Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Wouxun KG-699E

I recently worked a local station on 4M FM and was impressed by the audio. I was even more impressed when he said he was using a hand held! I normally expect a somewhat muffed audio but this was crystal clear and excellent modulation. He was using a Wouxun hand held.

I had seen these on eBay but lumped them with similar makes in the “Cheap Chinese copy category” and so I had ignored them.

A search of the 4M website revealed them to be quite good on receive as well. Naturally they won’t have the strong signal handling capability of a fixed or mobile rig. I thought I would see what they cost? They were £86 on eBay but going directly to a shop in Hong Kong they were $113 including P&P.

409Shop don’t take cards but payment was okay through PayPal so I decided to take the plunge, registered with the shop and placed my order. The total cost came to £79

The radio arrived in about 7 days of the order and I noticed that customs said they opened it for inspection. Importantly they hadn’t decided to add any extra duty.

The photos says it all really – The radio was well packaged and came with a charger, belt clip, mobile phone type of microphone and ear piece. The two helical antennas cover upper and lower half of the radios coverage which is 66 – 88MhZ. The blue antenna covers 4 meters.

The user guide is fairly easy to understand and the menu system contains more features that I will ever use on 4M
You can monitor two frequencies at the same time. I like the way that you can set different step sizes on each VFO. So I have 12.5K on one and 10Khz on the other.

Its a nice size and the antenna isn't too long! Removing the lithium battery pack (Lasts about 24 hours on standby) reveals excellent construction.

This photos a bit under exposed (can you say that for digital snaps?) but I could obtain about 5 watts into a load. And 3 Watts into an infinite SWR. The antennas are a fairly good match so I expect its delivering close to the specified 5 watts. The power is adjustable down to 1 watt. Its a shame the squelch is in the menu but thats the only niggle I found.

So there you have it! I'm quite impressed with this radio and it fills a niche left by the big boys. They also make similar hand helds for 2M and 70cm and now a combined 2/70cm.

I have since purchased a nifty speaker mic ($12) which make the rig more convenient for long overs.

A word of caution. These radios can transmit out of band so only I would only recommend them to licensed amateurs i.e. Senior OMs who know the rules.