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Ham Radio - Camera - Computer - F8HP - UV5R - Baofeng - Pofung
 
Product Review
 
BTech  UV2501+220
 
Generation 3 - May 2016
 
Tri-Band Mobile Transceiver
 
136-174MHz / 210-230MHz / 400-520MHz
Transmit and Receive

 

by: John  'Miklor'
Updated: May 2016

 


Compact 25W  Tri-Band Mobile
 
 
 
Miklor

First off, I am not a dealer, manufacturer or distributor, so I have nothing to gain by inflating or deflating the performance of a radio. Also, I don't do "unboxing" videos on YouTube as I feel you know how to open a box the same as I do.  You open the box, look inside, and say "Wow", everything looks like it's here. So, let's get started...


BTech 2501+220 Gen 3

BTech has just introduced the 3rd generation of their low profile Tri-Band Mobile Transceiver.  The Generation 3 has added several new upgrades, both hardware and software. It has all options of the UV2501 Gen 3 with the addition of the 220MHz US Ham Band, both transmit and receive.
 
The +220 is specifically designed for 210-230MHz operation.  There are currently radios being advertised as Tri-Band operating in the range of 240-260MHz. Unfortunately, this is not the the range needed for the US ham band, and they are not adaptable to frequencies below 240MHz due to their internal filtering.
 
  
In the Box

 
Included with the radio are:
-  Microphone with a 16 button keypad
-  Chrome metal microphone hanger
-  Metal mounting bracket with screws
-  DC power cable with connector
-  Full 30 page English User Manual (not a pamphlet)
 
UV2501+220 - Weight:  408 g (14.4 oz)
Size:  98(W) x 35 (H) x 118 (D) mm  (3.8 x 1.4 x 4.6") 

 
Enclosure
 

The frame is rugged, with a solid cover and a hefty aluminum heat sink and now includes a cooling fan.  I would still be cautious mounting the radio in an tight location where ventilation is limited.  25W is a lot of power in a small case. As with any transceiver, it will need room to breath. 
 
The radios are terminated with a standard SO-239 connector.
 
 
Transmitter

 
The +220 includes 210-230MHz transmit capability. My main interest was the 220MHz US ham band, as I have several 220 Ham repeaters within 35 miles from my house. The signal strength and audio reports have been excellent.
 
 
-   Power
- The UV2501+220 is rated at 20-25W and holds true to those estimates.
 
A 13.8VDC power supply was used emulate a standard auto battery. Running the radio at high power into a Bird Wattmeter for 3 minutes showed no decrease in power. There's a thermally connected cooling fan in the rear that helps keep the radio at a respectable temperature level. The fan pulls warm air from the radio, not just the heat sink.
 

 

-   Frequency Steps - Steps range from 2.5 to 25 kHz. 
 
-   Audio Scrambler
The Audio Scrambler utilizes the voice inversion process. This feature must be activated on two similar radios (Tx and Rx) to be effective. Although the function works properly, check with your countries regulations regarding its use.
 
 
Receiver
 

The radio has 200 channel capability with a top end range to 520MHz.  The receiver sensitivity is on par with any mobile I’ve used in the past and there's plenty of smooth, clear and loud audio. 
 
 
New Features Added
 
Gen3 - Adjustable Microphone Gain - You can now vary the microphone sensitivity. For heavy background noise, audio the gain back. For a quiet environment, set the gain higher.
 
Gen3 - Adjustable DTMF Tone Level Gain - The tone level can now adjusted either manually or through the software.
 
Gen3 - Selectable Power Level - Hi/Lo power can now be changed with a quick press of the '#' key on the microphone keypad.
 
-  Gen3 - Selectable VFO/Memory Mode - Mode can be changed with a long press of the 'Menu' key on the microphone keypad.

Gen3 - Cooling Fan - External heat sink cooling fan added.
 
Gen3 - Additional Receive Filtering - Added for improved selectivity.
 
 
-  Gen2 - Display SYNC - An option has been added to allow the Upper and Lower displays be synced, allowing the upper display to show channel Name while the lower displays the Frequency.  Dual channel display (TDR) is still there, but sometimes you just want to display the channel you're using. Now you have a choice.
 
-  Gen2 - Memory Mode Lock - The radio can be Locked into the channel mode (MR).
 
