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dual band

  • The VGC VR-N7500 Mobile Amateur Radio video

    In this video, Danny from Buy Two Way Radios introduces the new smartphone controlled, Bluetooth® enabled VR-N7500 mobile amateur radio from VGC.

    Now, VGC is not a very well known brand in the US ham radio market, but they have been around internationally for a while. VGC is an acronym for Vero Global Communication, and you may also find them referred to as Vero Telecom Solutions. We've reviewed one of their products on our YouTube channel before, but until now we've never offered any of their products for sale on our web site at Buy Two Way Radios.

    So what caught our attention about the VR-N7500 that made us decide to partner with VGC? For starters, this radio is very unique and innovative.

    The combination of a remote display through a smartphone and wireless Bluetooth integration make this a solid choice for anyone looking for a clean, out of site vehicle install. Combine that with a value price. This radio is not perfect, but it's got a lot going for it.

    The first thing most people are going to notice about the VR-N7500 is that it's missing a typical display. That's because VGC moved all of the functions that you would normally perform through the radio's display into its smartphone apps, which are available for Android and iOS.

    You'll use the app to change channels or add new ones. You can adjust all of the radio settings. There's a FM radio and some type of Morse Code decoder. The main screen of the app is a map that shows your location, and there may be a way to show the location of those you are communicating with. The app even has support for APRS and network channels that take advantage of your smartphone's network connection for Communication.

    The app is absolutely core to this radio and is even the way that firmware updates are delivered. Look for more videos from us in the near future going more in depth with these apps.

    The Bluetooth® accessory support and integration options are almost as core to this radio as the smartphone app. You don't technically need to use Bluetooth audio with the radio, but eliminating wires makes it a more enjoyable experience.

    There are two ways to use Bluetooth audio with the VR-N7500. First is with the optional Bluetooth hand mic. This mic works the same way as the included wired mic, but without the wire. Second, if your car has Bluetooth support built-in, you can have the radio integrate with your vehicle speakers and microphone the way a phone call would. You just need the optional Bluetooth push to talk button accessory so that you have a way to indicate when to transmit. The Bluetooth PTT is battery powered and includes a strap for attaching it to a steering wheel or shifter knob.

    The best way to experience this radio is with your smartphone on and accessible, using the Bluetooth hand mic or the car audio with the Bluetooth PTT. This allows you to have the radio connected but stowed out of the way, such as under a seat or even in your trunk.

    For core radio features, the VR-N7500 has everything that you'd expect. It's an analog dual band radio supporting the 2 meter and 70 centimeter ham frequency ranges. It offers 50 watts of power on 2 meter and 40 watts on 70 centimeter. It supports a large and undefined number of 16 channel zones.

    It is a very solid radio with a fairly thick metal frame. There's no internal speaker - all sound is output through your choice of the included hand mic, your connected smartphone or tablet, or a connected Bluetooth® accessory. The included wired hand mic has a loud speaker and buttons for adjusting the channel or volume. The mic is missing the standard clip attachment that you might be used to, but it's replaced with a strong magnet. That makes it much easier at attach or detach, particularly while driving.

    The VGC VR-N7500 includes a mounting bracket, mounting hardware and a power cable. Optional Bluetooth Hand Microphone and Bluetooth Ring Push-to-Talk Button are available separately.

    There's a lot to like about this radio, but there are a few things that need to be improved.

    ​First, there isn't a manual. The app has a non-working link to a manual, so it is expected they plan to have one at some point.

    This radio has some really advanced functionality, like location tracking, APRS, network channels, cross band repeat from network to analog. It would be nice if some of these things were documented. Also, the Android app is great - it's clear that's the one they've chosen to develop first because it works great and has tons of features. But unfortunately it isn't available in the Google Play app store, so you have to download and install the app manually. That isn't hard, but the app store would be preferred.

    The iOS app is available through the app store, but it is more limited and at the moment is missing some of the advanced functions. This is a new product and the hardware seems well done and complete, but features are still being added to the apps and the firmware.

    That said, we are impressed with the VR-N7500 and we think that a lot of hams will love it.

    The radio is currently available to ship today. Order it through our web site at Buy Two Way Radios.

