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Budget and Entry Level Transceivers - For discussion of budget or entry level radios such as Baofeng, Wouxun, Puxing and other radio communications designated as commercial but not targeted for Amateur or GMRS. Also included are MURS and ISM 900MHz designed radios.

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Old 07-26-2018, 7:30 PM
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Default Powerwerx DB-750 or Alinco 638T

Looking for some advice..... here is my situation:
I have a Kenwood VHF TK-7180 which performs like an absolute champ using a 1/4 wa antenna ve on a roof rack. Receive quality and TX is great. Very very dependable. However, I work for a public safety agency in which I do utilize my personal equipment on occasion and I also volunteer for a search & rescue communications group which utilize cross band repeaters making the need for UHF higher than before.

With that in mind, Iím looking for a 50 watt VHF (40w minimum on UHF) radio to replace my original VHF Kenwood. I have narrowed it down to these two models which are dual band and also part 90 certified to maintain compliance when communicating on public safety channels. Can anyone provide feedback? Keep in mind I am use to having excellent receive capabilities with my Kenwood......I do not want less. And, for what itís worth...the new radio will utilize the same coax and antenna that the Kenwood is currently utilizing.

Powerwerx DB-750 or Alinco 638T?


Your feedback is appreciated!
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Old 07-26-2018, 9:18 PM
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Have you considered just picking up a TK-8180?
The receive will probably be better. Powerwerx are just rebadged Cheap Chinese Radios.

You already have the programming cable and software, so consider that as part of the cost savings. If space is an issue, get a KRK-10 remote head kit.

One thing to be cautious of is that while the radios may be Part 90 certified, when you set them up for VFO operation, that voids the Part 90 certs. If VFO is required for what you want, you'll lose the Part 90.
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Old 07-26-2018, 9:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
Have you considered just picking up a TK-8180?
The receive will probably be better. Powerwerx are just rebadged Cheap Chinese Radios.

You already have the programming cable and software, so consider that as part of the cost savings. If space is an issue, get a KRK-10 remote head kit.

One thing to be cautious of is that while the radios may be Part 90 certified, when you set them up for VFO operation, that voids the Part 90 certs. If VFO is required for what you want, you'll lose the Part 90.


I have... Iím just not wanting to have that much equipment in my vehicle. If this was a fleet vehicle or maybe a pickup, I would be more willing to pursue that option.

Yes, both of these radios (Alinco & Powerwerx) come with VFO capabilities by going into vfo mode...however they are part90 certified. Soooo Iím not sure how that works out. Regardless 99% of the programming would be via software.


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Old 07-26-2018, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N7iOS View Post
Yes, both of these radios (Alinco & Powerwerx) come with VFO capabilities by going into vfo mode...however they are part90 certified. Soooo Iím not sure how that works out. Regardless 99% of the programming would be via software.
In the fine print, somewhere, hopefully, there should be something that mentions 90.203.
https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-id..._1203&rgn=div8

90.203 says that a radio cannot be Part 90 accepted if it has VFO functions.

That why these "Part 90" radios marketed towards amateurs often come from the factory without the VFO function activated. It requires going in using the programming software and turning it on. Turning that function on goes against the type certification, so when you do that, it loses Part 90.

Yeah, unlikely anyone would ever know, you'd never get caught, etc. But it sounds like you are putting the effort into doing this right and legally, so just as long as you are aware.
The dealers usually don't mention this sort of stuff. They want amateurs to buy them as "Part 90" radios, even though most amateurs void that by activating the VFO function.

There are "better" commercial dual band radios out there, and not just the $7000+ Motorola's. Many Kenwood models can be set up with a single control head and multiple RF decks. Older radios, like the TK-x90 series were popular for that. The newer stuff, NX-5000 series mobiles can add up to 3 RF decks and 2 control heads.


