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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Alinco DR-635 Help


Reviews Summary for Alinco DR-635
Alinco DR-635 Reviews: 49 Average rating: 3.8/5 MSRP: $375.00
Description: 2M/440 full-duplex capable, remote-able
Product is not in production.
More info: http://www.alinco.com
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You can write your own review of the Alinco DR-635.

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W8GND Rating: 4/5 Jun 9, 2012 03:16 Send this review to a friend
Good radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Dandy radio. It has nothing I can complain about.

I have a high voice, and that doesn't work with many radios. However, with this one, people tell me I sound wonderful.

No intermod problems. Don't expect any
 
AD5KO Rating: 5/5 May 25, 2012 09:56 Send this review to a friend
Very Good  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I usually prefer Yaesu or Icom mobiles but after reading the reviews here and considering the price of each radio with the same capabilities I decided to try the Alinco and I'm very glad I did.

At first I didn't like the radio, it wasn't what I was used to. But programming it is easy and within an hour I became very comfortable with it and the same evening I installed the radio in the car I had a number of QSO's on simplex up to 50 plus miles. This test lasted for a few hours and the radio did not become hot from extended high power use, the radio has a small fan which comes on during transmit, it's very quiet. The receive audio is very good and the transmit audio reports I got were the same.

I like the feel of the controls, they are smooth and solid. Being used to Yaesu and Icom mics I didn't like the look of the Alinco mic but in practice it's nice to use. It's the DTMF mic so it made programming a breeze, it really couldn't be easier.

I set the display color on red, or orange and I do not find it to be to bright at night, currently the brightness level is set at 3 out of 4. The blue looks good also and with a brightness level of 2 it is also ok for night time driving. I find the multi color RX, TX and SB option distracting so I don't use it. I very much like the layout of the display despite the small size of the radio, it's actually got a bigger display than many others. The radio is only 5.5 inches wide so fitting it in a vehicle is easier to install where size is an issue.

I noticed in a couple of review comments about the GPS connection or the lack of one, well it does have a dedicated GPS connection inside the radio, there is even a diagram for it in the user manual. So it would be very easy to set up a TNC and a GPS if needed.

I also saw another comment about not being able to skip channels in memory during a scan, well the radio does that too and I use it. It's in the manual. I am amazed how some people have given the radio bad reviews because they didn't read the user manual. It's the first thing I do. As I write this the radio has a review score of 3.8 out of 5 and this is mostly because people didn't read the manual. It deserves a better score.

Weather, I programmed in some NOAA channels and set them to skip on scan. So the radio not having a dedicated WX mode is not an issue. You can even listen to the weather channels or public service channels and still operate 2m or 70cm at the same time, useful for storm spotting etc. I like the dual scan function and the independent volume controls for each band.

I find the radio to be very sensitive and I needed to turn up the squelch quite high but interestingly it did not loss the weaker stations when I did this. I live near a commercial tower and as usual I expected some issues because of that, well the Alinco isn't bothered by it at all, so that was a surprise. I found I actually liked the preset squelch as apposed to a knob, same as a portable.

The removable control head is useful even if you don't remote the radio because the head can be fitted in two ways which lets you turn the main body over, positioning the speaker top or bottom. And if you are concerned about security you can remove the head and stash it in the glove box in just a few seconds. I have in the past broken the RJ-45 mic cable connectors on both my Icom and Yaesu radios, I don't have any doubts about the long term reliability of the mic connector on the Alinco, so even that's a plus. But if you want to remote the radio you can use a standard RJ-45 cable for that.

The build quality is as good as Yaesu and Icom. I don't have anything bad to say about the radio. For a $300 radio, I'm impressed.

I would like more memory channels and a faster scan option but those are not critical issues, just preferences and you can scan VHF and UHF or the other bands at the same time anyway, so it's faster than it looks.

For performance, price, function and build quality I give the radio a 5.


I hope this review is helpful.

