Continuing with my review of this radio...
The basic functionality of this radio is very easy to use. It is a basic radio that will serve most casual users well. I envision 4x4 vehicles like Jeeps which have tight installation requirements will benefit most from a radio like this. The radio has a very large, easy to read, and bright display that make it very easy to see what is going on at a quick glance.
The 680 has all of the basic functions included in larger radios, although many of these functions are simplified into toggle buttons. In my opinion, this is a great approach for the casual user. Look closely at this pic that shows all of the button and knobs:
The only knobs are the On/Off/Volume and outer squelch on the left, and the channel knob on the right. Every other function is accomplished using the buttons at the bottom of the display. Below the S/RF meter and channel display, you can also see the function indicators that tell you what you have enabled. In the picture above, you can see that I've turned the RF gain toggle up (DX), the radio is in CB
mode instead of PA), the Noise Limiter/Noise Blanker is on, and the Mic Gain is set to high. As you can tell, these indicators also pretty much describe the functionality of the radio. The 9/19 channel button and Dim/BRT buttons are fairly self explanatory.
The 680 has a built in "beep" function when you press buttons that is very loud. If I have one complaint about this radio, it's that there's no way to turn the beep off. The other beep function is on channel change. The radio beeps once when increasing the channel and twice rapidly when decreasing the channel. Again, I wish there was a way to turn this off, too. Power & Modulation Tests
Although I no longer own an oscilloscope, I thought others might find some basic power measurement tests useful. I hooked the radio up to my Bird43P with a 50H element and a dummy load attached directly to the meter. My results show that the radio emits a carrier right at 4 watts with peak modulation using the High mic setting at 18 watts. Not bad at all for a stock radio. On the Air
I spent some time talking to various stations tonight using the included stock mic. Every single station told me that the radio sounded clean with nice audio. I told them all that I was using this new radio with the stock mic and received nothing but compliments. Of course, there were a couple of stations that wanted to hear more brash audio, but in the end everyone was happy with how a stock radio sounded. A few were even a little surprised that I was using a bone stock radio with the the stock mic. This round of tests were performed at the home location on a base antenna.
Next up, testing in the mobile. My Jeep puts out a bit of ignition and alternator noise, so it will be interesting to see how well the built in ANL/NB works.