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TYT TH-UV3R Dual Band Micro HT Review

Discussion in 'Product Reviews' started by Moleculo, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. Moleculo

    Moleculo
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    The TYT TH-UV3R is the latest in the trend of ultra small 2m/440 Chinese HT's. Although it bears the same model number as the popular Baofeng, the two radios are only similar in size and dimension. The TYT TH-UV3R is in fact a completely different and much more refined little radio. At about $55, it directly competes on price with many of the other inexpensive Chinese radios. The radio comes in both 2 meter / 440 and 220/440 versions.

    [​IMG]

    The first thing that is noticeably different about this little 2.5 watt radio is the keypad for direct frequency entry, which is what compelled me to try out this competitor to the Baofeng.

    For size comparison, here is the TYT UV-3R next to the Baofeng UV-3R:

    [​IMG]

    Although the height and width are virtually the same, the TYT is actually a little thicker, as shown in this picture:

    [​IMG]

    The other physical difference is the size of the included antenna. The TYT is a bit smaller:

    [​IMG]



    Like most of the Chinese radios, they include a belt clip (not shown below), a hand strap, charger, and earphone / mic.

    [​IMG]

    The battery is a very slim 3.7v 1300mAh battery commonly found in digital cameras:

    [​IMG]

    If you would like to purchase extra batteries, they can be easily found on ebay for about $3!

    New 3.7V 1300mAh DB-L20 Rechargeable Battery for Sanyo Camera Camcorder | eBay


    More to come...
     

  2. Moleculo

    Moleculo
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    Here are a few more details about the physical attributes before discussing the functionality of the radio.

    First, it uses a standard SMA connector for the antenna. The Speaker/Mic plug on top uses a smaller 2.5mm stereo jack, which is also used to program the radio via computer. This is a smaller connector than most other radios, so you might need to find an adapter or roll your own cables.

    [​IMG]

    The top right knob functions as the ON/OFF and frequency UP/DOWN.

    The display is a very clear (although this picture is slightly out of focus) LCD that is actually quite nice:

    [​IMG]

    This display is also much more durable than the Baofeng and will take a bit of a beating. The left side of the radio has the standard PTT, a Monitor button, and an orange alarm button that causes the radio to transmit a high pitched alarm when pressed:

    [​IMG]

    The only thing on the right side of the radio is the USB battery charging port. This USB port is only for power; you cannot program the radio with a USB cable. However, since it is a standard USB power connection, you can charge it from a PC or any other device that provides USB power to the cable.

    [​IMG]

    Instead of being square and boxy, this radio has a slight curvature to the body which makes it fit very comfortably in your hand. In fact, I think this might be the most comfortable Micro HT that I've used.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Moleculo

    Moleculo
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    Functionality

    I want to first stress that this radio is incredibly easy to use compared to some of the other Chinese HTs.

    Take a look at the keypad layout and button descriptions:

    [​IMG]

    The first thing you'll notice is that nearly all of the functions are easily understandable. To change frequencies, you either rotate the dial on top or just start punching in the frequency using the numbers. The blue U/V button toggles between the upper and lower VFO. Although the button is labelled U/V, you can actually use the VFOs for U/V, V/U, V/V, and U/U.

    The VFO button toggles between memory mode and VFO mode. Accessing the functions associated with the numbers is as simple as hitting the F(unction) button first, as expected.

    The first thing I always do with any new HT is to attempt to figure out as much as I can without reading the manual. On this radio, I figured out nearly ALL of the functions, with the exception of adjusting the volume and how to work with CTCSS and DCS codes.

    The tip for adjusting the volume is to hold the monitor button on the side (below the PTT) and turn the knob on top.

    More to follow...
     
  4. Moleculo

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    The radio has several interesting features which are worth mentioning.

    First, it has the ability to monitor one VFO and transmit on the other. This is useful if you wand to use the radio to transmit to a remote base or crossband repeater. To enable this feature, you need to go into the menu setting 01 - TX_SEL and choose the EDIT selection. This will make the radio always TX On the VFO you have selected instead of the last one it heard. Next, choose menu 12 - D_WAIT and select ON. Incidentally, this is a feature that works on the Wouxun radios, but not on the other Baofeng radios.

    Another interesting feature is the "Voice Mode":

    [​IMG]

    This setting affects how your TX audio sounds. The default setting is "OFF", which is what you would normally use. If you select COMP setting, it activates the "compander". This is like turning the Mic gain way up. When I tried this with other simplex stations, they liked this turned on, but when I went through repeaters, stations usually said that it caused the audio to be borderline hot. If you choose SCRM, it activates the "voice scrambler". I'm not sure exactly what this mode does, but it sounds like it removes the carrier from the FM. You can actually barely understand the transmission on FM and it's fairly easy to understand on SSB.

    The radio also has an FM broadcast receiver and scanner. You can adjust the rate of scan, however the fastest scan rate is only 100ms, which is really fairly slow.
     
  5. Moleculo

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    Audio Quality

    I've tried the radio with various stations over the last few weeks and just spent the last couple hours on a local repeater with a whole bunch of different stations. Here is the report on the audio quality.

    This might be difficult to believe, but EVERYONE on the repeater tonight said that this radio sounded significantly better than my Yaesu FTM-350. I tried the TYT with the regular built in mic with both the compander turned on and off, as well as the included ear bud speaker/mic. Interesting enough, this is the only Chinese ear bud speaker/mic that I've ever gotten good comments about. In fact, all comments were that the included speaker mic was better than the built-in mic. Everyone agreed that the Compander feature was activating a mic pre-amp and was just too hot.

    Even while using just the handheld by itself, everyone was very impressed with the audio characteristics of this inexpensive radio.
     
  6. VK1

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    Thanks for the impressions! Do you have a Baofeng UV-5R to compare to? It's a huge upgrade in audio quality, spurious emissions and power wise and is around 55 dollars. The UV3R can be had for 40 dollars now actually.
     
  7. Zaper

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    Thanks for the very useful review!

    Do you know if the battery cover is VX-3 compatible? so you can use/adapt a Yaesu battery case.

    Regards!

    AJ
     
  8. Moleculo

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    I do have a Baofeng UV-5r. This TYT is built more solid, in my opinion and the firmware is MUCH better. Even the PC software for the TYT is significantly better!

    The adjacent channel rejection on both radios is nothing to write home about. They both perform fairly poorly in that department. However, if that's not something you're terribly worried about, you might never notice the issue.
     
  9. Moleculo

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    I'm not sure, but I'll try to find out.

    BTW, I'll be updating this review with more details about its workings now that I'm back after a few days of travel.
     
  10. Moleculo

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    A quick follow-up note:

    Since I got this HT and started playing with it, I haven't used the Baofeng UV-3R at all. This is such a better radio, from both a functional and quality perspective, that I don't have any desire to go back to the other one. The keypad alone is enough of a difference, but overall the radio is just in a different class.

    I've been using it lately with an aftermarket Comet SMA503 antenna that I already had which of course makes a significant difference. This little radio has become my regular around-the-house radio.
     
  11. kd0fx

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    So looking at your pics it looks like the speaker mic is a 3 pin? Is there a pin out anywhere?
     
  12. Moleculo

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    It's the same as the Motorola Talkabout 2.mm plug:

    Tip: Speaker
    Ring: Mic
    Base: Ground
     
  13. exces3

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    the TYT has PL tones, or not?
     
  14. Moleculo

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    Yes it does. It's a fully functional little HT.
     
  15. kd0fx

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    Ah, thank you.
     
: tyt th-uv3r

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