73,

AD5KO
 
WV4I Rating: 5/5 Oct 31, 2011 08:15 Send this review to a friend
works great  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I use this radio in my VW Jetta diesel with a short, center loaded, V/U antenna. The power comes straight from the battery. It is under dash (left side) mounted. I normally have 2M and air band receive active (dual receive). Have occasionally used 440. I have not not noticed any intermod, or any any other undesirable performance. I get excellent transmit audio reports. I sometimes hear 2 repeaters on the same freq, with band openings, and not using tone squelch. I don't own expensive test equipment, and won't repeat features, specs, avail elsewhere, except to say this radio easily works well, and as advertised.

Having used Yaesu mostly, especially for HTs and mobile HF/V/U, the menu/button scheme is a little different with Alinco, so did need to open the manual a bit.

The mike connects to the front of the radio, round connector, not modular, and the cable is well reinforced entering the plug, sticks straight out 2"-3", doubt this will ever break.

The display gives 3 color choices per mode, i.e. transmit, receive. The only comment here is that it's a bit bright on max dim at night, could use a mod, or perhaps just some tinted Saran wrap, etc., over display if lots of night use planned, and depending on ergonomics of your application.

For a V/U radio with true dual receive, this radio is an excellent value, and works as advertised here in metro areas of South Florida.
 
K6NJ Rating: 5/5 Sep 16, 2011 10:51 Send this review to a friend
A great radio for the price  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
These radios can be had for around $300 brand new! Considerably less than the competitors with similar features. I have two of these radios an I am very happy with them. I've owned several Yaesu radios (FT7900R, FT-8800R) and I like a lot of the features on the Alinco better. There is a small issue with intermod that you read about with other reviews, however, this is not really an issue in my environment. It may be an issue in a large city, however, I live in a mid sized city with lots of radio traffic and towers and it is not a significant issue. You can purchase the programming software from www.cbtinc.net. It is simple and works great! The Yaesu YSK7800 separation cable will work with this radio. I get great audio reports, I like the display and the features. I recommend this radio.
 
K7ZEM Rating: 5/5 Jun 25, 2011 23:52 Send this review to a friend
positive  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
cons: slow scan, power level is 5w, 35, and 50 on 2m. 5w, 25w, and 35w on 440. I miss the 10w setting. I cannot figure out the Busy Channel Lock out feature, it is supposed to block you from transmitting when someone else is, I couldn't get it to work. not that big of a deal.
PROS: 339.99 free delivery and no sales tax from HRO. It does not include the seperation kit but it can be purchased at Ham Radio Outlet for $40.00. Still cheaper that the Yaesu FT 8800. It does not have all the memory banks, ARTS, and other features I never use, it is a great bare bones full duplexing mobile. Did I mention how much I love the Crossband repeat! it's also capable of aprs upgrade. also, the microphone and cord and connector is way better than the yaesu. it has programmed memory scans, simpex scans, and tone scans, I've used these with no problem. it is very easy to program. The face can be put on upside down depending on how you want to mount it. I allways use an external speaker anyway, stock speakers on most of these small dual band mobiles have alot to be desired. it has a perfect time out timer that can be set for 90 seconds, which works well with my local machine. automatic power off. I love this radio.
 
K4KRW Rating: 5/5 Mar 14, 2011 20:45 Send this review to a friend
Great! - 5 years and counting  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned my DR-635 now for 5 years. I bought the remote mount kit for the control head. It works well. I do not have the digital voice or APRS modules. If I wanted to do APRS, I would spend the money and get the Kenwood TM-D710A. It is clearly built for the task.

I have found my DR-635 to be very easy to use. I use it almost every day. I normally use my radio in dual band mode monitoring both 2m and 70cm repeaters. I have used the cross band repeat capability and it works very well.

I have also used my radio to listen to aircraft frequencies and to the FM broadcast band when I was having problems with my car radio. Sound quality is pretty good. I do use an external speaker though (main unit is in the trunk).

