by John ‘Miklor’ K3NXU and Hans PD0AC
I now get a chance to review the OBLTR-8R which is a slightly scaled down version of the TERMN-8R which is the top of the new 8R series offered by Anytone. The only outward difference between the two models is the absence of the orange keys on the left. Once again, when you get one in hand, it becomes very obvious that these radios are were not meant to be competition for the lower end brands, but more of a match for the Wouxun and existing Anytone radios.
This radio is FCC Part 90 certified (Commercial) applications, as well as Part 95A GMRS and 95J MURS services. For GMRS and MURS, the frequencies and power levels hard coded in the firmware. Anyone with dual licenses may now only need to carry a single radio.
What’s in the BOX
There you’ll find the radio, a nicely written and illustrated 104 page English manual, belt clip, wrist strap, Earpiece/Microphone, 7.25 inch (18cm) flexible antenna and hefty 2200mAh 7.4V battery with charger.
The side of the battery has a small charging jack for the optional 12V mobile charger is available for on the road charging.
The overall weight and feel of the radio is solid. The top of the radio has both a Volume/PowerOn switch and Channel Selector knob. The left side has the PTT button and well as two programmable function buttons. The right side has a 2 pin ‘K2′ Kenwood, Anytone, Wouxun, Baofeng style connector. Programming cables and Spkr/Micr for these radios will be totally compatible.
My prior Anytones have somewhat of a concave keypad, where the OBLTR-8R keypad buttons are level and easier to access. Also, the keypad numbers and definitions are illuminated making manual programming a bit easier.
The OBLTR-8R, like its big brother the TERMN-8R, also has 3 power levels that can be changed from the keypad. In the GMRS and MURS mode, the power levels are fixed, per certification requirements. Audio level and quality reports were excellent.
The OBLTR-8R has a single Dual Watch receiver that covers
VHF – 136-174 MHz UHF – 400-520 MHz
FM Broadcast – 64-108 MHz (with 100 memory channels)
It incorporates Fast Scan with a scan rate of approximately 10 channels per second.
Power Levels on the test unit were as follows:
VHF – 5.6W, 1.9W, 0.9W
UHF – 4.75W, 2.3W, 1.2W
GMRS – 4.25W
MURS – 1.8W
Sensitivity VHF (@ 145 MHz): -126 dBm (@ 50Ω, 12 dB SINAD).
Sensitivity UHF (@ 435 MHz): -125 dBm (@ 50Ω, 12 dB SINAD).
Good numbers: -57.54 dBm on VHF, -54.74 dBm on UHF.
When in the Dual Watch mode, the receiver continuously samples the main and sub-band for activity. To eliminate adjacent channel interference, the radio’s receiver reverts to true Narrowband when selected. A full 1W of audio makes the receive quality both loud and clear.
GMRS and MURS operation (FCC part 95A / 95J certified)
Like its big brother, the OBLTR-8R can be switched to operate on any of three modes. GMRS, MURS or Commercial/Normal. To eliminate the possibility of being on the wrong band, a Key Press at PowerOn selects either GMRS or MURS mode. Channel frequencies are hard coded in the firmware as well as their power levels, but allow for CTCSS/DCS tones can be added/changed via the keypad.
Commercial Application (FCC Part 90 certified)
For Commercial, Fire, EMS and EmComm use, the OBLTR-8R is fully certificated with 2.5kHz steps, and software which prevents Field Programming.
NOAA Weather Alert
The seven US NOAA weather alert frequencies are preprogrammed into the radio. There are 3 options to choose from. ON, OFF and ALERT. When WX Alert is chosen, the NOAA weather channel remains silent in the background until the 1050Hz emergency tone signal is received. This is especially useful in areas where severe weather conditions are prominent.
Dual PTT Capability / Programmable Function Keys
There are two PF keys below the PTT switch. Either can be programmed to function as a sub-channel (lower display) PTT button, while the PTT switch activates the upper channel.
The PF keys can also be used to select your choice of:
– Battery Voltage display
– Frequency display
– Tone Calling (DTMF/5TONE/2TONE)
– FHSS (Frequency Hopping)
– Tone Pulse (1750, 1450, 1000 or 2100Hz)
– Alarm Button
– Dual PTT
– MONI (Squelch off)
The radio supports 200 channels and 10 memory banks. Scanning Group 0 will scan all programmed channels entered into the transceiver. Banks 1 > 9 can be assigned up to 32 channels each.
I found a nice added feature that isn’t on my 3318UV-A. If I want to remove a channel from a particular bank, I can dial in the channel, press two keys, turn the knob and it’s gone. Eliminates the need to me to use the computer to delete the bad ones.
2TONE Sequential Paging
This is extremely useful for the EMS user. I personally have used 2 tone pagers in the past. I can now monitor local EMS channels with one radio.
Detailed instructions on how to set up the 2-tone and 5-tone paging system can be found HERE.
The OEM software is relatively easy to follow, and with a little practice, easy to navigate. Some areas may be a bit tricky, and I’ll try to address those area in the Miklor FAQ section. CHIRP developers are aware of the new Anytone 8R series, but it takes time to backward engineer a radios software.
As always, it is recommended to get a quality programming cable so you spend more time talking on the radio and less time loading special drivers to your PC. I personally use an FTDI cable that is Plug ‘n Play with no driver issues.
The OBLTR-8R has Upgradeable Firmware. If features are added in the future, your radio is not obsolete. The firmware can be updated (re-flashed) by an authorized dealer so you will always be able to have the latest version available to you.
The developers of the Anytone OBLTR-8R packed a lot of features in a small package. The inclusion of:
– Certified GMRS, MURS and Commercial in one radio
– Upgradeable Firmware
– 200 channels/10 Banks
– Dual PTT
– 2TONE / 5TONE / MSK Messaging
– Stun / Kill capability
at a price tag under $100 level is pretty darned impressive.
There are four models in the 8R series. At the top is the TERMN-8R, followed by the OBLTR-8R, NSTIG-8R, and the ANILE-8R. Confusing? Here’s a hint. They are alphabetical. That’s the only way I can keep them straight.
For a comparison between the OBLTR-8R and the others in the 8R series, you can follow this LINK