HYT TC1688 Radio Review
Radio Supplied By Maximon Solutions
8 Channels, 38 CTCSS, 5 Call Tones,
Clock and Alarm, Scan Facility, VOX,
Battery Meter, Low Battery Alert, Power Save,
Memory Channels, Monitor Button, Adjustable Squelch,
Single OR Twin Charger + Battery Pack(s)
PRICE: Single £55 + VAT, Twin £99.50 + VAT
The HYT is a well constructed radio with an unusual but striking appearance. The radio has a rotary on/off/volume control on the top, a large easy to read LCD display, a side PTT button and a simple menu driven control system similar to the Motorola's.
In normal operation the LCD display show channel, CTCSS and battery mater along with any selected features. The display can also be set to show the current time when in 'Standby', in other words when the radio is just receiving on a quiet channel without any keys being pressed. The radio also has a built in alarm which is a nice touch and something I have not seen on a PMR446 radio before. The alarm will sound at the time selected by the user.
The radio comes complete with a battery pack and a drop in charger. The twin pack comes with 2 battery packs and chargers. The battery can be charged in or out of the radio as the drop in charger can accommodate either the complete radio or just the battery on its own.
A belt clip and carry strap are also provided.
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. The radio can scan either all 8 channels or just any stored memory channels. The scan facility also decodes the CTCSS.
Memory Channels: The radio can store frequently used channels with relative CTCSS/DCS tones. Memory channels are accessed by pressing and holding the MENU button.
VOX: This radio can be operated hands free using optional accessories. The VOX sensitivity can be changed in the menu.
Call Tone: This radio has 5 different call tones which can be selected in the menu.
Key Lock: When activated all keys other than the Press To Talk, Monitor and Call button are disabled on the radio. The key lock is activated/deactivated by pressing and holding the CALL button.
Battery Status Indicator: A 3 segment icon on the LCD display shows the current status of the battery.
Power Save: The radio has an automatic power save function to extend the battery life.
Roger Beep: Gives a short musical tone at the end of your transmission.
Colour: The radio is available in 3 colours - Black, Red, and Blue.
Clock/Alarm: The radio will display the current time and can be used as an alarm clock. The clock settings are found in a special menu which is entered by holding down the CALL TONE button when turning on the radio.
Monitor: The monitor feature is selected by pressing the MON button briefly. If the button is held for more than 5 seconds the squelch will then remain open until the button is pressed again.
Adjustable Squelch: Something that ALL PMR446 radios should have is an adjustable squelch. This radio has one which can be altered in the menu. There are 4 squelch settings available.
My first test was made by talking to my Dad on his Motorola T6222 as I drove from his house to mine, a distance of about half a mile in a built up area. Contact was maintained without any problem. My Dad reported a good strong signal with clear audio.
I then took a short walk to the top of our local pit heap. I set the adjustable squelch to the lowest level to ensure that I heard all available traffic. Several stations were contacted including John and Peter from Bedlington at a distance of about 4 miles. They were both using Binatone MR600's and both gave the HYT a good audio report. John was out walking his dog and Peter was at home making the tea !!!!
Receive quality from the internal speaker was also good.
During these tests I did notice something strange, the channel numbers on the HYT did not appear to match the other users channel numbers. Upon return to home I took a closer look at the manual and there was a little insert which listed the channels and frequencies:
This is the first time that I have seen a PMR446 with a different channel configuration - This may be a one off, maybe the review radio was an import and was originally designed for a different market but it does seem strange that the channels should be arranged in this order.
UPDATE: Apparently this channel configuration is the same as the Kenwood TK3101. Maybe these two companies are linked in some way ?
On the down side, the strange channel configuration may cause problems at times but I have a feeling that this radio was designed more for business users than casual users and as such the channel would be irrelevant as any such group would probably all have the same radio and the channel numbers would match. Also I could not find any way of turning off the roger bleep which is not to everyone's liking.
However, the HYT is a good all round radio that appears to work very well. The battery pack and drop in charger make it very good value for money. The LCD is very easy to see and the menu system is very easy to use.
The SCAN facility has a CTCSS decode which, like on the Motorola T6222, is a feature that is very useful for long distance work making it easy to contact stations using CTCSS.
It should be noted that the internal antenna is only held in place with a screw and could easily be replaced if necessary (For example - If damaged).
Both incoming and outgoing audio is very good. The receiver appears to be very sensitive and the adjustable squelch is a fantastic feature which should be applied to all radios.
Overall a very good radio let down only by a rather unusual channel configuration. It would be interesting to hear from anyone who owns this model to find out if their radios have the same strange channel setup.
Many thanks to Maximon Solutions for this radio who can supply a wide range of radios and accessories. Please mention "Delboy" when contacting them for the best possible deals.