Intek HR-5500

10/11 Meter Multimode Transceiver

(Also known as the Anytone AT-5555 / K-PO DX 5000 / MAAS DX-5000 / CRT SS6900 Etc)

Radio Supplied By Delcom-Radio        Price at time of review: 143.99

Main Features:

Frequency range 28.000 - 29.700 MHz HF 10 Meter Band  AM/FM/SSB/CW
Frequency Range 25.615 - 30.105 MHz (HR-5500 EXPORT)
Backlit LCD Display with 7-digit frequency readout
2-Digit Channel Number readout
6 Frequency Bands, 60 Channels (programmable) in each band
RF Power max 12W AM/CW, 40W FM, 40W SSB
Digital S/RF Meter, RG Gain control, RF Power control
Scan/SC List, Dual Watch, EMG, RB, NB/ANL, LOCK, LCD Off, TOT, HI-Cut
Dynamic Microphone with UP/DOWN/AQ (Auto Squelch) controls
Quick UP/Quick DOWN frequency selection
AS/SQL (manual or automatic Squelch control)
Radio is fully PC programmable (with optional PC Interface Cable)
Input Voltage 13.8V (15.9V max/11.7V min) - 9A max at 40W SSB PEP
Dimension : cm 28 x 25 x 6 Weight : 2.8 Kg

Unboxing/First Impressions:

The radio comes in a brown cardboard box. Inside we find the radio, microphone, power cable, mounting brackets and screws along with a printed users guide, programming cable and software.

The radio looks very impressive, lots of knobs and switches to play with, and has a good weight to it, mainly due to the heat sink on the back. On closer inspection the microphone, radio facia and controls do look and feel a bit 'plasticy', which is a shame but for a radio in this price bracket, not something to cause concern. Don't get me wrong, all the controls do what they have to but it is obvious that they were designed to fit within a certain budget.

Upon switching the radio on we are presented with a very large, clear LCD and channel display. Channel numbering is 1-60 on each band (A-F) giving a total of 360 channels. The default frequency coverage on the radio is 28.000 - 29.700 going up in 5Khz steps. This covers ALL of the 10m amateur band. So for thsoe of you who wish to use it on 10m there's nothing more to do than find a frequency and speak into the mic. Those of you who wish to use 11m will need to program the radio with the supplied software- More on this later.

 

Features:

Echo - The radio has an inbuilt echo, which would suggest that it is aimed at CB operation rather than amateur operation. I'm not a big echo fan but it works well and negates the need for a separate echo box for those of you who prefer a bit echo on your transmission. One thing - PLEASE DO NOT USE ECHO ON 10M, as you'll find that most if not all amateur stations will not give you the time of day if you do!

Variable RF Power - The radios claimed output power is variable from approx 0.5 watts to 40 watts on FM and SSB (Although my users guide says 30 watts on SSB!) and 0.5 watts to 12 watts on AM. Testing the radio into a dummy load I found that my radio had an output of 42 watts on FM, 38 watts on SSB and 12 watts on AM. Power output was steady across the whole of the 10m band.

Variable RF Gain - The RF gain is vicious. Turning down the RF gain will reduce all but the very strongest signals to mere background noise. A station 2 streets away from my home QTH who reads full scale can be reduced to just 2 s-points.  Very handy for locating signal sources or reducing interefence from other weaker stations.

Band Selector - The radio has six bands of 60 channels marked A,B,C,D,E,F. Each band can be programmed for your own particular needs.

Mode Selector - The radio can operate on FM, AM, USB, LSB, CW and it also has a PA function.

Clarifier - For more precise frequency adjustment. Pressing the button in allows you to select the step, Hundredths of a kilohertz, tenths of a kilohertz, single kilohertz or 10 kilohertz steps.

R.B - Roger beep selector On/Off

NB - Noise blanker. As with most 'noise blankers' this one has very little effect. It may reduce electrical noise on SSB/AM in some circumstances.

LOCK - Locks most of the buttons and the channel change.

Scan - The radio will scan until an occupied frequency is found.

AQ - Auto squelch. This can be tunred on or off via a dedicated button on the microphone, Very useful when mobile!

