Friday, May 16, 2014

Wouxun KG-UV8D

First and foremost, thanks again to the guys at BuyTwoWayRadios for loaning the KG-UV8D to me.

For the TLDR crowd, I'll sum up by saying that I think this radio is the next step in the evolution of the Chinese handheld transceivers. I say this for a few reasons. First, I think we will start to see a lot more color displays. The true dual receive is a step forward as well. While I don't believe that cross-band repeat will now be available on every new radio, it does demonstrate the potential capabilities coming out of China. And little things like the blinking phone icon for activity (that I discuss next) also add up to make this an great evolutionary step.

As I mentioned, I'll start with a small thing that makes a huge difference and makes me wish all my radios had this feature - the blinking phone icon to indicate which frequency had the most recent activity. Such a simple thing, but when you aren't staring at the screen and are monitoring two repeaters owned by the same ham, it eliminates any confusion about where the activity was.

And for what it's worth, I do like green for the "A/B" and "EXIT" buttons. It just makes navigating a little easier. I don't know why the new radios have all black buttons - saving a penny in the manufacturing cost?

From a subjective perspective, I really like how the radio feels in my hand. It isn't that much thinner than the KG-UV1DP, but it feels better. I also like the feel better than the Baofeng UV-5R.

The dual receive works perfectly. While my brain/CPU can't always follow two conversations at once, it allows me to hear both and then easily pick one to monitor using the RPT button to switch to the single frequency mode.

As for the cross-band repeat, I did not encounter any problems using it. I think it is a great feature/option to have, but not something I will use all the time. For temporary usage I think it is perfect, but I cringe anytime I read about someone trying to make this a "permanent" repeater.

Speaking of options, the KG-UV8D lets you customize the functions of some of the keys, so you can tailor it a bit to meet your preferences.

People always ask about the S meter on these radios. Between my good QTH and mostly listening to some great repeaters, I don't see much besides a full meter. Here is a short video here showing something besides zero and full strength.

Scanning is fine for my use, but by others' standards it is still too slow. A sample is here, so you can decide for yourself.

John has a mini-review on the Yahoo Group:
"Receive sensitivity is very good- about 0.25 microvolt.
Transmit power- 5W VHF, 4W UHF
True Dual Band Rx- you hear both upper and lower simultaneously
Easy to setup XBand repeat
Nice large multi-color display 
Back light stays on during scan- same as other Wouxuns. Seems it should be OFF during scan and ON when it stops on an active channel.
Scan is still not professional- scan stops when any button is pressed. As a result, if you think you are scanning but bump any button, scan stops and you don't know it. The scan button should start and stop scan period, unless it is in SE mode where it automatically stops on any active channel.
The 8D is a very nice radio and it will replace my aging (but still working) 4 year old KG-UVD1P."
My test unit would do 135 to 174.995 and 400 to 479.995 out of the box. Miklor has the software to expand the frequencies (134 to 174 and 400 to 519), but you do so at your own risk.

Hans has the KG-UV8D on his test bench (along with the Puxing PX-UV973) and reports that harmonic suppression and sensitivity measurements are where they should be expected. He goes on to say:
"preventing both oscillators of interfering with each other
Here both radios fail miserably. For some reason both manufacturers weren’t able to to get this right, resulting in an awful lot of spurious emissions up and down the carrier. 
The problem is most evident when you’re receiving around the third harmonics of your transmit frequency."
His post indicates more information will follow.


  1. Fantastic review, Brick. I agree with your points. This is a great little radio.

  2. Thanks for the review. Hoping to see a follow-up on your thoughts on receive sensitivity and tx performance.