Wouxun KG-UV9p review, worth the price?

Wouxun kg-uv9p

Wouxun KG-UV9p Review

This was my first Wouxun, and I thought of it as a high-priced Baofeng, after all, it is just another in a sea of obscure Chinese radios, right? As you can tell, I was not going into this review with a very neutral attitude. Did the Wouxun KG-UV9p win my heart?

When I first opened the box I noted two things, the screen and what felt like a much-improved build quality over most Chinese radios. To be specific, I was comparing it to a Baofeng UV-9R which is my favorite model of cheap Chinese radios. While the UV-9R feels good, this Wouxun KG-UV9p feels better, a lot better.

The screen on the Wouxun KG-UV9p is also a lot nicer than any of the Baofeng, Pofung, Retevis, TIDRADIO, Proster, or Arcshell radios I have handled. While not as bright as I might like, it is clear and has nice contrasting colors.

What I do not like about the screen on the Wouxun KG-UV9p is that once the backlight turns off, it is pretty much useless. This reminds me of my Alinco DJ-MD5 in that without a backlight, you can’t see anything. That’s a problem.

Wouxun KG-UV9P screen comparison

In the image above you have my Yaesu FT3DR, Kenwood TH-D74, Wouxun KG-UV9P, and Yaesu FT-65. The only one you can not clearly read the screen on is the Wouxun.

With the backlight on, the screen is a lot nicer although nowhere near as nice as the Alinco DJ-MD5 I mentioned a minute ago. The Alinco has a lot more contrast, a lot brighter, and personally, I prefer the light on dark of the Alinco as compared to the dark on light of the Wouxun KG-UV9P.

The knobs and buttons on the radio feel first class. If I didn’t know what was in my hand I have no doubt I could not tell the difference between this and my Kenwood and Yaesu radios. That makes sense since this is priced right up there with them. I had feared that the price for the Wouxun KG-UV9p would not equate to quality components, but so far that seems misplaced.

Working with the menus on the radio is pretty straightforward as it acts exactly like a Baofeng radio. Don’t get caught up with the Wouxun KG-UV9p menus thinking they are Baofeng menus, they are not. There is, of course, some overlap. Beep is beep is beep regardless of the manufacturer. Where this one shines is that it offers a lot more flexibility, even allowing you to turn the radio into a repeater right from the front panel. Nice.

The power output of the Wouxun KG-UV9p is very impressive. I measured 7 watts on 146MHz, the best of any handheld radio I have tested so far. Looking at the spectrum it presents a reasonably clean and solid transmission line that is just about dead-on accurate for the frequency you set it to. Much better than pretty much any Baofeng radio, including the UV-9R, and right in line with the radios from higher-end manufacturers such as Yaesu and Kenwood.

Measuring the antenna on the Wouxun KG-UV9p featured another surprise as it is an excellent antenna for something included with a radio, besting even some of the higher-end stuff out there. Unlike many other radios, the included antenna is obviously designed for a 2m/70cm radio and performance is excellent.

I am not sure what to think about the battery. The Wouxun KG-UV9p comes with a 7.2v 3200mAh battery, so the sticker says. Either this is over-stated quite a bit, or this radio chews through a battery really fast. My guess is that the screen eats quite a bit, and the battery is also overstated. I got this opinion from the very aggressive backlight timeout straight from the factory, as well as the battery drop even when the backlight is off. If you want to use the radio for any serious amount of time, be sure to have a backup battery. This isn’t unusual in today’s world of feature-rich radios, look at the Yaesu FT-70DR with its far less than ideal battery life.

When I was testing the audio transmission was when I became really disappointed. The Wouxun KG-UV9p had, up to this point, been a really solid offering with only a few minor annoyances. Once I heard myself talking on it, that changed.

Wouxun has long had a problem with their microphones being a little too quiet. You pretty much had to “eat the mic” to get reasonable output. It looks like someone at Wouxun tried to fix that with the Wouxun KG-UV9p, and they should have left well enough alone. The mic is driven hard, and that results in loud, distorted, and at times, difficult-to-understand audio.

This is one of the main reasons people in amateur radio emergency services typically use radios from Yaesu and Kenwood. They understand that 2 watts of crystal clear audio beats 10 watts of gobbledegook every single time. When it matters, you don’t want to be heard, you want to be understood, and this is a major failing of the Wouxun KG-UV9p in my opinion.

 

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Photos

Test Results:

Screen readability Good
In-hand feel Very Good
Included antenna Very Good
Construction quality Good
Belt clip Good
Programmability Very Good
Transmit audio CLICK TO LISTEN
Frequency accuracy 145.000 @ 145.000
Maximum power output (2m/70cm) 7 watts / 1.3 watts
Actual weight 10.6 oz
Wouxun KG-UV9P manual CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Programming software CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Overall score
Wouxun KG-UV9P VNA Antenna Test
Wouxun KG-UV9P VNA Antenna Test
Wouxun KG-UV9P SRD spectrum analysis

 

If you are interested, click here for an article on how I test radios.
FEATURES:
  • 999 Memory Channels
  • Dual Band Transmit
  • 137-174MHz VHF Frequencies RX/144-148MHz VHF Frequencies TX
  • 400-512MHz UHF Frequencies RX/ 420-450MHz UHF Frequencies TX
  • 7-Band Receive
  • Cross Band Repeater
  • 7W UHF/8W VHF Transmit Power
  • Li-Ion Battery Pack
  • FM Radio
  • SOS Feature
  • Memory Channel
  • Simultaneous Scanning on Twin Bands
  • Priority Scan
  • Dual Receive
  • Busy Channel Lockout
  • Duplex Work Mode
  • Reverse Frequency Function
  • CTCSS/DCS Tones
  • CTCSS/DCS Tone Scan
  • Large Color Backlit LCD Display w/5 Level Brightness
  • Channel Name Edit and Display
  • Battery Meter
  • Low Battery Alert
  • Power Saver
  • Timeout Timer
  • VOX
  • Drop-In Charge Included
  • Audio Accessory Connector
  • PC Programmable (Requires Optional Cable)
  • LED Flashlight
  • Stopwatch
  • DTMF Encode/Decode
PROS:
CONS:
  • Excellent features
  • Nice screen
  • Good build quality
  • Speaker audio is good
  • High power battery
  • Screen backlight is weak
  • Screen without backlight is unreadable
  • Transmitted audio too overdriven

Conclusions

Before I bought one, I wanted to write off the Wouxun KG-UV9p as a very overpriced Baofeng. That just isn’t fair and I have to admit that I am now looking forward to reviewing more Wouxun radios. It is a very solid offering.

The biggest question here for me is, is the Wouxun KG-UV9p worth the price when you can get radios like the Alinco DJ-MD5, Alinco DJ-VX50T, Yaesu FT-60R, Yaesu FT-70DR, or a Baofeng UV-9R?

My opinion is no, I would much rather have either of the Yaesu radios for around the same price. No, they do not offer some of the more creative capabilities like the ability to turn your radio into a cross band repeater in seconds, but I don’t really need that feature. The Yaesu radios will destroy the Wouxun in audio reception and transmission which beats power every time, and also have a higher build quality. Heck, the Yaesu FT-70DR includes their digital fusion modes.

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I hope you enjoyed my review of the Wouxun KG-UV9p!

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