  • The Wouxun KG-UVN1 is a DMR Dual Bander for the serious ham

    Wouxun KG-UVN1 Dual Band DMR Digital Two Way RadioA few years ago, Wouxun entered the digital radio market with the KG-D901 DMR radio. Now the company is adding a new, improved DMR model to its product line. It's the Wouxun KG-UNV1, and it could just be the next disrupter in the DMR radio world.

    This isn't a dinky little digital transceiver on a chip. It's a real, professional grade radio designed for business use, with the power and features to match.

    At first glance, the KG-UVN1 looks like a cross between the KG-D901 and a KG-UV9D, with a little of the KG-UV899 keypad thrown in. On closer inspection, it's definitely different from all three. It lacks the bulging curvature of the D901, has a wider horizontal display than the 9D, and is considerably larger than the 899. That's not to say it isn't aesthetically pleasing. On the contrary, it is quite a handsome radio. It just has its own style, and considering its intended functionality, it fits in well.

    Wouxun KG-UVN1 Left SideThe KG-UVN1 is a powerful dual band handheld, with a powerful set of features to match. What we have is a 4 watt UHF, 5 watt VHF radio capable of operating in both digital and analog modes. It supports 3,072 channels, 250 zones, 255 receive groups, and 1,024 contacts. it has a full DTMF keypad, programmable buttons, and Wouxun's signature full color LCD display. It features Private Call, Group Call and All Call, Direct Mode and Repeater Mode, Text Messaging in Digital Mode, an ARTS function, and digital voice encryption. It has CTCSS and DCS in analog mode, remote monitor, remote check and remote enable/disable functions.

    And, like many import radios, it also has a built-in FM radio and a flashlight. Apparently Wouxun considers these last two as standard features for a commercial grade business radio, because they make it a point to build them into many of their models.

    The biggest feature, however, is the number of contacts. It's a huge number. The TYT MD-2017, the TYT UV380, and Anytone AT-D878UV are popular dual band DMR digital radios, each capable of storing over 100,000 contacts. The KG-UVN1 supports one hundred and sixty thousand contacts. This is the most of any radio on the market to date, including the Anytone and TYT models. This is the single greatest advantage of the KG-UVN1 for hams and is why we think this radio could cause some disruption in the amateur arena.

    Now, Wouxun did not particularly build the KG-UVN1 for the amateur. This radio was intended for business users. It was designed as a commercial radio, and if you look at Wouxun's web site, you're going to find it advertised with 1,024 contacts and an eight hour recording function.

    But not our KG-UVN1. At our request, Wouxun modified the firmware to create an amateur version of this radio with 160,000 contacts, just for hams. To do so, they had to make some room in the radio by eliminating the recording feature. So you don't get the eight hour record time, but that space is dedicated now to contacts.

    Why is that important? If you're using the radio for amateur operation, you're going to want to load in all of the contacts for the area or region in which you are using the radios. If you're hitting a wide network of DMR repeaters, you will see the call sign of anyone who is transmitting, right on the radio. There is a global database of contacts online at radioid.net, there are over 130,000 contacts worldwide listed in their database. The kicker? You can load every contact from that database into the KG-UVN1.

    But it gets even better. As a bonus, Wouxun has preloaded the radio with these contacts. Yep, that's right. The KG-UVN1 comes pre-loaded with every contact listed in the RadioID.net database. At last count, that was nearly 130,00 contacts, or 128,948 contacts, to be exact.

    So, right out of the box, if you buy the amateur edition of the Wouxun KG-UVN1 from Buy Two Way Radios, you're going to have all the contacts in the system, and quite possibly, all the contacts in the world preloaded into the radio, at the time the radio was loaded!

    Now, as mentioned, this is a dedicated amateur version of the KG-UVN1. At the time this article was written, this radio is not Part 90 type accepted or approved by the FCC for business use. So if you buy this radio now, what you're going to get is a radio that's locked to the amateur frequencies.

    The amateur version of the KG-UVN1 operates on 420 MHz to 450 MHZ UHF and 144 MHz to 148 MHz VHF. Once the radio receives its commercial approval and its FCC ID number, it can be updated for a wider frequency range within the approved specs. So, if you buy it now, you won't be getting a radio that's going to be obsolete in awhile, you're getting a radio that can be updated in the future to open it up to commercial frequencies. At the moment, it will work just fine on the amateur frequencies only.

