last updated 13 Apr 2006

Cheap Import Radios

There are a whole range of cheap-n-cheerful radios available by eBay or by other means of import, that are somewhat dodgy in terms of legality (there's a good reason why you can't buy them directly over here). These radios cover a wide range (VHF 136-174 MHz or UHF 400-470 MHz) with direct keyboard frequency entry, CTCSS and DCS. They seem like an inexpensive way to get onto 2m/70cm and possibly as a naughty PMR446 too, but... they have not been approved for use in Europe, let alone comply with OFCOM's UK two-way radio standards. Many of them only tune in 5/12.5/25kHz steps (although more upmarket ones do include the 6.25kHz needed for precise PMR446 channels), have twice the normal FM deviation (designed for 25kHz spaced channels), and offer 4 or 5 Watts.. so if you're tempted to use them for PMR446 you're not only using unapproved radios, they are especially naughty for being able to transmit on private mobile bands, they put out too much power, and they take up more than one channel at a time due to the wide deviation and not being exactly on the right frequency.

You can expect to have them confiscated if you're caught, and possibly find yourself in court. Even if you find one that is technically pretty much in line with PMR446 - one that has 6.25kHz spacings and can run at 0.5W with the correct deviation and stability - it will not have been approved and can probably have an external antenna connected (some use odd connectors but it's possible) but it might seem a safer bet that you'd get away with it. I'll leave that decision up to you.

They are cheap though - from 60 quid down to 30 or less - it could be hard to resist. For the price of a CB you could put one in the car wired up to the cigar lighter socket and a speakermic, connected to a 70cm amateur antenna, and enjoy three things in one : amateur 70cm, longer range PMR446, and extended RX (UHF scanning). I've seen reviews that say some of them are cheap, flimsy, unreliable rubbish; while others say that particular models come from the same factory as respected brands and are of the same quality, but simply unbranded.

So they're illegal for 446, and any licenced business user foolish enough to use them could expect to have them confiscated during any inspection... but are they at least OK for amateur radio? Given that an amateur is free to use anything he/she has built, so long as it produces a clean output, or use an old PMR radio that no longer complies with current PMR standards, seemingly the answer must be yes. The issue of wide tuning range with easy setting to out-of-band channels - this is one that's harder to answer. Ham radios have been 'opened up' for years, some even work over band edges as supplied from the dealer, and this has been the case for decades. The amateur is expected to operate within the terms of the licence, keeping within the amateur bands - it's as simple as that. If anyone knows the definitive answer on this, please get in touch on the forum.

One other thing to watch out for : many amateur handhelds can be connected to a DC supply, either by a socket or a clip/slide-on device that replaces the battery pack. Few of these imports seem to offer such a facility. Battery packs don't last forever (they say Li-Ion packs only last 2 or 3 years at best, whether used or not), so then what are you left with? A useless paperweight unless you butcher the thing and add a socket yourself.

On this page I will attempt to list all such radios that I have seen sold online, or have noticed being discussed in forums.


Abell

http://www.abell.com.cn/untitled/jianjie.html (China)
http://nowadays.biz/abell.html

TH-278
VHF

TH-378 EXTERNAL PIC (OR (LOCAL PIC) 60
UHF 385-425 or 435-470 MHz FM
DTMF/ 38 CTCSS/DQT, MIL-STD-810C/D/E, "like the Kenwood TK-378"

Manual http://www.kitsparts.com/download/radio/th378.pdf
Quick ref http://www.kitsparts.com/download/radio/TK-278%20manual%20programming%20a.htm
software http://www.kitsparts.com/download/radio/x78programming.zip

Battery Eliminator KNB14 will fit


FeiDaxin

Quanzhou Licheng Feidaxin Electronics Co. Ltd (China)
http://www.feidaxin.com/english/index.asp
http://feidaxin.manufacturer.globalsources.com/

FD-150
VHF

FD-450 EXTERNAL PIC (OR (LOCAL PIC)
UHF 400-470 MHz FM
1W / 5W, 50 CTCSS, 104 DCS

http://www.feidaxin.com/english/p1.htm


Jingtong

Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JT208_JT308/

See also Kington, when it's Anglicised!

