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Wouxun KG-UV9D - not full-duplex on SO-50, but getting better

Discussion in 'Satellite and Space Communications' started by WD9EWK, Aug 2, 2015.

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  1. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi!

    I picked up a new Wouxun KG-UV9D from the local HRO store this afternoon, and had it set up to work a pair of SO-50 passes this afternoon. Although the 70cm receiver was more than capable of hearing SO-50 even at low elevations, it suffers from the same problem that the Wouxun KG-UV8D, the AnyTone TERMN-8R, even the much-hyped Puxing PX-UV973 all had - the 70cm receiver is desensed while transmitting on 2m. Using either memory channels or the two VFOs, it is capable of working SO-50 half-duplex.

    The KG-UV9D is a little smaller than the KG-UV8D. It's not as fat in the hand as the 8D, but still comfortable to hold. It has a PTT and three other buttons on the left side of the radio.

    KG-UV9D-front.jpg

    Unlike almost all other Chinese-made HTs, the KG-UV9D has a lot more that it can receive. It has an AM airband receiver, and can receive a lot of spectrum outside the 2m and 70cm bands. From the manual:

    KG-UV9D-frequencies.jpg

    As the screenshot shows, it has a lot of coverage. This is the first ham HT I have seen sold in the USA since the 1990s that includes unblocked coverage in the 800 and 900 MHz ranges (all others since the ban on having coverage in those bands since then have the 825-849 and 869-894 MHz mobile-phone bands, and other image frequencies that can receive the signals from the mobile-phone bands, locked out).

    The KG-UV9D uses a new type of battery pack, rated at 7.4V 2000mAh, which is not compatible with previous Wouxun HTs. The belt clip is connected to the battery pack, not the radio.

    KG-UV9D-back.jpg

    The speaker/mics and programming cables are compatible with the previous Wouxun HTs, and most Chinese-made HTs sold on the ham market (the Kenwood-style speaker/mic plugs, where the speaker audio is on the smaller 2.5mm jack).

    Another interesting thing about this radio is the lack of an FCC ID number. Instead, the label has "FCC PART 15B". This is highly unusual, as FCC rules require radios that have non-amateur coverage in the 30-960 MHz range to have gone through the certification process, and have an FCC ID number on the radio. The KG-UV9D model number is covered by FCC ID WVTWOUXUN10, based on the documentation Wouxun submitted to the FCC for the certification process used for the KG-UV8D, but this FCC ID number doesn't appear on my radio. The radio's receive coverage far exceeds the ranges listed on the label, and certainly exceeds the 144-148 and 420-450 MHz ranges covered by the WVTWOUXUN10 FCC ID not shown on this radio.

    KG-UV9D-label.jpg
    I worked one station on a 43-degree pass just before 0100 UTC this evening, and 6 stations on the later western pass (18 degrees maximum elevation) at 0230 UTC. I received good reports on my audio. I was holding the HT, not using a headset or speaker/mic for these passes. I used my Elk Antennas handheld 2m/70cm log periodic antenna for both of these passes.

    I have not tested this against a satellite (or model of a satellite) that uses a 70cm uplink with a 2m downlink, like the Fox-1A satellites and EO-80. Based on past experiences with the KG-UV8D and the Fox-1A engineering model I tried at the 2014 ARRL Centennial Convention and AMSAT Symposium, I think the KG-UV9D may be a good candidate for a less-expensive HT that can work cross-band full-duplex using a 70cm transmit frequency and a 2m receive frequency. I hope that can be answered in the next couple of months, as this might open up new options for full-duplex operation on the U/V FM satellites that we don't have for SO-50 right now.

    73!
     
    N4RBZ likes this.
  2. KD8DQK

    KD8DQK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have heard that these radios do well with the birds and I would be interested in hearing about your results. While I am finishing up my homebrew arrow antenna, which is dang near impossible with my hand in a cast, I use either my VX-5R or the V7 in my truck. All of my most recent contacts have been made in a weird way: set the V7 to full duplex , set the uplink and downlink, then lay down the mobile whip...a dual band Comet that is 1/2 wave on 144 and 5/8 on 440...where it is 90 degrees in line with the pass. I usually get full quieting pretty early. Crude, but effective. I caught the pass today at 6:50 or so and made one contact in Illinois on low power.

    Keep us posted on how you do with the radio.
     
  3. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    You are now the 3rd person who has told me a similar thing about the new KG-UV9D (that it does well with the birds). When I have asked the others, I did not get any real source of those comments. Did you hear that from someone? I'm curious to know if someone has been using the KG-UV9D on the satellites full-duplex.

    I have heard you on some afternoon/evening SO-50 passes lately, and have tried to call you. This explains why we have not been able to make a QSO. Maybe we can fix that real soon.

    Good luck, and 73!
     
  4. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi again!

    I have done other non-satellite testing with my new KG-UV9D. I am able to transmit on 2m and listen to a 70cm repeater at the same time. I have tried to work weaker repeaters, and use my Elk pointing away from the repeater, trying to reduce the signal in my receiver. Not a perfect test for a couple of reasons:

    1. Our 70cm repeater outputs are at 440-450 MHz, a few MHz above the 3rd harmonic of SO-50's 145.850 MHz uplink frequency (437.550 MHz).
    2. The repeater outputs, no matter what I do with antennas, are still stronger than what I'd hear from SO-50.
    If I used a 70cm preamp when working SO-50, it is possible that the downlink signals could be amplified enough to overcome the desense in the radio. The AnyTone TERMN-8R I have used on SO-50 behaves similarly to the KG-UV9D, as does the KG-UV8D. If SO-50's downlink was stronger than its 250mW into a 1/4-wave whip extending from the satellite, we might be seeing different results without needing to consider preamps. I know some use preamps all the time when working SO-50, but I do not own any. If I had to get a preamp to pair with this radio, I'd just go with my IC-2820H 2m/70cm FM mobile radio, which has two VFOs and is able to hear SO-50's downlink when I transmit on 145.850 MHz - even if I'm transmitting at 50W, instead of 5W or 15W.

