Motorola Solutions stopped producing the dPMR mode XT660D transceivers in 2021 and stocks were quickly running out, so the question was: which radio could take its place that is both industrial-grade, analogue/digital and can operate on the PMR446 band without the need for a frequency licence?
Considering several aspects and looking at products from a number of brands, we arrived at the Wouxun KG-D26 radio. After a lot of search and discussions with manufacturers, we received a test example of the Wouxun KG-D26 in mid-April 2022. We are always excited to test a product, in this case it was cumulative as we were one of the first to get our hands on this fantastic transceiver.
The KG-D26 is a slightly simpler device than the Motorola XT660D radio, but it is also easier to use and can be powered from an external power source using an eliminator. The eliminator clips on to the battery and the cable plugs into the car's cigarette lighter, so you can use it in the car or from another 12V power source without draining your own battery. Such a charging solution is not available at Motorola for the XT series transceivers. Wouxun amateur band transceivers have a long history of success on the market. Reliability and practical solutions characterise the Chinese company's transceivers. We can now say that Wouxun has done a very careful job inside and out with the KG-D26.
The size of the antenna surprised us when we unpacked it. We've grown unused to the 17 cm antennas on older industrial radios in recent years, but we're happy to see a similar antenna on new radio models.The body of the radio fits perfectly in the hand. In our case, the simple black casing that has become so familiar has been mixed with a touch of grey on the side of the radio.
The battery, also used in the Wouxun KG-UV9D PLUS transceiver, is a tight fit and has 2000mAh capacity. This is quite a combo for a 0.5W PMR446 radio.
The display adopts the familiar highly practical hidden solution we have seen before on the Motorola Talkabout and Wave TLK100 series. In terms of accessories: battery, eliminator, earpieces and microphones have been available for some time now, because the Wouxun KG-D26 accessories are compatible with those of the Wouxun KG-UV9D PLUS amateur radio already on the market. So there is no shortage of accessories! As we are talking about an industrial radio, it is essential to mention its IP54 protection, which means protection against dust and splashing water. Dust-proof (non-damaging penetration allowed), splash-proof from all directions (non-damaging leakage allowed).
The transmitter can be switched on using the volume knob, which is analogue, so that the radio can be fully muted. The channel selector button allows you to choose from 16 channels. The radio has two memory zones, which you can switch between using the function button under the PTT button (we have 2 zones/groups by default).
Zone 1: contains the analogue PMR446 channels
Zone 2: contains the dPMR channels up to 16
As mentioned above, the radio has a hidden display, which is significantly less vulnerable than its LCD counterparts. A green LED inside the radio illuminates the front panel, so you can always see what functions are active by glancing at it. Despite the hidden display's continuous operation, the radio is extremely energy efficient.
The top left corner of the display shows the number of groups, up to 99. Above the group number, you can see if the CT or DCS noise suppression (squelch) code is active. In the left corner, a letter "L" (low) indicates that the transmitter is PMR446 0.5W. In the middle, the selected channel number is highlighted. And on the right, above the battery level, a simple letter (A OR D) indicates whether the receiver is in Analog or Digital mode.
And in the absence of a real display, there's no need to give up sending SMS messages. Pre-recorded SMS messages can be stored in the radio and sent using the programmable buttons. This can even be read on a Motorola XT660D transceiver.
Audio-wise, the KG-D26 brings the quality you'd expect from Wouxun, with no distortion from the speaker at maximum volume. In the product's box, we also find a headset with the usual Kenwood connector, which can be connected to the device by folding up the dust cover.
Usability and programming
The radio comes basically programmed and ready to use, but in analogue mode only the first 8 channels are programmed, and this is combined with a noise lock (squelch) code in 16 memory locations.As with Motorola PMR transmitters, we have to manually upgrade to the 16 channels allowed in the EU. With the Wouxun KG-D26 there is no key combination for expansion, we have to do the programming ourselves using a suitable cable and computer, or we have to indicate to the vendor at the time of purchase so that they should pre-set the desired PMR channel settings for us.
If we want to do the programming ourselves, we will need a Wouxun programming cable and the Wouxun dPMR software.
The programming process is not too complicated, but some basic knowledge is required. If something goes wrong, the CPS program loads the factory memory of the radio every time it starts up, so you can immediately restore the factory settings if necessary.
The PMR channels that can be used are selected from a drop-down menu, no need to make a special note of the frequencies. You can also expand the 3 factory zones up to 99, but don't forget which zones and channel numbesr you have programmed.
We would also like to highlight the automatic, analogue and digital mode usage which can be useful for mixed mode applications.
Also, the emergency call button can be reprogrammed for other functions.
The handset is compatible with the deservedly popular Motorola XT420/XT460 and Motorola XT660d/665d models. For those looking to expand their existing Motorola XT fleet, the Wouxun KG-D26 transceiver is also the perfect choice.
In addition to the Wouxun KG-D26 transceiver, the box contains 1 EU adaptor, desktop dock charger, 1 2000 mAh belt clip LI-ion battery, 1 earpiece and a wrist strap.
Wouxun KG-D26 transceiver main features:
- Digital-analogue mode compatibility
- dPMR standard, for use without frequency licence
- IP54 dust and water resistance
- 6.25KHz step interval
- 10000 memory channels
- 99 zones
- 255 scanning group list
- 4 DTMF systems
- 32 pre-programmed channels (16 analogue + 16 digital)
- Digital encryption
- Superheterodyne receiver
- Dual time slot
- Built-in VOX (hands-free operation) function with adjustable levels and delay
- Key lock
- Private call, group call, all call
- Priority channel
- Scanning functions
- Emergency alarm
- Remote control: control, monitor, disable radio
- Automatic power off
The Wouxun KG-D26 is compatible with MOTOROLA XT660D, Kenwood TK-3401D, Kenwood TK-3601D, Kenwood TK-3701D, Icom IC-F29SDR, Alinco DJ PAX4 transceivers in dPMR mode after proper programming.
Programming assistance can be provided by Anico Kft. technicians. The first programming after purchase is free of charge.