Here Come the Chinese Radios

I happened to be in Hong Kong on business and wandered around the Kowloon area looking for electronic gadgets. I started noticing several different models of handheld transceivers, some of them marketed as ham radios. I counted at least 10 different brands of equipment, all made in China.

A Wouxun radio caught my eye, as I recalled some discussion about these radios being available at Dayton for a very reasonable price. I took a look at it and was pleased with the look of the radio. The price was right, too…less than $100 US.

This Wouxun KG-UVD1P is a very capable dualband 146 MHz/ 446 MHz radio. The whole idea of such a low cost radio had me hooked…I basically wanted to know if the radio was any good….so I bought one. (I have to confess that I forgot to negotiate a lower price which is common in these Hong Kong shops.)

I took the radio home and have been playing with it. So far, I am very impressed. I’d like to find some time to check out the performance with my test equipment, but that will have to wait. I’ve also noticed that there are some reviews and mentions of this rig on the internet: eham.net, W2LJWouxun web site and hamradioshop.it .   The N9EWO has quite a bit of detailed information about the radio on his website. He points out that this radio is not really a full dualband transceiver…the VHF and UHF receiver share some circuitry such that you can’t actually receive two signals simultaneously.

So here come the Chinese radios. Not a big surprise as many low cost electronic devices are manufactured in China. However, the Big Three (Yaesu, Kenwood and Icom) are Japanese companies and as far as I can tell have kept most of their manufacturing in Japan.

Amateur radio transceivers are a mature technology, so expect to see more of these Chinese radios showing up in the US.

Your Mileage May Vary, All Disclaimers Apply.

– 73, Bob K0NR

Update 10 July 2010 : there is a Yahoo group for discussing the wouxun radios.

Update 18 July 2010: Wouxun US website: http://www.wouxun.us/

4 thoughts on “Here Come the Chinese Radios

  1. I have two :) the 2 meter/440 version, and the 2m/220 version. Both work great! A friend put his on a service monitor, and all is well.. Deviation is right on, frequency accuracy is perfect. Everything is in spec.

    Good, solid performer. I’ve even worked satellites on it :)

  2. I wonder have these Chinese radios been aproved for sale in America ? I will be honest I do not think very highly of Chinese made radio equipment especially their shortwave recievers the cheaper ones the type that can be purchased at the Walgreens drug store ! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see some American made amateur radio equipment again ? Like a Zenith or an RCA dual band amateur handheld made in America by American workers made with American made parts ! Remember when radios and TVs were made in America ? The old motto for Zenith “the quality goes in before the name goes on” !The way things are going one day all electonic equipment will be made in China , and a person will be lucky if it lasts 6 months before it breaks or gives out ! Then be lucky if you can get it repaired !

  3. One of the main reasons I do not care to buy any electronic items made in China is that I really wonder how long they will work and if and when they breakdown can I get them repaired or replaced ! A couple of years ago an import company came around to the towns here in Northern Arizona selling items made in China , mostly tools , electric drills etc , a friend of mine purchased a China made electric drill at a very good price , the drill looked just like an American made Rockwell drill but way cheaper ! My friend thought he got a great deal , until a month and a half latter , the drill stopped working and he couldn’t find a place to repair it and couldn’t get it replaced ! So be aware of so called good deals any tool or electrical items made in China ! And as a side note before any of you purchase any ham radio equipment read the reviews from fellow hams about the item you wish to buy before you purchase it , check out the reviews on the various web-sites !

  4. Certainly many of the products coming out of China (electronic and others) have quality problems. This is very similar to Japan in the 50s when Made in Japan = junk. They learned over time how to make good products. The same thing is happening in China but they are not quite up to speed yet (my opinion).
    This is one reason I bought the radio, to find out how good it is. It does have a few design quirks (how the radio is intended to operate) but so far it performs well.

    Take a look at your US branded products and you will find many of them are made in China (see Apple, iPod).

    Bob K0NR