But, if space is the limitation, then you are kind of stuck. Personally I'd choose the Alinco over the PowerWerx, simply because I know who Alinco is. PowerWerx, on the other hand, started off as a wiring/connector dealer that started rebadging the CCR's and selling them. Not sure I'd want to deal with them if something didn't work right.
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Old 07-27-2018, 11:27 AM
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I'm not 100% certain, but it looks like both Alinco and PowerWerx rebranded the Anytone At-6666 radio.
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Old 07-27-2018, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladn View Post
I'm not 100% certain, but it looks like both Alinco and PowerWerx rebranded the Anytone At-6666 radio.


I believe you are correct about the PowerWerx and the Anytone. However, the Alinco is significantly different than those two.


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Old 07-27-2018, 3:11 PM
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I can't speak to the Alinco, but I used to own a DB-750 and I'm pretty sure that you wouldn't want one... especially for public safety purposes.

'Nuff said!
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Old 08-04-2018, 6:22 PM
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Sorry as retired emergency services, and 2 nd generation ham ,neither of those radios make the cut on my duty belt , i bought one alinco in my time and it was broken out of the box ,and spent more of its life in the shop than on the air ,i would urge you to consider something else ,i assure you these are not radios fit for ham let alone serve any kind of a role in actual public service ,everyone's safety should not hinge on some of the weakest receivers available. Icom ,Kenwood , Yausu all make both part 90,97 radios much more suitable ,both in sensetivity & performance.

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Old 08-05-2018, 4:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladn View Post
I'm not 100% certain, but it looks like both Alinco and PowerWerx rebranded the Anytone At-6666 radio.
Some Alincos are Anytones with changes. The Alinco DJ-500 (2nd generation) is an Anytone 3318 with some modifications and apparently different firmware.

http://hamgear.wordpress.com/2014/10...rs-or-lack-of/
http://hamgear.wordpress.com/2014/10...alinco-dr-438/

http://hamgear.wordpress.com/2014/10...as-we-know-it/
"The Ďall newí DR-638 dual-band radio is an incarnation of the AnyTone AT-5888."
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Old 08-06-2018, 3:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
In the fine print, somewhere, hopefully, there should be something that mentions 90.203.
https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-id..._1203&rgn=div8

90.203 says that a radio cannot be Part 90 accepted if it has VFO functions.

That why these "Part 90" radios marketed towards amateurs often come from the factory without the VFO function activated. It requires going in using the programming software and turning it on. Turning that function on goes against the type certification, so when you do that, it loses Part 90.

Yeah, unlikely anyone would ever know, you'd never get caught, etc. But it sounds like you are putting the effort into doing this right and legally, so just as long as you are aware.
The dealers usually don't mention this sort of stuff. They want amateurs to buy them as "Part 90" radios, even though most amateurs void that by activating the VFO function.

There are "better" commercial dual band radios out there, and not just the $7000+ Motorola's. Many Kenwood models can be set up with a single control head and multiple RF decks. Older radios, like the TK-x90 series were popular for that. The newer stuff, NX-5000 series mobiles can add up to 3 RF decks and 2 control heads.


But, if space is the limitation, then you are kind of stuck. Personally I'd choose the Alinco over the PowerWerx, simply because I know who Alinco is. PowerWerx, on the other hand, started off as a wiring/connector dealer that started rebadging the CCR's and selling them. Not sure I'd want to deal with them if something didn't work right.

When you, as the owner, program the radio via a pc with ham and business frequencies and turn the VFO function off so that you can not change the frequencies in the field, you should be ok.
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Old 08-06-2018, 4:47 AM
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McKenna's suggestion for the 8180 would be your best bet, unless you want one control head for both radios/decks.

If you really want to stick with one of the two you listed, go with the Alinco. It will have a support network, if there is an issue.

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Old 08-06-2018, 6:54 AM
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I would choose the Kenwood, hands down. If not then definitely Alinco over Powerwerx.

