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Monthly Archives: May 2016

  • The Wouxun KG-D901 DMR digital radio is coming soon!

    KG-D901.pngLate last year Wouxun announced plans to enter the digital radio market with a new portable handheld DMR radio. We obtained some early product specs and broke the news on Episode 99 of The Two Way Radio Show Podcast. At the time Wouxun hinted at a launch date sometime in early 2016. Well, the wait is almost over. We are excited to announce that we just received our demo models of the new Wouxun KG-D901 DMR Digital Two Way Radio!

    At first glance, The KG-D901 looks almost identical to the analog KG-UV9D and KG-UV9D Plus multi-banders, with the large, color LCD display first introduced in popular KG-UV8D and now considered a standard fixture in the latest generation of Wouxun portable handheld transceivers. It has the same keypad layout found on both the 8D and 9D models and the same array of buttons on the side. It has the volume and channel knobs, TX/RX LEDs and flashlight typically found on the other Wouxun radios as well.

    As soon as you turn it on, however, the similarities end. It may look and feel familiar on the outside, but this is not a typical analog Wouxun radio at all. It's digital. As a Wouxun product, the KG-D901 is something entirely new.

    Key Features

    Unlike the 8D and 9D, the D901 is a single band transceiver, in your choice of either a UHF or VHF version. Most of the primary features are expected, and compared to other DMR digital radios, they may not seem particularly unique. However, there is one item on the list that may give the D901 a little extra. It is noted in bold.

    • 400-470MHz UHF frequencies (UHF Model)
    • 136-174MHz VHF frequencies (VHF Model)
    • Analog and Digital Modes
    • Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) digital technology
    • Direct and Repeater Modes
    • 16 memory channel and 2 Zones
    • Built-in CTCSS/DCS signaling in analog mode
    • Text Messaging (Digital Mode)
    • All Calls, Group Calls, Select Calls (Digital Mode)
    • Scrambler Function (Analog Mode)
    • Digital Encryption
    • Microphone Modulation Setting
    • IP57 Water Resistant

    Full specs are available from the Wouxun KG-D901 product sheet.

    Accessories

    The KG-D901 has the same SMA Female antenna connector commonly used on other Wouxun handhelds, and there is a plethora of third party antennas available to choose from, so if you like to fine tune your antenna options, such customization is very easy. It also uses the Kenwood K1 audio connector that is so widely used on imported radios today, it is almost considered a standard. This opens up seemingly limitless options for audio accessories and add-ons.

    More importantly, the KG-D901 uses the same battery pack as the KG-UV9D, which means other power accessories such as the desktop charger and battery eliminator are compatible as well. This cross-compatability adds greater functionality to both models and makes each a more practical compliment to the other when mixing and matching transceivers.

    Programming

    Here's more good news. Unlike some other digital radios, which may require a different programming cable than their analog counterparts, the KG-D901 is compatible with the existing Wouxun (or Baofeng) serial to USB cable equipped with the now standard Kenwood K1 connector. If you already have one of these cables for another Wouxun handheld, it should work with the KG-D901. If you have the XLT Painless Programming Cable, that's even better, because the KG-D901 has been tested to work with the it, as well (If you don't have the XLT Painless Programming Cable yet, you may want to consider one, especially if you just upgraded your computer to Windows 10).

    Of course, the D901 requires its own programming software, and for obvious reasons. It's a different kind of radio, the first Wouxun DMR of its kind. The D901 is not currently compatible with CHIRP, so you will need the Wouxun software. It's a little more involved than most programming software for the analog models, and can be a challenge if you have never programmed a digital radio. It is tested to work in Windows 10 without using Compatibility Mode.

    The KG-D901 package includes one KG-D901 single band UHF or VHF two way radio (depending on your version of choice), a 7.4v, 2000mAh battery pack, belt clip, antenna, desktop charger, AC power cord, and wrist strap. The demo models we received did not include a manual, but we expect one to be in the box when the final version of the radio ships from Wouxun.

    Update: The Wouxun KG-D901 (UHF version) is FCC Part 90 type accepted for use on business frequencies, so companies and organizations can go digital with this radio as well!

