I’ve been using this radio for a couple of months and I should have written this review before today, but nevertheless; here it is.
To start on a very positive note, let me just say that this is my favorite HT radio out of all the ones I currently own. I have about 6 HT radios on my desk at home, where I keep them charged up and ready to go. 2-Baofengs, 1-Tonfa, 1-Wouxun, 1-CSI and this Anytone AT-3318UV. And no, I am not done, I plan to add several more 😉
The first thing I noticed about the Anytone radio is how sturdy it is. Right when I pulled it out of the box, I could tell it was very well-made, just from the feel while holding it in my hand. That is one thing that I always believed Wouxun had over the Baofeng radios – they simply feel like a better-made radio. When you spend $30-$40 on a radio, you can tell you have the quality of a $40 radio. When you spend $100, you can also tell where that extra $60 went. Perhaps some people don’t agree, but I have found the Wouxun and the Anytone HTs to be easier to use, easier to program manually (without software) and more reliable than the Baofeng/Tonfa/Zastone radios.
Another really cool thing about the AT-3318 is that it will allow you to go either VFO or Memory mode, per band. It is a true dual-band radio. Simply put, you can be in VFO mode in the top band, while having the bottom band in Memory mode. Or vice-versa. The Baofeng and Wouxun radios are an either-or situation; both bands are either in Channel (Memory) Mode or in Frequency (VFO) Mode. You can’t have one band in one mode without having both bands in the same mode. Not true on the Anytone.
Out of the box, the Anytone doesn’t talk to you – no voice telling you which mode/channel/menu you are in. Perhaps there is a setting to turn this on, but I haven’t honestly looked. I always thought the voices were a bit annoying on the other HTs I have.
The menus are also completely different than other Chinese HTs. Baofeng/Tonfa/Wouxun/Zastone – all the menus are basically the same, even with the same abbreviations for options, such as “RX-TCS” for Received CTCSS tone. The menu on the AT-3318 is totally new, so it takes some getting used to. This is NOT a bad thing, in my mind. In fact, it proves to me that this radio isn’t a simple copy of other Chinese HT radios, like we so often see. This AT-3318 is it’s own monster.
So far, after using it for about a month, the only drawback that I see is that the radio isn’t programmable from the CHIRP software. I believe this to be a short-coming in the CHIRP software side, not from Anytone. However, I bet eventually CHIRP will update their software to read the AT-3318 (I’ve used CHIRP on the TH-9000so CHIRP WILL read Anytone radios, just not this model yet).
The stock antenna on the AT-3318 is fantastic. It is labeled “Hi-Gain” antenna, and I think it is true. They can stamp anything they want an on antenna, but comparing it to my other HTs, I’d say this antenna out-performs them all, even the Wouxun. That is another thing about the Baofeng radios – you’ll want to replace the stock antenna on nearly all of them, except maybe the UV-82– but this Anytone stock antenna is a keeper.
If you are unlike me, and you want only 1 HT radio to carry around, I highly recommend this one. It is definitely at the top of my list.
- 5 Watts VHF
- 4 Watts UHF
- RX & TX 136-174 MHz & 400-520 MHz
- RX FM Broadcast 79-108 MHz
- Wide Band & Narrow Band* (see note below)
- 2.5 kHz tuning step for splinter frequencies
- 5/Tone encode and decode
- 199 Channels with Alpha Tags
- Squelch mode adjustable for each channel
- Squelch tail elimination
- CTCSS that really works – when scanning channels, radio will stop ONLY when CTCSS tone is present
- VFO Scanning – frequency limits can be set for both VHF & UHF
- Channel Scanning – scanned channels can be ADDED or REMOVED via the keypad
- Frequency Reverse button – exchanges TX & RX frequencies
- Talk Around button – sets TX frequency to repeater’s output frequency
- Programmable by computer
- EASY to manually program
- Has no voice prompts
- Keypad totally lockable to meet FCC Part 90 requirements
*Note: This radio actually receives narrow band when in Narrow Band mode.
(not all do that) It breaks out at 6 kHz on Narrow Band, 10 kHz on Wide Band.
Good news for those using the Splinter Frequencies.