I use mostly Alinco equipment (and like Alinco products) but would run Kenwood if the budget allowed. Motorola is my preferred choice. There are most definitely quality differences. YYMV
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Old 08-09-2018, 1:23 PM
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Used a DB750 mobile for many years, ham, extra RX interests and appropriate TX on public safety I am licensed for. Never had an issue on TX, sounds great and nobody complained. RX wasn't great. Not deaf, but sorta deaf. Scanner would hear distant things this couldn't. Audio power was amazing and easily drove Motorola speakers above road noise. Being used to commercial gear, programming and operating the radio from a public safety perspective was very cumbersome and I went through a lot of iterations of options and programming to make it as "safe" as possible before I considered putting my life on it, and then only for the most basic of incidents where my vehicle would not be easily compromised. Thankfully my public safety TX'ing happened maybe 10 times a year, in ideal conditions. Since it's geared for ham use, there's a lot of tweaks to settings that can compromise the RX or TX. For occasional SAR use, in an enclosed vehicle (not open Jeep or ATV) and with proper programming and understanding of the operational limitations, I'd consider this appropriate for life-safety. Any conditions beyond that then this should only be considered an additional tool to a pre-existing kenwood, BK, motorola etc. My mobile has since been replaced with kenwood gear.

The handhelds are absolutely not life-safety appropriate. Our local SAR has been getting those Beofangs and other similar CCR since they have VHF and UHF needs as well. I wouldn't be caught dead on an urban SAR mission with one of those on a bright sunny day, let alone night ops in the mountains in winter.

Currently have a DB-750 in the office as a base radio operating 24/7 with a 90/7/3 duty. It gets the job "done". But again, RX is crap and loose, and with the dual RX, one side is considerably worse than the other. Only 6 more months before we switch to a proper Kenwood but only because I'll be putting in IP consoles. I have a spare TK-7160 that just surfaced which might even shorten that 6 month lifespan to "next Tuesday."

Last edited by norcalscan; 08-09-2018 at 2:36 PM.. Reason: added a few words
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Old 08-09-2018, 5:23 PM
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Apparently, the Powerwerx and Alinco modesl are both Anytone AT-5888UV radios.

https://hamgear.wordpress.com/2013/1...rwerx-db-750x/

"Anytone, Powerwerx, Polmar, Intek, all the same
I almost forgot that this radio is made by Anytone, and the accompanying memories aren’t good. After opening up the radio there was no doubt about it: this is an Anytone AT-5888UV in a different package. Oh dear. My initial excitement about reviewing a new radio dissipated into thin air."
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Old 08-10-2018, 1:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caldoran View Post
When you, as the owner, program the radio via a pc with ham and business frequencies and turn the VFO function off so that you can not change the frequencies in the field, you should be ok.
With the VFO function turned off, it would be legal. Nothing wrong with using a Part 90 radio on amateur radio bands. Many of us ditched the amateur radio gear years ago and switched to commercial radios for various reasons.

But, there are better options than these low end Chinese radios. And, often cheaper, too.
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Old 08-10-2018, 6:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans13 View Post
Apparently, the Powerwerx and Alinco modesl are both Anytone AT-5888UV radios.

https://hamgear.wordpress.com/2013/1...rwerx-db-750x/

"Anytone, Powerwerx, Polmar, Intek, all the same
I almost forgot that this radio is made by Anytone, and the accompanying memories arenít good. After opening up the radio there was no doubt about it: this is an Anytone AT-5888UV in a different package. Oh dear. My initial excitement about reviewing a new radio dissipated into thin air."
The next paragraph is very telling.

"During the review period my negative feelings towards this radio slowly disappeared. Anytone did something I didnít expect at all: fix all the initial problems and give other brands a run for their money. From one of the worst Chinese dual-band mobiles to one of the best Ė Anytone pulled it off."

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Old 08-10-2018, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krokus View Post
The next paragraph is very telling.

"During the review period my negative feelings towards this radio slowly disappeared. Anytone did something I didnít expect at all: fix all the initial problems and give other brands a run for their money. From one of the worst Chinese dual-band mobiles to one of the best Ė Anytone pulled it off."

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Yes, indeed. I couldn't include it due to quote length but hoped those interested would read it directly. I guess the trick is making sure that one gets PCB revision 8.0 or better.

FWIW, I think Anytone *often* is a cut above the rest in CCRs. Our Alinco DJ-500 (2nd generation) radios sound great and perform very well. As such, I'm not all that bothered by whatever partnering Alinco has been doing with Anytone.
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