1. You can now help support WorldwideDX when you shop on Amazon at no additional cost to you! Simply follow this Shop on Amazon link first and a portion of any purchase is sent to WorldwideDX to help with site costs.
    Dismiss Notice

Alinco DJ-G7 Review

Discussion in 'Product Reviews' started by Moleculo, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2002
    Messages:
    8,831
    Likes Received:
    855
    I had been trying to get my hands on the new Alinco DJ-G7 HT for some time now, especially since it is currently the only HT that can do 2 meters, 440Mhz, and 1.2GHz and is also full duplex on both VFO's. After numerous attempts to purchase one locally, I saw that AES had them in stock and called them up last week. The UPS guy in the brown truck made my day today (y). I only had a little time tonite to play with the radio and snap a few pictures, but I will continue to update this thread with a thorough review of this latest HT.


    Here is a picture of the DJ-G7:

    [​IMG]

    You can tell right away from this picture that the display is very crisp and easy to read, and this picture is taken without the backlight on. It is also very simple and free of clutter. There is something to be said about simplicity on the display. Some radios (like the Yaesu VX-8r) seem to try to display the status of every setting on the screen at once. My first impression of the DJ-G7 was, "Well that's refreshing; A simple display, for a change."

    The bottom half of the radio comprises of both the speaker and the mic. I was very pleased that the RX audio quality is quite good. For an HT, it's almost what I would call rich sounding. At the very top, you'll notice that this radio is somewhat unique because it has two sets of double dials. The top dial on each controls the frequency selection and the bottom dial controls the volume. By default, the left set of dials controls the Main VFO and the right set of dials control the SUB VFO. You can choose via settings to swap the dial VFO control if you like. I quickly found that it I kept grabbing the right set of dials first, so I changed that one to correspond to the Main VFO.

    Here is a pic of the radio and all of the supplied accessories:

    [​IMG]

    The U.S. version of the radio comes with a 1200mAh Lithium Ion battery, a nylon belt strap (shown attached), an A/C wall wart charger, a wrist strap, and a drop in charger. You can charge the radio by either the A/C wall wart directly or by using the drop in charger. The fact that they include the drop in charger is a testimonial to Alinco's committment to providing exceptional value with their products. Most other brands charge us extra for that accessory, but Alinco includes it! (y)



    Here is a picture of the DJ-G7 next to two other familiar HT's for size comparison: the Yaesu VX-2 and VX-8r with the extended battery:

    [​IMG]

    You can see that the Alinco DJ-G7 is about the same width as the Yaesu VX-8r, if not a little narrower.

    Here is a sideways shot of all three radios for size comparison:

    [​IMG]

    The Alinco is a little fatter than the VX-8r with the extended battery, but not by much. Keep in mind, though that the Yaesu VX-8r with the standard 1100mAh battery will be quite a bit thinner than the Alinco. I think the Alinco has a real good, ergonomic feel in my hands. Even though it's slighly larger, I like the weight, location of the buttons, and the very large PTT button.

    This is the top of the radio where optional speaker/mic plugs in. Notice that the speaker/mic plug is covered by a metal screw cap with a rubber seal. The rubber seal is obviously there to keep out moisture an dust. This is another interesting, unique design feature of the DJ-G7.

    [​IMG]

    Here is what is underneath that screw cap:

    [​IMG]

    The speaker/mic connection actually screws in using a metal housing. This speaker/mic connector is a little larger than one that you will find on other radios, so it's not exactly standard. Even if it was a standard size, you won't find many connectors that will be able to fit into the radio housing snugly enough due to this radio's screw-in connection. On the upside, this connection is very sturdy and rugged. One of the complaints I always had about my Kenwood TH-F6a was that the speaker/mic adapter was cheap and I had trouble maintaining good contact with the terminals. I don't see that happening with the Alinco's connector. Of course, this means that you are required to purchase Alinco's speaker/mic adapter, as well.

    Here is a picture of the only two accessories I included in my initial purchase: ERW-7 PC Interface cable and EDS-10 Mic/Speaker cable.

    [​IMG]

    You need both cables to interface to your PC. The ERW-7 USB PC cable is $50, but the EDS-10 Mic/Speaker cable is only $17. You need the EDS-10 adapter anyway, if you ever want to use an external speaker/mic. Using the cable accessories, I was able to update the firmware on the radio using these cables as instructed by the Alinco web site.

    More to follow...
     

  2. KB1TPX

    KB1TPX W1MBZ

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    4
    Nice,...looks complicated though.:confused:
     
  3. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2002
    Messages:
    8,831
    Likes Received:
    855
    The basic, every day use functions are actually quite simple. I was able to figure out just about everything to hit a repeater on my own without looking at the manual. To program in a frequency, just start hitting the numbers and press ENT (enter) when done. To select a PL Tone, just hit FUNC, TONE, then use the dials to select the tone you want. Like most radios, it automatically selects the repeater shift direction. If you want to override it, it's not so obvious how to do so. I had to look at the manual to determine that you hit FUNC, MAIN to select the shift direction.

