotive. It arrived D.O.A. too. I ended up sending it back. On a model railroading forum I proceeded to give a rating that I thought Bachmann products were sub-par based on my experience with one product. I got a lot of people mad because they simply wouldn't accept that because I got a D.O.A. model that the company was making poor products. All the products they had got from Bachmann had been fine. Perhaps this is the same sort situation but reversed?
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K1CJS
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« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2013, 06:31:02 AM »

Sorry--again.  To end this, you have your opinion and I have mine.  It's going to do neither of us any good arguing about it.  Let's just let it go at that.  73.
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