JetStream 220 Transceiver

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elk2370bruce

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I've heard conflicting reviews on the new JetStream 220 mobile transceiver. Has anyone here had any first-hand experience with this radio? Price seems pretty decent but if it acts like a poor knockoff of the Alinco, it may not be such a good purchase for the house. Thanks in advance.
 

rescuecomm

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I was considering the purchase of another mobile 220 radio to have units in two cars and a base. What problems does the Jetstream have?

Bob
 

mrweather

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The January 2010 review of it in QST was pretty positive. It's a basic 222 radio without many bells or whistles.
 

AK9R

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Yes, the QST review was positive. The QST review says the radio was built to Jetstream's specifications. However, some things about the radio, like the front-panel data jack, the theft alarm feature, and the microphone, appear to be copies of Alinco's design. On the other hand, the Jetstream radio is rated for 50 watts output while the Alinco is only rated at 25.

Of note, these statements in the QST review:
  • "What makes this radio stand out is the JT220M’s image and IF rejection, both as good as we can measure."
  • "At times I was slightly confused by the manual and its English translation from Chinese."
I generally take the "reviews" on eHam with a few grains of salt. They aren't complete equipment reviews with lab testing, like QST does, or even in-depth user reviews, like CQ Magazine does. eHam is just opinions posted by users who may not be as technically competent as they think they are. And their opinions may be based on anecdotal evidence that doesn't really indicate the real nature of the product. I'm not bashing eHam or their users, just pointing out that the "reviews" posted there are unfiltered and may have some bias. Of course, you can see some patterns. If there are 10 reviews on eHam for a product and 8 of them say the display is unreadable in direct sunlight, or something like that, then the product may have a serious problem.

My biggest concern with Jetstream products is long-term product support from the importer or manufacturer. Jetstream is the importer; some unknown company in China is the manufacturer. Who is going to service the radio 5 or 10 years from now? In comparing this 220 radio to the one from Alinco, don't forget that Alinco has been in the U.S. market for 20 years or so and GRE America is now distributing and servicing Alinco radios.

As an aside, I note in the QST review the following statement about the Jetstream radio's FM vs. Narrow FM adjustment: "Bandwidth should be adjusted to accommodate local repeater spacing, which can vary from 15 kHz to 60 kHz..." Uh, no. Repeater spacing is an administrative determination made by repeater coordinating bodies. Bandwidth is a technical specification for the receiver and transmitter used in the repeater. They are related, but the proper bandwidth is determined by the design bandwidth of the repeater you plan to use, not the frequency spacing between it and other repeaters.
 

AK9R

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All QST reviews are positive.
A statement that can be made about most magazine reviews, no matter what the subject might be. The Editorial Department of any magazine that is supported by advertising revenue is not likely to publish negative reviews of products that the Advertising Department is trying to secure as an advertiser. So, you just have to take note of the products the magazine doesn't review. Of course, there is the Consumer Reports editorial and advertising model. Since they don't take advertising, they are free to bash products in their reviews. Sadly, we don't have a "Consumer Reports" for hobby radio.

Hey, it could be like a certain monitoring-oriented magazine that publishes reviews right next to an ad from the publisher trying to sell you the product being reviewed.
 

N1BHH

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All QST reviews are positive.
They always are, why do people think they wouldn't be? The ARRL is in the business of selling amateur radio and what better way to sell amateur radio than saying that all equipment is superior and it get's "our highest marks." No matter what reviews you read, remember that some amateur radio operators are simply appliance operators and couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag. QST has been the lap dog for the manufacturers and keeps them in business.
 

kb2vxa

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Most of today's rigs should carry the consumer products warning label; "do not remove cover, no user serviceable parts inside". (And you have the nerve to bash appliance operators.) One of the MOST important things to look for is the manufacturer's service record and ask yourself whether should repairs be necessary would you have smooth sailing or a hair pulling experience. Product reviews only tell you what you may expect out of the box but what about somewhere down the road?
 

WA4MJF

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Yes, the QST review was positive. The QST review says the radio was built to Jetstream's specifications. However, some things about the radio, like the front-panel data jack, the theft alarm feature, and the microphone, appear to be copies of Alinco's design. On the other hand, the Jetstream radio is rated for 50 watts output while the Alinco is only rated at 25.

