I have had this radio for almost a year and I LOVE IT. It's simple yet powerful. Every time I think I have hit this radio's limit, it just surprises me. I have had no problems with it mechanically, programming it is easy, and the cadre of accessories you can get are all great. If you want simple yet powerful, this is the radio for you. I will say that you should change out the factory antenna and go for the stronger "whip" antenna. It'll give you a lot more range when talking.
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Great Utility Radio By Donald
Great radio to use for neighborhood and family communications. MURS can be programmed in legally for license free fun that's less crowded than the FRS/GMRS frequencies. Or you can program in the combined GMRS/FRS channels to talk to the kids or friends who are using bubble-pack radios. (Not legal for FRS-only channels.)
Personally, I have a combination of MURS, GMRS, and ham frequencies along with our local NOAA WX channel programmed in. A lot to cram into 16 channels with the ability to communicate with MURS radios for license-free comm, the FRS/GMRS calling and emergency channels, and our local CERT repeater and wide area repeaters. A couple of simplex channels included as well. A great emergency comm choice.
With an IP54 rating a little rain or dirt shouldn't bother this radio.
The free software works well with a generic Chinese old Motorola-style connector for programming. Not ideal, but it works for hand-programming 16 channels.
Transmit and receive audio are good and receive audio is loud enough for most uses.
The few downsides? Enabling scan disables channel 16. Accessories are a bit higher in price (though cheap compared to Icom or Yaesu accessories). The Motorola-style connector means having to buy duplicates for microphones, programming cables, etc. if you already are invested in Kenwood-style accessories. The dry-cell case only supports AAA batteries instead of AA, limiting capacity.
Overall, I would recommend this radio to someone who needs a better LEGAL GMRS radio than is available from a bubble-pack. Someone who wants a good quality LEGAL MURS radio without buying a Motorola. Or someone who wants a versatile and LEGAL radio to mix MURS, GMRS and ham frequencies.
Not perfect, but the best legal way to get on multiple non-commercial services.
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