Thursday, December 29, 2016

Review : Alinco DJ-R200D

Alinco DJ-R200D is a Low Power License-Free two way radio. The DJ-R200D is built in many many features such as self semi-duplex repeater, full-duplex mode, full duplex repeater (two DJ-R200D and an optional cable needed), incoming vibrator etc..
Alinco DJ-R200D

Recently the DJ-R200D has been started selling in Japan then I have got one and checked some features.


The DJ-R200D is successor of DJ-R100D. The DJ-R200D has long antenna model (DJ-R200DL) and short antenna (DJ-R200DS). These antennas cannot be detachable because of convenience for a law.

The DJ-R200D has additional features unlike the DJ-R100D as follows;
  •  Direct conversion
  •  Tail noise canceller
  •  Voice guidance
  •  Shock & temperature sensor
  •  Water proof & dust proof earphone/microphone jack
  •  Remote commander which sets repeater settings built in DJ-R200D itself
  •  Receiving voice recording/playback up to 30 seconds
  •  Time-out penalty mode
  •  Compander
  •  Selective call
  •  Microphone gain control
  •  Scrambler frequency setting
  •  VOX delay setting
  •  Restore
  •  Service area confirmation
  •  400mW AF output with 2 x AA batteries
  •  DCS

Appearance & Feeling

DJ-R100D (left), DJ-R200D (right)
Although shape of the DJ-R100D feels like Korean TTi radios, the DJ-R200D looks sharper. Turning operation of channel/volume knob feels even harder. This will reduce unintended operations and will be easy to operate when wearing gloves.

Right side of  the DJ-R100D (left), the DJ-R200D (right)

Left side of the DJ-R100D (left), the DJ-R200D (right)

Length of the antenna is bit a little shorter than DJ-R100D's. The DJ-R200DL's holds 6.417" (163mm, actual), DJ-P222L, slim 1 x AA model without self-repeater functions, has 6.477" (164.5mm) and the DJ-R100D is 6.477"(164.5mm) too. LCD backlit of the DJ-R200D is brighter than DJ-R100D. The DJ-R200D is added to internal indicators to three function buttons.

Construction of the battery cover is also updated. The battery cover of the DJ-R200D includes fixed part with a spring in the cover for locking role of the battery compartment. The DJ-R100D is apart the part from the cover.
Closed Bottom of the DJ-R100D (left) and the DJ-R200D (right)

Opened Bottom of the DJ-R100D (left) and DJ-R200D (right)

I think the DJ-R100D's feels easier to replace batteries.

Power source & earphone/microphone jack

The DJ-R200D works 2 x AA alkaline batteries, EBP-60 (optional Li-ion battery pack) or 5-6VDC power supply. Ni-MH rechargeable AA batteries which it used to load to the DJ-R100D cannot be available officially but worked when I checked.
DJ-R200D with EBP-60 Li-ion Battery Pack

The DJ-R200D has one earphone / microphone jack for 3.5mm 4-poles single type with screw like YAESU. This will be tough against water and dust.
Earphone / Microphone Jack of the DJ-R200D and the cover

Covers for the earphone jack and the external DC jack are completely apart from DJ-R200D. We need consideration not to lose them. These covers will cost you about five dollars per one part if you lose.
DC Jack of the DJ-R200D and the cover

Work & Function

The DJ-R200D has various kinds of communication modes not only simplex but semi-duplex, full-duplex, semi-duplex self repeater only one DJ-R200D. When you have two DJ-R200D and optional cable ADUA-97, you can obtain better functions such as a simplex repeater and a full-duplex repeater.
DJ-R200D, full-duplex mode with scrambler

Normal setting of the DJ-R200D is as below (click to enlarge);
Normal Preferences of the DJ-R200D

As special commands exists in the DJ-R200D, I have checked them. Not all of them revealed but rest are done. The special settings as below (click to enlarge);
Special Preferences of the DJ-R200D (preliminary)

The special settings not released yet officially by Alinco at present. This is a result of my test. A special command needed if you change these preferences.

The special command is : Press Group button five times within 10 seconds after "Loc" turned on

- Tail noise canceller

Tail noise canceller is a function which cancels EOT(end of talking) noise without group code. It is compatible with most Chinese analog two way radios. You also can turn off the function.

- Voice guidance

Once you press buttons excluding PTT or Hook, the DJ-R200D speaks itself. When the power button pressed, the DJ-R200D speaks current condition such as channel and number.of a group. This is good for me but the timing is slow after buttons pressed.
When entering setting mode, the guidance speaks only "number of order" of the setting, not "name". That is almost useless.

