Hand Held UHF Decisions Decisions!

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 18, 2004 at 11:44
ThreadID: 12155 Views:3214 Replies:9 FollowUps:9
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Hi All,

I have $150 voucher to spend at the local shopping centre that has A D**K S**th store. I am contemplating getting 1 or maybe 2 UHF handhelds. No I don't want a fixed unit.

I am thinking about getting the 2watt Uniden UH-044XR which runs on 3 AA's (easy to get on the road) and another of the cheapy Digitor .5watt models. Has anyone used the Uniden 2watt model is it much better than the .5watt models arround?

Alternatively, I have seen the new Uniden 1watt models that sell in a pair for $199 and come with 4 AAA rechargeable batteries (not so easy to get on the road) and mains charger for each unit. Has anyone used these units ? If so are they any good?

At this stage I am leaning towards the 2 watt model (more power and batteries easy to get) and a cheapie (for the kids or to lend out if needed). But I need to satisfy myself that the 2watt model is a quality buy.

Your feedback is appreciated.


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Reply By: Member - Jiarna (SA) - Sunday, Apr 18, 2004 at 11:52

Sunday, Apr 18, 2004 at 11:52
Can't help with the handhelds, but can help with the batteries. I run a digital camera with rechargeable AA's, and have bought 2 sets of batteries and a mains charger. The trick was to get a mains charger that runs off a 12V inverter plug, so the charger itself has 12V input. Mine is "Golden Power" brand. Then I got a cigarette lighter lead to connect the charger to the vehicle, and now I can charge one set of AA's while the camera is busy flattening the other set. The biggest advantage is that the rechargeables last a lot longer than the best alkaline AA's (I have 2200 mAh rechargeables from eBay).
Hope this helps when you use your new handhelds.
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AnswerID: 54797

Reply By: Phil P - Sunday, Apr 18, 2004 at 12:01

Sunday, Apr 18, 2004 at 12:01
Preferably stick with units that have AA batteries, they tend to have higher capacity that AAA's & last longer between charging. The only time I would consider AAA's is if I had a 12V Charger or the unit can support an in car charging lead.

By the way charging 3 AA's is a pain in the neck because most chargers only charge 2 or 4 Batteries.

my 2c
Phil P
AnswerID: 54798

Reply By: scott111 - Sunday, Apr 18, 2004 at 16:36

Sunday, Apr 18, 2004 at 16:36
Hope this might explain a bit
The little ones are ok but i had some 3 watt little unidens they were good for about 2.5 kms on the beach, in the bush they were only any good for about a
1 km, my mate brought one from DS for $49 a uniden i dont know what watts it was but it was only good for about 0.5 of a km in the clear never took it bush.
I brought the big uniden for $349 a desent handheld and it has as good a range as
some fixed ones with small antennars.But it all comes down to what you what them to do.
AnswerID: 54820

Reply By: The Publican - Sunday, Apr 18, 2004 at 17:42

Sunday, Apr 18, 2004 at 17:42
MS the great thing about the 2watt Uniden UH-044XR is they are designed to take NiMh batteries and can be charged in place, so need to remove the batteries from the unit. My mate has a 2 watt and the improvement in performance over the 1 watt units is more than I expected.
AnswerID: 54828

Reply By: Member - Nigel (QLD) - Sunday, Apr 18, 2004 at 18:35

Sunday, Apr 18, 2004 at 18:35
I believe you can buy a car lead for the UH044 so you can power it from the lighter socket and recharge the batteries (make sure you use rechargable batteries in it if running from external power).
AnswerID: 54836

Reply By: Member - Fay D Away (Vic) - Sunday, Apr 18, 2004 at 19:35

Sunday, Apr 18, 2004 at 19:35
Hey there MS,
This is actually my dads member name (im not a member) but i work at T***Y E*******ICS which is same as d*e as you probably know. The uniden UH-044 is so much better than the cheaper unidens(036). We have had a few problems with the half watt'rs and the reason that the 1w(uh-041) unidens come with rechargeable batteries and desktop charger is because they are compromising for the lack of quality in the units. they may look small and friendly but the 044 is a much better unit to buy even if they are $158 at the moment. i have not seen a 2w (uh-044) come back into the store and my dad has one when he goes out on his trips. The digitor 40ch communicator(d1794) is also a good buy for the kids it is sturdy, well built and is easy to use comes with a belt clip and wrist strap and can sustain a splash of water. it is on special at the moment and a good buy as unlike some cheaper units has all the bells and whistles that you could need and the price its because digitor is d*e and ta**ys home brand you can also get a cigarette adaptor for the digitor and one for the uniden 044 as well and you could plug them both in with a cig double adaptor

