A little bit late, but better late than never!
The best Chinese hand held:
- Baofeng GT-3 Mark II. Good, bright and loud TX audio, a good front-end and a good stock antenna tuned to ham radio bands.
- The Baofeng UV-B5/B6. Has been around for some time, but still one of the best buys out there.
- Most Wouxun dual band radios, and the (now ancient) Quansheng TG-UV2. These are more expensive, but worth it.
- Zastone ZT-2R. Excellent miniature hand held, 100% identical to the Yaesu VX-2R. Receives from 500 KHz up 10 1000 MHz.
- There are Anytone hand helds which might belong into this category, but these didn’t arrive in time to be incorporated here.
The worst Chinese hand held:
- To be honest, there really isn’t one. Most just fall into the category “You get what you pay for”, even the $17 Baofeng BF-888S. Just don’t expect top quality. TX/RX audio and the ability to keep unwanted signals out will disappoint at times.
Most interesting hand held developments:
- Wouxun KG-UV8D and Puxing PX-973. With two independent VFOs and cross-band repeater capability these radios offer more or less the same functionality as a mobile radio.
- TYT DM-UVF10. This radio combines analog with digital (dPMR), and is dual-band instead of single band. While pricey and not yet 100% perfect, this radio is a shape of things to come.
Best mobile radios:
- Alinco DR-138 (VHF), DR-438 (UHF) and DR-638 (VHF/UHF). While based on Anytone designs (AT-588 mono-band and AT-5888 dual-band), Alinco managed to shave off the last annoyances that were left.
- The VERO VR-6600PRO might deserve a place here, but we can’t be sure until we got our hands on one. My review sample is in transit.
- QYT KT-UV980. A total waste of money, unless the manufacturer sets things straight — FAST.
- Leixen VV-898. It’s fun, but quality-wise underwhelming in almost every respect. Reports suggest that the failure rate is high.
Best technical ham radio blog:
- KA7OEI. Doesn’t post every day, but if he does I’m often glued to the screen. Some of Clint’s posts (such as the Pointless 10 Meter DSB QRP transmitter) are plain fun to read!
Best ham related websites related to Chinese radios:
- Chirp. More and more hams start to rely on Chirp more than on any other radio programming tool.
- Miklor. If you have trouble figuring out your Baofeng radio, John’s website is the place to go.