So my quest continues for the perfect "cheap" radio. Below is a review I did for the new Wouxun KG-UV9D (NOT the 8D). With other amateur radio operators in this group, you might find it interesting.
One thing of note, the KG-UV9D doesn't have the 2.5kHz spacing.
So I did a little review on the KG-UV9D and posted it on BuyTwoWayRadios. Just reposting it here.
Wouxun has a winner here! BUT it's not quite perfect.
I purchased this radio during the pre-sale, and was very satisfied with it. But after using the KG-UV8D for almost a year, my expectations were just a little too high.
First of all, I have to say I LOVE my KG-UV8D and all the things I would change about it, I find in the KG-UV9D, but they left a couple of things out. First of all, let's start with what I don't like about this radio because it is a VERY short list. Let me preface this by saying I use this radio to rag chew every morning (well... almost every morning) and it gets a real work out. I've also used it hiking and for public service events.
OK... Now the bad.
Screen doesn't turn all the way off. Yep, I'm weird like that. I found the if I set the screen to off in the 8D, my battery life goes through the ROOF! I can't do that with the 9D and it does impact the battery. When I want to see what's happening on the screen, I usually just hit the "EXIT" button and don't bother with taking up a programmable button on the side for backlight.
No extra or extended batteries available (but I understand that extra standard batteries will be available soon) or a nice leather case.
Last ding, no crossband repeat. It's a nice feature on the 8D that I really like, and sort of miss it on the 9D.
Lastly, even though it has 240MHz coverage, it still doesn't receive the 1.25M ham band. (OHHHH so close...)
OK... Now the good things.
Change channel settings "on the fly". Yep this is a big one. You program in a channel, but then when you're actually using the radio you find that 90% of the time you only need 2 Watts and not 5, just change that setting for that channel, and it's done. Cycling power or channels doesn't revert back to the old settings. This also includes things like CTCSS/DCS, offset, and even channel name.
Solid Audio. Both transmit and receive. When Wouxun started shipping the UV8D's with the 1.05 firmware it was darn near perfect. The microphone in the 9D is sensitive but not overly so and the speaker is nice and loud for us hard of hearing folks.
Solid signal. Transmit and receive are pretty good, and I love the ability to have true dual receive.
So when I said that the improvements I would have liked to have seen in the 8D are now in the 9D? Yeah... they are ALL there.
Medium power. This is by far the best improvement in my opinion. I love having a 2 Watt setting. 1 Watt isn't quite enough sometimes, 5 Watts is more than needed, but 2 Watts seems to be "just right" for a lot of radio work and saves on your battery.
Wide Band Receive. Even receives AM for those that like listening to air traffic.
Visual Programming indicator. When writing or reading to the radio from the computer, the radio has visual indicators to tell you it's "talking" to the computer. Would have been a nice feature on the 8D, but it's in the 9D.
Size matters. The 9D is a little slimmer and longer than the 8D. This make the radio a little more comfy in the hand.
Programmable FM stations. Sometimes it's nice to have an FM radio available to listen to music or news. Having the ability to pre-program those channels is a God-send. You can even program these channels through the front pannel.
Easy "talkaround" function. One button press and hold, and you're now talking around the repeater. Very nice feature.
Backlight level control. Yep, another battery saving feature. Now you can dim that large beautiful screen to fit your environment.
Auto Power Off. Set the time, and if you leave the radio on by mistake your battery won't totally drain.
Various lock options. You can set the lock to engage on the keypad, keypad and rotary knob, keypad and PTT, or all three at the same time.
Good Tactile side buttons. No need to actually "look" at the radio to make sure I'm pushing the right button. All the buttons on the side have a distinct tactile feel to them.
And lastly, easy to use front panel buttons. The keypad on this radio is a little larger and the buttons are a little desire to press than the 8D.
Overall, the size, weight, and layout of this radio is SPOT on. it's just a nice radio to have in your hand.
Overall after using this radio for a month, it's a clear winner. It's just not "perfect" yet.
Would I recommend this radio to a fellow ham? Absolutely. In fact, I already have. Just a little side note. The smaller antenna that is available with this radio is on par with the original UV5R antenna. In fact, I find a stubby Nagoya is actually just as effecctive as the shorty that comes with this radio.
Again, a great little radio.