I thought a review of our rigs in mainly order of aquasition.
My first rig was a FDK Multi-mode 2
This was not a bad rig and I had it for a while, but as if got older it became more and more problematic with sticking relays and dry joints. All older radios can suffer from these faults, but the FDK seem particularly prone to them. In the end it would drop out on any antenna that was not just about a perfect match. In the end a gave it to a new m6 friend on mine and after giving it a bit of tlc. It gets her out and is ideal for her needs. This rig did have SSB in it, but I always found that a bit of a washout on 2m, Unless of course you are into contests, which I never was and never will be. In fact I have access to another of these rigs now. It was faulty and repaired and is intended for use in our exploits with M0LFG
My first Chinese hand held radio (weierwei V1000)
This little hand held was cheap and it was just as well as in the end the channel change knob had a mind of it’s own. The Chinese radios have come a hell of a long way in just a few years. For the most part they perform very well and are cheap so it is not a great disaster if you drop it or something as they are cheap to replace. being around a 1/4 of the price of a similarly specified radio from the big boys of Amateur radio. In fact they show up the big boys, Why can’t they do it for these sort of prices. I suspect it is greed myself.
Yaesu Dual band 2m 70cm radio
Dual Band mobile. This was an OK radio, though it was an import and I don’t think it was quite a true Yaesu Radio. I suspect it was a copy. It did not last that long either. It suddenly went deaf and I have since heard of a lot of these radios developing the same fault. Kelvin had a look at it and contacted Yaesu who wanted over £80 for a new board. I was not prepared to pay this sort of money. So I let Kelvin Keep it.
Yaesu ft 2800m
This rugged little 2m radio is out on loan at the moment. It has a few dead segments in the display, but it is still easy enough to work out what it is displaying. This is the reason I would not sell itwhern asked and just said long term loan. I certainly woukd not sell it to a a friend in that condition. It was one of my first rigs that I bought second hand from Knights electocom and it has done everything I have asked of it. It has a wide power range of 5w, 10w, 25w and 65w, So I still can’t use full power, doubt I ever will be able to, but my wife can. I have never needed to use this sort of power level anyway, certainly not on 2m, 5w is my usual setting and seems to be all I need mobile and for the most part, Base station 2m radio is also set at 5W as well.
I bought this from LRSS, and it was the radio I used most at home. It has 2 powers 5w and 25w. I rarely need the higher power setting. It had no ctcss which is a pain, but it could open our local repeaters with a 1750htz tone. I have a board to put in it, but I haven’t got around to doing this and I doubt that I ever will now. The biggest disadvantage with this rig is that it grabs two antennas. 1 for 2m and 1 for 70cms. This rig is on long term loan to G4ZTD whjo has it set up as a part time SSTV repeater when we need it..
The Baofeng UV-5R
This was a rig that in my opinion started a bit of a revolution. Getting a dual band radio of any kind for around £30 was unheard of until this radio arrived and then they started popping up everywhere. Almost everyone I know who is involved in radio has one of these rigs now. Ok the torch is a gimmick, but it has to be said sometimes a useful gimmick and there are so many versions of this radio out there now it is hard to keep up. I will say this ,the Chinese offer their software for programming their radios as free downloads. Why cant the greedy big boys do the same? Especially as in my experience the software the big boys use seems cobbled together and is not very well written. Neither is the Chinese software, but at least it is free. The big boys seem to want as much for their software as you can pay for a complete Chinese radio.
Yaesu FT 990
This is my HF rig and I like its simplicity. It is not computer controlled and it is in fact an analogue rig It has memories which I never use. It has a brilliant auto tuner as well. Ok I know it is fooling the rig into seeing a 50ohm load and it doesn’t necessarily mean the antenna is resonant, but I am convinced it could tune up a wet string.
The Baofeng UV-B5
This feels a much better product than the Baofeng UV-5R and it runs a full 5w It is basically the logical upgrade to the UV-5R. We have both models and they both get used. though I think the UV-B5 gets used more now. The casing is much more like the weight and feel of the Big 3 manufacturers and there is little difference in quality now between the Japanese and the Chinese product. The audio level is a bit louder on this radio than it was with the UV5R, but we use a small fist mic with these radios and volume has never been a problem. I can report when I was using the cheap Chinese hand held in a car and using the antenna on the vehicle roof. No one twigged I am not on my normal Yaesu rig.
Yaesu FT 857
This is a brilliant little rig, there is such a lot in a small box. Bought it off a friend who wanted to buy a Digital SLR Camera and it was a nice smooth transaction. But it came with all the cables, auto ATU, head extension kit and a large PSU and a half size G5RV. I have no complaints with the deal we struck. I just have to get used to the rig now. Though it doesn’t seem to painless. The Auto ATU though is the complicated bit. I can work my way through the radio with the manual and set up what I want set up how I want it set up. The chap I bought it of is digging out the software for me. I seem to have the usb/com lead working. but it seems either chirp is not working or it wont work with this rig. Though it is supposed to. This Rig has become the basis for my go box.
The Baojie BJ-9900
The Baojie BJ-9900 was bought from the 409shop and took the usual 2 weeks to arrive. I believe it to have cost £120 -£130 as it was bought with other items. The exchange rate site I visited suggested it would be £155, but it clearly wasn’t. My total bill was £140 and that included a hatchback mount, n type to So239 adaptor and high quality coax for the car. Anyway the rig has had good audio reports and it is a 2m/70cm rig with a removable front head and separation kit (included in price) It can store 256 memory channels, 128 on the left bank and 128 on the right bank. I bought the programming lead as I wanted to program it all up before it goes into the car, as when programming via a PC the channels can be named. This is also true of the Boafeng’s as well. It produces 25w on low power and 50w on high power, slightly less on 70cms. They also sell a slightly cheaper model with less power and no removable front head. I have to say the chinese software to program these rigs it terrible and frankly a radio programed with it just didn’t work properly no matter what I trried. Also the sound quality when it was programed by computer was very harsh, but seems better when manuallly programed, which is easy and what I ended up doing, with just the the few frequencies I want to use.
I bought one of there from Martin Lynch as it was on special offer with separation kit I tend t0 use this at home now. Though I am at the moment rethinking my station and I am tempted to get another Yaesu FT857D and use that near the PC. Though I am undecided on that yet I may change the shack to a corner of the Dining room. But the radio is a good basic radio and seems pretty easy to use and program. Though I have to say not as easy as the Baojie to program manually. But this rig can have its memories named manually. The Chinese offerings can’t be.
Yaesu FT -817
This is a fantastic little QRP rig and can be a fully prtable sysytem. Especially when using a wonder wand or a wonder wand mag loop, both of which I have used with this rig at times. I have just kitted out an old alluminium case to hold this rig and all its associated bits. I would like to add a SLA battery at some point and I still think this might be doable and fit in the case providing some of the smaller bits move to the case lid