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Author Topic: Jetstream JT220M 220Mhz Radio Opinions?  (Read 7561 times)

Posts: 7

« on: December 01, 2009, 12:03:35 PM »

Anyone looked at the Jetstream 220 radio @ ?

The display looks VERY much like an Alinco, as does the push-button layout, but the mic connector etc are placed differently.

The JT220M claims to make 50 watts at < 9 amps, while the Alinco DR-235T makes 25 watts at about 8 amps.

The frequency stability on the Jetstream is +-5ppm, and on the DR-235T MkII's and MkIII's, it's +-2.5ppm.

I've never heard of Jetstream, and the few hams that seemed to know the name on a couple local repeaters say they've heard bad things about Jetstream, but never owned any equipment themselves and it's all second hand info.

Has anyone had any practical experience with this radio?


Posts: 59

« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2009, 12:32:20 PM »

The ARRL has a review of the Jetstream radio now in their member's section for January, and gave it a good review

Plus it's a 50 watt radio.

The Alinco radio is another option with good reviews on this site.

Posts: 223


« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2009, 05:21:42 AM »

The big problem I have with the JT220M was the fact that they did not put the DB9 connector on the back for use on packet and/or IRLP/EchoLink/etc.

Having access both before/after the discriminator and pre=emphasis circuits gives so much flexibility at very little additional cost.

For the time being, I'll stick to Alincos and perhaps spend a few more $ on a good antenna vs. the additional 25 watts.


Posts: 13

« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2009, 03:10:29 PM »

I have a couple friends who bought and like the Jetstream 220 rig,and I may buy it also. My biggest concern with it is the fact that it does not have a large enough heat sink for a radio with a 50watt p.a. nor does it have a fan either. Without either of these I'm afraid too much high power use would cook the amp,but I suppose after the warranty was up I could retro-fit a small muffin fan or just stick to low power as usual.

Posts: 7

« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2009, 03:36:20 PM »

Now having had one for a couple weeks, I can tell you a few things about it.

1) The heat sink is more than adequate.  I've yakked for over an hour on 50W, and it gets warm, but not the least bit uncomfortable to touch.  And it wasn't in an ideal location for air flow.

2) The user interface has some problems.  Unlike the Alinco, the JT220M allows you to step into unused memories.  The radio has 99 memories, and let's say you have 20 programmed.  You press UP on #20, you expect to go back to #1.  Nope, you go to the unprogrammed #21.  VERY annoying.

3) Page 30 of the manual claims that the the microphone DTMF keys can be used to directly enter a memory number to jump to.  This does not work.  Although the radio is a fairly direct copy of the Alinco DR-235T, the Alinco does not support direct to memory entry, nor does it claim to.  Manual misprint or design flaw, with 99 memories, the lack of the ability to jump to a specific memory is irritating.  The "way to do it" is to press FUNC, turn the big knob to select memories starting with '0' (0..9), '1' (10..19), '2' (20..29), etc.  Poor design.

4) Pressing the UP or DOWN key for 2 seconds is supposed to start scanning.  If you hold it down for less than 2 seconds, it's skipped up or down a few memories.  Hold it for more than 2 seconds, it goes into "fast up" or "fast down", allowing you to fast forward through memories.  Hold it exactly 2 seconds, it'll start scanning.  It's hard to get the timing exactly right.  My Icoms, Kenwoods, and the Alinco just go into scan mode and stay there after 2 seconds.  

5) The JT220M does not support AM mode.  The Alinco does.  I don't really care about that, some people may.

6) The PDF copy of the users manual is a scan of the paper copy.  It's not searchable.  I expect that to be remedied.

7) Although the microphone is identical to the Alinco EMS-57 in functionality, the plastic coating on the cable feels cheesey.  The Alinco microphone, while adequate, can't hold a candle to the HM-133 the Icom radios come with (or at least some of them).  

Cool The PC software from Jetstream is seriously lacking.  Yes, you can program a frequency, alpha tag, etc.  You cannot reorder memories.  If you want to rearrange them, you save the data file, open it in Vi (or Notepad or your favorite editor.  Except emacs.  Emacs sucks), rearrange the entries, renumber them, reload the file in the software, and reprogram.  Feels like a Windows 3.1 software package.

9) Overall construction of the radio seems decent enough.  There is a cut-out for the DB-9 in the heat sink.  The radio does not offer the DB-9, which is present on the Alinco.  Not important to me, but it does matter to IRLP/Echolink/packet users.

