What’s up with Waccom?

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.

The Waccom WUV-6R, as seen on http://www.409shop.com.

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.

You get the worst charger ever. Failure guaranteed.

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.

3 comments on “What’s up with Waccom?

  1. A few month ago I had Bought a TYT UV3R. This TRX would be total different according the Baofeng UV3R. After using it for a short while and doing some serious test I disagree and found out that the TYT had the same problems as with similiair porto’s as Baofeng and Wouxun. It even seems that this UV3R comes from the Wouxun fabrics Instead from TYT what you would expect. I bit deaf onto the lower frequenties, and a very poor microphone audio. With most porto’s the power output is very disappointed. The folder gives 2.5W, The manual 2.0W and the test not even 1.5W. Onto 432MHZ its a bit better then onto 145MHz.
    Unfortuannly the power is peaked aound 438MHz, nice for the use of the german repeaters.
    Another item what I want to mention is the poor spurious rejection. According the maual this had to be -50dbc. My oppion is that this should be much better. So far I know only the Quang Sheng porto’s have a spurious rejection according our telcecom rules.
    I have tried to use my UV3R into the car. Here it is useless the noise of the lectrical system is so loud that you can better turn the rig off. Here I can better use my VX2R, no electrical noise to hear and a much better microphone audio then most chinese junk.
    This whas my first chinese rig and probable even the last one. I am now saving for another good old Japanese one.

    PA3CMD (pa3cmd@qsl.net)

    • Hi Eim,

      the UV-3R was bad news from the beginning. These radios would never get an FCC approval. Apart from the poor (should I say: non-existent) harmonic suppression, these ht’s can’t handle strong out-of-band signals. Build quality isn’t much either. They’re marked ‘Toy’ on the customs declaration, and that’s exactly what they are.

      The Wouxun KG-UVD1P however is excellent, and more than capable of competing with most Japanese radios. This radio will cost you more than $100 though.

      Still, my Yaesu VX-170 and VX-177 mono-band transceivers outperform any radio I tested so far. Expensive, yes (about 160 euros), but worth every cent. As a bonus they can take an almost insane amount of abuse, and they’re 100% water-proof. Kick them into a canal, pick them up 30 minutes later and they will still work.


  2. Hallo Hans, ik heb natuurlijk niks nagemeten aan die porto’s. Mijn conclusie was puur uit een praktisch oogpunt. Heb de UV-3R naast de UV-5R gehouden en toen de dichtstbijzijnde repeater geopend. Op de UV-3R kwam de repeater ruisvrij over, dat was helaas niet het geval op de UV-5R waar de repeater nog maar net over de squelch drempel kwam (ingesteld op 1 !!) en met een hoop ruis. Hoe de kanaalscheiding, harmonisen etc. etc. zijn kan ik praktisch niet beoordelen omdat het altijd rustig is hier op 2m en 70cm.

    Overigens stond op het pakketje met de UV-5R ook TOY ! 😉

    73, Bas

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