The Wouxun KG-UV6D Dual-Band Handheld is a feature packed radio boasting 2.5 kHz stepping for 2013 narrowband compliance and Part 90 certification for business use making it a great low-cost portable for hams as well as security officers, volunteer first-responders, and search and rescue with its front panel programming which may come in handy in the field.
Low price radio with narrowband compliance and Part 90 certified is what caught my eye with this radio. This radio is one I could keep in my EDC bag for emergencies or for when the time arises to keep in contact with others. Having the capabilities of plugging in most frequencies between 136.000 – 174.995 MHz and 406.100 – 470.995 MHz should keep connected to the local ham repeaters and a few GMRS repeaters I am familiar with.
I unboxed the Wouxun KG-UV6D , I immediately connected it to my computer with the optional programming cable and the awaiting programming software to enable the menu button for field programming. The menu operation of this radio is a little ‘wonky’ but it seemed after a few hours of digging through the menu and getting familiar with it I caught on quite easily. First thing that I noticed, I was unable to set any channels to receive only via field programming as I like to do this for public safety frequencies to prevent accidental transmissions. After toying with the menu for a while I plugged it back in and opted to try the programming software where I could easily complete my RX only channels.
The dual receive function of the screen and switching the master channel from A to B is quite easy with the designated A/B button giving you easy access to transmit to either channel easily during dual-receive or more like dual-watch as this radio can’t actually receive 2 simultaneous frequencies. The dual-watch feature is changed to single easily using the S/D button on the front panel, I find myself using the single 98% of the time. The nice feature of dual watch is that if needed I can set the dual watch to VHF/UHF, VHF/VHF, or UHF/UHF and it seems to me that whatever channel it set to master takes priority over the sub channel during receive.
NOTE: Be sure to order the Wouxun programming cable at the same time. The cable is necessary to program the KG-UV6D as the front panel programming comes disabled due to FCC Part 90 regulations but is easily enabled with the programming software.
The Wouxun KG-UV6D will in no way ever be able to stand up to the ‘Big 3′ (Yaesu, Icom, Kenwood) but as I said above, it would go nicely in my EDC backpack, for when and if the need arises, I need it to communicate in an emergency or during a phone outage. I haven’t spent enough time with the radio to know if I would consider it a good primary handheld for Ham or commercial use but I plan to put it through the paces and will update as I do.
The stock Wouxun KG-UV6D dual-band antenna seems to be a little cheap and it could use an upgrade and the PowerWerx Wouxun KG-UV6D comes with a standard SMA jack and not a reverse SMA that some of the KG-UV6D’s are coming with based on reports from the internet. I am unable to compare it to Wouxun’s KG-UV3D but it seems it is very similar except for a few button changes, cosmetics, and the adding of narrowband and 2.5 kHz steps.
Not being able to add or remove scan channels from the KG-UV6D is a major setback for me. This can only be done via the PC Programming software and can be a major inconvenience. Even a lockout option would come in handy as I could set all channels to scan and lockout the unneeded channels as they arise, but it even lacks this function and I’m surprised it was overlooked.
The KG-UV6D probably has the weirdest backlight operation I have seen on a handheld. The radio has 2 settings, auto and manual. When its set to manual, the backlight shuts off as soon as a button is pressed but when set to auto, the light functions as it should and comes in at front panel keypress then shuts off after 5 seconds except during scan and then it stays on during scan operation.
For the $180 price tag it’s not a bad radio but not a perfect radio. If you don’t necessarily need Narrowband Compliance then you may go for the KG-UV3D and save yourself the $50-$60 as it is almost the same radio.
I had a problem with the LCD on my KG-UV6D. It completely went out and was impossible to use. I shipped it off to Powerwerx and they repaired it and shipped it back on the same day they received it. No problems and no questions asked. It also appears they replaced the whole front cover as I originally lost the Wouxun label on the front and it was back and there was once again a plastic tape over the screen (Edit: The front cover also has the model as KG-UV6X - definitely replaced front part of the case). It is very possible they replaced everything but the back cover as to keep the serial # intact.
I did notice that the new KG-UV6X only has a 12 month warranty to where the ‘D’ models had an 18 month warranty.. Glad I had the old 18 month warranty as I took my time at getting it returned for repairs.
Pros and Cons
- Low price as compared to other Dual-Band handhelds.
- Lightweight and compact.
- 1700 mAh Li-Ion long life battery pack which gives me about 2 days of use.
- Optional AA battery pack to use in a pinch if I’m stuck with a dead battery.
- 2013 narrowband compliance and 2.5khz steps
- ROHS compliant (actually I don’t care, I gave up licking and chewing on circuit boards a few years ago)
- Front panel field programming option can come in handy when in dire need to add something.
Please comment with any suggestions to the following.
- Case and belt clip seem cheap and lightweight.
- Unable to add or remove scan channels from radio, must use programming software or lockout function.
- Unable to set a channel to receive only via radio, must use programming software.
- Backlight turns off as soon as a button is pressed unless its set to auto. When backlight is set to auto, it stays on while continuously while scanning.
- Radio stops scanning when backlight is turned on.
- Unable to see transmit offset of a channel on radio when it is programmed via software, offset shows as “- – - – - – -”.
- When offset it programmed via software it shows both + and – “+-” as offset direction instead of the actual direction. Only shows the actual direction if programmed via radio menu.
- This radio lives up to its cheap Chinese electronics stereotype in some ways.
- During dual receive, when the master line is set to scan, the sub line does not receive but I may be mistaken and I need to test this more.
- 2.5 steps and 2013 narrowband compliance
- 200 memory channels
- Dual alpha-numeric backlit display
- Loud 500 mW speaker
- Built-in flashlight
- Wide/narrow bandwidth, 25 or 12.5 kHz
- PC programmable
- Field Programmable