    You will discover pretty quickly that the top two dials also press down. This is how you set the squelch level for each band. You also use that to enter set mode, by pressing FUNC, then depressing one of the dials on top.

    The basics really are pretty simple on this HT, in my opinion.

    I downloaded the updated manual from Alinco, but unfortunately it's just a scanned PDF copy which makes searching impossible. As a result, I did everyone who purchases this radio a favor and converted it to be a searchable PDF. It can be downloaded here:

    http://www.worldwidedx.com/misc/djg7manualOCR.pdf
     
  4. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2002
    Messages:
    8,831
    Likes Received:
    855
    Here is a picture of the radio with the belt clip and strap attached:

    [​IMG]

    This is an interesting approach to putting a belt clip on a radio. I tried it out and you can release the clip and remove the radio from your belt with one hand. However, putting it back on your belt is time consuming and requires both hands. You're better off just sticking it through a belt loop if you intend to use this accessory, but then you'll have to put up with the radio twisting around because of the width of the nylon strap.

    You can see from the picture that the belt loop attachment sticks up next to the speaker/mic input. This is my biggest gripe about this attachment; it is a major chore for anyone with fingers larger than a child to unscrew the speaker/mic cover with that belt clip attached. The easiest way to do it is to just detach the antenna so you can get your fingers in there. I really hope someone comes out with a different belt attachment for this radio.
     
  5. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2002
    Messages:
    8,831
    Likes Received:
    855
    A quick note about the stock antenna performance:

    I did a real quick test before heading out the door for dinner. The stock antenna is 6-3/8" long. For a quick test, I swapped it out with the Comet SMA-503 antenna which is 8-5/8" long. Interesting enough, the stock Alinco was bringing in a repeater about 10 miles away with an S9+ signal, but the Comet that is a full 2+" longer was only an S5. I tried it on the broadcast FM band and experienced the same difference. I swapped the Yaesu VX-8r antenna and it performed the same as the Alinco. So at least on 2 meters and the FM broadcast band, the stock antenna is significantly better than the aftermarket Comet SMA-503 that is a bit longer. I'll try the same comparison a little later on 440Mhz.
     
  6. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2002
    Messages:
    8,831
    Likes Received:
    855
    I have a couple more notes about the physical construction of the radio before moving on to comments on it's performance. The overall constuction of the unit is very solid. The dials on the top are nice and tight and the overall radio feels like it should be pretty rugged. For charging, it also accepts 12vdc input, which is a nice touch. Since the charging connector is a stanard one, you could easily make your own charging cable to connect to any 12v source. Overall, this radio seems like it is well constructed.

    Battery Performance
    The battery on this thing seems to last forever. So far today I have had it on for 13 hours and it's not dead yet. That includes a full day of listening to local broadcast radio while monitoring repeaters and talking on a few of them. I'm not sure how long it will last constantly monitoring, but I'm going to find out...stay tuned. Also, the charger will charge the battery from completly dead to fully charged in about three hours.

    Radio Usage
    The standard 2m/440/1.2 voice performance of this radio is also solid. I used the full duplex mode (more on that later) to monitor my TX audio, and it really is pretty good. I have had far worse sounding HTs in the past. As I mentioned before, basic radio functions like inputting frequencies, setting the PL tone, and setting the squelch are all easy to figure out and remember. The radio has 1000 memories, which is more than enough for me. You can easily switch between VFO mode, "Preset" (broadcast AM/FM) and Memory mode by hitting the V/P/M button repeatedly.

    The full duplex on this HT actually works well! This is a really great feature for people (like me!) that like to try to hit the LEO satellites using an HT. I don't know of any other full duplex HTs that are currently available. The radio also does crossband repeat! :) I tried to hit the ISS tonight with it so I could report on how well it works for satellite usage, but I was unsuccessful. I'll get a pass of one of the birds that I can hit soon and report on it's usefullness as a satellite HT. After all, the main reason I wanted the radio was to try to work the birds on 1.2Ghz (I have to figure out an antenna first) and to have full duplex for satellite work.

    I also found out that if you have the mic/speaker cable adapter installed, you can still TX using the front mic if you have no hand mic installed and it works fine. Earlier today I was using headphones plugged in, but using the front mic to access a few repeaters and could hear and talk just fine. You can even configure the VOX function for which mic it should pick up. Eventually I will probably get a hand mic of some type, but for now, I'm glad I can use it like this, especially for satellite work.

    I have discovered a few functionality issues with the radio already and I will report back on those next.
     
  7. Cat Driver

    Cat Driver Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    1
    Sounds good so far... I am also looking at these to replace my VX-150. All info is well appreciated...
     
  8. KB1TPX

    KB1TPX W1MBZ

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    4
    Cool.(y)
     
  9. ButtFuzz

    ButtFuzz Anti-BS Advocate ● N4REV ● Reverend Doctor

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Messages:
    464
    Likes Received:
    115
    I like the font on the LCD.
    Looks like Arial.
     
