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Uniden UH820S UHF ra­dio

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

While the mo­bile phone is the most com­mon medium used for com­mu­ni­ca­tion th­ese days, it does have lim­i­ta­tions such as be­low-stan­dard ru­ral re­cep­tion and un­ex­pected high bills that re­sult from overuse.

A UHF ra­dio can be a great op­tion in ar­eas with poor phone ser­vice, es­pe­cially since you pay the ini­tial pur­chase price and have zero on­go­ing run­ning costs.

Uniden’s new 1W UH810S and 2W UH820S Ti­ta­nium-series com­pact hand­held UHF two-way ra­dios are de­signed to with­stand the harsh Aus­tralian con­di­tions and the rough­est work sites. We tried out the ‘Tradies Pack’ of two UH820S hand­sets and ac­ces­sories.

In­cluded with the two UHF CB ra­dios are two recharge­able 1600mAh lithium-ion bat­ter­ies with desk­top charger cra­dle and AC adap­tor, a USB charge cable and cig­a­rette adap­tor, two ear­piece mi­cro­phones, two speaker mi­cro­phones, two belt clips, two bat­tery jack­ets for al­ka­line bat­ter­ies, two high-vis­i­bil­ity face plates, and a ro­bust carry case. The ra­dios op­er­ate on 80 chan­nels, and Uniden claims they have a range of 13km, but if you look closely at the fine print, it does say that range re­quires line of vi­sion.

The UH820S op­er­ates on a 2W out­put but does have the op­tion of se­lect­ing a low 0.5W set­ting to ex­tend the bat­tery power sup­ply. The recharge­able lithium-ion bat­tery pro­vides up to 21 hours of nor­mal use and, as an added backup, you can in­stall stan­dard AA al­ka­line bat­ter­ies. Both units in the Tradies Pack can be charged si­mul­ta­ne­ously by plug­ging the charg­ing cra­dle into a 240V AC socket or us­ing the cig­a­rette lighter adapter. They can also be charged via USB. A com­plete recharge takes about three to four hours.

IN USE

The UH820S fits into my hand com­fort­ably and has a clip-on lapel speaker mi­cro­phone as well as ear­pieces. It is even ca­pa­ble of com­plete hands-free op­er­a­tion via voice ac­ti­va­tion. It is a very sim­ple unit to op­er­ate with only a few well-la­belled func­tions to nav­i­gate through. Most ob­vi­ous is the dial on the top that turns on the power and in­creases the vol­ume level.

Two but­tons on the front ad­just the chan­nel se­lec­tion up and down. The menu but­ton scrolls through all the dif­fer­ent func­tions, in­clud­ing scan­ning, squelch level and high or low power trans­mis­sion, and al­lows the se­lec­tion of five dif­fer­ent call tones.

THE RIGHT CON­DI­TIONS

Af­ter hav­ing a bit of a play with the ra­dios out on the farm, I came up with a few very in­ter­est­ing con­clu­sions.

Firstly, the qual­ity of the voice com­ing through dur­ing trans­mis­sion is very good thanks to a four-set­ting voice en­hancer. Se­condly, the abil­ity to re­ceive and trans­mit re­lies heav­ily on the sur­round­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

It works well in the city up to about 500m, but then hous­ing and de­vel­op­ment ap­pears to ham­per the sig­nal. The range is much bet­ter in the open coun­try­side, but I lost con­tact when I dropped into gul­lies or got be­hind a hill.

From this, I reckon th­ese ra­dios would be great on con­struc­tion sites, where you need to main­tain con­tact but are too far away to use nor­mal ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion and don’t want to be con­tin­u­ally us­ing your phone.

They’d also be great for trav­ellers driv­ing in con­voy to main­tain com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween ve­hi­cles, or for trac­tor driv­ers and con­trac­tors when op­er­at­ing closely or in tan­dem in the same pad­dock.

Or they’d be re­ally handy for fenc­ing con­trac­tors and stock mus­ter­ers who can be sep­a­rated by dis­tance, but can still see each other.

How­ever, if you own a large prop­erty spread over con­sid­er­able dis­tance or are sit­u­ated among hills, gul­lies or trees, I would be re­luc­tant in rec­om­mend­ing this par­tic­u­lar unit. It re­lies too heav­ily on line-of-sight trans­mis­sion.

Uniden has many other op­tions, so get some ad­vice and choose one that best suits your re­quire­ments.

Pho­tographs by An­drew Brit­ten

Main pic: Uniden’s new UH820S2TP Tradies Pack

1: Tom Dick­son tries out the clip-on

lapel speaker mi­cro­phones

2: Charg­ing is a breeze

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