Anyone w/experience on 2nd gen Alinco DJ-500T?

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Equipment Reviews' started by KD2LXR, May 26, 2014.

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  1. KD2LXR

    KD2LXR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Title says it all...looking for an HT, 2m/440 and came across the second generation DJ-500T on HRO, seems like it wants to compete with the tried and true Yaesu FT-60R but without all the Yaesu bells and whistles. According to the specs, the Alinco does not have the wide RX of the Yaesu, No squelch knob (don't really like that), No WIRES or any of that other stuff, only 200 memory channels (like I need more than that lol). What it does have is: IP54 dust/splash and MILspec STD810 or vibration and shock, Lithium battery that charges in 4 hours, "semi-duplex" (whatever that means - how do you have "semi duplex"?), internal VOX, still has wide enough RX for NOAA/some other emergency freqs. O yeah and the Alinco manual is written in really bad English...

    I only ever knew 1 ham with an Alinco HT when I first got my ticket in High School. At exactly the same price as the FT-60R, the Alinco sounds like its trying to offer the things where the Yaesu falls short at the cost of some bells and whistles that may or may not be important. I see no reviews of this new DJ-500T what say you? Anyone have one of these puppies that can write a review on it or provide some use experience?

    For reference, this is the HT I am referring to:


    Last edited: May 26, 2014
  2. K6LCS

    K6LCS Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    >> ... Yaesu FT-60R but without all the Yaesu bells and whistles ...


    >> ... the Alinco does not have the wide RX of the Yaesu ...

    FT-60R receives 108-to-a-gig (essentially). Receives AM air correctly, too.

    >> ... the Alinco does not have a SQuelch knob ...

    >> ... only 200 memories ...

    A thousand memories in the FT_60R ...

    >> ... IP54 dust/splash and MILspec STD810 or vibration and shock ...

    As recently as earlier this month at one of my club presentations, another group saw me toss my FT-60R across the room - literally - to show off its durability. I would not do that with many other HTs ...

    >> ... Lithium battery that charges in 4 hours ...

    You can have your 350-500 total discharge-charge cycles with Li-Ion ... I'll stick with the approx. 750 total discharge-charge cycles I'm achieving with NiMH packs. The feature that Li-Ion DOES have over NiMH is its discharge rate: If you plan to charge your pack and not use the radio for a couple months, you will have a little more capacity left in a Li-Ion pack than with a NiMH pack.

    >> ... Alinco manual is written in really bad English...

    What you have done is write an advertisement FOR the Yaesu FT-60R ... (grin)

    Clint Bradford K6LCS
  3. KC9UDX

    KC9UDX Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    The Alinco may have better input filtering, hence the limited RX range.

    Also, it may have a squelch function that is very easy to use. The squelch function is built into the VFO knob on my Alinco (DJ-G29). Push down on the knob, then turn it. Maybe this one is the same way.

    I can't even imagine why you'd need more than 200 memories without the wide RX.
  4. K6LCS

    K6LCS Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    >> ... I can't even imagine why you'd need more than 200 memories ...

    I remember 4-channel commercial HTs ... then 16 ... then 128 ...

    If one lives in a populous region, 100 just might not do it ... (grin).
  5. OK4FX

    OK4FX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have DJ-500 2nd generation for about a month. I wanted basic 2m/70cm handheld without any surplus functionality.

    - very loud speaker
    - size, slightly bigger than a box of cigarettes
    - looks durable (didn't try how much)
    - simple to operate
    - nice display
    - easy 136-174MHz/400-480MHz mod via software.

    - there is one bug (or somewhat dangerous parameter) in SET MODE OPERATIONS (it is special menu accessible only via combination of pressed keys upon HT switching on - p.41 of english manual): If you choose DISPLAY MODE > CH(annel) then you can use only programmed memories, so no VFO, no BC FM radio etc. and more than half of the normal menu items are inaccessible. And there is no way how change it back without cable and software (factory reset doesn't help in this case)! Fortunately, this trap isn't in normal menu.