  10. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2002
    Messages:
    8,831
    Likes Received:
    855
    LOL. Speaking of the display font, there are a few things you can set about the font on the display. You can change it so both bands have large font, one has large & one has small font, both have large font, the operating band is bold or thin, both are bold, etc. It's pretty easy to figure out a combination for the font that works for you on the screen. You can also adjust the screen contrast and backlight.

    As I said before, the basic TX/RX functions of the radio are pretty solid, but there are a few issues. The first issue that I noticed is that sometimes the repeater offset gets "confused". Like most radios, there is an "auto offset" setting for repeaters. However, the auto offset isn't completely accurate, which isn't the first time I've seen this issue. My initial reaction to this was, "OK, no big deal. I'll just override it". The problem is that sometimes you can't seem to override the setting as long as the "auto repeater" is turned in. For example, I punched in the uplink frequency for the ISS repeater last night (145.800). The radio thought that this should be a negative shift frequency. I tried to get rid of the shift by hitting FUNC, MAIN (the shift control) and select no shift. It wouldn't take. I tried turning the radio on then off and still couldn't change it. Finally I went into the settings menu and turned the auto shift function off and I could adjust the shift for this frequency however I wanted. I've tried to duplicate this behaviour but I can't always recreate it. The expected behaviour is what happens now. However, this happened to me one time before: the "auto shift" takes over and gets locked in and I have to turn off "auto shift" to get it to work.

    The other issue, which is a fairly significant one to me, is that 475.750Mhz and up will only allow you to set it to WFM mode. There are so many police and fire agencies that use frequencies in this range that this is a major oversight. It seems to stay in WFM only until you get around 895.000Mhz.

    One other thing that I've noticed is that scanning is painfully slow. My other radios can much faster. This isn't a deal-breaker for me since I probably won't scan much with it.

    Next, I'll comment on programming the memories and some hidden menus.
     
  11. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2002
    Messages:
    8,831
    Likes Received:
    855
    A quick follow up on the battery life. Yesterday I had the radio on for almost exactly 15 hours monitoring with a few key-ups before it died. The battery meter isn't real accurate, but at least it starts to notify you when it's getting weak. 15 hours of life is pretty good!
     
  12. ButtFuzz

    ButtFuzz Anti-BS Advocate ● N4REV ● Reverend Doctor

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Messages:
    464
    Likes Received:
    115
    That thing...

    ... is the bomb-diggity. Please keep up posted of "long term" test results, etc.
     
  13. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2002
    Messages:
    8,831
    Likes Received:
    855
    I'm out camping this weekend and managed to get an EVDO wireless internet signal while I'm waiting for a satellite to pass over that I'm going to attempt to use this radio on.

    I have two things to report in the interim:

    1. Alinco Tech support abolutely B. L. O. W. S. I sent an email in at the beginning of the week asking for details on the supposed mods reported on eham about the ability to TX on all bands via a software mod. No response. I followed up with a phone call a couple of days ago and they took a message (tech support unavailable). Apparently their tech support is one guy. Now, I have a good, perfectly legal reason for requesting this info and I included a copy of my Navy MARS license, call sign, etc. as proof. I have yet to receive a return email or phone call. Obviously, this issue doesn't have much to do with the performance of the radio, but it does speak volumes for the performance of the company.

    2. The scan speed on this radio is slow. I don't have anything scientific to report; it just feels a lot slower than other HTs. Not a major issue, but something to consider.

    I'm still trying to make my first satellite contact with it to see how well the full duplex function really works for satellite ops. If anyone wants to send/build me a 1.2 Ghz yagi to try on the satellits, that would be apprecitated, too :) :)
     
  14. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2002
    Messages:
    8,831
    Likes Received:
    855
    I just made a few contacts using the DJ-G7 on SAUDISAT (S0-50). The duplex option really is useful for working the satellite. I set the SUB band on the RX frequency and the Uplink frequency on the MAIN band. Of course, you have to adjust the RX frequency for doppler shift. It is very useful to hear yourself back through the satellite on the SUB band, letting you know that you're making it in. Of course, RX'ing your own signal through the satellite is a little distored, but at least you know you're making the trip. All things considered, I think I will continue to use this HT for the satellites...it worked very well.
     
  15. C2

    C2 Sr. Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Messages:
    2,409
    Likes Received:
    65
    how do you pronounce Alinco?
     

Share This Page

  • About Us

    The WorldwideDX Radio Forum was originally established in 2001. We pride ourselves on welcoming Radio Hobby enthusiasts of all types, while offering unbiased, informative, and friendly discussion among the members. We are working every day to make sure our community is the best Radio Hobbyist's site.
  • Like us on Facebook

  • Premium VIP Member

    The management works very hard to make sure the community is running the best software, best designs, and all the other bells and whistles. Care to buy us a beer? We'd really appreciate it!

    Donate to us!