This radio has done everything I have asked it to do.

I have experienced intermod at times. But not very often and it has never been big enough of a problem that I could not operate.

I did have to re-wire my microphone plug one time due to wear and tear. FYI: If you are transmitting and the radio starts beeping like R2-D2, check your mic cord/plug. In my case, I think the shield had loose strands touching other pins.

Other than that, it has been a trouble free radio and an absolute pleasure to use.

73,
Richard - K4KRW
 
K6SLR Rating: 5/5 Mar 14, 2011 02:39 Send this review to a friend
A sleeper hit!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Don't be fooled by negative reviews; this is a great radio, especially at the price.

First off, let me say that this is my first VHF/UHF radio. I did plenty of homework, researching all the available radios before choosing this one. Here was my criteria (in no particular order) and I've given some info on how this radio met this criteria.

1. Good RX/TX. The RX audio is quite good, although when I use it in my truck, it could be a bit louder but my truck isn't that good at blocking road noise. The TX audio so far has gotten good reports.

2. QRP possibility. This radio has three power steps, all easily accessed from one button. The lowest output is 5W.

3. Ease of use. I can't say enough about how easy this radio is to use, ONCE ONE READS THE MANUAL. This is true of just about anything. Yes, there is a point of intuitive devices where one should be able to get the thing up and running with a minimal amount of manual reading, but to really understand the features, one must refer to the manual. Once you do that, it's easy to navigate and use this radio. I've only had to refer to the manual a couple of times after reading it the first time and that was because I wanted to explore the more advanced features.

4. Well built. This radio is built like a tank. It's rock solid, even the fan has its own protective metal frame. The mic connector is a true connector instead of an RJ-x connector. The power leads are nice and hefty and overall the radio feels very solid. I haven't gotten around to mounting it in the truck yet so I just stash it behind on of the seats and it takes that treatment like a champ.

5. Affordable (for me). You can't beat the price. New, they sell for around $379. I paid $340 new. For all the features, it's a great price. If you find one used, even better.

A few things that I also like: the RX is fairly wide, but it can be narrowed. I do like how much can be received (weather, marine and aircraft, as well as the full FM broadcast bands).

I have not experienced any of the intermod issues that others have mentioned, and I live in a metropolitan area, so I'm not sure what's up with that.

I like how each memory channel can be programmed with specific repeater info which can be totally separate from whatever is set in VFO mode.

The scanning is superb. It actually has six separate scanning modes. When in VFO mode, three band regions can be individually programmed for scanning. At first this was slightly confusing and I was unable to get it to work the way I thought it should. But, after READING THE MANUAL again, it made total sense and the feature works great.

The squelch is not a problem. So it's a button...big deal. Yeah, a knob might be nice, but I set the squelch and leave it alone. Why? Because this radio has a really cool feature. There is a one-button MONITOR function that zeroes out the squelch, giving you a wide open tuning to the band. Push it again and it goes back to whatever you set the squelch to. I rarely need to change it.

This radio has open and free crossband repeat capability. Yes, you can get into some birdie issues but with a wideband receiver that you're asking to cross it's two radios (which this thing is...a duel receive, single TX radio that can also do U/U and V/V), you're bound to have a few birdies. Not a big deal.

Some other cool features that don't get talked about much:

1. Default repeater setting. You can program shift, tone, burst, etc. and have that be the default (until and unless you change it) and it's independent of the memory settings.

2. Call sign memory bank (for digital mode).

3. Display colors can be set to any of three colors. While this may seem like a totally useless thing, it's great. For example, I can set the transmit color to be different from RX and STBY so I have an immediate visual reference to the state of the radio. There is also a programmable dimmer setting.