-  Gen2 - Menu Lock - While in the channel mode, the Menu option can be locked out to prevent accidental field programming.
 
-  Gen2 - Reset Lockout - The Reset option can be locked out to prevent accidental reset. Another nice safety precaution.
 
-  Gen2 - Auto Power Off - This allows the radio to shut off if the receiver is inactive for a preset amount of time.
 
-  Gen2 - Dual Watch Delay - allows the receiver to stay on a channel for a preset amount of time before returning to the primary channel after the secondary channel is clear.  You can now select the delay time (up to 50 seconds) before the radio returns to the Dual Watch mode.
 
-  Gen2 - Squelch Tail Elimination - Eliminates the squelch tail if the station or repeater being received has the same function active.
 
 
Microphone
 
The radio comes with a full function keypad style microphone. Functions include: Menu, Up, Down, A/B, Exit, Reverse, Scan and Lock, and Hi / Lo power selection.
 
The OTA reports were excellent with plenty of audio, so there's no reason to shout.  My best results were talking in a normal voice about an inch or two away.
 
The RJ-45 microphone jack has the same pin output as the Kenwood. 
Pin Diagram.
 
 
Cross Band Repeater

Two BTech mobiles can be used in a cross band repeater configuration using an interface cable. A full description of the procedure, wiring diagram, and control output can be found HERE.
When using as a cross band repeater, be sure to provide ample cooling fans.
 
 
Display
 
The radio has a tri-color display, allowing color options of the familiar blue, orange and purple.  The LCD colors can be selected to suit your personal preference with a screen size of 1.4" (3.4mm) wide. The LCD can be formatted in three different formats: Alpha Characters, Frequency, or Channel number.
 
 
Programming
 

Manual programming is pretty straight forward once you enter a few channels. A programming guide can be found at Manual Programming with a Menu Definition summary available at Menu Definitions.
  
There is a single bank of 200 channels. You can set a channel to be added or removed from the scan list using software.
 
 
Software
 
The software for the UV2501+220 was designed specifically for this radio, due the added features and frequencies.  Prior software is Not compatible with this radio. Loading this software to another radio will Not add new features to that radio.  Use only the software that is designed specifically for your radio.
 
This software can be downloaded from Miklor.com UV2501+220_Software. 
CHIRP support is available.
  
 
Programming Cable
 

The programming cable is a 1m (39") USB to 3 pin 3.5mm. My recommendation is to purchase a cable that utilizes an FTDI chipset, such as the PC04. It may cost a few dollars more, but it's plug-n-play.  If a generic cable is acquired, it will more than likely require a backdated driver. Those drivers can be found at  Cable_Driver
 
My recommendation is to not fool around with a cheap cable. Purchase an FTDI cable PC04. It may cost a few dollars more, but it's plug-n-play.

 
Front Panel Operation
 

The buttons may be a bit difficult to read in the dark.  There is enough light to show where the buttons are, but not to clearly read them. Fortunately, the microphone keypad is well lit, so programming can easily be done via the keypad.
 
The 7 buttons are Function, Monitor, Call, VFO/MR, FM Radio, Exit A/B, and Hi/Lo Power.
   

click to enlarge
 
Up to six Alpha Numeric characters (upper and lower case) can be displayed to identify each channel.
 
Scanning in the VFO mode allowed me to scan either the VHF, 220MHz, or UHF band.  In the Channel mode, the scan would select any channel in the list regardless of band.
 
 
Prior issues resolved
 
Early first generation radios had a few annoying audio issues that required 'work around'. After many hours of drive testing with the new +220 series, I can attest to the UV2501+220 having none of the prior issues. 
 
 
Summary

 
-  Adjustable audio gain levels
-  Display Synching option
-  Extra features listed above not found in similar models
-  Plenty of power with clean audio
-  Lightweight and durable enclosure
-  More than ample heat sink, now with heat sink fan
-  Excellent sensitivity and receiver audio quality
-  Small compact size
-  An external speaker jack
-  Added 220-225 MHz for the US Ham Band
 
  
Conclusion
 

With the added features mentioned above and no issues, this radio was quite an impressive tri-band package.

 
 
BTech    mini UV2501+220
 
Nagoya   TB-320A  Tri-Band Antenna
Nagoya  RB-35 NMO Mag Mount Base

 
 
 

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