Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Shouao TS-668: Dual Band Mobile

You guys know how excited I was by the Leixen VV-808 mobile... I am on a quest for a simple, inexpensive mobile. I keep thinking if the Chinese can make good, cheap HTs that a mobile should be easy to do as well.

The Shouao TS-688 came across my radar and I thought maybe this is the one. It is even dual-band.

Specs are below.
main functions:
*  Frequency Range:   VHF:136-174MHz   245-245.9875MHz (220-260MHz)
                                        UHF: 400-480MHz
*  Output Power:       VHF: 10W/25W/60W
                                       UHF: 45W/25W/10W
*  1750Hz Tone
*  CTCSS/DCS setting & scanning
*  0-9 SQL grade setting
*  Frequency/Channel scanning
*  High/Mid/Low power selectable
*  Voice compander
*  Repeater offset shift
*  Keypad lock function
*  Contact book
*  Battery voltage display
*  DTMF/2 tone/5 tone
*  Remote kill/ stun/ activate/ revive
*  Emergenvy alarm
*  Wide/Narrow band setting
*  TX inhibit
*  Busy Channel Lock-Out
*  Channel name editing
*  Reverse frequency
*  Talk around
*  Scrambler(Optional)
*  Voice prompt
*  Time-out Timer
*  Auto Power off
*  VFO step setting:5/6.25/10/12.5/20/25/50kHz
Based Functions:
Semi-duplexer channels(UHF/66CH VHF/66CH)
High/Low power output(45W/High 30W/Low)
Large LCD display and button background light
Built-in CTCSS/DCS
Busy channel locked(BCL)
Time-out timer(TOT)
Optional encrypted board
PC and manual programming

That all sounded pretty good. Then I got a reply from the supplier saying that the cost for a single unit was $176 USD. I don't even know if that includes shipping. At that price, it didn't matter.

So what am I missing? Why is it so hard for someone to make a cheap mobile? Or am I the only one interested in them, so there really isn't demand to go down this path?


  1. Just a Baojie BJ-UV55 with another sticker. Low price though.

  2. The problem is the dealers cut, they get hold of the price "Double" it, add Tax or VAT @ 20% which is the case in the UK, and finally shipping charges. Then the price for something that starts out at below 60 Dollars from the factory becomes Hundreds which just makes it look totally silly. The dealer would argue he has to pay his staff, keep the lights on and make a profit. I would say if you halfed your price you would sell more?

    73 Steve


  3. @ Steve: US taxes aren't as insane as in the EU. A 2-way radio with a value below $200 (price + shipping + insurance) is free of duty. (dutycalculator.com). Above that amount you pay 4.4%.

    Apart from that I still advise people to buy a Yaesu FT-7900. The cheapest A-brand around, and excellent in ever respect. Yes, pricier than any Chinese radio, but worth it.

  4. Ok Hans,

    You still get slammed at 20% if you import from the US to the UK plus an additional amount by the post office for handling :-(

    I agree the Japs still lead the way with flawless performance and Quality Control, at the moment, I have the previous model the FT-7800, but soon the Chinese will be up to speed and thats not too long away now?

    73 Steve


  5. I live in china, so get these easily for what amounts to a very good price. yes it's inexpensive. I would describe it as "just OK". It does have bells and whistles - ctcss, dtss, FM broadcast receive, 128 memories, wide band rx, mosquito repellant mode? ya..what ever. The mic is cheap - and does not include DTMF. It does not include an internal speaker either - the mic is a speaker mic. The programming function is very similar to a Baofeng UV-5R -- with a PC its cool. Without a PC, its a pain to program especially when traveling/on the road. If you just need a cheap mobile for car around town, this certainly fits the bill, but i'd rather buy a good second hand / used single band rig from A-brand manufacturer. At $175 its an ok deal. Joe K7JOE/BY1

  6. The Yaesu FT-7900 sells for over twice as much ($366) as this on Amazon, and has no 220 MHz. If you do APRS or packet, then the Yaesu is the clear choice. Personally, that doesn't matter to me.

    As I see it, this whole controversy over A-brand vs. Chinese brand comes down to longevity. The A-brands are more reliably built and will last 20 - 30 years. But who knows what ham radio will be like in 20 years? In my opinion, it will be dead or some other (currently unknown) technology will supplant the FM repeater scheme. I'm looking at the Shouao as a base unit with much higher power than my Baofeng.

    It's more important to get more people on the air with cheap radios than it is to get a few people on the air with radios that will last the remainder of their lifetimes. If there's no one to talk to, your radio is useless, no matter how well-made it is.

    I would never have become a ham if I had to drop nearly $400 on a radio. There are too many other interests competing for my money. But a $50 BaoFeng wasn't a big gamble, and I got my licence. It's *a hobby*, after all. It's not as if I need a radio for my job or to save my life. Either way, you have a much better chance of "upselling" a Yaesu to someone who's already "in" than you do to making an initial sale to someone who's "out".

    Now, 220 MHz is pretty much dead, but you get the option to play with it on the Shouao. Hell, I live in a major metropolitan area in the U.S. and *UHF* is pretty much dead. Still, I like my toys to have options. So I'm not as ready to dismiss this as others are.