KC5HWB reviews the Wouxun KG-UV8D
This review has been a long time coming, I wish I had posted it before now, but better late than never, I guess. When I first started this review, there was only 1 version of the Wouxun KG-UV8D radio out, but now there are two. All radios with firmware 1.02 (1.01 was the old number) include the 2.5KHz step when tuning/scanning. As far as I know, that is the only difference between the 2 firmwares. There is no way to upgrade the 1.01 to 1.02, as far as I know. This is how they come from the factory.
Of course I bought one of these radios for myself and have been tinkering with it for the last couple of month. This is a really neat little radio. It has several features that other Chinese radios have yet to implement, but to me the best one is the 999 memory channels. This is unheard-of for an HT, especially a Chinese HT, most of which only support 128 memory channels. But this ultra-huge memory capacity enables me to enter all of my Ham Radio repeaters and simplex frequencies, along with all the FRS/GMRS frequencies, plus some locally used Red Cross frequencies. Even with all of those programmed in, I still have plenty of memory channels left to use. My plan is to create a bank of frequencies for the Galveston, TX area, to which we travel 1-2 times per year. Perhaps I will add some other repeaters also, in other areas.
Yes, this radio also does cross-band repeat. Honestly, I’ve not used it – I don’t really have a situation in which I would need a cross-band repeating HT. I have cross-band repeat setup on my Kenwood TM-741a in my shack at home, so that I can hit the Hurst repeater from an HT inside of my house (I key up a 440 simplex frequency, which keys my TM-741a, and it cross-band repeats to the Hurst repeater). This way I can talk on the repeater from inside my house without always having to walk out to the shack. I suppose cross-band repeating would be useful if you would out in the field somewhere. Maybe assisting on a bike/foot race, or perhaps on a camping trip. Setup the KG-UV8D with an external antenna and use it as a portable repeater. I have not had the need to do this yet, so I haven’t played with that feature.
The backlit LCD screen is certainly a plus. The screen goes off while you are monitoring, but comes back on again when a signal is received. This is to save the battery, I suspect, because the larger screens on today’s smartphones are usually the largest battery draw.
This radio, just like the Anytone AT-3318UV HT, will allow you to move each band independently between VFO and Memory modes. If the top band in is VFO, you can move the bottom band to a memory channel, without changing the top band, and vice-versa. There is a VFO/MR key on the front of this radio, so switching between the 2 options is very easy, unlike some other Chinese HTs. In reality, the VFO/MR button has 4 settings: VFO frequency, Memory channel number, Memory channel name, and Memory Channel Frequency. So when you are programming your repeater settings, it allows you to set a name for each repeater, then page through with the VFO/MR button so the repeater name can be displayed on the LCD instead of the frequency. This is useful if you are looking for a repeater in a certain area or city. And with 999 memory channels, you will probably want to know which repeater is where!
The radio comes with a great extended range antenna, just like the Anytone AT-3318UV.
There is also an extended battery available for this radio. The standard battery that comes with the radio is 1700mAh, and the extended battery is 2600mAh. The extended battery is a bit thicker than the stock battery, so expect the radio to be a bit heavier and bulkier than the stock configuration. However, rest assured that the stock belt clip and stock desktop battery charger are both build in such a way that they will accommodate either battery. No separate charger or belt clip is needed for the 2600mAh battery.
From the factory, the radio only does 400-470 TX range, but with the Frequency Expansion software you can extend the range up to 519MHz. I have not loaded this software yet myself, but I plan to do so next week. This software came from Wouxun, and isn’t a “hack”, it just extends the range of the radio to its maximum capacity.
I love this little HT and have carried it almost exclusively since it arrived. It is a fantastic addition to anyone’s radio collection.
Since this radio seems to be targeted at more than one market I wonder if the receiver scan functions work similar to the commercial portables or if it still follows the “brain dead” option that comes with other ham band only radios? One of my pet peeves is the very limited scan functions typically found on Yaesu, Icom and Kenwood where your only option is to scan between one of the memory channels and a single frequency set on the VFO. It would be nice to have the same functions that are supplied with the commercial models when it comes to priority and scanning functions.
Are you sure that your radio in 1.02 version support the 2,5KHz step. Because I have one with 1.02 version and the lowest supported step is 5KHz.
Just got a v1.02 and it does a 2.5 step. Had to set that to get 482.9875 to go in.
Anyone know how to set the channel number for priority? I can turn it on and it works but only check on Ch01 for priority. Cannot find anywhere in the software of menus to change it to another priority channel.
Alban,Your radio should work just fine with seilelttas, however, you will need a directional antenna (such as the Arrow II) to make best use of it. I would also advise that a second radio listening on the down-link would be a good idea. These Wouxun radios are not truly split VFO radios (ie. you can not listen on x MHz and transmit on y MHz at the same time).APRS will work, though you will need a TNC or software to emulate a TNC with the radio. All this makes it a bit unwieldy to manage.I’ve made a prototype isolating cable I just have to work-up the CAD files and send it off for production. I’ll try to get to that soon!
I have a new KG-UV8D (Plus) with v1.02 and a standard KG-UV8D with v1.02 from 2014.06.16
The “Plus” model has 2.5 KHz stepping, the old one doesn´t have the 2.5 KHz stepping.
But, i´ve seen an old KG-UV8D models with v1.02 and it has the 2,5 KHz stepping.