Friday, 2 September 2016

Review - AOR 8200mk3

AOR 8200mk3 Review

This is my review of the AOR 8200mk3 which is the latest version of this radio. I will just put 8200 in this review but I am talking about the 8200mk3 when I write this.

I have had this radio for around a week now and this is what I think of it so far.
Here are some specs of it from the 8200 user manual.

100kHz - 3.00GHz receive
Triple conversion
1000 channels
20 scan banks
40 search banks
2050 search skip frequencies
Any step size between 50Hz & 999.95kHz in 50Hz increments
Preprogrammed bandplan
Scan/Search up to 37 channels/steps per second
Alpha-tag scans banks, search banks & memory channels
Memory operations (copy, move, swap, edit and delete)
9 segment S-meter
Band scope with 7 ranges (100 kHz - 10MHz)
Voice squelch
Level squelch
Auto store
Adjustable power saver
Automatic Power Off (APO)
Sleep timer
10dB attenuator
Noise Limiter (NL)
Automatic Frequency Control (AFC)
Display and keypad backlight
Key lock
Adjustable key beep
Adjustable display contrast
Computer control
Optional slot cards

Like most high-end radios, the AR8200 comes with a nice set of accessories. These include a 7 section telescopic antenna, medium wave (MW) antenna, AC adapter, 4 AA NiMh cells, metal belt clip (with screws and lock washers), hand strap, carry case and operating manual. Very nice indeed!

The belt clip supplied is a strong metal one which attaches using two screws and lock washers. Everyone will appreciate this touch and begin to wonder why more manufacturers don't do so.

One of the first things that will catch your eye is probably the hefty manual which is included. At 140 pages, it's bound to make some hearts flutter.
One thing which makes the manual so large is the redundancy which is deliberately included to help keep you from flipping about looking for referenced topics. Diagrams appear throughout as do hints and tips for best use of the radio. Topics progress from the simplest operations and build upon these to work up to the more advanced features.
There is a lot here to learn including, as always, a new set of terms and feature names. But there is no reason why most anyone can't learn this radio nearly inside and out if the manual is read methodically and used with good doses of patience. Don't be put off if you have to keep the manual handy until you commit the various operations to memory!
Physically the unit is around medium – large in size, it’s larger then an Icom R20 or Uniden 396T but smaller then the DTS 96, It weighs around 320g and fits in a pocket with no problems.

Programming the radio is quite a simple affair, by default the 8200 enters your frequency in to the first free memory slot, and this reduces the chances of you deleting a channel by accident.
Programming is a simple matter of entering the frequency in VFO mode, setting the correct step and mode, pressing and holding the E key until it assigns a memory channel and then press E again to confirm.

To scan these channels you press SCAN once to get in to memory mode and then SCAN again to start scanning your frequencies.

This shows that while the 8200 is a very complex and advanced unit, it can be made to do the basics very easily and this is important when you first get it and want to get right in to it.

I have had it setup for a few days now while I have been down in Hobart scanning about 260 VHF / UHF channels and so far I can not in anyway fault it, it scans the channels fast and I have only found 1 channel while scanning which it has locked up on and this was due to my computer being too close to it.

Reading the manual shows a large number of features that I don’t think I will ever use but it is very good to know they are there if I ever do.
A few that I have used and find very useful are:
Squelch activated backlight.
Bank / Memory Text tags.
Band Scope
Memory bank resizing (this allows you to make banks from 10 to 90 channels)
Auto store search

I have tried it a bit on HF and it seems to perform well in that area but not as good as a proper HF rig would.

Basically I am over the moon with this radio and love it. It might not suit some people due to some complex features that you really have to understand to the most from it.
If you are use to uniden type scanners then this radio would be a very steep learning curve but the results are worth it.

I have owned quite a few radios over the last few years and this would have to be up there as one of the best, sure it does not do trunking but as far as a handheld vhf / uhf receiver goes it would have to be one of the best you can buy.

I can not recommend this radio enough, if you have a need for a good VHF / UHF scanner with HF as well then this is your radio, it is as simple as that.

My only regret is not buying one of these 2 years ago and saving the money I have spent on radios in that time, it really is as good of a handheld radio as you can get.

Please feel free to email me any questions you have about the 8200.

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