The Recently Released MaxLog M8800

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The best Picture of this radio is the one on the box!

Our board was Ver 06, blue.

The Ver. 06 on right

The Ver. 06 on right

 

Ver 06

Ver 06

We had been waiting a while for our initial order of 6 radios to arrive. The manufacturer had a lot of excuses and then went quiet for a few weeks and then he found them in Hong Kong and they arrived by DHL shortly afterwards. Last time we had experienced that sort of thing with a Chinese suplier the radios were utter crap. Read the post on the LT-158 from a while back. Un-usable, un-sellable, un-returnable and un-refundable!

Fortunately the M8800 did not suffer from all of that. It is actually quite a good radio but it does have a few potential problems due to build quality. The Anytones have better build quality. The M8800 is also a slightly different board layout. Noticeably so.

Under the lids it is just another anytone AT-5555 derivative minus the changing colours but it kept the blue back lighting and got another display along the lines of the new Cobra 29 and it also received a few user quirks of its own. Did not hear too many people complaining about the similar looking screen in the Cobra 29 but the split screen on the M8800 sure did seem to wind the poms up a bit. The Channel selector is in the middle and the clarifier is hard right so it should be intuitive enough to use for most. Functionally it does almost everything the same way as the AT-5555 and cre 8900. It has a mini USB plug at the back but if you don’t have the right plug and serial adapter your Anytone adapter fits into the internal plug very nicely. We could not get the usb plug to fit in the receptacle properly due to the plug not matching the hole in the rear chassis and when it did the plug was set back too far for the pins to make contact. So we (the royal we ala Mike) ended up using the internal socket. and installed a copy of the BR9200 software and off it went. Looked the same as the AT-5555 3.1 software. No mic gain. But the maker did add a mic gain pot for us to the outer of the echo pot. Meant we could turn it down. The internal additional soldering to the board was very poor. The additional wire under the board from the bottom of the software plug to the USB connector was messy. A real after thought for sure. More about that later.Image

Who said Mike can’t take a good photo!

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Look at all the stuff you can see on the display!

The good thing about this radio is that it does work well on air. On SSB the transmit audio was clear and punchy and we liked the receive audio but the set did need the RX aligning as it was rather deaf out of the box. The AGC seems to handle strong signals better than some of the “others”. Have no idea how it handles signals from strong stations transmitting nearby. If you can get over the look you have a very nice performing radio and at the end of the day and that is what counts. I know of two other people with this radio and they both like it and the way it performs.

Now for the quirks..well what we have found so far. First one is the OOB (Out Of Box experience) It says it is a 10m rig and by George it is!. It comes in the 10m mode and covers from 28.9 to 29.495 in 5khz steps. That’s it. That is your OOB you 27mhz junkies. Aha.. but we know the fix..hold down func and  EMG and turn the radio on..then choose Ful then hit EMG. That gives you full 10m. 28.000 to 29 whatever….Bottom line here is no cable, no program, no 27mhz. And to add insult to injury, the cable is not included in the box!! Alamaaah!!  I think the cre 8900 and the anytone cables will fit OK. Mike used the anytone. You will have to get the program and the cable and upload the frequencies you want into the full mode with your computer. Mike has a few sets for sale and he says he will do that for you if you buy from him. Specify how you want it and he will do it.

http://www.yeticomnz.com

It remembers the clarifier offset like the early Anytones up to ver 3.1. Not sure if the new Anytones still do that but the cre didn’t so I assume they have moved on.  This was just bearable on the anytone because you could not get more than 10khz away from where you started. On the M8800 the clarifier keeps running..it does not spin on the 10khz range. You could end up miles away on the clarifier.

They say on the box it has a TXCO. Really?. That means temperature compensated which implies an oven. Has it? Who knows? Mike says the extra stability comes from the DDS circuitry. It is certainly stays on frequency well. No sign of drift.

Microphone.  I have seen photos on the net showing a label that it uses an electret type mic insert. Ours came with  large dynamic looking insert in the mic and as we found no phantom voltage on the 4 pin socket at the radio we are assuming it is indeed a dynamic insert. Bear mind that the later production could be quite different from the radio I am describing. It could be the mic gain will be on the rigs going to Europe. The gain is on the outer ring. And this is how Mike should be taking photos in future….

The Mic Gain control

The Mic Gain control

But it is a cheap radio and it shows up in the finish. The knobs are a bit flimsy, the dual controls are weak and plasticky,  and the case does not fit as well as it could. The internal speaker has a very small magnet so may not sound good at high volumes. doesn’t sound any worse than the std CB speaker but will it last? The USB plug did not line up so we had to program off the internal plug.