4. Single band mode. The DR-635 can be set as a single band radio, choosing either 2m or 440.

5. Repeater time-out warning. Audibly alerts you to when the Timeout is imminent so you can re-key the repeater.

6. Theft alarm. In an interesting twist the radio can be programmed to call a specific frequency with a pre-programmed message if the radio is improperly removed from wherever you installed it. If the proper decode sequence is not entered, the radio will continue to transmit on the programmed frequency and lock out all other functionality. Couple this with APRS and suddenly you can see how this can be a great way to get back a radio that has been stolen from your vehicle.

I don't plan on using APRS, so I cannot comment on this functionality.

For a good 2m/70cm radio at a reasonable price, this one fits the bill.

 
KF5HSE Rating: 5/5 Sep 29, 2010 19:31 Send this review to a friend
Beutiful Little Rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Most of the problems others have had with this radio, have eluded me, thankfully. Being a new Ham, I am somewhat confused by menues but the 635 is fairly user friendly. The problems I have had with it have been user generated.
It is far simpler to use than my other rig, the Yaesu FT-897D.
I have heard some intermod but very little concidering that I live in Houston, Texas with a population of well over 3 million.
 
108ID184 Rating: 2/5 Oct 22, 2009 10:59 Send this review to a friend
AWFUL reciever  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Bought this rig nearly new from a friend locally who had bought a D-Star rig (yuk).

At first, very pleased - nice looking rig, easy to operate, easy to program. Nice TX audio and loud RX audio.

I wasn't bothered (although a little annoyed) at the mixing products that made certain (many) combinations of VFO frequencies caused birdies, as none of them affected me.

However, it became apparent that the adjacent channel rejection wasn't just poor - it was awful. The worst CB radios on the market in 1981 were better.

I was getting a repeater channel rendered unuseable by a repeater on the next channel up, which was 15 miles away from my house.

I changed to a 20 year old Icom, and it went away. Breathtaking that it can be outperformed by a rig 20 years older that doesn't even have a narrow channel spacing setting.

Contacted Alinco's UK imports, Nevada, who denied ever hearing of this problem! They've obviously never read this site.

Replaced it with a Yaesu FT-8800 (which is cheaper new than the DR-635) and have suffered no such problems since - and overall RX is much better.

Avoid unless it's very cheap and you stay in the middle of nowhere - I dread to think what this would be like in mobile use.
 
F0FXL Rating: 4/5 Dec 19, 2008 13:59 Send this review to a friend
It does what it is meant to do !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Hi fellow operators,

This is my first review. I bought this radio used 10 days ago.
It is mounted in my car (using separation kit) and used with a small dual band mag mount antenna. I did not experience any intermod. issues until now. Even i drive every day a few kilometers around from a huge broadcast tower spitting about 1KW in the air.

To the rig : it has a solid constructing. When you have the radio body in your hands it seems to be built for heavy duty. I had no fear putting the transceiver body under the passenger seat.
The front panel is fitted with a large easy to read display and backlit keys. This is a plus when using the rig mobile.
The microphone socket is a real socket, like the one found on large base rigs. Not a flimsy RJ11 socket.

You can program the VFO so that when you tune accros the band certain settings are activated. usually you will program it so that shift and correct tones are activated when tuning onto the repeater band segment. Quite handy, and evolutive, who knows maybe one day the band plan will change. Some competitors rigs have the same feature, but you can not change the setting, it is factory set...

I love the fact that it has Narrow FM capabilities, since in my area all the repeater have been switched to NFM.

The display can be lit with three different colors. You can even program one color for RX, TX and standby. Sound like a gadget, but it can be useful if liek me you just have your microphone laying around in the car to avoid transmitting by sitting on it.

The DTMF microphone (which is now standard on european models) is a must have to for mobile operators. You can drive all the main functions from the microphone. It also allows direct frequency input.

I always had good reports with this rig, and i'm able to work almost any station i heatr; This rig definetly has all a newbie like me needs to get QRV on mobile.
I wish Alinco will come up with a D-Star module soon !

To G6XGJ, the procedure to turn it to an APRS beacon is pretty well documented in the TNC module manual and in the rig manual.
 
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