Kenwood "Funkey" UBZ-LJ8 PMR446 Review

Kenwood’s NEW Consumer PMR446 2 Way Radio

Specifications

RF output 500mW

Frequency stability +/-4ppm

Operating voltage 3.4 to 5.0 Volt DC

Dimensions 56 by 26 by 100 mm

Weight 180 g with 3 LR6 (AA) batteries  

 

Review by Robert Parsons

First Impressions

This radio comes in 3 different case colours - Black, High visibility yellow and modern silver.

Being made by Kenwood Corporation the quality build for a consumer type 446 radio is very good and has a solid feel to it.

Rubber seals in battery compartment, Push to talk switch and accessory sockets will prevent water ingress.

A back lit LCD readout providing clear user information battery level, channel, CTCSS etc.

A flip up antenna provides easy storage of radio and can be also locked at 180 degrees as well.

A belt clip, warranty card and comprehensive user manual is provided in the box.

Getting Going

Radio can be run on three AA batteries Alkaline, Ni-cad or Ni-mH or Kenwood’s own rechargeable battery pack UPB-1 (UBC-2 or UBC-4 charger required).

A nice feature of this radio is the ability to switch the battery meter monitoring level for the type of batteries inserted into radio.

This will provide a more accurate reading when the differing battery pack types are used e.g. Ni-cads 3.6 volts and regular 4.5volts used to power the transceiver.

Flip up antenna and press and hold power on button adjust volume via knob on top of transceiver and select 1 to 8 channels using the up and down keys Simple!

CTCSS tones 1 to 38 are available plus the ability to turn all off.

A simple Speech Scrambler for extra voice security is included which works very well!

10 Call tones are available to alert your buddy in the field.

Scan channels with CTCSS on only. Note if scanning and another user is present but on a different CTCSS tone, scan will stop to indicate activity on channel but will not open speaker mute and display the other user’s CTCSS Tone which some manufactures radio’s will.

Another nice feature is the LOUD control audio boost function, this will boast the receive volume level to the internal speaker only when used in noisy environments. Battery drain will be slightly higher.

I found this feature to be very handy during outdoor activity near noisy roads!

A hidden user menu can be accessed on power up and key press, you will then be able to change the following

Beep on/off, Battery Type AL or Ni-cad, APO Automatic power off, Scan enable/disable, Vox on/off with gain and delay adjustment, Call Alert tones 1 to 10,Squelch on/off

In Use

I found I could easily contact friends in heavy built up areas about 0.5miles away with speech quality excellent.

In open areas range was well in manufactures specs.

The Keyboard lock was handy to prevent switching the transceiver off by mistake.

Speech scramblers worked great!

I tried these transceivers with the Motorola T5522 and they compare favourably, the Kenwood seemed to have a lower squelch setting so less mute chopping when signal strength was on the edge.

Also the Telcom TE150 and 200 models were tried no problems there either.

Conclusion

A little pricey at £70 each retail, but I feel it’s worth it for the build quality and performance of these great little units.

A comprehensive range of accessories is available from PMR Products Ltd, Evets House, Station Road, Chepstow, NP16 5PB.

Contact Christine on 01291 629333 for further info.

PLEASE MENTION "DELBOY" FOR THE BEST POSSIBLE DEALS !


Delboy's Review

Radios Supplied By Mike Atkins of Kenwood Electronics UK

Specifications:

8 Channels (38 CTCSS), VOX (3 gain settings), Key Lock, Battery Indicator (Alkaline/NiMH selectable), Auto Power Off, Transmit Power Saver, Voice Scrambler, LOUD Mode, 3 x AA Batteries, Squelch defeat, 10 Call Tones/Melodies, Key Beep ON/OFF 

The radio has a good solid feel to it with a clear, easy to read LCD display. Channel, CTCSS code, Battery Status and other selected features are displayed. 

The features are as listed above.

The PTT is located on the left hand side of the radio. An analogue volume control can be found top-right. The fold-a-way antenna is great when you need to put the radio in your pocket. Three colours are available, SILVER, YELLOW and BLACK.

Audio quality from the built in speaker is excellent especially when the LOUD mode is selected. The LOUD mode increases the volume from the speaker when you find yourself in a noisy environment. The LOUD mode is accessed by pressing the power button quickly when the radio is on. This function can then be turned on or off by pressing the UP and DOWN buttons.

The radio is easy to use with the more common functions available with one touch and the less used options available from a menu accessed by holding the UP button when powering the radio on.

Inside The Radio

The pictures shows the inside of the radio. The LCD screen can be seen at the top. The microphone is the silver component in the middle. The speaker is glued to the front of the radio and is connected to the main board with two wires.

