Opinions on ALINCO DR-638T

Joined
Apr 4, 2006
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HAM plans are slowly evolving: I have a tech license, and I've signed up with ARES in Baton Rouge. Most of that goes via 2m, but there is (supposedly...) a linked repeater system on 70cm that will be open in case of an emergency. Besides a Baofeng UV-5r, which probably doesn't provide enough power in case of emergency communications, I have a Yaesu FT1900r in the Cruiser - that radio is 2m only. So I think the Yaesu will move into my trail truck in AZ, and the Cruiser in BTR ought to get a dual-band radio.
In looking around, the ALINCO DR-638T has caught my eye. I would stick with Yaesu, but I didn't see their dual band offerings having cross-band repeat capability, and I don't need the quad band and don't have the license for that, anyways. I'd appreciate input on the ALINCO unit, or other suggestions. I have a dual-band chinese radio in my Amazon cart, but my last experience in going the chinese radio route ended with a same-day return, and I'm not sure I want to waste my time on this again. Thanks for the input.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2015
Messages
74
Location
Appleton Wisconsin
The ALINCO DR-638Tis a good radio. I have a Kenwood V71 which has a few more options for cross banding and VFO frequencies. I have used it a couple of times when doing APRS on one VFO and 70cm on the other. It is not that big of deal and the ALINCO is a good radio.

Alinco V/U and U/V Kenwood V/V/, V/U and U/U
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2015
Messages
74
Location
Appleton Wisconsin
The ALINCO DR-638Tis a good radio. I have a Kenwood V71 which has a few more options for cross banding and VFO frequencies. I have used it a couple of times when doing APRS on one VFO and 70cm on the other. It is not that big of deal and the ALINCO is a good radio.

Alinco V/U and U/V Kenwood V/V/, V/U and U/U
Another option would be the Icom IC-2730A
 
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
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3,539
Location
Virginia Beach, VA
I think the yaesu 7800 is dual band and can cross band repeat. Good price and it is WIRES capable as well. I have the tyt copy and am pretty happy with the functionality and user interface.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2015
Messages
74
Location
Appleton Wisconsin
I think the yaesu 7800 is dual band and can cross band repeat. Good price and it is WIRES capable as well. I have the tyt copy and am pretty happy with the functionality and user interface.
I don't think the 7800 cross band repeats. I just pulled this from the web site. Also a good radio though.

"The FT-7800R is ideal for the amateur who does not require cross-band repeat as found on the FT-8800R and FT-8900R"
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
1,942
Well, it seems the ALINCO unit is (being?) discontinued. I found a a bunch of negative interwebs comments on the Icom unit. So - the Kenwood it is, together with programming cable, and a Diamond antenna + magnetic mount, from Hamcity. Thanks everyone for the input.
 
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Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
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So, in the 'not-so-fast' category: radio arrived last week, together with antenna & programming cable PG-5G. Well, I should have read the fine print, as that programming cable simply adapts the old-style 8-pin serial port on the V71A radio to a 9-pin COM port - which doesn't help matters much for a MacBook Pro with USB-C ports. I had a COM to USB adapter, but that one was 10 years old, no go on the Mac. Finally, for programming with CHIRP, this appears to have solved the issue (after repeating the FTDI USB driver installation once):
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LZPX7C5/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Side notes: the harness came with a 20A fuse near the battery in each of the power and ground cables, and another 15A fuse in the power cable right by the radio. I changed the plug on the radio to match my existing power/ground cable plug, but kept the 15A inline fuse by the radio. Ground goes to the battery terminal, with another inline fuse near the terminal; power is from an auxiliary fuse block close to the battery; 15A fuses in each at this point. Currently the Kenwood sits in the bracket I originally installed for the Yaesu FT1900r; two mounting bolts fit, not sure I want to change out the bracket at this point.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2015
Messages
74
Location
Appleton Wisconsin
So, in the 'not-so-fast' category: radio arrived last week, together with antenna & programming cable PG-5G. Well, I should have read the fine print, as that programming cable simply adapts the old-style 8-pin serial port on the V71A radio to a 9-pin COM port - which doesn't help matters much for a MacBook Pro with USB-C ports. I had a COM to USB adapter, but that one was 10 years old, no go on the Mac. Finally, for programming with CHIRP, this appears to have solved the issue (after repeating the FTDI USB driver installation once):
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LZPX7C5/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Side notes: the harness came with a 20A fuse near the battery in each of the power and ground cables, and another 15A fuse in the power cable right by the radio. I changed the plug on the radio to match my existing power/ground cable plug, but kept the 15A inline fuse by the radio. Ground goes to the battery terminal, with another inline fuse near the terminal; power is from an auxiliary fuse block close to the battery; 15A fuses in each at this point. Currently the Kenwood sits in the bracket I originally installed for the Yaesu FT1900r; two mounting bolts fit, not sure I want to change out the bracket at this point.
I have a V71A. I use RT systems software for programming the radio. It's easy and comes with the cable. It is windows based but it has Mac drivers.

TM-V7A Radio Programming Software | Kenwood Radio Software | Cloning Software
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Joined
Apr 4, 2006
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