JT-208
VHF 136-174 MHz
Manual http://www.kitsparts.com/download/radio/208.pdf

JT-308 EXTERNAL PIC (OR (LOCAL PIC) 30-45
UHF 400-470 MHz FM, Output Power 1.8-2.5w (one setting), Frequency Steps 5 / 10 / 12.5 / 25KHz, 38 CTCSS, no dtmf or amateur tone burst, Maximum freq.deviation < +-5khz Rated Voltage 7.2v NiCd Battery Pack, 30 Memories (not just 15!) and scan, repeater shifts, Antenna Connector SMA 50ohms "with a centre pin, the reverse of all the small amateur band hand-helds I've seen.", Dimensions 100x50x30mm (Approx), Display Backlit LCD, Sensitivity:<0.16uv(12db sinad), 2.5mm socket (ring: spkr, tip=mic)

Looks like a Kenwood TH42e ( ham.dmz.ro/kenwood/th-42e.php)
"poor ergonomics", "muffled mic audio, better with speakermic", "absolutely nothing wrong with the (build) quality" , "BTW the antenna that came with my radio was a really poor performer, that's why I also ordered a 1/4 wave antenna"
g4ilo.com/jingtong.html
g3vfp.org/jingtong.html
Manual http://www.two-way-radio.org.uk/information/jingtong-links.html
- and at http://www.freewebs.com/jingtong/
Battery eliminator available JT-3118 (UHF) (JT-2118 VHF)
Same as the Kington TG-3118


KenSung

KG-6228 EXTERNAL PIC (OR (LOCAL PIC)
UHF 400-470MHz FM, RF output power : 1.8w/2.5w, 38 CTCSS, Different freq TX & RX - or simplex operation, Memory channel : 99, inductively loaded 50ohm antenna, Maximum freq.deviation < +-5khz, Emission current < 600mA, Sensitivity < 0.16uv(12db sinad), "Display ctcss code", Rated Voltage : 7.2V(6xNiMH battery)

manual http://www.kitsparts.com/download/radio/6228manual.pdf
Battery eliminator available


Kington

A more English sounding version of Jingtong

TG-2118
VHF 130-170MHz

TG-3118 EXTERNAL PIC (OR (LOCAL PIC)
UHF 400-480Mhz 1.8-2.5Watt
100x50x30mm, 15 mems

"the good radios prior to april 2005 were blue screens and not green; blue screen radios have ctcss, green screen do not have ctcss"

Manual http://www.kitsparts.com/download/radio/31182118.pdf
http://www.geocities.jp/xradio89/RADIO/tg3118/
Battery eliminator available

Also seen in Jingtong and FeiDaxin versions


KYD

TK-238
VHF

TK-338 EXTERNAL PIC (OR (LOCAL PIC) 55-67
UHF 400-480MHz FM UHF, Output Power 4/5w Selectable, 5, 6.25, 12.5 or 25KHz Step selectable, CTCSS Compatibility, 99 Channels, Multi Purpose Tuning Knob, Bright White Backlight Display, Keypad for direct entry of a frequency, Keypad Lock, Headset Jack, Ability to clear all stored information quickly! Dimensions - Approx 100 x 55 x 32mm, 7.2v Li-ion Battery Pack.


Linton

www.linton.cn/

LT-2188 VHF, no keypad

LT-2288
VHF 136-174

LT-3188 UHF, no keypad

LT-3260 UHF(part), no keypad
either 400-429.9 or 440-469.9MHz

LT-3288 EXTERNAL PIC (OR (LOCAL PIC) 55-70
400- 470MHz FM, Output Power 1w/2w (5W?), 5, 6.25, 12.5 or 25KHz Steps, 50 CTCSS, 99 Channels, Multi Purpose Tuning Knob, Bright Blue Backlight Display & keypad, Keypad for direct entry of a frequency, Keypad Lock, Headset Jack, Ability to clear all stored information quickly!, Dimensions - Approx 100 x 55 x 32mm, 225g, PC programmable, NI-MH Battery, Repeater Shift, Battery level indication, 6-Digit Alphanumeric Memory Tags, Rugged Die-Cast Aluminum Case, Audio output: 1.5W, Auto power off, memory scan and frequencey scan, based on carrier or time,

"cheap clone of the Motorola gp338 plus", "excellent.. identical to more expensive pro radios"

"Very solid radios, well built with a professional feeling.. Perfectly clear transmission.. Scanning is extremely fast. It takes 5 seconds to scan the 99 channels I've programmed. Scanning by frequency does about five increments a second (5,6.25,12.5 or 20). CTCSS support, savable in the programmable channels"

Manual via http://www.hamforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=3993
Battery eliminator available

LT-6188 UHF, no keypad

LT-6288 EXTERNAL PIC (OR (LOCAL PIC) 55-69
440-470 MHz FM (no amateur 430 band), Output Power 2w/4w Selectable. CTCSS Compatibility, 99 Channels, Multi Purpose Tuning Knob, Bright Blue Backlight Display, Keypad for direct entry of a frequency, Keypad Lock, Headset Jack, Ability to clear all stored information quickly!, 7.2v Li-ion Battery Pack, Dimensions - Approx 89 x 53 x 29mm, 235g

Manual http://www.kitsparts.com/download/radio/6288.pdf
software http://www.kitsparts.com/download/radio/LT-6288%20V1.0E.zip
Battery eliminator available