No pots visible - Maybe they are hidden on the other side of the board ?

The antenna is easily detached (!)

Performance

The radios were first tested over a distance of approximately 1 mile in a built up area. A good strong signal was observed at both ends with good, clear audio from the internal speakers.

The transmit audio is set a little lower than on some other sets. This ensures that the audio is distortion free and very clear. The LOUD mode seems to increase outgoing audio as well as incoming audio when operating in noisy conditions.

The key lock was easily activated by pressing and holding the LOCK/MODE button to avoid changing channel by mistake.

The Transmit Power Saver will not allow the radio to be keyed continuously for more than 3 minutes, thus conserving battery life and preventing accidental keying whilst carrying the radio.

The voice scrambler was tested and performed very well indeed. Unlike some radios which suffer a little distortion when using the scrambler, you were able to forget that the scrambler was in use on the Kenwood as the audio was very natural and clear. It should be noted however, that the scrambler can only be used in conjunction with a CTCSS tone (I.E. You must select a CTCSS tone before you can use the scrambler). This does offer a better level of security.

The SCAN facility is a little unusual in that you can only scan a selected CTCSS tone. The radio scans all 8 channels but only looks for signals using the selected CTCSS tone. The radio will pause if another CTCSS tone is detected but the squelch remains closed. This facility could be very useful if you are part of a large group of users who use different channels but all use the same CTCSS tone.

One of the radios (The silver one) was then taken to the top off our local pit heap for testing. Several stations were contacted at ranges of up to 8 miles. All stations reported good audio and signal strength. The audio scrambler was tested with a station who was using a Motorola T6222, contact was made without any problems.

The rotary volume control proved to be very useful at the top of the pit heap as at the time of testing it was very windy and regular volume adjustments had to be made. This is something that cannot easily be done with the digital controls found on an increasing number of radios these days. The LOUD mode also proved very useful under these conditions.

The radio has a squelch defeat option which is activated from a menu accessed by holding the UP button when turning on the radio. This is always a good feature to enable you to hear the weakest of stations on the channel. It would however be more useful if a single button press could activate it. The manual states that the optional speaker/microphone has such a feature. 

NiMH batteries were used for the testing and after several hours of use the battery indicator still showed full so I would expect battery life to be good with this radio.

Conclusion

Good Points: 

A solid, well designed radio that performs well with a sensitive receiver

Very good audio when using the scrambler - Probably the best I've heard !

Easy to read LCD

Fold-A-Way antenna

Key Beep can be turned off

Key Lock

Good battery life

Auto Power Off facility to conserve battery life

Transmit Power Saver

Rotary volume control

LOUD mode very useful in noisy conditions

Large range of optional accessories available

Bad Points:

Scan facility is a little restricted

No monitor button (Without the optional speaker/microphone) 

The features in the Power Up Menu could have been made accessible from the MENU button

No signal meter

Technical Details (Taken from the manual)

RF Output Power 500mW
Frequency Stability +/- 4ppm
Operating Voltage 3.4V - 5.0V DC
Dimensions 56 x 26 x 100mm
Weight (Including Batteries) 180g

Visit the Kenwood FunKey Website:

www.funkey446.com


Delboy's PMR446 Main Page

Delboy: Amateur, CB, PMR446, Radio Forum, Modifications, Users List, Reviews * Delboy: Amateur, CB, PMR446, Radio Forum, Modifications, Users List, Reviews * Delboy: Amateur, CB, PMR446, Radio Forum, Modifications, Users List, Reviews * Delboy: Amateur, CB, PMR446, Radio Forum, Modifications, Users List, Reviews * Delboy: Amateur, CB, PMR446, Radio Forum, Modifications, Users List, Reviews * Delboy: Amateur, CB, PMR446, Radio Forum, Modifications, Users List, Reviews * Delboy: Amateur, CB, PMR446, Radio Forum, Modifications, Users List, Reviews * Delboy: Amateur, CB, PMR446, Radio Forum, Modifications, Users List, Reviews * Delboy: Amateur, CB, PMR446, Radio Forum, Modifications, Users List, Reviews * Delboy: Amateur, CB, PMR446, Radio Forum, Modifications, Users List, Reviews * Delboy: Amateur, CB, PMR446, Radio Forum, Modifications, Users List, Reviews * Delboy: Amateur, CB, PMR446, Radio Forum, Modifications, Users List, Reviews * Delboy: Amateur, CB, PMR446, Radio Forum, Modifications, Users List, Reviews * Delboy: Amateur, CB, PMR446, Radio Forum, Modifications, Users List, Reviews * Delboy: Amateur, CB, PMR446, Radio Forum, Modifications, Users List, Reviews *