    The Wouxun KG-D901 is expected to arrive early summer 2016 now available. For the latest news and announcements on this and other new products, subscribe to our feed!

  • Midland EX37VP Emergency Radio Kit unboxing video

    Midland is well established as a manufacturer of consumer FRS/GMRS two way radios, and their GXT1000 and LXT600 value packs are popular among outdoor enthusiasts such as hikers, campers and hunters. The company is also well respected for their line of quality emergency weather radios, and many of these products, most notably the WR120 and WR300, are often mentioned or recommended by meteorologists and other weather professionals.

    Midland has now combined elements from both product lines to create a new series specifically designed for emergency preparedness. Called Midland E+Ready Emergency Solutions, products in this series include the Midland EX37VP Two Way Radio Emergency Kit.

    In this exclusive unboxing video, Danny Feemster from Buy Two Way Radios opens up the kit, gives you a first look at everything included and offers his first impressions of this emergency communications solution that, according to Midland, is recommended by the Department of Homeland Security.

  • The Wouxun KG-UV8E Tri band amateur radio is here!

    KG-UV8E-9.pngWhat is better than a dual band handheld two way radio? Why, a tri-bander, of course. Now, it's here. Say hello to the Wouxun KG-UV8E tri-band transceiver.

    The KG-UV8E is based on the very popular Wouxun KG-UV8D, the dual band portable handheld radio best known for its large color display, cross band repeat capability and true simultaneous two band reception, all at a very low price point. At the moment of its introduction in 2014, the KG-UV8D was an instant hit, and it is still the handheld of choice among many hams today.

    However, the 2 meter and 70cm bands are becoming crowded, and many hams are moving to the 1.25 meter band for some breathing room. The problem? There aren't a lot of 1.25 meter radios out there, and the ones that are available tend to swap the beloved 2 meter band for it. This means amateurs had to choose between a dual bander with either 1.25m VHF and UHF, or 2m VHF and UHF. If you used a handheld for both, you either had to carry two dual band radios, or give up a VHF band altogether.

    The solution? Wouxun created a portable handheld that includes all three. It's the KG-UV8E, and it's available now from Buy Two Way Radios!

    The Wouxun KG-UV8E has all the same features of the KG-UV8D along with the feature upgrades of the KG-UV8D Plus. In fact, for all intents and purposes, it is a UV8D Plus, with the addition of one extra band for full transmit and receive on 1.25 meters from 222Mhz to 225Mhz.

    The Wouxun KG-UV8E supports the following bands and frequency ranges:

    RX Only RX and TX
    Band Frequencies Band Frequencies
    VHF 136-174MHz VHF 144-148MHz
    VHF 220-260MHz VHF 222-225MHz
    UHF 400-520MHz UHF 420-450MHz

    With an apparent over saturation of dual band amateur radios covering the 2 meter and 70cm bands already on the market globally, coupled with an increase in activity on the limited frequencies within those two bands, more and more amateurs are searching for some other space on the radio spectrum they are licensed to use, but isn't quite as crowded. The obvious choice? It's the 1.25 meter band, or as more commonly, if not inaccurately called, the 220MHz band (the frequencies licensed for ham use are actually between 222Mhz and 225MHz). Underused for years and all but forgotten, 220MHz is coming back to life, and in a big way.

    The advantages of the 1.25 meter band are obvious and easy to list:

    • Accessible to all licensed amateur radio operators
    • Still considered VHF, just below UHF
    • Between 1.25m, 2m and 70cm, 1.25m is considered the band with the best propagation
    • repeaters are available, but are not as crowded
    • Not as active, so it is quieter, with less interference

    There's just one disadvantage. Access to the band has been a challenge, simply because there aren't many 1.25 meter radios on the market. That is, it was a challenge, until now.

    Wouxun intends to change all that and give amateurs what they want and need, one handheld radio to access the three higher frequency bands all technician, general and extra class amateurs are licensed to use, and to maximize the entire experience with a range of capabilities and features one would only expect from a handheld transceiver costing much more. They may just do it with the KG-UV8E.

    But don't just take our word for it. Take a look at the Wouxun KG-UV8E and tell us what you think.

    Take a look at the Wouxun KG-UV8E product sheet for full specs.

