China’s Best and Worst of 2012

This is list is put together purely on technical data gathered during lab- and real life tests. Even I kept some of the equipment I labeled ‘worst’ just because they’re fun; always make up your own mind. The Baofeng UV-3R is a good example.

Category Dual Band HT’s

KG-UVD1PThe best:

  1. Wouxun KG-UVD1P (no flaws, but relatively expensive)
  2. Baofeng UV-B5 / UV-B6 (very close to perfect and dirt cheap)
  3. Quansheng TG-UV2 (great battery life, but lacks DTMF)
  4. Baofeng UV-5R (not perfect, but best price/performance)

The worst:

  1. Waccom WUV-6R (expensive Wouxun look-a-like with horrible front end)
  2. Baofeng UV-3R (worst harmonic suppression ever, front end not much either, volume bug)

Category Dual Band Mobiles

Wouxun-KG-920PThe best:

  1. Wouxun KG-UV920P (still a few loose ends, but getting there)

The worst:

  1. Anytone AT-588UV / AT-5888UV (so many flaws that you can’t sell it without being unscrupulous)
  2. Wouxun KG-UV920R (false start due to unreliable rotary encoders and disappointing harmonic suppression)

Category Dual Band Antennas

Antenna SMA FemaleThe best:

  1. The famous $3.79 antenna (as good as any for a rock bottom price)
  2. Nagoya NA-701 (good performer, sturdy)
  3. Nagoya NA-666 (good performer but easily bent)

The worst:

  1. Nagoya NA-773 (this one will destroy your PA module for sure)
  2. All other extendable antennas.

Category Test / Repair Equipment

Rigol DSA815The best:

  1. Rigol DSA-815TG (finally an affordable spectrum analyzer, no real flaws)
  2. Atten ADS-1102CAL (Digital Storage Oscilloscope for unbelievable little money. Stock probes suck though.)

The worst:

  1. Victor VC2002 Function Generator (no DDS, limited range.)

18 comments on “China’s Best and Worst of 2012

  1. Have you reviewed Antennas for Dual Band Mobiles? If so, what are your recommend ones (best performance, best price/performance, etc.)?
    Great reviews!

    • BTW, I just ordered 3 of the ‘$3.79’ antennas (actually, I just bought them from another seller on eBay who sells each for $3.59 with Free S/H).
      Mahalo for the help!

    • No, I never looked into that. I use a Nagoya NL-770H, which performs fine. I bought this one because I don’t like antennas with a plastic coil in the middle. These always seem to crack at some point in time.

  2. Did you evaluate the pre-release version of the Anytone AT-588UV / AT-5888UV or the final version that is now available?

    • Hi Brian,

      this was the pre-release version. From what I heard they fixed the microphone problem, but all other flaws/cons are still there. I won’t know for sure until I get my hands on a more recent sample.

      • Hopefully they get you one soon as I’m holding off on buying the Wouxun because I prefer the features of the Anytone.

  3. Pingback: Made in China, le classement 2012 par PD0AC | Actu-Radioamateur Made in China, le classement 2012 par PD0AC | Revue de presse de l'actualité radioamateur, et nouvelles technologies…

    • Constructing a resonant antenna requires a delicate balance between length and efficiency for a given frequency. You can’t make an antenna with a variable length without compromising one of the two.

      As soon as you let the user decide how long the antenna is, you will either
      1) create a high SWR, which might result in a defective RF power module,
      2) create an antenna which is not efficient at all.

      Actually, these extendable antennas do both at the same time. As long as you don’t use these antennas to transmit, you will be fine. If you do, your HT might end up like this one.

      • I understand but it would seem like you’d have to TX when the antenna was extended completely wrong (or not extended at all) to fry a radio like that. Pulling it out to its full length doesn’t seem like it would introduce enough variability to cause that high a SWR.

      • Angela,

        it proved to be impossible to get a reasonable SWR at all, the lenght didn’t matter. Even if it did, there’s no way for an owner to check this. Most handhelds do not have an SWR meter, and none of the Chinese HTs I had my hands on have any kind of SWR protection in the PA section.

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