    But then, if you're a licensed amateur radio operator, and you're buying this for amateur use, you really shouldn't need it to operate outside the ham bands anyway. Just sayin'.

    Some of the less prominent features are also somewhat interesting. These are all security related. Wouxun considers security and privacy important for business communications, so it added a few extra features to ensure the radio itself is secure for use in the field. These include the ability to set a security password for programming the radio and the ability to hide the menu or selected menu items from the end user. Wouxun also lists a feature called Menu Encryption, although at the time this article was written, it did not seem to actually exist in the list of menu options. It's no deal breaker, and probably not anything most hams would use anyway, but since Wouxun printed it in their manual and on the box, it's worth noting.

    Wouxun KG-UVN1 with battery packThe Wouxun KG-UVN1 is powered by a high capacity 2600mAh (19.24Wh) Lithium-ion battery pack. It is similar to the optional high capacity battery pack available for the KG-UV8D, although taller and heavier in weight. It weighs in at 4.41 ounces, compared to the 4.23 ounce battery for the 8D. It does make the radio seem heftier, but it also provides the N1 with substantial uptime on a full charge.

    Although the batteries and chargers are different, the KG-UVN1 is still easy to accessorize. it uses an SMA Male antenna connector, so, there are a plethora of OEM and third party antennas available that will work for it. Unlike the MD-2017, which uses a multi-pin connector, The KG-UVN1 uses the Kenwood two pin (K1) style connector commonly found on most import handheld radios such as the Baofeng UV-5R, Wouxun KG-UV8D, and TYT-MD-380. If you already have audio accessories for one or more of these radios, chances are they have this connector and they'll work with this Wouxun. That's definitely a plus for the KG-UVN1.

    Durability has never been an issue with Wouxun. This manufacturer produces high quality, business grade radios, and the KG-UVN1 is no exception. This isn't your twenty dollar disposable dual bander. The UVN1 is a professional grade two way radio with the solid, stout look and feel expected of such a device.

    Wouxun KG-UVN1 in chargerWouxun does understate the weight of this radio. According to the specs in their manual, it's 300 grams, or 10.58 ounces. It's actually over 11 ounces, or 11.71 ounces, to be exact, and that's including the high capacity battery. It may be a stout dual band DMR radio, but it's certainly not a full pounder.

    Then there is the price, and that's the best part. For all that's packed into this radio, the Wouxun KG-UVN1 is priced at only $159.99. That's a heck of a deal. It's the same price point as the MD-2017, and significantly less than the Anytone AT-D878UV. All things considered, it's a great price for this radio.

    In fact, this radio matches up very well to the MD-2017, but the UVN1 has some advantages that put it on top of the TYT and all the other amateur DMR radios on currently the market. The number of contacts, solid construction, high capacity battery, powerful feature set, compatibility with existing audio accessories and budget friendly price all combine to make the Wouxun KG-UVN1 a DMR Dual Bander for the serious ham.

    Want to learn more about the Wouxun KG-UVN1? Listen to an in-depth discussion about this new dual band DMR radio in Episode 137 of The Two Way Radio Show podcast!

  • New dual band DMR digital radio coming from TYT

    MD2017-final.pngTYT created quite a stir a couple of years ago when its iconic MD-380 DMR radio entered the market. The came the the MD-390, a waterproof, submersible digital radio with GPS capability. Now the company is about to make waves again, with the coming launch of the MD-2017 Dual Band DMR Digital Radio!

    Details are still sketchy, but TYT has released a few specs on this new handheld.
    Key features of the TYT MD-2017:

    • Dual band
    • Dual display
    • Dual standby
    • Complies with ETSI TS 102 360-1, -2, -3
    • Uses Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA)
    • Compatible with MotoTRBO Tier 1 and II
    • GPS capable
    • Lone worker function
    • Encryption function
    • Analog and Digital Modes
    • Single Call, Group Call and All Call
    • Remote Kill/Stun/Activate
    • IP67 Waterproof.
    • Firmware upgradeable

    Rumour has it the MD-2017 could arrive sometime in March 2017. However, no official release date has been set. For the latest updates on this new radio, Keep checking in at Buy Two Way Radios and subscribe to our blog!

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