  • Wouxun KG-UV920P-A programming and menu options

    KG-UV920P-A-2.pngThe Wouxun KG-UV920P-A dual band mobile two way radio is a popular choice for ham radio operators who want to go mobile on the 2 meter (144-148MHz) or 70cm (420-450MHz) amateur radio bands without burning all the cash needed to get around town. But there's a lot more to this mobile than just the transceiver. The KG-UV920P-A also has cross band repeat capability, which means you can have a mobile repeater in your vehicle on demand. It can even become a base station radio when connected to an AC power source and mounted to a wall or desk, as depicted in this unboxing video. The typical mobile radio can cost hundreds, without premium features. Investing in the KG-UV920P-A for a low cost, low power cross-band repeater can save a lot of money on two way communications.

    Key features

    • Dual Band UHF/VHF transmit and receive
    • 87.5-108MHz FM Radio (Receive Only)
    • 40W (UHF)/50W (VHF) Transmit Power
    • 999 Memory Channels
    • Dual Display
    • Remote Head Mounting Capability
    • Full Duplex Cross Band
    • CTCSS/DCS Encode/Decode
    • Dual Speakers
    • Backlit DTMF Speaker Microphone
    • Incoming Message Display
    • DTMF Encoding and Decoding
    • Group Calls, All Calls and Selective Calls
    • Optional 8 Group Scramble
    • Priority Channel Scanning
    • APO Power Management
    • English Voice Prompts
    • Minimum Operating Voltage Alarm
    • Stun/Kill Function
    • Single Tone Pulse Frequency
    • Remote Control Settings
    • Frequency/Channel Scanning with CTCSS/DCS Detection
    • Cooling Fan
    • Companding
    • Selectable 3 Color Backlit LCD Display
    • Timeout Timer
    • PC Programmable
    • Supports 2.5k Step
    • Reset
    • Roger Beep Enable/Disable
    • Wideband/Narrowband operation

    Programming the KG-UV920P-A
    As with many mobile two way radios, the KG-UV920P-A can be programmed in one of two ways, either direct from the console on the front panel of the radio, or through a computer via programming software. Technically speaking, there is a third way. The radio can also be programmed directly from the DTMF keypad on the hand speaker mic.

    Direct from the radio
    While not impossible, programming direct from the radio can seem daunting, not so much because it is, but because of the sheer number of configuration options available. An evening with the owner's manual is helpful, but may not be particularly enlightening on the first read. However, it may be well worth the time and effort to learn, just in case you ever need to add a channel or two on the fly.

    The menu consists of 45 items. Default settings are bold.

