|Chinese Dual Band Mobiles|
|Written by Gary, KB2BSL|
Chances are the mobile radio you are currently using is made in China, it’s just not designed, developed, tested and marketed by a Chinese company. That’s about to change.
Chinese Amateur Radio brands such as Wouxun (however you wish to pronounce it), Baofeng, and TYT have quickly become known brands in the ham community due to the relatively low prices and features of their handheld HT radios and accessories. A good percentage of our club members own and use a radio such as the Wouxun KG-UVD1P, KG-UV6D, or the Baofeng UV-3R. While cost certainly is an influence (you don’t cry as much if you destroy a $50-$100 radio), these HT’s actually have some innovative features not found in the leading Japanese brands. The Wouxun KG-UV series for example, is available in a 2m/1.25cm (144/220) configuration and features a voice synthesizer that reads menus, frequency, and settings aloud to the user in English or Chinese (while some find this vastly annoying, it is invaluable to many visually impaired hams, and those wanting to learn a little Chinese), the Baofeng UV-3R (and UV-3RmkII) features a single chip DSP design and insanely inexpensive batteries.
Will similar innovations be found in their mobile counterparts? As my paws have yet to touch one of these mobiles it’s hard to tell. What follows is several weeks of research in my spare time scrounging various websites aided with Google translate. I gathered specs, pictures, and estimated prices and availability wherever possible. As such while reading the next several pages, please remember things change, some of these radios may never see the light of day, and prices are my best guess. Additionally, remember this website is for a radio club, we do NOT sell radios and will be unable to help you find one! The usual disclaimers apply, this is not an endorsement of any brand or product, use your own judgment if you decide to purchase one, some features or the radios themselves may not even be legal for use in the amateur radio service.
Wouxun KG-UV920R Twinband Deluxe
This highly anticipated radio was announced in 2010, and for a long time now many hams have asked when the heck is it going to be available? Well the good news is this radio does indeed exist and was on display at the Hong Kong Electronics show in October 2011. I have even read a report (but unable to verify) of the radio being purchased in Hong Kong and Singapore. Additional pictures of the KG-UV920R from the Hong Kong Electronics show can be found on the locuradigital.com website. If this radio lives up to the hype and it’s specs, it will be immensely popular!
Specs: (Spec Sheet)
Vero Telecom VR-6600
Vero helped make the Baofeng UV-3R popular at a great price point, expect more of the same if this radio gets to market!
Specs: (Spec Sheet)
This seems to be a neat little radio (6 inches wide, 5 inches deep, and 1.7 inches tall). Interesting to note this radio does NOT have a built in speaker, some retailers are including one, the microphone does have DTMF. I also notice the lack of a heatsink.
More information on Baojie products may be found at: http://www.qzbaojie.com/e_index.asp, Additionally if you are interested in becoming a dealer, please reference: http://www.globalsources.com/baojieelec.co
I was not able to find a suitable picture for this intriguing radio, as information on it seems scarce. TYT is a known brand carried by many USA amateur radio dealers. If this radio does indeed make it to market, it should send chills down the spine of the Japanese manufacturers.
Lastly we have from Qixiang Science & Technology, the Anytone AT-588UV
Specs: (Spec Sheet)
These are just the dual (or more) band radios that I personally believe have a chance to make it to market here. So many other brands that you have never heard of are poised to strike the US market as amateur radio grows in China and the manufacturers seek to expand their profits into the global markets. To get an idea of what I'm talking about, take a look at this .PDF magazine from Global Sources (17MB).
I have inquired with a few of the Hong Kong based retailers about availability of mobile radios, most seem reluctant to carry them do to weight and shipping costs. Handhelds aren't a problem to ship as they are very light, these mobile radios have some heft to them, this weight difference and it's associated shipping costs could bring a price difference between the Hong Kong and soon to be US dealers. One would think these soon to be released radios would put some pressure on the Japanese manufacturers to lower prices or release new value priced models, but that hasn't happened, it actually appears their prices have risen considerably in the last year. Is this due to the aftereffects of the tsunami? Or are they just in denial? Whatever the reason, the low priced Chinese brands are poised to take a large chunk of the pie. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with this, it's an evolutionary step, you can't outsource your manufacturing to a low labor cost country and not expect them to gain experience and eventually become your competitor!
I fully expect to be writing about a Chinese branded HF or SDR rig within the next year or two.