Review Waccom WUV-6R

There’s a lot of interest in the $76 Waccom WUV-6R, mostly because this radio is hard to tell apart from a Wouxun KG-UVD1P. It didn’t take long though to establish that these radios are non-identical twins, only sharing looks and accessories. Electronically they’re totally different beasts.

Waccom and Wouxun – the non-identcal twins

Things they share:
– Overall looks
– FM Radio
– Case
– Weight
– Connections
– Battery
– Charger

Things they do not share:
– Button layout
– Menu operation
– DSP (Waccom only)
– SDR-based (Waccom only)
– DTMF (Wouxun only)
– 1750Hz burst tone (Wouxun only)
– Manual quality
– Price

In the box
– the radio itself
– 1800 mAh battery
– Charger, 110V/60Hz – 230V / 50Hz
– Car charger
– Belt clip
– Hand strap
– Dual-band antenna, SMA-Female
– Manual

First impressions
If I would get this radio in my hand while blindfolded, I would shout ‘Wouxun!’ immediately. Looks, feel and weight are identical, only the antenna is slightly shorter.

After charging the battery, which is supposedly 1800 mAh, I fired up the radio and tried to get into the menu without reading the manual. That didn’t work. Menu operation is quite different from the Wouxun, so a bit of peeking into the manual was in order. For most functions you have to press Menu and Set, after which you can scroll through all the options. After pressing Menu again you can set the parameters. For some options there are shortcuts available, which can be accessed by pressing Menu and one of the keys on the keypad.

Programming the memories is easy, and you don’t need software to add meaningful alphanumeric descriptions to the channels. Some options are great, such as an easy to edit start-up message, the possibility to password protect the HT, and an option to (temporarily) disable the transmitter (TX inhibit).

Apart from the name, you wouldn’t notice the difference.

The manual isn’t perfect, but not as bad as some other ChinEnglish manuals I’ve encountered.  There are a few errors to report. One menu shortcut, ‘Switch change mode and scan addition’ (Menu + ‘0’) doesn’t exist. I have to clue what it’s supposed to do anyway. One page, showing the layout of the hand-held and all the buttons, is probably copied from the Wouxun KG-UVD1P. The picture shows an ‘Exit’ key, which is replaced by ‘V/M’ on the Waccom. No big deal, but sloppy.

Frequency ranges are 136-174MHz and 400-480Mhz. TX audio is excellent. There are three power levels to choose from: High, Medium and Low. Initial power measurements in the middle of our European bands are as follows:

Power output @ 145.000 MHz:
Low: 2.8 Watts
Medium: 4.8 Watts
High: 5.1 Watts

Power output @ 435.000 MHz:
Low: 3.9 Watts
Medium: 4.6 Watts
High: 4.8 Watts

As you can see, the difference between High and Medium is small. One other thing caught my eye: when set to low power on VHF, the power output jumps to 3.5 Watts momentarily before falling back to a stable 2.8 Watts. Weird.

Waccom claims a capacity of 1800 mAh for their batteries.

Although RX audio is loud and free of distortion, the receiver is generally bad news. Sensitivity is fine, but selectivity is not – especially when it comes to handling strong out-of-band signals. In my neighborhood the receiver almost immediately collapsed under the ‘pressure’ of a digital TV transmitter located about 600 meters from my QTH. This is a big disappointment. Actually, in this area the much cheaper Baofeng UV-5R outperforms this Waccom by a wide margin – and that one is far from perfect either. When I get out of the city, the problem disappears.

The DSP works, but shouldn’t be overstated. All it does is killing off noise by muting the higher frequencies in the audio spectrum. The system kicks in when the signal strength drops below a certain level. The DSP reacts rather slow and can be best compared to the one we know from the Baofeng UV-3R.

