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Product Review
Retevis  RT-23
Dual Band Transceiver
136-174 /
400-480 MHz

by: John  'Miklor'
March 2017


General Description
This is the first Retevis handheld I've had a chance to review. It's a 5W Dual Band 128 Channel handheld with built in Cross Band repeater function.
In the Box

Included with the RT-23 transceiver are: the following:
-  7.4V  1600 mAh Lithium Battery
-  Battery Charger with 110-220VAC wall adapter
-  Dual Band Antenna
-  Heavy Duty Belt Clip
-  English User Guide
-  Programming Cable
Size / Weight
Weight:  218g (7.7 oz)
Size:  100 (H) x 60 (W) x 36 (D) mm  (3.9 x 2.4 x 1.4") 
Enclosure & Keys

There is a menu / frequency tuning knob in the center of the case with the antenna on the right. The case has a nice solid feel with two keys on the left side; the PTT and two programmable keys that can be set to desired options.
There is no long press / short press so your programmable functions are limited to two. A few of the options are: FM Radio, Moni, Scan, Battery Level, Tone Burst, as well as an option to simulate a dual PTT mode. What I found missing was Power Hi/Lo.
A nice feature I found was the ability to change the CTCSS tones on preprogrammed channels from the keypad, but did not have the ability to remove a channel from the scan list.
Band Coverage
The TX and RX range is VHF 136-174 and UHF 400-480 MHz, as well as FM Broadcast (76-108 MHz).

The RT-23 is rated at 5W, and holds pretty true to those estimates. Using a Bird Wattmeter terminated at 50 ohm showed the following results.  Over the Air audio reports were very good, but I couldn't get too far away from the microphone.
I found there was no keypad button to change power from Hi/Lo on the fly, but required an entry from the menu. Once the power level was changed, it did stay with that channel even when changing frequency and returning.
Freq High Low
146 4.6 1.7
446 4.5 1.5

The included flexible antenna measures 7" in length is quite adequate, and is terminated with a standard SMA-F connector. This makes upgrading to a different antenna relatively easy.

The VHF / UHF receiver sensitivity is on par with any handheld I’ve used in the past, Dual watch works well, and there's plenty of smooth, clear and loud audio. 
Cross Band Repeat
The RT-23 has the ability to do Cross Band repeat. VHF /UHF or UHF to VHF. It can be set to either single (one way) or dual path (two way) repeat. Same band repeat is not possible (VHF/VHF or UHF/UHF) as transmitting on the same band would overload the receiver. This is customary with all radios with CBR.
I found the LCD characters easy to read. The background colors are fixed at either Orange, Purple and Blue. There is no option for the colors to change when a signal is received or when you transmit.  
One concern was when in the Channel/Name display mode, the channel name appears, but the channel number to the right does not. This doesn't effect the performance of the radio, but I'm used to seeing the channel number as a reference.

Programming Software
The latest Software and Manual can be found on the Retevis website . Loading the software was a little different than most. When loading the program, you needed to select "Rock, Paper, Scissors". I quickly found that these were the language options. Rock was Chinese, Paper was English. I didn't try Scissors as I was afraid it would cut me off (sorry).
The software was easy to follow after a little terminology translation. The alpha tags on the channels and Power On Message do not accept spaces or special characters when using the software, yet they can be entered manually through the keypad. This is something that will probably be corrected in the next software release. At the time of this review, the RT-23 is not supported by CHIRP.
Programming Cable
The RT-23 programming cable supplied with the radio uses the standard Kenwood K1 style connector. Accessories such as the external Spkr/Micr are interchangeable with Kenwood, Baofeng, Wouxun, etc.

The RT-23 has a nice solid feel, plenty of power, and Cross Band repeat. As with most handhelds, the menu takes a little getting used to, but overall isn't too hard to follow. After a week of testing, I found no issues with the radios performance. 

Retevis  RT-23

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