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Full Review of the AnyTone 878PLUS with K6UDA Radio

Full Review of the AnyTone 878PLUS with K6UDA Radio


Hey, my friends, today we are talking
about the AnyTone 878PLUS. I’m gonna give you my review. (happy music) So guys, it’s been about a month since I started playing around
with the AnyTone 878PLUS and it’s time to do a review. But before we get going here I want you to hit the subscribe, the little bell notification next to it. Hit the like button because that really all does help me here on YouTube. And consider checking out my Patreon or the PayPal page and
dropping me a buck or two. With that, let’s get going here. This is the AnyTone 878PLUS. It’s a dual band DMR analog
radio with Bluetooth, APRS, a color screen and
an actual VFO that works. Most of the front panel
and side panel buttons are user-configurable
inside of the software or for that matter, in the radio itself. Most of these configurations do have a programming from the factory but you can easily change ’em. Other side of the radio has
a standard Kenwood mic plug. That’ll fit the BridgeCom
external mic plus others. That jack is also used
for programming the radio using your PC. Starting off on the small knob, that is the volume and on-off knob. Now, you can’t really see the green but it does light up a nice green giving you an indication
of your volume control. The next one is your channel selector when you’re in either VFO or memory modes, that’ll flip the frequency for you. Okay, in the DMR mode,
when you wanna access a large contact list or a
large group of talk groups, you can use the list function
there on the main menu and scroll through this enormous list of talk groups that you could go to. That could be DMR-MARC, BrandMeister, whatever you happen to be using. Now this may be nitpicky, but when using a list like this, I
would like to be able to hit the select button and
then hit the number key corresponding to that talk
group and be able to access it. Can’t do that here, you
have to use the scroll key. Now the radio comes factory-programmed for some of these side functions. The top button under the PTT is giving me my battery life. The bottom button is
opening up the squelch so you can monitor for
weak stations on analog. Now I went ahead and programmed up the blue button at the top
to change my channel type. So when I’m in a VFO and I
want to enter a frequency, I can pick between a digital
or a analog frequency. Works very quick, very, very effective. You can set that up in the radio itself under the Settings menu. Now moving over to a
VFO is very, very easy. I could just hit the P2 button, it goes from memory to VFO and you can just key in the frequency that you want to enter. You use the channel selector
to incrementally go through the VFO in the increments that you set up either in the radio or in software. Now moving through zones is
really easy on the radio. You use that up and down toggle button and it’ll toggle you through however many zones you’ve
set up in the radio. I have one for local analog repeaters, one for my openSpot, one for some other DMR
repeaters, and that’s about it. Under the menu you can
also look at the zones that you have set up on the radio. Very easy and it’ll give it
to you in a list fashion. Like I said before, the
menu is pretty extensive and you could pretty much
configure almost everything in the radio right there from the menu. But one thing you need
to do is, in software, if you wanna use APRS,
you’re going to have to configure that or turn
it on in the software. Now like most other DMR radios, the 878PLUS ships with its own basically proprietary drop-in charger. One thing that the 878 ships with as standard equipment
that I have never seen on any other ham radio is this little Bluetooth PTT button. This is a very cool feature
if you wanna run hands-free. You know, you turn the thing on, turn on the Bluetooth
on the radio and yeah, it works works very, very easily and you could see I’m
keying the radio with it. So the 878. Much like other DMR radios, and not. I haven’t tried them
all, you guys know that. I have been, in the past let’s say, disappointed in the way that the radios have been implemented. After all, these are
modeled after and they are commercial radios. BridgeCom, they sell these
as commercial radios, Part 90 radios, to
businesses, to public service, to all kinds of other entities. And they do also sell them
to hams as ham radios. How does this radio fit in
with the ham radio world? The way I measure these
things right off the bat, is how easy is it to program on the fly? Can I enter in a frequency
in a VFO and talk on it? Because after all, when it comes down to emergency communications, and that’s really the
basis of this whole hobby, or the activity of a ham radio, is to be able to operate
in emergency situations and have interoperability with
a whole bunch of other hams. Maybe you’ve never met him,
you’ve never dealt with him, but now you’re thrown into a situation, some kind of a natural disaster, or man-caused disaster, and you’ve gotta work with these guys now. Which means that, in the normal DMR world, these things are programmed
up and they’re done. You need a computer with
the proper software, or radio-specific
software, to program this, or else it becomes basically a brick. AnyTone has listened to hams, like me, like you, all across the world, and they’re making pretty good strides toward that end of building us a ham radio that can be used in the
commercial world also. I think this is probably about as good as I have seen towards that end. Now, I am able to program this thing from a VFO on the radio. I can program in a frequency, I can decide whether
it’s analog or digital, and use it just like that. Programming in repeaters,
in analog repeaters, on this with PL Tones, it is possible. It is a convoluted mess still. It is a hot mess. But it is a huge step forward from some of the older DMR
radios that I have tried, where it was just almost
impossible to use the keypad to do anything other than flip a channel. My second criteria for these is how do they sound on analog? Well, what kind of audio reports do I get back from my friends on the local repeaters? I gotta say, this thing
has been top-notch. I have gotten back nothing
but great audio reports from my friends on analog repeaters. That was a big deal to me. Because a lot of the DMR
radios that I had played with, I would get back these audio reports. Guys who’d talk to me
when I was using them, and they would say, “Well, you sound like “you’re talking inside