    I live at small town and here isn't much radio interference hence I cannot speak about rx immunity towards nearby strong signals (sri I can't recall right english term). But rx sensitivity is good - if I hear something on AOR AR8600MkII then I can hear it on Alinco the same way.

    Edit: SQL is easily accessible via tuning knob (with holding bottom side button) and it is independent for each of both bands.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
  6. WD6EST

    WD6EST Ham Member QRZ Page

    It’s a great little radio, and definitely a keeper.

    I picked up a DJ-500T from AES about a week ago. They sell for $129 most places. It’s a great little radio, and definitely a keeper.

    A few observations:
    Alinco’s USB programming cable (ERW-7) sells for $50, but you can get a “generic” version for as little as $10 on eBay or Amazon. Search for “USB Programming Cable For OPC-478 OPC478 ICOM Alinco Mobile Transceiver Radio” on Amazon to find the one I’m using. No problems with this particular cable. Windows 7 located and installed the correct driver for the cable as soon as I plugged it in.

    Alinco supplies programming software on their DJ-500 product page. This software works well, but there is a small problem. It does not support “FM Radio Function Enable/Disable”. Every time you program your DJ-500, the software will disable the FM Radio Function. You must then re-enable it using the radio’s keyboard (menu item 31). This is “freeware” so no support from Alinco or the software author (whoever that is).

    RT Systems also sells their software & cable for the DJ-500 ($50) if you would rather use that.

    Squelch level can be set by holding down the monitor button on the side of the radio and turning the channel knob on top. To set band scan end limits for both VFOs, enter them into the special channels named PL1 PU1 PL2 PU2. You can do this from either the keyboard (page 18 in the English manual) or with the software.

    It’s a shame that Alinco chose to use the same model number as their old DJ-500. Come on Alinco; why not call it the DJ-55V2? Net searches return mostly info on the old one.

    The new DJ-500 was announced on the Alinco Facebook page on 6/11/2014, but appears to have been available in other countries earlier this year. For example, here’s a review (in Russian) There is a thread on this radio, too:

    Unlocking TX: I’ve seen several people comment that opening up the TX frequency range is easy with the Alinco software, but I can’t seem to figure out how. I tried changing the Model number in the software to just plain DJ-500 rather than DJ-500T, but when I try to program TX channels outside the Ham bands, the software throws an error and refuses to program the radio. Does anyone know how to do this? Does it require a genuine Alinco ERW-7 cable?

  7. KF7VXA

    KF7VXA Ham Member QRZ Page

    For $20 or $30. more, why not just get the Yaesu FT-60R, a much better radio and as stated, about bullet proof. It may have more features than you want now, but you'll find from time to time, the extra features come in handy. Unless $$$ is a real problem, better to buy the higher quality radio.
    Another plus, if you get the AA battery pack, the Yaesu will still put out a full 5 watts, on both UHF and VHF.

    John KF7VXA
  8. KC9UDX

    KC9UDX Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Two years ago, I would have said the same thing. However, after owning several Yaesus and just one Alinco, I'd be inclined to buy another Alinco.
  9. WD6EST

    WD6EST Ham Member QRZ Page

    To each his own I guess.

    On the up side:
    Newer Design - 2014 vs. 2004
    Lighter - 8 oz. vs. 13 oz.
    FM broadcast band w/ 100 memories vs. no FM broadcast band coverage
    Battery - Lithium Ion vs. Ni-MH
    Charger - Desktop Rapid vs. Wall-Wart Overnight
    IP54 dust/splash proof, MILSPEC (STD810) vibration/shock compliant vs. neither

    On the down side:
    No broad-band RX
    "Only" 200 memory channels / 1 bank vs. 1000 channels / 10 banks
    No NOAA WX alert function
    No AA battery box available

  10. IZ1PNY

    IZ1PNY Ham Member QRZ Page

    The display bug, i have solved.

    Turn off radio, after on the radio with PF2+D key.

    Is hard reset, not in the manual.

    Info for frequency limit ?
    The cloning software is not good for me.

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