    Menu # Menu Item Description Option
    01 STEP Step frequency settings 2.5k to 100.0k|5k
    02 WN Wide/Narrow bandwidth settings NARR (12.5k)|WIDE (25k)
    03 MPOWSET Medium level power settings MPOW1 (20W)|MPOW2 (10W)
    04 OFF-SET Offset frequency settings 0-599.995|0
    05 ROGER Transmission prompt settings BOT|EOT|BOTH|OFF
    06 BEEP beep prompt settings ON|OFF
    07 VOICE voice prompt settings CHINESE|ENGLISH|OFF
    08 BCL Busy Channel Lockout ON|OFF
    09 SP-MUTE Mute Settings QT|QT*DTMF|QT+DTMF
    10 SC-REV Scan Mode SE|TO|CO
    11 TOT Timeout Timer 1-60 minutes|2MIN
    12 TOA Transmission overtime alarm 1-10 seconds|OFF|5
    13 ANI-SW Caller ID TX Settings ON|OFF
    14 RING Ring time 1-10 seconds|OFF|3
    15 ANI-EDIT Editing caller ID 100-999999
    16 DTMFST DTMF sidetone settings DT-ST|ANI-ST|DT-ANI|OFF
    17 PTT-ID Caller ID TX mode BOT|EOT|BOTH
    18 TX-LED TX backlight color WHITE|BLUE|GREEN|OFF
    19 WT-LED Standby backlight color BLUE|GREEN|OFF|WHITE
    20 RX-LED RX backlight color GREEN|OFF|WHITE|BLUE
    21 DEL-CH Deleting a channel 999 channels
    (CH1 and CH2 not deletable)
    22 CH-NAME Editing a channel name Name***
    23 PRICH-SW Priority channel switch ON|OFF
    24 SPK-CONT Speaker settings SPK1|SPK2|SPK1+2
    25 AUTOLOCK Keypad auto lock ON|OFF
    26 RX-CTC Receiving CTCSS 1-50|OFF
    27 RX-DCS Receiving DCS 1-105|OFF
    28 TX-CTC Transmitting CTCSS 1-50|OFF
    29 TX-DCS Transmitting DCS 1-105|OFF
    30 RPT-SPK Repeater speaker switch ON|OFF
    31 RPT-PTT repeater PTT switch ON|OFF
    32 RPT-SET Repeater settings X-DIRPT|XTWRPT|CRPT-RX|CRPT-TX|RADIO
    33 SCAN-ADD Scan add ON|OFF
    34 APO-TIME Automatic power off Levels 1-5 (30 Min increments)|OFF
    35 ALERT Single-tone pulse frequency 1750Hz|2100Hz|1000Hz|1450Hz
    36 COMPAND Compand ON|OFF
    37 FAN-SET Overheating detection TX|HI-TE/TX|ALWAYS
    38 LOW-V Voltage testing ON|OFF
    39 SCRAM Voice scrambler 1-8|OFF
    40 SC-QT CTCSS/DCS scanner DECODER|ENCODER|ALL
    41 RPT-TONE Repeater tone ON|OFF
    42 SC-GROUP Scan group settings ALL|GROUP 1|GROUP 2|GROUP 3|GROUP 4
    43 FM-RADIO FM radio function ON|OFF
    44 RC-SW Remote control ON|OFF
    45 RESET Reset VFO|ALL

    Programming with software
    The Wouxun programming software isn't the greatest application, but it's really not too bad, considering the alternative, which is to program the radio directly from the keypad.

    The USB programming cable connector is somewhat specific for this mobile radio, so it isn't something you can freely swap out with other mobile transceivers. The Wouxun programming software is also specific to this model and is currently available for Windows PCs only, but it is available as a free download from Buy Two Way Radios. While not particularly intuitive, the software isn't that complicated, either. If you have programmed a two way radio before, it is somewhat self-explanatory. The USB cable driver needs to be installed first, which can become a challenge if the Wouxun KG-UV920P-A cable driver installation instructions are not properly followed, but once it is set up and the cable is working, it is ready when you need it.

    Operation
    The detachable front panel of of the KG-UV920P-A can be mounted inside your vehicle almost anywhere you need it for instant access and ease of operation. The console on the front panel includes an LCD display with a selectable three color backlight, channel knobs, volume knob and the equivalent of a DTMF keypad spread out across the face of the console. In effect, every operation that can be performed from the keypad on the speaker mic can also be initiated from the front panel of the radio.

    Once the power button is pressed on the console, The KG-UV920P-A can be configured and controlled directly from the built-in DTMF keypad on the hand speaker mic. This is quite convenient, especially when the mic is in hand and the console is slightly out of reach. The speaker mic even has a volume wheel to adjust the output of the speaker on the mic. It also includes a keypad lock to prevent accidental key presses of the keys on the hand mic. The keypad consists of 16 keys. The keys and their primary functions are outlined in the chart below:

    Button Operation
    UP ARROW Select previous channel|Select menu option
    DOWN ARROW Select next channel|Select menu option
    1-BAND Change master channel/frequency
    2-MHz Frequency/channel selection
    3-QT/DT CTCSS/DCS setup|CTCSS/DCS scan
    4-MEMCH Save channel
    5-H/L Set Power output (H-M-L)
    6-VFO/MR Frequency mode/Channel mode switch
    7-SET-D Frequency shift direction
    8-TDR Single/dual display switch
    9-SQL Set Squelch level
    0-SCRAM Set voice scrambler
    *-SCAN Scanning
    #-LOCK Key lock
    MENU Enter program menu|choose/set menu option
    EXIT Exit program menu

    The Wouxun KG-UV920P-A is a feature rich mobile radio at a value price. When you add in the cross-band repeat functionality, it's really quite a bargain.

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