Puxing PX-UV973 dual band, cross-band repeater HT review.
Jul 15, 2013 (Updated Nov 20, 2013)
Review by John Wilkerson
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Cross-band repeat, "Real" dual receiver. Tons of features. FCC Approved.
Cons:Could be supplied with better battery, amplification of noise.
The Bottom Line: All in all, a great radio! The pros outweigh the cons 5 to 1! the real dual receive and crossband are super!
Puxing PX-UV973 Review
Recommend this product?
FCC ID: AUJPXDZ973K001
Features of this radio:
136-174 MHz VHF Coverage
400-480 MHz UHF Coverage
DTMF: DTMF ANI and selective calling and touch tone entry
Cross-Band Repeater operation
Full Duplex Operation
True dual receive
128 memory channels
VHF 5W/UHF 4 W output power
DTMF (touch tone) Encode and Decode
1750hz repeater tone
Built-in FM radio
Alphanumeric channel name capability
Front panel programmable
PC programmable (required for some advanced functions)
Custom power-on message capability.
Two line LCD display
Wide/Narrow band capability.
This radio has an easy to use menu system that allows programming of basic functions. Frequency programming, CTCSS/DCS programming, scan step, power level and memory channel assignment can be programmed. Channels can be added or deleted from the scan function via the front panel also. The only functions that cannot be programmed from the front panel are the ANI functions and the manual lockout functions to prevent users from changing the configuration. My radio did not come with a manual. The manual was provided by the manufacturer and is generally fairly easy to follow. The selective calling functions must be programmed from a computer, using the optional software and cable. The cable is the same used on other chinese manufactured radios, such as Wouxun. (Kenwood compatible) This radio has Minimum Shift Keying (MSK) and DTMF selective calling and Automatic Number Identification (ANI) It uses an MSK data burst in alphanumeric format for an ANI, if selected. All ANI and selective calling identifiers are displayed on the LCD display of the radio. This radio has narrow band capability, as well as a full narrow band receive filter. Most chinese radios do not have a true narrow band receive. This radio may not have a compander which would improve fidelity on narrow band. This will be tested and appropriate updates will be made to the review. Frequency coverage is open across the frequency ranges on the features list. This gives access to most commercial, and all amateur frequencies.
Programming: The Puxing brand radio is easier to program than any other Chinese brand of HT. The front panel allows the abovementioned abilities, as well as a few more not covered. I especially want to note that it is a big plus to allow setting scan lockouts from the front panel. Accessing the programming menu can be done with a single press of the "MENU" button. From there you can either press another of the indicated keys as shortcuts or use the volume control to scroll through menu options. From there, options can be programmed. Unlike the PX-888K, the functions are printed on the keys, instead of the case of the radio. This allows sight of the functions via the lighted keypad. also, there is less risk of the lettering rubbing off. Use of the computer software is generally easy, even though it is the "typical Chinese radio" type of software. You should have some experience with some of the more advanced modes, such as MSK and DTMF signalling. I give it an above average on manual programming
The software does have a bad quirk as it seems to default to the European standards in the 2 meter and 70cm amateur bands. In order for USA hams to program our bands, you MUST FIRST go to the "model information" option and set the software to the full coverage on VHF and UHF, or when you load your memories, it will not load the frequencies correctly There appears to be no issues with the famous "Prolific driver problem", although I am using an older driver. I have not tested with the latest Prolific drivers. I give a below average on computer programming.
Radio operation is easy and straightforward. Selection of the upper or lower channel display can be done on one keypress. This radio has "real" dual receive. This radio has FM broadcast reception. You can select whether or not you want a received two way radio signal to break in. The radio can be set to use both display lines for a single channel. You could use one line to display the channel name,and the other line the frequency and such. When scanning, however, it reverts back to use of both lines of the display. I wonder why they did that. The cross band repeater works great. you program one frequency in the upper display, and another in the lower display. If a signal is received on one of these frequencies, the signal is simultaneously retransmitted on the other frequency! One frequency must be VHF and the other UHF. I am unsure if the radio is programmed to disallow same band repeating. The manual cautions against it... so be careful if you set it up wrong. The radio has a true dual receiver. You can select the volume levels via the menus and software to differentiate which VFO is louder than the other. I didn't test the full duplex option, as I didn't have a satellite pass handy to test. Also, there are no linked VHF/UHF repeaters in my area.
Audio on receive is strong and clear with no distortion. Volume in all cases can be loud enough in most cases without distortion. BUT, if a signal is not full quieting, it seems the noise in the signal is enhanced if the received signal is very weak. You could receive a faint signal, but only hear noise. This was maddeningly annoying when on vacation, I would listen to some folks on 146.520 simplex. The BIG QUESTION: Is the transmit audio muffled? My experience indicates it is NOT! BUT... I really had good experiences with my green model PX-888K. The 973 was a little less "bassy" sounding than the 888K. I did "echo tests" with both radios for comparison, and the 888k was fine, as I reported in my review of that radio. The 973 did sound better, and the highs were more prominent. On air reports across the board indicated no difficulties whatsoever. My voice tends to come over the air pretty good< though. Transmit range seems on par with other handheld radios I have used. The supplied antenna is sufficient for normal use. The radio is supplied with a 1200 mAh battery. Battery life is average; but nothing special. With intense high power operation, battery life is a bit shorter than I would like. After extended use, neither the battery, nor the radio got excessively warm, even at high duty cycle. What is really cool is the selective calling system and the ANI. With simple MSK ANI, you can have a name come across the display of a receiving radio. with the selective< calling system, you can call specific radios, via programmed codes, and can set up a "dialing directory" in your radio to call specific radios. The called radio can be set to "ring back" to acknowlege the call. You can also enable/disable the radio via a tone sent from another radio. These functions could be useful for search and rescue teams, or emergency services. In a commercial setting, this could identify specific departments. This radio does have menu or software configurable 2.5 kHz frequency steps.
What I liked:
The custom message on power on can display my call sign when I turn it on. Functions are easily selected, and programming is a snap. The ANI and selective calling is really neat and fully implemented. The radio accesses all the repeaters any other radio I have used can access. It sounds good on both transmit and receive. Per Part 90 commercial rules, there is a provision to lock out the front panel programming as required for commercial use. This along with full narrow band compliance, it ought to receive approval soon. Naturally the true dual receiver and the crossband repeater functions make this radio in my opinion. I now have a ton of HTs and would not have bought this one, had it not have these features. What I did not like: The battery life could be better; but this can be fixed by getting a more powerful battery. The scan speed is terribly slow! If the dual watch function is disabled and the radio operating in single channel mode the scan speed does improve a but; but is still slow. This radio does not have compander access on the front panel, but does on software. I still need to see if this function actually exists., so narrow band fidelity may be lacking. This radio does include a scrambler, which is really more or less something that would be used far less than a compander. The annoying amplification of noise is not a deal breaker by any means; but is a real pain at times.
All in all, a very good radio. I am very glad I made my purchase. If anyone needs any info I neglected to include here, please let me know. Updates are made to my reviews if I discover other items that would be of interest.
I recommend this radio.
Update: This radio has been approved by the FCC for commercil use, as well as the included Part 15 equipment approval for amateur radio use.
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