Another thing that may come back and bite them in the butt is the lack of a serial number on the radio or the box. No way anyone can offer guarantees if it can not be proved the radio was bought from them. That is not a good sign..they can’t have a quality management system in place yet or it would have picked up on this. There may be something embeded in the dealer software like the anytones but we have not been given a copy of it so we could  record and identify radios with that.

The general build is rather tinny. The chassis material is much thinner than other radios so expect a lot more flexing which may lead to cracks in the board eventually. It also means there is not a lot of material to dissipate the heat from the audio and regulator chips fixed to the side. There have been frequent reports of the heat in that side from the anytones so expect the same if not more heat here. Then again, I can’t say I have heard of any of the anytones failing there either. It is just that heat is our enemy so be nice if the material was beefed up so it could absorb the heat better. Mike is going to add an aluminium strip there. The heat sink is a standard 25 w heatsink and luckily the radio put out 25w out of the box. Mike took it up to 50w and then decided it was better left at 25W pep. He figured the rest of the radio wasn’t up to it.

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Shoddy Soldering

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Small magnet on the speaker

ImageNot the prettiest for sure

Bottom line is that it is quite a good radio. In fact as far as the radio goes it is very good. And that is this radio’s saving grace. It works very well. It may have the Midland style channel selector in the middle of the radio but it certainly does not have the Midland quality construction. On the other hand it is probably a better performing radio than the last midland we looked at. It receives and transmits well so if you can get over the looks you will have a smile on your face..sort of like the girlfriend you used to have..maybe she didn’t dress too good, wear the right make up, but she was great in bed and a good cook so you would always want to keep her around! I think it will grow on you so hope the build quality holds up. Remember also that this is the first production so it should continue to get better and tidier and maybe one day even look like the picture on the box. The Cobra 200 GTL looked great but sounded like shit and rife with problems from the get go. It died a quick death. The M8800 may not look the best but it does the job very well and I think it is here to stay. The list of anytone derivatives continues to get bigger. They just keep getting better….

AT-5555, KPO, MAAS, Hanover, Cre 8900, uniden beacat 980, stryker 955, and now the M8800 and I heard there will shortly be a maxlog 8900…smaller than the M8800.

In Summation: get one..no hang on.. get 2 just in case! Who needs a Stryker 955 when you can have two of these for the same price as a Stryker?

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Pretty Blue Board full of little bits and pieces

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The infamous dynamic Electret mic on the M-8800. Sounds great so who gives a shit what it is!!

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The internal PC cable connectors . (well at least one of them is)

ImageSee the little USB port hiding away by the heatsink?

The more I look at this radio the more I see an Emporer TS 5010. If they had used that as a template with the ch selector in the middle and a similar button layout it would have been something…I really think they need to dump the clarifier stuff and just have a step function controlling what the selector does and leave the clarifier with an inner for rx and outer for tx….make it all a bit simpler…

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19 Responses to The Recently Released MaxLog M8800

  1. Pingback: maxlog M-8800 - Page 6

  2. Awesome and honest review. I’m gonna hold off until cables/software etc. become more available. This might just be a future purchase.

  3. BBB says:

    Interesting radio for sure. I have been looking at them and would consider it. I’m assuming this is a dual final mosfet radio.

    The Stryker 955 has (4) Mosfets and swings 60-70 watts AM no problem (higher on SSB) so i.m.o. the M8800 is not really in the same power league. Stryker has a (1) year warranty on all it’s rigs.

    Wouldn’t doubt that the M8800 comes out of the same factory as the others though.

    Thanks you for the review.

    • dd182003 says:

      Yes Twin mosfet final and 25w as tested. Runs well at 25w though capable of a little more it is best to run it at 25w PEP and add an amplifier if you need more.

  4. Klaus says:

    Were can I find the Schematic for this nice Radio
    Thanks from Germany

    • dd182003 says:

      I am not sure if maker has released it yet..I will ask the venerable Mr Log Wei and see what he says but to date they always refuse to release…Not like the old days when all radios had the schematic in the box…

  5. GERRY says:

    I personally received a comment e-mail from Mr. Log Wei here in Canada around May 28th 2013, he tell me in his e-mail: we are making new software for you , I will let you know ASAP
    Best Regards , Log Wei

    Then I never heard back from him… and we’re now end of JUNE 2013??