The Waccom WUV-6R is a bit of a disappointment. In general I don’t care much about the transmitter part – if the power output is OK, the signal is clean and TX audio is fine, I’m happy. When it comes to receivers, I’m way more picky. Unfortunately this is the area where this Waccom fails miserably. Unless you live in an area where no other strong out-of-band signals are present, you will be very disappointed. The lack of DTMF makes the WUV-6R useless for Echolink purposes, and the lack of a 1750Hz burst tone means that Europeans can’t open a large number of repeaters.

In the end I can only conclude that the Waccom WUV-6R is not only outperformed by top-notch HT’s like the Wouxun KG-UVD1P and Quansheng TG-UV2, but also by the (much cheaper) Baofeng UV-5R. However, if you don’t live in the EU, nor in a RF-polluted area, and you want a cheap HT which shares Wouxun accessories, you’ll probably be a happy camper.

16 comments on “Review Waccom WUV-6R

  1. Bedankt Hans, voor de Waccom en Baofeng reviews, de Waccom leek op het eerste gezicht wat, maar inderdaad als je geen 1750 hebt op zoiets….. heb de Baofeng op de 409 besteld…. die heeft behoorlijk wat in huis… heb helaas slechte ervaring gedaan met een Intek.

    • De Waccom leek ook te goed om waar te zijn. Over de Baofeng UV-5R: ik betrap me erop dat ik ‘m steeds vaker pak. We (vooral ik) zeuren wel over de dingetjes die niet helemaal perfect zijn, maar voor die 40 euro is en blijft het een topdeal.


  2. Even een accu(ut) vraagje….. als dus blijkt dat de schatting van de/een portofoon, voor het vol zijn van een accu, is het dan goed, om dan nog een keer te beginnen met laden, of is dat zinloos ?

    • Vol is vol, nog een keer laden is zinloos. Hou je nooit vast aan de indicatie op portofoons, aangezien die vaak onbetrouwbaar zijn. De lader is een betere indicatie. Als deze op groen springt, dan is de batterij geladen.

      • De Intek KT-950EE heeft geen laad indicatie op het laad standaardje, dus dat is dan alleen zichtbaar als je de laad kabel aansluit op de portofoon zelf.(weer zoiets)
        Heb spijt van de aanschaf van deze Intek, het wachten is dus op UV-5R.
        Voordeel van de Waccom en de UV-5R lijkt mij wel, dat ze een grotere accu hebben.

  3. Hi Hans,
    Thanks a lot for the review, very informative, keep up the good work!
    I was wondering if you have had any chance to test the new Weierwei VEV-V16 dual band:

    Or what I believe is an identical twin (inside, the case is obviously different), the Puxing PX-888K:

    They both use the standard Puxing accessories. They did not get much press but seem to have very nice features and are almost as cheap as the Waccom.

    • No, but I’ve been looking at the Puxing version. Especially the 5-tone SelCall and (optional or standard?) voice scrambling caught my eye. I don’t see these options in the Weierwei specs though.

      • Hi,
        Yes the weiewei vev-v16 also has voice scrambling (8 groups), 5-tone sel call etc (a friend of mine just ordered and received one so I can confirm). The weierwei also use the exact same batteries.
        I think except for the case both radios are identical (just as the weierwei v1000 was identical to puxing px-888 single band).

  4. Pingback: Review Waccom WUV-6R | Banbury Amateur Radio Society

  5. Mannen enig idee hoe je bij een meegeleverde USB kabel de protofoon kan programmeren? met bijgeleverde CD de driver voor window7 geïnstalleerd kan hij geen verbinding maken. is zo’n speciale Chinese USB-kabel? wie kan me helpen

    • Ik kreeg die Prolific USB drivers ook niet aan de gang onder W7. Elke keer verving W7 de juiste, net geïnstalleerde driver weer door een of andere generieke driver uit het eigen systeem. Ik werd er gek van. Een typisch Windows 7 probleem dus; ik kan van weinig nut zijn.

      Werkt allemaal prima op een oude XP bak, en daar heb ik alles maar in gezet.

  6. Ok Hans,
    Dank je voor je snelle antwoord, ik heb ergens ook nog wel een XP bak staan volgens mij, zullen we het daar dan maar ook proberen.

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