This is the TYT UV8000E review.
The TYT UV8000E is an update to the UV8000D. This update practically fixes an audio issue with the earlier model, which would occur after long periods of operation. The audio, as some users have reported, would start becoming intermittent.
It is a really nice radio. It’s solid and offers a couple of good-to-have features. Let’s move on to the actual review.
In the box
In the box you will find the usual accessories that come with handheld radios from China, plus some nice extras. I ordered my radio from eBay. The seller was also including a speaker-mic which they inserted in the original box. So, when I opened the package, the box had a “lump”.
As it turned out, it was not a problem with the contents. Everything was wrapped in plastic bags. The image below is without the speaker-mic which I removed from the box.
TYT pays at least some attention to detail. I haven’t seen a silica gel pack in other Chinese manufacturer’s boxes. Not even for radios that are more expensive than this one:
Ok, now that the radio is out of the plastic sleeve, here’s the back with all the information we need:
Here’s what we see printed on the two stickers.
Output Power: 10W
Frequency: 136-174 MHz, 400-520 MHz
Barcode and serial number (blurred for posting)
Upgraded version with cross band repeater function
At this point, I should also not forget to mention that it is FCC and CE approved for usage in the USA and Europe.
Next, the Li-Ion battery. It is labeled at 7.2V (!) – 3600mAh. After using this radio for more than a month, I can confirm the battery outlasts every other HT I have. Even when using it on High power. Not sure why 7.2V is printed on the sticker though. Shouldn’t the nominal voltage be 7.4V, since lithium batteries come in 3.7V multiplied by the number of cells? In this case, 3.7V * 2 = 7.4V. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter, as when the battery drops to a (measured) 7.2V, the radio battery indicator shows only 1 bar out of 3.
I don’t understand why probably all Chinese manufacturers produce such slow-charging cradles. A 3600mAh battery, getting 400mA will charge at approximately 9 hours. Nine. Hours. And that’s without calculating any losses. Not feeling safe for how long your product will last? Ok, give the charger a 1800mA output so that the battery is ready in 2+ hours. 9 hours is just insane.
Actual charging time is around 8 hours. That’s when the battery reaches 8.5V and the charger led turns green to indicate that charging has completed.
Ok, let’s lay everything out on the bench.
Starting from the top and then going left-to-right, we get:
- Two antennas, a short one and a long one. The short one is the same that is included with the TYT TH-UV3R 2W HT.
- Belt clip with the screws we need to attach it.
- Battery pack
- Power supply (EU version shown here)
- 12V car power supply
- USB cable for programming
- Manual booklet (shown below)
Using the radio
One thing I consider a minimum requirement for buying a radio, is having an easy way of navigating through its menus or changing values when needed. I am tired of having to press up and down buttons all the time. This radio covers this by having two knobs at the top, next to the antenna SMA-F socket. The shorter one on the right is for turning it on/off an volume adjustment and the taller one is for changing frequencies, menu navigation, selecting values etc. I really hope all manufacturers design their radios like this, as I consider it the most user-friendly way of interacting with a simplistic interface as that of an HT.
Keypad / display
The keypad is properly laid-out (“0” at the bottom) and the keys are backlit. They are slightly hard to press and they are clicky, but a bit rubbery to the feel. But the keypad is nowhere near as good as the Baofeng UV-82‘s, which, in my opinion, has the best keypad on a handheld.
To get into the menu, you need to press the “F” key (top-left). When you do, “Menu” appears on the screen and you can cycle through the menu options either with the rotary knob at the top, or with the up and down keys. Alternatively, you can just type the menu number, if you know it. For example, “F” + 2 + 5 displays the battery voltage.
To modify the values of any setting, you press “F”, modify the value (knob or arrow keys) and press “F” again to store it. You can cancel the action by pressing the “U/V” key (top-right). You can also use this key to exit the menu and change between top and bottom VFO display.
To indicate which VFO is active, an arrow is displayed next to the name/frequency area. This is OK for this small screen. However, to indicate which VFO is actually receiving, a really, REALLY small arrow is shown right below the channel number area at the far right of the screen. This is hard to see at a glance:
To lock the radio keypad, you need to press and hold the asterisk key (bottom-left, marked with “Lock”). On the screen you get a “LOCK ?” message. Keep pressing for 3 seconds to lock it. Reverse the procedure to unlock it. When the keypad is locked, the rotary knob at the top also does not register any turns. The side keys however (PTT, MONI, alert), along with the volume knob, still function as expected.
The speaker-mic port is on the right side and it’s the standard 2-pin Kenwood type. It fits the programming cable nicely, although make sure to press all the way in.
Switching between memory/VFO setting modes key
To switch between memory/VFO setting modes, you need to press the hash key (bottom-right, marked with “T-R”).
This key also doubles as offset-reverse. Meaning, when in channel mode, if you are on a duplex channel, you can press and hold this button to switch between the two frequencies. So, if the radio is receiving on, say, 145.750 and transmitting on 145.150, it will start receiving on 145.150 and transmitting on 145.750 after the change. You will also get an “R” on the screen, indicating that the currently selected channel is on “reverse” mode.
To remove the battery, you need to push the latch at the back of the radio, right above the belt clip. The battery is then released and you can slide it out. To put the battery back, just slide it in until you hear a solid click. This was kind of stiff at first, but it’s broken-in now.
Cross-band repeater function
The radio supports cross-band repeater. To use it, you first need to enable it through the software. The CD that comes with the radio includes software that it outdated and does not work. You can download the software that works with the radio here.
At the time of writing of this review, CHIRP does not support this radio.
Double-click the “Optional Function” on the left. On the window that will appear, check the “Cross-band setting” option. Perform a write to the radio so that the option is saved and you are good to go.
Now, whenever you want to use the radio as a cross-band repeater, you just need to turn the feature on. There are no other settings you need to perform. After you turn it on, it will just enter the repeater mode, with whatever frequency you have selected in A and B VFOs. You can also use the feature in channel mode.
To turn the cross-band repeater, go to menu item #11 “TURN” and set that to “ON”.
The feature seems to be working flawlessly, although take care to always use it at the lowest power setting because the radio will get warm.
A thing I didn’t like is that, when you have the radio set to repeater mode, there is no indication on the display that the repeater is active. Even when the repeater receives and transmits, the green led turns on, as if it was just receiving normally. Also, since it supports such a function, the radio is still a dual-watch radio, instead of providing full-duplex functionality.
Here are some photos of the radio compared to some popular Baofeng radios on the market. You can click on the thumbnails to view the larger images.
As you can see, it is not a small radio. But it fits nicely in the hand:
The TYT UV8000E is a solid, reliable and efficient piece of equipment. I’ve been using it for over a month now, anywhere from casual repeater chatting from home, to SOTA activations and it has not let me down yet. I’ve dropped it on rocks, on marble floors and, apart from some minor dents on the plastic enclosure, it works flawlessly. That speck of dust appeared after the last time I dropped it. Not sure what it is, but apart from some annoyance to the eye, it does not affect the operation of the radio. It’s certainly a step (or two) up from your average Baofeng radio.
Here’s a playlist of videos I’ve made on the radio on HamRadioReviews YouTube channel. Feel free to subscribe to the channel to stay up to date on all the recent uploads! More videos on this particular radio coming soon.
If you have any questions on this radio, leave a comment below and I will do my best to respond in a timely manner, 73!