    Hope Mr Wei, will hold up his word & send you and me some new support software for the M-8800 transceiver. He has my e-mail address and he should follow through, I will let you’s all know what happens here. If by any chance I receive the update Mr Wei software, I’ll be happy to send everyone a copy as an attachment by e-mail.
    Any more info, feel free to e-mail me in CANADA
    Gerry

  6. dd182003 says:

    Log wei has always been late in delivering. he is working on it and I have seen some samples. It is out for version 7 and he is doing the same for version 6

  7. He was supposed to send me a sample 8900 was told via email and then the tracking number did not come, the information was blamed on the courier and now not any answers to emails etc. I have the programming software but nothing more. That’s life. It does not stop anything but helps me understand why so many companies now in the EU are not interested anymore in Maxlog which is a shame, a real shame indeed as the market has not so many companies or places to hide at the moment

    • dd182003 says:

      He has to ship from the factory in China to Hong Kong before DHL gets them and that seems to be the delay. He may also be waiting for the new mic inserts to arrive as there had been complaints about the sharp sounding audio on the first M8800. Great for DX, but a little lacking in lows for general use. I expect the new ones to sound more like the Stryker SSB, but time will tell. Strong mid range. A wider range mic really makes the radio sparkle. We have also requested a software change and you may get that with your radio as well. Be patient, Poor Log wei has a lot on his plate but will deliver….This radio does quite a lot, quite well and they can modify to some extent to suit customer requests. For me it would be to get rid of the channel selector and put the clarifier in the middle as a VFO! The TX only/RX only function allows for a bunch of shift if required for split operation which a lot of newer radios lack!

  8. Phil says:

    I would like to know if this radio works split frequency opperation? as it is sold as a 10m radio, tones would also be nice for 10m repeater working, fancied the Stryker HP but if this comes in with TX audio as good I could be interested, good review.
    Phil

    • dd182003 says:

      Hi Phil,
      You can use it in split mode by making the clarifyer tx only and splitting the tx/RX frequencies with the clarifyer.
      Works OOK when you get used to it.
      Could not find any tones in it…

      • Phil says:

        That is a shame, so many of these radios come to the market as a 10m radio and Ive yet to see one that has real split and tones for 10m repeaters, memories could solve the split problem but still a bit of a fuss, If voltage was available from the mic socket a small tone board could be built into the microphone quite easily and cheaply.
        Phil

  9. Luke says:

    TCXO indeed means “temperature compensated”. But it does NOT imply that the oscillator is ovenized. It means components are used (in the oscillator) with an inverse temperature coefficient that cancels out the TC in other components, resulting in a very flat frequency vs. temperature response for the TCXO. Two TCXOs are used in this radio, one in the PLL used for the channelization, and one in the PLL that generates the sideband injection frequencies (10.6950, 10. 6925 and 10.6975 MHz). And that is also where this radio is significantly improved over older designs: Older designs used a single crystal for the SSB injection frequency (the BFO) of 10.695MHz. This was then shifted 2.5kHz up or down using switched capacitors, depending on selected modulation mode. But pulling a crystal with added capacitors has a very negative impact on over-all stability and accuracy. The newer models (like this radio) now have a PLL using a TCXO as a reference instead of a single crystal, which is a significant increase in over-all stability of the radio. By the way, a TCXO is also used for the channelization PLL (te two tin-cans on the left). Older designs (like the Anytone 5555) use a HC25U crystal in the channelization PLL, you can recognize this because the crystal sticks through the shield of one of the cans (if you look at pictures of the Anytone 5555 insides you can see this). This Maxlog M8000 does not use these inferior HC25U crystals any more, it uses a TCXO instead.
    The result is an exceptional stability for this Maxlog M8000 radio. In fact, I have found that stability for this radio (on 10 meters) is much better than my $2500 ham radio!

  10. Dave says:

    I have a maxlog M8800,only had it a few months,i have heard it has talk back feature,does anyone know anything about it,and how you would turn it on,its not a bad radio,i have seen worse for more money,and the frequency range is pretty good,lots of channels ,mine came set from the factory and was already wide banded which saved me the job of having to mess about with the software and programming the radio,the manual is very basic,could have given more information about how to operate the radio to its full potential,i have Ver.07 of the software,have heard along the grape vine there is a newer version coming out,any information on the talk back would be a lot of help..

  11. tony says:

    any 1 know what to tweak to back the power down to 12 watts? any info would be great thanks

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