10) It's big.  By todays standards, this radio is huge.  The actual numbers aren't that much different when you compare it to a DR-235T, but it's thicker, wider and longer.  As a result, it feels huge.  It'll still fit in a DIN slot in the center console of a car (you'll need some spacers, it's not THAT wide, but it's just slightly less tall than a typical 1 DIN stereo).

11) The display is blindingly bright.  Even on dim, I found it very bright in my car.  The blue display isn't particularly helpful.  It's not BAD, but I think the orange of the Alinco is a little more readable.

12) GigaParts had a killer deal on a DR-235T last week.  I bought one.  It's in my car, the JT220M is back in it's box.  I'm deciding what to do with it.  I don't really need it, and I probably won't run 220 in the house.  But it's 50 watts.  The Alinco is 25.  I haven't driven my usual routes since I installed the Alinco to tell you in Atlanta if the 25 watts is going to make difference.  Quite honestly, if I need more power, I think I'd rather just stick a Mirage 220 75W amp in the trunk and be done with it.

13) I have an info page on my wiki about the JT220M.  There's also one for the Alinco, just follow the 'Category' link at the bottom.

14) What sold me on the Jetstream was the 50W.  Atlanta is in the foothills of the mountains, and I live along the ACF basin.  It's not like Texas or Florida.  Sometimes you need the extra bit of string.  Is the 3db difference going to have an effect?  I'll tell you in a couple weeks.

Posts: 7

« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2009, 03:45:05 PM »

Oh, and a minor nit on both the Jetstream and the Alinco.  Scan mode can only be entered from the microphone, by pressing the UP or DOWN key for 2 seconds.  There's no front panel key to start a scan.

All the front panel keys are assigned to moderately important functions.  HOWEVER, none of the keys do anything special if you hold them down for more than a second.  So if they had 'press and hold V/M to start a scan', that'd be really nice.  I don't like having to fish the mic off it's hangar just to start a scan.

And unlike the Icom IC-208H (a radio I really like), if you left the radio in scan mode when you turned it off, it does not power back into scan mode.  That's a feature I really like.

Both radios also support APO, or Auto Power Off.  I rarely turn my radios off since they can do it by themselves.  But the APO time is not settable.  It's either off, or it's 30 minutes.  I would have preferred it be settable, but if not, 60 minutes.  The radio has a habit of powering off on my drive to work if there's no activity on any of the repeaters.

Posts: 41

« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2010, 07:37:43 PM »

I just bought one! The display brilliance seemed fine to me (not bright). The microphone audio characteristics have been improved from an earlier microphone. The high power output was confirmed at about 56 watts at 14 vdc.

Posts: 6

« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2010, 11:39:03 AM »

I purchased a Jetstream JT220 yesterday. In trying to program it, I am having trouble. I programmed our local repeater freq as call channel. There is a minus sign above that I believe designates repeater offset. When I then go to program a simplex freq, ie, 223.500 in channel 0, I can't seem to get rid of the minus. It saves the freq ok but when I key the mike, I get OFF on the display. Anyone have any ideas or do I have a brokem rig out of the box?

Thanks, Joe WA3SRU

Posts: 6

« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2010, 08:47:50 PM »

Please disregard my original post. Operator error. I finally found out how to get the offset indicator to go out. Somehow I read the manual many times but kept missing that section. I actually accidentally hit the MHZ button two times & it moved. Once more & it went out for simplex freauency. Works fine now. Good report so far with this radio. 73's, Joe WA3SRU

Posts: 53

« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2010, 04:21:52 PM »

I purchased one at Dayton, or at least I paid for one at Dayton 2009 but I did not received it until a month later.

I have Alinco 235's and I have this Jetstream, yes it puts out more power (and we work mostly simplex in my area) but it really did not make that big of a difference.

I did have a problem with mine. The female pl connector in the back is only soldered to the board. The connector moves from the coax (I use LMR400, kind of stiff) I was having intermittent problems mostly on receive. I took the rig apart and found the solder had a crack in it. I removed the solder and placed a nice heavy copper wire in the connector and soldered that in place and have never had a problem with it again.

I use it every day.

One thing I really like about it is when it came out the going price on the Alinco 235 came down big time. If I need to purchase another 220 it will be the Alinco 235, I just had to have one Jetstream when they came out to play with.

Delbert McCord
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