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Home Retevis Ailunce HA1G GMRS IP67 Handheld Review

Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,199
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Retevis recently contacted me and asked if I would review their new Ailunce HA1G GMRS handheld radio. Of course, I can't turn down an opportunity to play with a new radio! Here's a deep dive into this new radio, highlighting the major features.

The first thing to know is that the HA1G is dust proof and water proof as indicated by the IP67 rating. This rating means that it can survive submerged in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. I have not tested this rating yet, but I have no doubt that it is valid after testing another radio from Retevis with a similar rating that survived the Pacific Ocean surf. The HA1G comes with all of the typical accessories that you expect. The package I received did not come with an external speaker/mic, but it includes the typical desk charger, programming cable, USB cable, belt clip, etc.

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You don't need to use the desktop charger to charge battery because the battery has a USB-C port. Because this port is attached to the battery, it is only used for charging and not programming. Also, my tests found that using a PD (Power Delivery) USB-C port did not work; you need to use a standard 5v USB power source.


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The HA1G has a lot of advanced features that you typically only see in ham or commercial radios. The high / low power setting is defaulted to the maximum FCC power allowed on each frequency for a handheld but you always set the power to low whenever designed. According to my tests using a Bird 43 meter and 400Mhz element, the radio puts out nearly 6 watts on High and just about 1 watt on Low. The radio has a Wide / Narrow setting to set the TX/RX bandwidth accordingly. Time out timer, VOX, and Mic Gain, FM radio and NOAA WX are all included.

The HA1G is VERY rugged and design choices have been made to enhance its durability, such as the decision to use a Motorola-style speaker/mic connection on the side instead of the more common K2 connector. This is the same connector that is used with the programming cable, as well. This image has the side cover removed to expose the underlying connection. The way the battery is secured ensures that it won't pop out because of an accidental drop.

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The PTT button is massive; you won't be able to accidentally miss it when picking up the radio to talk. Below the PTT button are two buttons that can programmed to respond to do different things based on a short or long press. One cool use for this is to make one of the soft buttons the Band A PTT and one the Band B PTT, regardless of which band is activated. Activating the built-in FM radio is a good function to program onto one of these buttons for long press (it comes like that from the factory). But you can literally program these buttons to do whatever you want.

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When the radio transmits or receives, the screen changes to tell you which Band is in use, the frequency, as well as any CTCSS or DCS code. The percentage indicator at the top is a version of an S-Meter, although I'm not entirely sure what it represents.

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One unusual thing I discovered is the location of the mic, toward the top right below the antenna. This approach is fine, but the user needs to be aware that it's in a different spot than on most HTs. Note the location in this picture, right below the removable SMA antenna.

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The audio produced by the built-in speaker is very LOUD, but it does have a bit of a very slightly muffled quality which is normal for waterproof radios. I've certainly heard much worse on much more expensive radios. One thing that could use some improvement is the contrast of the display outdoors. Overall, the HA1G has a very nice, well thought out display, but it can be a bit difficult to read in the direct sunlight. This is a common problem with color displays on radios. This photo of the radio outdoors in the direct sunlight is a bit exaggerated by the camera aperture and white balance, but it illustrates the point.

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Looking at the above picture, you can see that you can quickly access the most common radio parameters directly from the keypad via a long press. I found this to be one of the most useful features. You can also see in the photo above that the radio can display two bands at once. You can also toggle it to display / listen to only one band. Why would you want to have two GMRS bands active at once? Well, one use case is the built-in scanner. Using the free software, you can create scan lists which can be any frequency in the VHF/UHF RX coverage area. That's right, this radio will RX VHF frequencies as well. Here's an example where I programmed my local Police VHF frequencies into a Scan List that I use to listen on band B will using band A for GMRS TX frequencies.

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BTW, I feel that the scanner itself is a little slow, but it's about the same speed as most radios in the price category. Another neat feature is the ability to create Zones, much like you might do with a commercial radio. This is especially useful if you travel; you could create different zones that represent the GMRS repeaters in different cities, for example. You can create 16 zones, with 16 channels in each zone.

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In addition to the standard scan list and zones feature, you can create a special "Emergency" scan list / zone, complete with a specialized alarm if that frequency is heard.

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Programming software is available from Retevis' website; I had no issues with the software. Even the USB driver for the cable was trouble-free; anyone with experience with these types of radios knows how challenging USB drivers can be. I found the software very easy and intuitive to use.

Overall, this GMRS radio has a ton of features that you normally see in Amateur or Commercial radios. It's built tough and easy to use and should be a strong contender to put into your arsenal if you are a GMRS user. At the time of this writing, the price is about $75 on Amazon:

Buy Ailunce HA1G on Amazon Here!

 
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Based on the photos here the display looks very dim like the typical Baofeng ones. Is it that dim? The mic location is a stupid move on there part. At $75 it seems to be over priced, do you have that feeling as well?
 
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Based on the photos here the display looks very dim like the typical Baofeng ones. Is it that dim? The mic location is a stupid move on there part. At $75 it seems to be over priced, do you have that feeling as well?

The initial version of the firmware I received had a poor color choice for the fonts, resulting in difficult reading in full light. After providing this feedback, they reversed the color palette which improved things greatly. I still wish the display was a little brighter, but as I mentioned the pic I provided is a bit more washed than reality because it's hard to photograph.

I think the price point is OK given the feature set and the IP67 rating. It's better built than anything from Baofeng and the programming software is very good.
 
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Thanks, I am finding I have a strong distaste for color displays on the Chinese stuff as I have yet to see one that you can easily read in daylight. Currently, I have 17 different HTs so it's not a single manufacturer issue (yes it probably is in reality).
 
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Hopefully it's much better than the HD1 which was made for DMR. I have owned it for several years & it's far from great. It talks & hears just fine but trying to change memory channels or frequencies can by quiet the trip to the funny farm. My best friend also has one & he Hates it & has stopped getting on DMR completely. They look great but they leave lots behind in performance unless you just stay in one group or have a while to keep turning the knob trying to get to another one.
 
The initial version of the firmware I received had a poor color choice for the fonts, resulting in difficult reading in full light. After providing this feedback, they reversed the color palette which improved things greatly. I still wish the display was a little brighter, but as I mentioned the pic I provided is a bit more washed than reality because it's hard to photograph.

I think the price point is OK given the feature set and the IP67 rating. It's better built than anything from Baofeng and the programming software is very good.
Is being Better than the Worst of the Worst a bragging point?
 
@Moleculo Wondering if you could tell us the firmware version you have there. I just got one of these ( 4/24) and my some of my screens are very different and some menus and functions seem to be missing or different. Not much info on the Retevis site about the firmware and their manuals leave a bit to be desired.
 
@Moleculo Wondering if you could tell us the firmware version you have there. I just got one of these ( 4/24) and my some of my screens are very different and some menus and functions seem to be missing or different. Not much info on the Retevis site about the firmware and their manuals leave a bit to be desired.
I believe he has a pre-production unit so there could be a lot of differences.
 

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