Motorola

GP-68 EXTERNAL PIC (OR LOCAL PIC)
4W (UHF) / 1W, 130 x 57 x 29.5mm 404g, Rugged Design: MIL 810E, 20 Channels, 5/10/12, 5/20/25 kHz steps, Programmable repeater offset, Programmable PL/DPL/CSQ, DTMF Signalling, 1200 mAh High Capacity Battery Pack, Front Panel Programmable Features with Keypad Lock, Memory Scan with Nuisance Channel Delete, Radio to Radio Cloning, Low Battery Indicator, Receive Signal Strength Indicator (R.S.S.I.), Side Monitor Button, Programmable Time Out Timer, Adjustable squelch Level,

Battery Eliminator available.
reviews www.eham.net/reviews/detail/1295


Puxing

PX-777 EXTERNAL PIC (OR LOCAL PIC)
4W, 104 DCS, dtmf, 118 mem channels, Channel Steps 5k,10k,6.25k,12.5k,25k, Wide(25kHz) and Narrow(12.5kHz) available, Input Freq. By using keypad, VOX, Scan function, Three color LCD backlight display, Programmable by PC, Bell ring when receiving signal, Priority Scan Function, Adjust power Hi/Lo, Switching between Channel/Freq., Adjust squelch level(0-9), Busy channel lockout, Keypad lock, Power Supply 7.2V 1200mah LI-ion, 100 x 55.5 x 31mm 225g, Sensitivity <0.20ÁV, Selectivity 65dB, Standby Current 35mA, Transmit Current 1300mA/750mA, Max. Deviation ▒5kHz, Modulation Distortion < 5%, Frequency Stability ▒2.5ppm,

"quality looks good.. imho its 8/10 build quality."


Quansheng

Fujian Nanan City Quansheng Electronics Co., Ltd. (China)

K2AT / TG-2AT
VHF 136-174 MHz

K4AT / TG-4AT EXTERNAL PIC (OR (LOCAL PIC) 51-65
UHF 450-470 MHz FM (no amateur 430 band or 446), Output Power 4-5 Watts (selectable), Frequency Steps 5 / 10 / 12.5 / 25kHz, Instead of a keypad tone, this radio tells you in a clear voice what button you are pressing! Very good build quality, Easy release Battery pack, 99 memories, Antenna SMA fitting Inductively Loaded 50 ohms Imp., Dimensions (Approx) 80x50x28mm, Voltage 7.2v Battery Pack (NiMh), Bright Green Backlit LCD Power Socket for using a car charger. Headset Sockets (2.5mm,3.5mm), Maximum freq.deviation < +-5khz, Emission current < 1600mA, Voltage 7.2v Battery Pack (NiMh), Sensitivity < 0.16uv(12db sinad)

"good audio"
http://www.409shop.com/tg4at.htm
Battery eliminator available

TG-42AT EXTERNAL PIC (OR (LOCAL PIC)
http://www.409shop.com/tg42at.htm

TG-45AT EXTERNAL PIC (OR (LOCAL PIC)
http://www.409shop.com/tg45at.htm

TG-46AT EXTERNAL PIC (OR (LOCAL PIC)
http://www.409shop.com/tg46at.htm


WEIERWEI

VEV-3288s(V) VHF 136 - 174 mhz, 5W

VEV-3288s(U) EXTERNAL PIC (OR (LOCAL PIC) 68
UHF 400 - 470 MHz FM, Power Output (UHF) 4W, Channel Steps 5k,10k,6.25k,12.5k,25k, 50 CTCSS 104 DCS, 118 memories, Power Supply 7.2V 1200mah LI-ion, Dimension (H x W x D) 100 x 55.5 x 31mm, Weight 225g, Receiver Sensitivity <0.20ÁV, Selectivity 65dB, AF Output 500mW, Standby Current 35mA, Spurious Emission < -65dB, Transmit Current 1300mA/750mA, Max. Deviation ▒5kHz, Frequency Stability ▒2.5ppm , Wide(25kHz) and Narrow(12.5kHz) available, 1200mAh Li-ion battery, Input Freq. By using keypad, VOX built-in, Scan function, Three color LCD backlight display, Emergency Alarm, Programmable by PC Bell ring when receiving signal, Priority Scan Function, Adjust power Hi/Lo Switching between Channel/Freq., Adjust squelch level(0-9), Busy channel lockout, Keypad lock



Links

These links are provided purely for information. This site does not support or have any connection to any retail operations.

stores.ebay.com/digital-hotel

stores.ebay.co.uk/Electronic-Kits-and-Parts-Store

euroradiosales.com/ - via Gibraltar ( also stores.ebay.co.uk/euroradiosales )

www.kitsparts.com/radio/detail_radio.htm - and stores.ebay.com/KitsParts

stores.ebay.com/ng868

www.two-way-radio.org.uk/ - Amherst

ukscales.com/ ( also stores.ebay.ie/RSTRADE-COUK & www.rstrade.co.uk/ ) - sales via agent in Thailand running www.uk2way.com/

http://www.409shop.com/ (Hong Kong)