Of note, these statements in the QST review:
  • "What makes this radio stand out is the JT220M’s image and IF rejection, both as good as we can measure."
  • "At times I was slightly confused by the manual and its English translation from Chinese."
I generally take the "reviews" on eHam with a few grains of salt. They aren't complete equipment reviews with lab testing, like QST does, or even in-depth user reviews, like CQ Magazine does. eHam is just opinions posted by users who may not be as technically competent as they think they are. And their opinions may be based on anecdotal evidence that doesn't really indicate the real nature of the product. I'm not bashing eHam or their users, just pointing out that the "reviews" posted there are unfiltered and may have some bias. Of course, you can see some patterns. If there are 10 reviews on eHam for a product and 8 of them say the display is unreadable in direct sunlight, or something like that, then the product may have a serious problem.

My biggest concern with Jetstream products is long-term product support from the importer or manufacturer. Jetstream is the importer; some unknown company in China is the manufacturer. Who is going to service the radio 5 or 10 years from now? In comparing this 220 radio to the one from Alinco, don't forget that Alinco has been in the U.S. market for 20 years or so and GRE America is now distributing and servicing Alinco radios.

As an aside, I note in the QST review the following statement about the Jetstream radio's FM vs. Narrow FM adjustment: "Bandwidth should be adjusted to accommodate local repeater spacing, which can vary from 15 kHz to 60 kHz..." Uh, no. Repeater spacing is an administrative determination made by repeater coordinating bodies. Bandwidth is a technical specification for the receiver and transmitter used in the repeater. They are related, but the proper bandwidth is determined by the design bandwidth of the repeater you plan to use, not the frequency spacing between it and other repeaters.
I think that they're talking about the transmitter's occupied bandwidth. As you say, the local coordinators set up how close in frequency that they will coordinate repeaters. So, if you're in an area that spaces them 15 kcs apart you would not want to set you deviation at 36F3, but you could if they were 60 khz apart.
 

WA4MJF

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I hope that is clear. Of course, you would not use 36F3 if the repeater rx is 16F3.
 

JPSan

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QST and other magazine reviews are all well and good for what they are. Usually a a confusing array of number mumbo jumbo to most and usually just a whitewash NEVER EVER saying real WORLD USER FACTS.
E Ham reviews and such are REAL WORLD USERS. That is what I want see! Not some STERILE lab with out REAL use. How does the radio REALLY work, PROGRAM, REACT to INTERMOD in the REAL WORLD, QUALITY of the BUILD, RECEIVE AUDIO in the car, truck etc, THESE are what I REALLY WANT SEE in a REVIEW...I NEVER see these type of comments in QST! And you NEVER SEE in QST or whatever SAY this RADIO is problematic. NO QST needs to sell ad space and WILL NEVER print this type of info IN FEAR of LOOSING ad REVENUE!!! QST reviews ARE interesting to look at to be IMPRESSED by LAB numbers, REAL WORLD USE is what HELPS me determine if the equipment is worth considering...PEOPLE who spent real money and ARE REALLY using the stuff!!!!
As far as being "appliance users" goes and people not cracking the covers to repair equipment goes, well to each his own..Expense, availability of parts at a local level, test equipment and whatever precludes a lot of the want and desire to do this...AGAIN, different strokes for DIFFERENT FOLKS.. It isn't laziness it is having the stuff to work with and a LOT of the MODERN technology equipment with SMT components and all ain't easy to work on with simple soldering iron and VOM...Whatever floats your boat...If you can fix it yourself go for it...Don't talk down others who can't or just KNOW there limitations. Your OPINIONS may VARY...so be it...
 

WA4MJF

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JPSan, if you read the reviews in QST, you'll see that along with the lab review, a staffer will often take the equipment and use it and give info on that, too. ARRL stopped taking units from manufacturers and started buying them off the street some time ago, so they get what the buyer gets, not a piece of equipment that was specially sent for review.
 

