First impressions iRadio UV-588

The radio arrived early this morning and I immediately charged the battery. It’s a good looking little radio, about the same size as the Baofeng UV-B5. If you disliked the somewhat boring and rather small display of the Baofeng UV-B5, you will be pleasantly surprised: it’s large and the readability is excellent. The backlight color is amber and can’t be changed. Nice backlit keypad too.

All features of the radio can be programmed without software. I like that. Alpha tags can be six characters in length, which is perfect for ham use. The first reports from my loyal group of local nit picking hams were, without exception, favorable. Loud and clear TX audio, just the way we like it.

RX audio is good too. No distortion whatsoever. The receiver of the UV-588 could be a surprise. My first impression is that the receiver is on par with the Baofeng UV-B5. If true, this would be the second cheap radio from Chinese origin with a decent front end. I have to compare both radios to be sure, something I will do tomorrow. Sensitivity is no issue; all radios I tested lately perform about the same.

I tried desperately to drain the battery today, but that proved to be impossible – still 2 out of three bars are displayed. This could indicate that battery life is great.

The factory specs listed on AliExpress aren’t 100% correct – there are no 2.5 KHz steps. I don’t have any programming software yet, but because this is an SDR-based design, it will probably accept any frequency if you program it by computer. The Baofeng UV-B5 for example doesn’t accept manual entry of 2.5 KHz steps either, but has no problem accepting them when you use the software.

Drawbacks so far: no 1750Hz burst tone, no DTMF. I knew this in advance. While complete, the manual suffers from strange English spelling and grammar. Oh well.

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