Preview Anytone AT-6666

This is a preview and not a definitive review; the sample I got is just a snapshot of a product under development. This means that features, bugs and test data can change. All you’ll get is a basic idea of what to expect. Many thanks go to K-PO, the company that sent me this sample.

The radio didn’t come with a manual, so I tried to figure out the menus by trial and error.

Anytone AT-6666 Front

Anytone AT-6666 Front

Anytone AT-6666 Back

Anytone AT-6666 Back

Dubbed to become the successor of the AT-5555, I wondered if some flaws were fixed, or about to be fixed. When I reviewed the Superstar 6900N, which I still own and use, I ran into a few problems. The most prominent one was the presence of unwanted mixer products up and down the carrier.

CRT France, apparently very annoyed by my findings, refused to send a service manual. This ruled out the possibility of finding the cause, let alone a fix.

Last flaw: 5 KHz steps are too coarse for amateur use.

“Export Radio”
The AT-6666 is one of many so-called export radios. An export radio is basically a CB transceiver that can’t be sold legally in most countries. Either the power output is too high, the frequency range is too wide, or some modes aren’t allowed. In most cases all of the above applies.

The trick some manufacturers use is to initially limit the frequency range to 28.000 – 29.700 MHz and advertise these radios as ham radio transceivers. Suddenly these radios are legal to sell, because ham radio operators may use any mode and generally don’t have to worry about power output restrictions.

The catch: without exception it is very easy to modify these transceivers and change them into an (illegal) CB radio.

Anytone AT-6666 frequency ranges

Band Channels / band
Frequency Range Remarks
A 40 28.0000-28.1950 MHz Amateur mode
B 40 28.2000-28.3950 MHz (Default)
C 40 28.4000-28.5950 MHz
D 40 28.6000-28.7950 MHz
E 40 28.8000-28.9950 MHz
F 40 29.0000-29.1950 MHz
G 40 29.2000-29.3950 MHz
H 40 29.4000-29.5950 MHz
I 20 29.6000-29.6950 MHz
Band Channels / band Frequency Range Remarks
A 40 25.615-26.005 MHz “Export Mode”
B 40 26.065-26.505 MHz
C 40 26.515-26.955 MHz
D 40 26.965-27.405 MHz
E 40 27.415-27.855 MHz
F 40 27.865-28.305 MHz
G 40 28.315-28.755 MHz
H 40 28.765-29.205 MHz
I 40 29.215-29.655 MHz
J 40 29.665-30.105 MHz

Other factory specifications
– Modes: AM/FM/SSB
– Power Output: AM 60 Watts, FM 50 Watts, SSB 60 Watts
– CTCSS and DCS encoder/decoder (optional)
– Automatic Squelch (AM/FM)
– Computer Programmable
– Power / Signal Strength / SWR indication
– Dual Watch
– Scan mode
– Roger beep
– Adjustable echo
– Multi-color display

First impressions
The first thing I noticed is that this radio looks more like ham radio equipment than previous models. The ‘old’ Anytone AT-5555 and all its identical twins can be recognized as CB radios from miles away, but this model could fool you.

The AT-6666 is a small radio: 24.6mm x 15.7mm x 4.8mm  (depth x width x height, heat sink and knobs included). The microphone is simple but ergonomic with Up and Down buttons located on top.

The LCD background color is selectable, something I like a lot.

AT-6666 Colors

AT-6666 Inside
If this is a beta version, it doesn’t show. This is a nice PCB, neatly built.

Anytone AT-6666 InsideRF power is generated by four 13N10 Power MOS FETS (download specs here). Three are mounted at the back, one at the left.

13N10 Power MOS FETS

13N10 Power MOS FETS

Harmonics, Phase Noise and Mixer Products
Whatever Anytone did they did right: the strange, unwanted mixer products are gone, and harmonic suppression is excellent. There’s no phase noise of any importance present, which is a sign of a stable oscillator.

AT-6666 Harmonics

With a harmonic suppression better than 60 dBm, this Anytone joins the ranks of the best.

AT-6666 Carrier

No phase noise, no unwanted mixer products.

Frequency accuracy
At the highest resolution of the counter I measured a difference of +5Hz. Such a small difference is completely irrelevant.

Power Output Measurements (@ 29.000 MHz)
FM: 40 Watts
AM: 15 Watts carrier, 30 Watts @ 100% modulation
SSB: 55 Watts

Not quite at the promised levels yet. Don’t forget that this is a preview sample.

Menus
The menus are divided in two parts. One is hidden under the menu button, the other under the channel selector. The menus pop up when you press these keys for about one second.

Channel Selector Menu

  1. Hi Cut (on/off)
  2. Noise Blanker (on/off)
  3. Echo (on/off)
  4. +10 KHz (on/off)
  5. Roger beep (off, 1-5)

Main menu:

  1. Beep (on/off)
  2. Indicator (Off, SWR, Time Out Timer, DC Voltage)
  3. Microphone Gain (1-36)
  4. NOG (monitor volume, 1-32)
  5. TOT (Time Out Timer, Off / adjustable up to 600 seconds)
  6. TSR (High SWR Protection, On/Off)
  7. TDC (High Voltage Protection, On/Off)
  8. SCM (Scan Mode, SQ/Time)
  9. FIN (Fine Tune, RX only / TX only / Both). Adjustable with Clarifier, range ± 1.5 KHz.
  10. Color (LCD background color, for choices see above)
  11. Reset

The front panel of the radio is more or less self explaining. You have an on/off/volume knob and adjustable RF power, RF Gain, Clarifier and Squelch pots. At the back we find a micro USB connector, so there’s no need to open up the radio in order to program it.

On the air
The first thing I noticed is that the quality of the modulation improved. The AT-5555 / Superstar isn’t bad, but a bit on the tinny side. This radio sounds more like my Yaesu FT-900. I could work what I heard, and in the end that’s all that counts. Sensitivity is fine and on par with the previous models.

The verdict
For a beta version there are surprisingly few flaws to be found. Almost all of my gripes were addressed; the AT-6666 is what the AT-5555 should have been, or what I hoped it would be.

There are still a few things on my mind:

  • The price is unknown, hence price/performance is unknown,
  • The passive cooling is likely insufficient. The heat sink gets really hot, and does so in a short amount of time,
  • Still 5 KHz steps at default on 10 meters. Smaller steps can be set by pressing the channel selector momentarily, but the radio will default to 5KHz as soon as you let go. Oh well, it’s a CB radio, right?
  • I didn’t look into all the details of the programming software, but it appeared to work as advertised.

Bottom line: I like this radio. I like it a lot.

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