Alan 456 Review
Radio Supplied by ALAN UK
8 Channels (38 CTCSS, 83 DCS), Roger Beep,
Keylock, Scan, Memory Channels, Dual Watch,
Power Save, Battery Status Indicator, VOX
Carry Strap, Requires 3 x AA batteries,
Price: From £59
The Alan 456 is well built and has a good solid feel to it. One of the first things you notice is that is has a rotary on/off/volume control - much more useful than a digital volume. The LCD display is a good size and clearly visible. Channel, CTCSS and battery status are shown as standard and other features are displayed when selected. The PTT is located on the left side of the radio along with the call and monitor/key lock buttons. The antenna is a flexible rubber type. Other connections include a microphone/speaker connector on the top of the radio and a charger socket on the right side of the radio. Located on the front of the radio we find the UP and DOWN buttons (mainly used for changing channel), the BACKLIGHT button and the FUNCTION button which is used to select the many extra features on this radio. A manual PTT/VOX selector switch is located near the bottom right of the radio. An extended menu is activated by holding the BACKLIGHT button when turning on the radio. This allows more advanced control of the radio settings including VOX Level/Delay, Roger Beep ON/OFF, and Keypad Beep ON/OFF.
Audio quality from the internal speaker is very good and can be precisely adjusted using the rotary volume control. The microphone is located just above the speaker and gives a good clean outgoing audio.
Monitor: The monitor feature is selected by pressing the MON button. The squelch is opened until the button is pressed again.
Roger Beep: Gives a short musical tone at the end of your transmission. This can be switched off in the extended menu.
Power Save: The radio has an automatic power save function to extend the battery life.
Battery Status Indicator: A 5 segment icon on the LCD display shows the current status of the battery.
Call Tone: Press the button to give out a distinctive sound to alert other users. There is only one tone on this radio.
CTCSS: 38 sub codes to help avoid interference from other users.
DCS: 83 digital coded squelch codes give a more reliable interference free operation.
Key Lock: When activated all keys other than the Press To Talk, Monitor and Call button are disabled on the radio.
VOX: This radio can be operated hands free using optional accessories. The VOX sensitivity and delay can also be changed from the extended menu.
Scan: The radio will automatically scan the channels until a signal is heard whereby the radio pauses in order for you to listen to the conversation. The radio will then continue to scan.
Dual Watch: The radio will monitor 2 chosen channels for activity at the same time.
Memory Channels: The radio can store up to 9 combinations of channels with relative CTCSS/DCS tones.
Intercom Function: The Alan 456 is especially suitable for use on motorbikes. The DUPLEX INTERCOM function allows simultaneous communications between driver and passenger just like a phone conversation. Both driver and passenger use optional headset/microphones to communicate to each other. Communication is also possible with other motorcycles/other users.
Alkaline(AA): Up to 68 hours !!!!!
NiMh(AA): Exceeds alkaline batteries in most cases.
First I made contact with David (M0DAD) who lives about half a mile from my location here in Blyth. He reported that the outgoing signal from the Alan was strong and the audio was very clear on his Binatone MR600.
I then made contact with Jason who also lives about half a mile from my location. He gave a similar report on his Oregon Scientific radio.
A drive down to the beach and I made contact with Ben who lives approximately 3 miles away in Seaton Sluice. He was using a Goodmans Tracker and told me that he had never spoken to anyone in Blyth before and indeed this was his best contact to date. As you can imagine he was delighted. He said that the audio from the Alan was clear and "BBC Quality". He was located in his bedroom on the first floor of the house. I asked him to go downstairs but as expected communication became difficult so he had to go back up to his bedroom again to finish the conversation (As with all PMR446 radios height is very important !).
So far so good !
Now for a good DX contact - Up to the top of the Beacon Hill Pit Heap in Cramlington and contact was made with Richard who was located in Longhorsley, a high point at a distance of approximately 10 miles. Richard was sitting in the back garden of a friends house, and having just bought his radio some 2 days earlier was amazed to hear someone from such a distance. The conversation lasted for about 20 minutes and the Alan performed very well indeed, even coping well with the strong wind at my end.
During all of my tests the receive quality on the Alan was brilliant. At each stage I compared the Alan's receive with my Motorola T6222 and my Multicom Pro, both of which are well known for their sensitive receivers. The Alan easily matched both of the other radios.
Advantages: The Alan is a very capable PMR 446 radio. It has plenty of functions, all of which are easy to use. The rotary volume control is a definite advantage. The CALL and MONITOR buttons are located near the PTT button making them very easy to access. The radio feels comfortable in the hand. Battery life would appear to be excellent as after many hours of use over several days the battery indicator still shows "FULL". The radio performs very well on both transmit and receive, indeed it will be hard for you to find a better receiver making this a good radio for those DX contacts. A wide range of accessories are available. The radio is specifically designed for motorbike use.
Disadvantages: Nothing major - The CALL tone is more of a buzz than a tone and cannot be changed. The SCAN does not decode CTCSS which would have been nice. Finally the radio does not have a signal meter, something that I personally find useful for DX work.
Value: This radio represents very good value for money. I am sure that anyone buying this radio will not be disappointed.
Many thanks to ALAN UK for supplying this radio.
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