The Alinco DJ-MD5 is a dual-band (2m/70cm) DMR radio with probably the nicest color LCD screen I have seen on a handheld radio.
You don’t hear a lot about Alinco when looking at amateur radio gear although they make a range of handheld, mobile, and even a few desktop radios. While I have to admit I do not have a lot of experience with their equipment, what I have had has been positive. This radio is no exception.
Opening the box worried me a bit. I am not getting any younger and although I do not wear glasses normally, the buttons on the keypad were tiny and honestly, a tad hard to read sometimes. In good light, after some caffeine in the morning, I can usually make out the lettering. Then again, once you get used to what is where you really don’t need to be able to really read them.
From the minute I picked it up I knew this was not meant to compete with the cheap Chinese radios. It feels like a solid brick in your hand. Everything on it feels like quality. The buttons are firm and solid, the knobs rotate smooth and have just the right amount of resistance. The screen is, well, freeking amazing! It is vibrant and detailed, very easy to read.
The attention to detail is really nice too. A great example is the rounded belt clip with beveled edged which makes it really nice feeling in your hand. Baofeng’s for example usually don’t really get in the way, but they obviously don’t really fit into your hand well. I should also mention that the belt clip feels strong and stable with just the right amount of tension in the spring with a great little hook at the bottom to keep it from sliding off whatever you have it secured to.
Another nice detail is the shield on the right side top protecting the volume knob so that when something like your shirt, a car seat, or seat-belt slides against it, it does not change the volume level, neat!
Audio was my next concern as you can not actually see a regular speaker grill. I was pleasantly surprised as it has very good audio for something as small and compact as it is.
Programming the unit is pretty straight forward, for a DMR radio of course. The fact that it uses a standard micro USB (not included) is really nice. Software is downloadable and like the radio is very straight forward and robust. It feels faster and slicker than many others such as the software for TYT radios. Personally I think it is a little nicer than CHIRP but not by any really significant measurement.
Battery life with the 1700mah included battery is very good, better than I expected with this nice of a screen and this much power. Speaking of power, the specs say this is a 5w radio but my tests show 13.1w output at 446.000Mhz and 13.6w at 146.520. This makes it the single most powerful radio on 70cm I have tested so far and the second most powerful at 2m (behind the Baofeng BF-F8HP which is billed as an 8w radio).
|Frequency accuracy||144.450 @ 145.000|
|Maximum power output (2m/70cm)||13.6/13.1 watts|