- Shock & temperature sensor

when selecting "m-tiLt" or "m-SHoc" option on the DJ-R200D

Shock sensor and temperature sensor are built in the DJ-R200D. When these shock/temperature output exceed the threshold, the DJ-R200D transmits alarm sound on the wave.

- Receiving voice recorder/playback up to 30 seconds

If you assign "rEC" to the hook button on the extended menu, you can record only one receiving voice until end of the talk within 30 seconds. Press hook button for two seconds to start recording while receiving.

The playback function is enabled only to press the hook button once after recording. Recorded voice data is stored into non volatile memory in the DJ-R200D. The playback sound is varied with noise.

Speaker output from the DJ-R200D at receiving voice
Speaker output from the DJ-R200D at playback the recorded voice

An audio spectrum analyzer says the alias noise from 3-10kHz increased at playback as above. The recorder does not stand by while closing the squelch. If you want to record whole talk, Uniden BCD436HP, BCD536HP or ICOM ID-51 would be nice.

- Time-out penalty mode

Due to Japanese law, continuous talk period of 10mW license free radios limits up to 3 minutes. The time-out penalty mode efficiently reduces talk limit using Alinco's exclusive frequency hopping technology.
Time-out penalty mode of the DJ-R200D

Actually this mode uses two preset frequency. There are eight settings from A to H. When mode A set, each of channel b12 and b21 is transmitted every three minutes alternately as follows;

<Simplex (actually semi-duplex) Mode>
A : b12 100.0Hz <-> b21 136.5Hz
B : b13 103.5Hz <-> b22 141.3Hz
C : b14 107.2Hz <-> b23 146.2Hz
D : b15 110.9Hz <-> b24 151.4Hz
E : b16 114.8Hz <-> b25 156.7Hz
F : b18 123.0Hz <-> b27 167.9Hz
G : b19 127.3Hz <-> b28 131.8Hz
H : b20 131.8Hz <-> b29 179.9Hz

<Full-Duplex Mode>
A : b12a 241.8Hz <-> b21a 196.6Hz
B : b13a 250.3Hz <-> b22a 199.5Hz
C : b14a 069.3Hz <-> b23a 206.5Hz
D : b15a 159.8Hz <-> b24a 229.1tHz
E : b16a 165.5Hz <-> b25a (no tone?)Hz
F : b18a 177.3Hz <-> b27a (no tone?)Hz
G : b19a 183.5Hz <-> b28a (no tone?)Hz
 <-(sometimes)-> b28b 173.8Hz <-> b19b 127.3Hz
H : b20a 189.9Hz <-> b29a (no tone?)Hz
*(a: up-link, b:down-link of the semi-duplex freq.)

analyzing situation of the frequency hopping

The DJ-R200D seems not to use controller channels that are assigned officially yet.

Transmitter & Receiver

I have tested the TX distance with my YAESU VX-8D. It is convenient of me to compare with two radio waves because the VX-8D has double receivers and can output their voice left and right independently. Each radio (DJ-R100D and DJ-R200D) has Li-ion battery EBP-60 fully charged.

At 10mW output, transmission distance of the DJ-R100D is slight further than DJ-R200D. White noise of TX sound of the DJ-R200D is less than that of DJ-R100D. Normal TX sound quality is almost same too. When the strong audio captured into the mic, the aliased sound can be heard.

The receiver is habitable. Sensitivity is sharp. In short, it is easy to distinguish strong and weak signals. Receiver sticks to the weakness of a bitter signal and then fills with noise as the signal gets weak.

When very weak signal receiving at monitor mode and as the signal strength becomes strong, receiving sound suddenly becomes smaller temporally. This timing seems squelch threshold level. I did not find same situation on the DJ-R100D. Moreover, when squelch is off (monitor mode), the receiver noise emphasizes high tone.
at receiving voice sound without radio noise (same as above)
at no signal, squelch turned off

Especially 4-5kHz is emphasized at no signal as above. Those are strange.

Volume of the receiver is louder than that of DJ-R100D. When the volume is set to minimum, the sound is loud like many Chinese radios. In other words 400mW speaker output is real. And when using earphone microphone and the voice guidance is turned on, the guidance is very loud even if the volume is minimum.

It also has scan. The scanning speed is 15ch/sec, that is much faster than DJ-R100D.


DJ-R200DL, backlit turned on

The Alinco DJ-R200D has much more features than expected. It is easy for the receiver to get peak of the weak wave. I think the DJ-R100D fits for my long use however, faster scanning speed, compander, tail noise canceller, louder sound etc. attract me though some minor bugs are found. Thus, I am to own both radios after all.....

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