A few weeks ago, I received my Ailunce HD1. This is my full review of the radio.
The radio itself is high quality. The quality of the build is excellent and this is a very durable radio. In the past few weeks I have had it, it has taken some hard falls. Looking at the radio now, you would not have known. There are no scratches, marks, or blemishes of any kind and it looks just like how I took it out of the box. I have opted to leave the screen protector on as all it did was give me some peace of mind but I have no doubt that the screen would do just fine even without it. In your hands and on your belt it is bigger than most radios. I personally do not mind at all, I even prefer a beefier radio, and the large size has not interfered with anything yet. The HD1 is very similar in looks to many motorola radios, so sometimes I have had people point to it and ask if I was in law enforcement or the fire department. Only dislike is that the screen is hard to read in bright daylight, the backlight is too dim to see clearly in bright conditions. Something nice to add though is the IP67 rating. I have experienced heavy rains with the radio and it has held up just fine. I am extremely pleased with the physical quality of the radio.
The interface is Okay. But a beauty of upgradable firmware is that it can change. Currently I am using version 1.48-gps and this is my review of that version. The HD1 was made for amateur radio operators. I’m sure you have heard it before, but what it means to me is that it is easily programed direct from the menu options. You can do almost everything including naming a new channel (something on other radios that require a computer) only using the keypad. That is only after you learn how to use the menus. This is where I would like to see some improvements. On the menu options you either use the MENU key, up and down arrows, EXIT key, the keypad, the top knob, or even the scan key. This is confusing because there is no consistency between the options. Here’s what I mean; when trying to set a ctcss code you find the the menu named C-CDC. In the option it says off. The first thing you would think to do is use the arrow keys to change it, but they don’t work. After some experimentation you find you need to press the scan button to change it between ctcss, dcs, etc. Then you can use arrow keys. If you go into contacts you can only select between contacts with the top knob. I just think that the interface is not as intuitive as it could be. There is a learning curve that comes with this radio. I would like to see in future updates something easier to use for new users. Otherwise, it works great and I am pleased to report that I have not had any major problems with it. (The only one minor issue, that has only happened once, was that I had chanel A selected and it said it transmitted on B channel, the next time I keyed up it was fine, that’s all I meant by Major problems)
For this next section, it will be different for everybody. Regarding this topic do not rely only on my review. How well it works, for my case it is different than most. I live in the middle of the rocky mountains in colorado. My repeater is 10 miles away however, to reach it a signal has to do some serious diffraction. For me, using the stock antenna was not an option, so I upgraded to a 17 inch whip and It work just fine. The stock antenna still works however the on-air reports say that the noise level is high (background white noise) but I am still readable most of the time. With the whip on high power, reported low noise level from my house and good clarity. On the note of output power, specs say 10w on VHF 8w on UHF but I cannot say for certain what exactly the radio puts out. I will have access to equipment soon to measure power and when I get results I will post them here. All I know it that I do have a stronger signal compared to my old 5 watt handheld. When I am in a city with a DMR repeater, digital works just as well as any DMR radio I have tried. The HD1 does just fine with tier I & II DMR use. Not exceptional but not bad either. No complaints there. When receiving, the speaker is at a good volume. I would not call it loud, but the volume is high enough to work well and be heard clearly from a distance.
HD1 main features
The main advertised features that really stood out to me are the following.
-The fact that it is Dual band and can do both DMR and analog are must haves to me, enough said.
-100,000 contacts makes it nice and easy to see who is calling. The number of DMR users just broke 100,000 so I expect to see some expansion, but for now filtering works fine.
-3,000 channels is a bit overkill for me, I haven’t even used 100 yet. Where it’s nice for me is organization. I have it laid out so channels below 100 are simplex, 100’s are comercial frequencies, 200’s are analog repeaters, 300’s are DMR repeaters, ect.
-IP67 rating, I touched on this earlier, but it goes along nicely with the durability.
-Promiscuous is one of those things that once you have it, you will never give it up again, it makes it so easy and convenient.
-GPS is pointless right now. I am hoping some updates will give it more functionality but right now all you can do is look at your current gps coordinates and altitude in meters (not even in feet!) as well as transmit and receive them. In the future I would like to see APRS like functionality like seeing how far away someone is and in what direction, and some updates to DMR repeaters might be able to let you do more with gps on digital systems.
-Password lock, I used it when I first got it but after a while it just got annoying so I turned it off.
-Encryption, have not used it once yet.
-I was disappointed not to see DTMF codes. A
– 3200mAh is amazing. I have gone all day with it on, kept it on at night, and went the rest of the next day before dropping down below 20%.
Those were the main advertised features that stood out to me for good and bad reasons.
Bottom line is: this is a nice radio. I would say the cost at right around $200 is justifiable. You really are getting a quality radio. If new to retevis, don’t be fooled that just because they are a chineese radio manufactuer that they are bad. But retevis has done an exelent job on this one. This will be my favorite radio because of the quality. The Ailunce HD1 is a high quality radio and I am very pleased.
I was sent this for review but my oppinions are my own. This is a great radio and I’m saying that not because I was asked to, but because it is.
I will have Measurements, videos on features and tutorials, and a review on the RT3S (Retevis’s newest radio) comming soon. Once I have these I will add them below.
This article’s Ailunce HD1 review is written by Rowen Warren, he became a licensed amateur radio operator (general class) recently, and he is just 14 years old.