there is only a couple of issues uniden 044 needs aa's and the digitor requires 4 aaa for operation. those batteries in NI-MH will cost you close to 50$ and you will need to buy the optional chargers which are about $20 for the digitor and $40 for the uniden
ps NickelMetalHydride batteries are the only way to go and could last up to 1000 recharges

armed with this your all good

the little fayd'away girl
AnswerID: 54855

Reply By: john - Sunday, Apr 18, 2004 at 20:08

Sunday, Apr 18, 2004 at 20:08
We bought the 2 watt uniden jobbie for our trip to Frazer. We are now not going to bother putting a fixed unit in the car. We measured about 6 klms range on the beach which was not much different to our friends fixed unit. The great thing was that we could take it in to the house we rented and at anytime our friends could go outside to their 4x4 and call us. The batteries seemed to last forever. I am just not sure what the law is for holding it when your driving although you can put it on your lap and people can hear you quite well.
AnswerID: 54860

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel (QLD) - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:54

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:54
you'll find in some situations an good car mounted antenna would make more difference to range than the wattage.

Many uniden in car radios will only put out 2-3 watts if they haven't been retuned in the past 2 years (they need to be done every 12-24 months).

On a flat area like a beach a good in car unit and a good antenna should get 15-20 km (my GME does)
FollowupID: 316606

Reply By: Member - Eskimo - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 08:22

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 08:22
2 watts is not as good as 5watts
if you really want to get out get a 5 watt unit which can be selected to run on low power....more $$$ but a better unit in the end. My preference is rechrgeable battery and a separate battery carrier for AA just in case the rechargeable gives up when away from the car for too long

Those digitor and similar Toys are okay but you get what you pay for!
AnswerID: 54917

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel (QLD) - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:56

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 09:56
You certainly do get what you pay for. I've got a $250 Kenwood handheld (300mW) that outperforms 1watt unidens.
FollowupID: 316607

Follow Up By: Member - Eskimo - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 11:24

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 11:24
that does not suprise me Nigel
Mate has an icom which is good also...me well use a GME older one which needs upgrading but it does the job...but still not as good as the mates Icom
FollowupID: 316621

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 14:02

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 14:02
Eskimo Uppy bought a pair of those "toys" cost him $89 with chargers and headsets and they absolutally kick ass.
I thought he had done himself in, cos I told him to at least get the unidens (as we have the 2 watt ones at work, they are excellent) and he showed me his "toys". We tested them out. I can talk to him 8km away as the crow flys. A little scratchy but, FK me! My house and his house are both on top of hills, my Uniden 5watt handheld can pick him up and we can actually talk on them. GPS says 8km. Bloody amazing. Just yesterday I was out unloading the car, and I was listening to his kids playing around their house with their little walkie talkies on the GME in the car.
FollowupID: 316649

Follow Up By: Member - Eskimo - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 14:27

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 14:27
2 watts of power is not as good as 5w
reason why you can hear him is that the uniden and gme in car have better recieve capabilties as well.
Put these cheaper units up (apples for apples) against the better gear and they are not as good. We see a lot of difference with commercial grade UHF's out in the field such as in creek beds or gullies while trying to call others on the otherside of hills...no comparison

On top of hills...old saying with UHF height is might! but hey everyone to his own i guess....i'll stick with better known quality and output performance
FollowupID: 316655

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 14:41

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 14:41
Eskimo, I said I can pick him up on my Uniden hand held. My GME can as well, but of course it can, it's got a bloody good ariel mounted to the car.
Going that distance with two handhelds is just plain bloody good, end of story mate. I dont' care if we were in the alps, yes we wouldn't be able to do it if we weren't on top of the hills, but 7kms line of site is bloody amazing for two handhelds.
FollowupID: 316659

Follow Up By: Member - Eskimo - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 16:44

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 16:44
every one to their opinion as to whats bloody amazing
FollowupID: 316671

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel (QLD) - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 17:31

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 17:31
7-8km from hilltop to hilltop is nothing special for a handheld

My kenwood 300mW handheld has done over 20km to a repeater and still audible, but my GME 5 watt handheld can to 30km to a repeater while at almost at sea level inside a building and with other tall buildings in between.
FollowupID: 316682

Reply By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 17:35

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 17:35
Yes, I think you missed the point. A Repeater has 24dp gain multi element beams on 50m towers and super sensitive receivers. Another handheld does not. And the point I'm trying to make is that 2 x radios, chargers, handsfree vox sets all for $89 that will do handheld to handheld over those distances is bloody amazing.
AnswerID: 54985

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel (QLD) - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 19:44

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 19:44
sounds like who ever owns your local repeater did it right :)

the one here is not very high, has only omni antennas and ancient equipment.

but still if two handhelds couldn't do that distance from hilltop to hilltop i'd be checking the batteries.
FollowupID: 316714

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