Digital S Meter - Easy to read but I'd prefer an analogue one!

Extension Speaker and CW Key jacks on the back of the radio.

SWR - The radio has a built in SWR meter. When selected an SWR reading will be displayed on the S meter, one bar is 1.0 with each additional bar indicting 0.1 added to the SWR value. I.E. if the meter shows 5 bars, the SWR would be 1.5 (It is also possible to display the SWR in numerical form on the main frequency display by using an option in the function menu)

TOT - Time out timer, will automatically cut your transmission after a set period.

EMG - Takes you straight to your chosen emergency channel. These can be programmed via the PC software and can be different on each band. Probably more useful as a 'favourite channel' rather than an emergency channel to be honest.

The microphone has UP, DOWN and AQ buttons - Very handy when operating mobile.

Mic gain and other settings can be found in the function menu (See link to manual below).

 

On the air:

Propagation on 10 meters has been rather poor recently so long distance checks were not possible at the time of doing this review. I did however reprogram the radio for 11m and managed to hear several American stations on 27.385 LSB (See video below). Incoming audio was very good on the internal speaker and even better on a small external speaker.

Transmission tests were all carried out on 10m with local stations.

Firstly on SSB - Without exception ALL the local stations I spoke to gave me glowing reports. I was told that the outgoing audio was clear and very strong. Most stations saying they thought I was using a desk microphone or handheld power microphone.  For reference I have the mic gain set to 20, the range is 0-63, so plenty of scope there!

Switching to AM gave the same results. On FM some of the stations commented that the microphone had a slight tinny sound to it but I must stress that this was only mentioned when i really pushed them to be ultra critical of my audio. Simply changing the microphone would remedy this if you really wanted to. I think I'll be sticking with the supplied microphone myself as I found it pleasing to hold and I found the channel up/down and auto-squelch buttons handy when operating mobile.

There was no sign of frequency drift on my radio, something which apparently has plagued earlier models. This radio is a VERSION 5 radio, some V4's and earlier had a few minor problems which appear to have been sorted on this newer radio. 

On full power (40 watts) I found that the radio draws approximately 7-8 amps from my power supply. Something to keep in mind when buying this radio as you'll need a decent power supply to power it.

The large LCD display was very easy to see in all lighting conditions and can be turned off completely if required.

The radio can be programmed with split frequencies for repeater operation. However, no 10m repeaters are available in my area so I was unable to test this function.

 


 

Conclusion:

This radio is clearly aimed at the CB market (ECHO, Roger Bleep etc) but has loads of features, works very well and has an astonishingly affordable price. Therefore any amateur operator would be happy with the results they get on 10 meters. Outgoing and incoming audio is nothing short of fantastic apart from a very slight tinny sound on FM (I tried another microphone and the slight tinny sound was cured, so no big problem here).

Using this radio took me back to the good old days of Cobra 148's, Tristar 777's and Nato 2000's but at the same time brought me bang up to date with a sophisticated computer programmable radio. As fun as a CB with the performance of an amateur radio - The best of both worlds.   

Features: 10/10 Certainly no shortage of features (An analogue meter would be nice mind!)
Appearance: 09/10 Looks lovely but closer inspection reveals a slight 'plasticy' look
Ease of use: 09/10 Controls/features are very easy to use, however some require several key presses.
TX/RX performance: 09/10 Excellent reports from all stations contacted. Slight tinny sound on FM with supplied microphone
Value for money: 10/10 A multi mode radio which can cover 25.615 - 30.105 with 40 watts for less than 150 - Total bargain!
     
FINAL SCORE: 9/10  

Only a higher quality plastic and an analogue s meter could make this radio better, however that really is nit-picking. At this price you simply won't find a better 10/11m radio.

 

Further Information:

The Intek HR-5500 Users Guide - Click Here to download! (Adobe PDF File)

Direct link to the Intek HR-5500 page on Delcom-Radio site: Click Here

Intek Version 5 Programming Software (ZIP File containing IntekHR5500setupv5.exe): Click Here - USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Photos (Click images for bigger):

 


Radio supplied by Delcom-Radio Supplies/Repairs

Please visit their website and be sure to mention 'Delboy' for the best possible deals!

 

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