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Alinco DJ-G7 Review

I've come to the conclusion that the clone utility 1.1 beta is too buggy, frustrating and a waste of time for me to mess with much more. You can do basic programming with it, but be prepared to run into a bunch of bugs. The import/export to CSV is useless. If you read your radio then export it to CSV, and then try to import the CSV the application just created, it throws and error on it's own export! Imagine what happened when I tried to create a CSV from another radio file. Needless to say, I gave up.
Overall Impressions

I think I've explored all of the features of the Alinco DJ-G7 to be able to give an overall impression.

Pro's: It's a full featured, basic HT for 2m/440/1.2Ghz and also has broadcast AM/FM It has a lot of memories and is pretty easy to program from the radio. Full duplex and crossband repeat is really nice. The radio has excellent TX/RX audio quality. Unlike Yaesu HT's, you can actually delete and move around memories from the radio's keypad. Overall, it's very easy to use and is rugged. It's not waterproof, but it is water resistant. It comes with a lot for the price including a long lasting battery and desktop rapid charger. Alinco publishes updates to the firmware when they fix bugs, and you can apply it yourself if you purchase the programming cable. The charging input voltage is 12v, so you can make or use your own charging cable, or even run it off an external battery if you needed to. Lastly, the screen is easy to read and you can change the font and size to suit your own vision needs.

Cons: While not a major issue, the belt clip is a little goofy and tends to get in the way if you're changing antennas or speaker/mics. The scanning function doesn't seem to be as fast as it could be, but this is only a very minor consideration. Alinco tech support has a reputation for being slow to respond and my experience was similar. The freeware software (version 1.1) is beta at this time and is horrible. Other radio manufacturers either don't supply any sofware or make you pay for it, so I'm not sure how much I should complain about Alinco's software, though. The biggest issue that I currently have with this radio is that you can't select NFM mode at the upper portion of the 70cm band. This is an issue if you have local police/fire/etc. that use that part of the band and you wish to monitor them. I would think that this could easily be fixed with a firmware update.

Overall, I would recommend this radio, especially if you want to experiment on 1.2Ghz and especially if you're looking for an HT to use for satellite work. It's a good value and covers all of the basic features you really need plus a few more. I haven't built/purchased a 1.2Ghz yagi yet to try that band on the satellites, but I will soon ;) Hopefully there will be some software out soon that is better written.
I found one more feature that I didn't realize was there (must have skipped that part of the manual). While programming memories, you have 9 banks that you can organize the memories into. What I didn't realize is that there is also a special "Dual Band" bank. This bank lets you program a pair of frequencies can be recalled on each VFO. So why would you want to do this? Well, if you enjoy satellite work on an HT, you can store the frequency pairs recall them quickly. I programmed mine such that the UHF RX frequencies are in 5Khz steps (to handle the doppler shift) while the VHF frequeny stays constant. This is a nice feature.
A quick tip on using the current 1.1 beta cloning software:

The software performs much better & more consistently if you use the "Read one memory" and "Write one memory" buttons instead of the "read all" or "write all" buttons. You can also read/write a whole bunch of memories at once by clicking on the first one you want, holding down shift and selecting the last one and then clicking on the "read/write one". It will read/write everything that is selected and it does it MUCH quicker and more reliable than the other methods.
Update: I just saw that Alinco has released an update to their "cloning utility" or programming software. It's downloading now and I'll have an update on any improvements after I give it the once over.
I had some time to play with the new version of the software yesterday. Overall, it is much improved over the previous version. There are no more random Japanese characters and all of the menus and screens are completed now. The software works better but still has some issues. The "Read All Data" function still fails. I could not get the software to communicate with the radio until I set the USB Com port to Com2 (which doesn't make any sense). You can read and write the individual radio settings quite well now, though. The same trick of selecting all the memories by using Shift-Click still works. Overall it's much better, but remember that you're still getting what you pay for (it's free).
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.

I bought a Diamond SRH771 whip and attached it with a 144/440 tigertail and was able to access our 2m repeater VK6RMJ which is 15-20km away with the low power 1 setting (0.3W). Withe standard rubber ducky I need 5W and hold it too high to talk into without my handheld speaker/mike.
By the way, it is the Vertex Standard MH-73A4B waterproof Speaker/mike that I use from my Standard Horizons HX370S Transceiver - same 4pole screw in plug.

I haven't been able to try on 70cms yet with the tigertail

73 Mike VK6MB
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I found something that I'm not crazy about tonight. When you program a memory and assign a name to it, there's no quick way to toggle between the memory name and frequency. To get around this, you just have to hit the FUNC then M->V to send the memory to the VFO. It's not very intuitive, but at least there's a way to do it.
I have run into an other problem with the programing software. I can no longer load memory names into the radio. The frequency, tone offset, etc load fine; but the memory names do not transfer. There is no error code, they just are not there. The first few time I loaded data everything, including memory names loaded fine. Now, no names. I have tried soft and hard resets, I have checked my files, I am at a loss. I have confirmed that I can input memory names manually. I am open to any and all suggestions. Thanks
Instead of dowloading all the data, try selecting the memories you want to load by clicking on the first row, holding down shift, and clicking on the last memory. That should select all of the rows in between the ones you clicked on. Now hit the "One Memory Write" button below, which will write all those memories. That seems more reliable to me.
Yes, thank you, I picked up that trick from an earlier post and it works very well. I have been doing that. This problem is more insidious as it appears everything has loaded, but in fact the memory names are not in the radio.

It did not happen the first few times I transferred a file to the radio. But now I load a file that includes memory names, but the memory names are not transferred. I have checked be reading from the radio, the file returned is complete except for the memory names! I find it truly puzzling. There is something I am missing.

Thanks for your help, I have found your postings to be very heplful. Thanks again.

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