JPSan

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JPSan, if you read the reviews in QST, you'll see that along with the lab review, a staffer will often take the equipment and use it and give info on that, too. ARRL stopped taking units from manufacturers and started buying them off the street some time ago, so they get what the buyer gets, not a piece of equipment that was specially sent for review.
That is all well and good. BUT, 1 radio, ONE staffer "test driving" in a narrow environment DOES NOT give me a" warm cuddly" feeling about a radio under review...And YES I am QUITE aware about how the ARRL obtains there TEST subjects, Kind of HOPE anyone would be AWARE that they better be blindly purchasing items to review.
They can bench test the radio or whatever all they want. They can print all the numbers they want..That is GOOD.They can use all the technical graphs and terminology....BUT...again, BUT...
I will TAKE the MULTIPLE real world ACTUAL users of the product by those who went out and purchased the item for there PERSONAL USE and ARE USING THE ITEM DAILY, who then take the TIME to POST what they EXPERIENCE on E Ham, QRZ or wherever....THAT is REALITY...real people using the item...I would make a purchase judgment ON THAT INFO far, FAR more than JUST TRUSTING a magazine review....A while back I purchased a HT that the QST reviewer had glowing things to say about it...IT turned out to be an INTERMOD magnet...INTERMOD was NEVER mentioned at all in the article...E Ham USER reviewers SURE had A LOT of NEGATIVE comments on this HAND HELD!
If you want to stake your purchasing of any equipment on JUST what a magazine has to say...Oh, well that is your choice...To me I want to see REAL WORLD USER reviews by folks from all over. And judge it from there..Someone who LIVES in a major city, near the city in the country...More than a weekend drive or whatever the magazine reviewer puts the item through...Again, to me if I am going to spend any money on an item I WANT TO SEE what others before EXPERIENCED with that item and NOT WASTE MY time, money and aggravation on a what QST or whoever claims is GREAT. QST reviews are great for what they are, BUT, COMMON SENSE...LOOK for all the AVAILABLE reviews, ESPECIALLY the REAL WORLD USERS ( E Ham, QRZ etc.)...And that's all I gotta say about that...COMMON SENSE !!!
 

AK9R

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How does the radio...REACT to INTERMOD in the REAL WORLD...
The problem with "real world" evaluations of intermod, for example, is that no two situations are exactly alike. I may have a powerful transmitter near me that blows away the front end of a radio while others in lesser RF environments never experience my exact problem. Your real world experience with the radio would tell me nothing.

So, that's where lab testing comes into play. If you study the measurements for two-tone IMD dynamic range, adjacent channel rejection, and image rejection, you can get a pretty good picture of how the radio will perform in the real world. And if those measurements are conducted the same way for every piece of equipment that's tested, then you can make an educated apples-to-apples comparison based on the technical merits rather than mere opinions.

In the case of the Jetstream JT220M compared to the Alinco DR-235T, here are the numbers from the QST tests:

  • Two-tone 3rd order IMD dynamic range: Jetstream 70dB, Alinco 61dB
  • Adjacent channel rejection: Jetstream 72dB, Alinco 61dB
  • Image rejection: Jetstream >135dB, Alinco 81dB

These test results back up the claims that the Jetstream has a superior receiver compared to the Alinco. But, without those test results, anybody can make any claims they want based on their own opinions.
 
K

kb0nly

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A statement that can be made about most magazine reviews, no matter what the subject might be. The Editorial Department of any magazine that is supported by advertising revenue is not likely to publish negative reviews of products that the Advertising Department is trying to secure as an advertiser. So, you just have to take note of the products the magazine doesn't review. Of course, there is the Consumer Reports editorial and advertising model. Since they don't take advertising, they are free to bash products in their reviews. Sadly, we don't have a "Consumer Reports" for hobby radio.

Hey, it could be like a certain monitoring-oriented magazine that publishes reviews right next to an ad from the publisher trying to sell you the product being reviewed.
Has Jetstream ever advertised in QST? I don't recall ever seeing an ad for them...

I have been running Jetstream Coax for years now, along with a few other items from them, no problems. Just as good as other brand names but cheaper cause your not paying for the name.

The 220 radio sure did test out nice, some damn fine numbers. If we had any 220 use around here i would probably buy one.
 
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kb0nly

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No Jetstream specific ads in the March or April 2010 issues. I didn't look any further back.
I looked back six months this morning while cleaning off the end table.... Jetstream wasn't listed in the advertisers index in any of them.

They seem to be one of the lesser known guys yet. R&L Electronics carries their entire line and thats who i usually order from if they have something i want.
 

AK9R

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I have often wondered what the relationship is between R&L and Jetstream because R&L has carried "Jetstream" branded products for a long time.
 

elk2370bruce

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It is for this very reason that I originally posted, asking if anyone had any practical, hands-on experience with the 220 Jetstream. Like many comments expressed here, I don't trust paid (advertiser) evaluations appearing in the various magazines or internet sites where no legitimate testing was completed or brand-name bias exists- only from those fellow ops who have used the rig and formed a opinion based on that practical experience. I will agree that both the JetStream and the Alinco 235 are bare-bones, no bells and whistles, radio appliances. Are there any substantive differences - good or bad?
 
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