of a bucket, fishbowl.” Or, “You sound very muffled.” Or, “You sound good but your audio level “is so far down, it’s like 3 db down “from everybody else on the repeater.” Not good, especially
when you can’t figure out how to boost that audio signal. And it just makes the
experience not fun to do. When I could pick up something like a D74 or an FT3, or some other analog radio, even an older analog radio, and just have a good conversation and guys aren’t struggling to hear me. Let’s talk about the
speaker in this thing. This speaker is insane. This is by far the loudest
and clearest speaker I have ever heard in a handheld, bar none. In a noisy environment,
this thing is a clear winner over every other handheld
that I have used to-date. I mean, that’s it. Like every other DMR radio in the world, this is best served by programming it through a codeplug. If you want to take full
advantage of the radio, you’re going to want to build a codeplug. Here’s the difference. AnyTone has evolved their software. What I love about their software is the fact that you can take CSV files, basically Excel spreadsheet files, and you can import
different parts of things into your codeplug. Now, BridgeCom doesn’t make this radio. This radio is made by AnyTone. BridgeCom is a reseller. So we have to naturally ask, why do ya wanna buy it from BridgeCom rather than buying it on Amazon or from some other reseller? This is totally being honest. BridgeCom’s customer
support on the backend is something that I have never seen from another ham radio company. BridgeCom really wants to see you succeed in the DMR world. They don’t want to see guys buy a radio, get about halfway through
setting the thing up, get frustrated, and give up and go back to something else, or just go
back to an analog radio. No. They wanna see you get
the most out of this radio that you can. That’s why they put out a ton of content. Yes, a lot of it is promotional. They wanna sell radios,
and I don’t blame ’em. That’s their business is to sell radios. But on that back end, they are pushing out so much content, so much how-to content. Little video snippets, articles on how to set up the APRS, articles on how to program
in from the front panel. All kinds of stuff. The little things that the manual probably doesn’t explain well enough, or that we’re just not looking for, but then we start looking
for those answers, and BridgeCom really
puts that effort forth, and they do a hell of
a good job doin’ that. I talked to Daniel really briefly and I asked him a few questions about the support side
and why they do that. – Yeah, so I am Daniel
Kochanowicz N-0-R-E-Y I am the Sales and Marketing Manager here at BridgeCom Systems. I’m in charge of making sure we have excellent deals for you guys, and keep puttin’ out
excellent content for ya. – I’ve noticed you guys put
out a whole bunch of emails. Is this more of a sales
and marketing thing, or is there real value to the emails that you guys are puttin’
out on a constant basis? Is there real value to us, the end user? – Yeah, absolutely. So all the emails we’re sending out, guides and tutorials,
out on a daily basis, all of these guides and
tutorials are actually, the ideas are from
user-submitted questions. So this is previous customers,
other people, users, and they’re problems that
our customer base is having that we’re like, we have this expertise, we can go ahead and
just solve this for you, and then just give you
guys that real value. So that way you can know
how to use DMR better, you know how to operate
your radios better. I mean, DMR is more complicated
than standard analog radios. We understand that. So want to give you guys that real value so that you guys are
just better end users, and use the technology better, and just have more fun and more success. – One more question. So why buy from you guys, if I could buy the same radio from Amazon or eBay or some other vendor? Why buy from you, as opposed
to one of these other vendors? – Mainly for the reason I just stated. If you were to buy a radio from us, you’d actually get all
of their entire library of all of the tutorial videos. We have made these step by step. Like get it out of the box. Watch this video, learn how to set it up, learn how to program. You’ll go from zero to hero in our step-by-step guide. And that’s only available
if you were to buy a radio from us. Not only that, if you were
to buy a radio from us, you could call us, call our support line, and you’ll talk to an actual amateur radio American technician, as opposed to buying it from some random eBay seller, some
random Amazon seller, and you’re not gonna get ahold of anybody. Nobody’s gonna support you, they’re just gonna give
you the tail-light warranty and you’re gonna be out of luck. But if you get it from us, you’ll get all of our support videos, our in-person support if you need it. You get access to our codeplug bank, just download a pre-existing codeplug, and you get some amazing deals as well. – So what this really comes
down to is would I buy this? So buying a radio is a super
highly-subjective thing. It depends upon what you want. When I try to evaluate a radio, I’m not just evaluating
the features of the radio, but what is my intended use. A big thing for me is that APRS function. I want to be able to go
up the side of a mountain, or be on a jeep trail, or do something, and have that communication via APRS. So it still leaves that question. Is this radio right
for you and your needs, as opposed to me and my needs. I am still going to say I am a fan of the Kenwood, of the Yaesu, and that is the simple fact
of the full-feature APRS. If this had full-feature APRS on it, I would make this a daily
driver at half the price. Now, considering that it’s half
the price of the other two, does that sway your decision? It would definitely sway
mine on an everyday radio, if I didn’t really want
that APRS function. I dunno. Can’t make your decision for ya. Don’t wanna make your decision for ya. But I wanna give you
just enough information that I’m not gonna bore ya, and enough information that you can make your decision, whether this is the right radio for you. We’re off to the next subject. I’m Bob K-6-U-D-A. I’m outta here. 73. (techno music)

3 comments on “Full Review of the AnyTone 878PLUS with K6UDA Radio

  1. I've been licensed since '92 but haven't played with any digital voice modes yet. All of the new guys around here in CT are playing DMR and I decided to order one of these radios so I could join the party. There seem to be far more DMR repeaters around here than D-Star and only a few C4FM so DMR, and this radio in particular, seems to be the best way to get started with this mode. Thanks for the review!

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