    Using far-off National Weather Service weather radio stations transmitting around 162 MHz with my KG-UV9D and Elk antenna, I am able to hear those stations while I transmit on 70cm frequencies, including the Fox-1A 435.180 MHz uplink frequency. This is in exactly what I saw when I used the other HTs I mentioned earlier - a 70cm transmit/uplink frequency with a 2m receive/downlink frequency is no problem for these HTs.

    73!
     
  5. K6LCS

    K6LCS Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, we know Alinco couldn't get U/V and V/U BOTH "working well" for us at their $250 price point - these results with this rig do not really surprise anyone.

    Tentative launch for FOX-1A still scheduled for September 25, 2015 from Vandenberg ... A whole lot of excitement and radio experimenting will be
    happening!

    SEP 25 Exact time TBA
    Atlas V SLC-3
    Vehicle will launch the classified NROL-55 payload for the U.S.
    National Reconnaissance Office
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015
  6. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Alinco DJ-G7T is OK for terrestrial repeater work, but was crummy even when trying to use it on AO-27 and AO-51 half-duplex. I still have mine, and may try it with Fox-1A or EO-80 when they are made available to us. Seeing how poorly it worked with AO-27 and AO-51, I'm not holding out hope for it on U/V satellites. The DJ-G7T's receiver was ravaged with intermod whenever I tried to work any satellite - including SO-50. Even working those satellites half-duplex.

    And, this time, Clint - stay on topic in this thread. If you want to discuss this radio, join in. If you want to talk about the Fox-1A launch or the most recent time someone cited your name/call/web site, either use another thread or start a new one. Let's hope you do better in this thread, than you did last year with the KG-UV8D thread.
     
  7. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi again!

    I was on the 1640 UTC SO-50 pass that covered the west coast and into the Rockies. Again, no full-duplex with the KG-UV9D. The KG-UV9D's receiver was more than capable of hearing SO-50 on this pass, which had a maximum elevation of 23 degrees. I heard Tom WA0POD on the pass, another satellite ham with a KG-UV9D, and he said he had to switch to another rig to work the pass. I'll probably get an e-mail from him shortly, explaining what he saw/heard when he used his KG-UV9D on this pass. Other than working western passes from my home is not great (hills and trees limit my visibility of the western sky), the radio performed just like I saw yesterday on a similar western pass.

    I'll offer this answer to Clint's incessant references to the Alinco DJ-G7T and its inability to work SO-50 (and other satellites) full-duplex. The DJ-G7T was released in May 2009, over 6 years ago. At the time, I said it was a good radio for satellites but not great. Drew KO4MA and Alan WA4SCA, long-time satellite operators who also bought the DJ-G7T when it came out at the 2009 Dayton Hamvention, expressed similar opinions about the DJ-G7T and its use on satellites. Clint mentioned in July 2010 that a detailed report about the DJ-G7T was coming, but (as far as I could find online) it never came. I have kept my DJ-G7T since it is my only radio capable of working on the 1.2 GHz band. I might try it, with a long Yagi, on Fox-1C or Fox-1D that will have a 1.2 GHz uplink receiver. Not sure if 5W will work, even with the long antenna, but I'll give it a try.

    As I see with the different Chinese HTs I've tried on satellites, the newer radios improve on their predecessors - even if all of these are not capable of working SO-50 full-duplex. It would be sad if new radios didn't improve on what came before them. Heck, we could all be using FT-60Rs that first hit the market in 2004 if radios didn't improve over time. :) This is why we are willing to give new radios a try, even though some (yes, this means you, Clint!) want to put them down without even trying the radio for themselves. I'll carry the KG-UV9D with me during the upcoming week, and see how well it does for non-satellite work, along with the tests I have done and will continue to do with it on satellites.

    73!
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015
  8. N8HM

    N8HM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    5 watts would probably be plenty with a long yagi on 1.2, but check the specs - it's only 1 watt on 1.2. My link budget calculations from a while ago show that a one watt HT won't do the trick under 50 degrees or so - not without an antenna that's completely impractical for portable use (given the narrow beamwidths that would imply). Still worth trying!
     
  9. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    You're right - the DJ-G7T only transmits up to 1W on 1.2 GHz. My error.

    In any event, I'll give it a try. I still have the HT and Yagi, so why not? This would probably be something I'd only work from home, since I wouldn't want to do road trips with the long Yagi in or on the car. I didn't get the Yagi in time to try this with AO-51 before its demise in 2011, but have hold onto it in the hopes of using it in the future. It doesn't take up a lot of space in the garage.

    73!
     
  10. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I just saw a tweet from Tom WA0POD in California, in response to my question about his attempt to work the same SO-50 pass earlier this morning with his new KG-UV9D:


    WA0POD_re_KG-UV9D.jpg


    Where I used an Elk 2m/70cm log periodic, Tom used his Arrow 2m/70cm Yagi plus a preamp. We both saw the same results. Unfortunate, but at least the results are consistent.

    Maybe we end up with radios like the KG-UV9D, KG-UV8D, and TERMN-8R that are more than capable of working the upcoming U/V satellites like the Fox-1A through -1D satellites and (if we are able to use it) EO-80 full-duplex, and SO-50 will have to be worked half-duplex or with a second radio to have full-duplex operation. Not ideal, but not a bad thing. Especially if you're not interested in spending more than US$ 400 for the Kenwood TH-D72A, but can spend less than half that amount on a radio like a KG-UV9D.

    73!
     

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