Overall, I am happy with the radio. There are a few quirks, however.
For whatever reason, the programming interface cable arrived five days after the radio, so I was forced to program it manually for the couple of repeaters that are in range of our location. Programming manually is tedious and not straight forward. Fortunately there is on-line help to get over the problem.
I am disappointed that there are no repeaters in Wickenburg. There used to be, I understand, but not now. The closest repeaters that are within range are located on mountains to the south and west of our area. When I say within range, I mean of a base station with antennas running more than a few watts. Nonetheless, I hiked to the top of the hill behind our house and, with the help of an inversion layer, managed to get a radio check from a Valley resident ham. He noted that I was a bit weak, but held the repeater squelch open and that I didn’t have a lot of audio.
I understand the weak signal, the repeater being over a range of local mountains and nearly 50 miles away. The low audio I later discovered, is common to this rig. It was predominantly designed as a commercial radio to be used in noisy environments. The little hole in the case that leads to the microphone is tiny, about 1/64th inch in diameter. One forum user said that opening up the hole did little to improve the audio and, therefore, not worth the effort.
Bottom line, the radio is useful when you close talk it with a louder voice and that is good enough for emergencies. More later, after I get the USB interface and CHIRP software going.
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