It is common knowledge that Chinese manufacturers sell their stuff to anyone who wants to pay for it. Well-known and respectable brands also don’t mind other brand names on their radios. It’s called OEM and the system is as old as the world. Yet this sometimes introduces problems. Firmware isn’t always the same, nor the functions some buttons perform. The UV-3R for example can be found under different names, and some of them don’t offer the same functionality as the original. I know for sure that one particular fantasy brand doesn’t support generating a 1750Hz tone, which is needed to open up European repeaters.
The UV-5R is available under at least three names: Baofeng, Ronson and Waccom. Bas PE4BAS wrote about the Waccom version, and concluded that he would never buy one. The Waccom proved to be rather deaf, and was easily outperformed by his cheap UV-3R. Knowing what a UV-5R is capable of, this surprised me – to say the least.
Now this might be just one sample, but slowly I start to suspect that buggy or older versions are dumped in large numbers, but labelled differently. The reason I’m getting more and more convinced that there’s something smelly about these fantasy brands, was the discovery of a relabelled Wouxun KG-UVD1P.
When I scrutinized the pictures of this Waccom WUV-6R, I noticed that some buttons are re-arranged, and that the charger is identical to the one Wouxun dumped as quickly as possible. This charger is built in such a way that failure is just a matter of time. Some components are missing, clearly to save costs. The worst mistake made in this charger is a missing heat sink, which would prevent an (already under-dimensioned replacement) PNP transistor from burning out. I repaired quite a few of those, and decided to keep a generous amount of spare parts in stock – something I normally don’t do.
Bottom line: can I prove my theory without a reasonable doubt? No, but you might do wise by sticking to the well-know brands / labels. A few bucks more could save you a lot of trouble. BTW, if you still seduced by the lower price of this Waccom, open up that crappy charger as soon as possible and add a heat sink.