A box of the Maxlog M8800 ver 8 was waiting on the door step when I returned from the bike ride so I did not waste much time putting one on air and checking it out. Looks the same as the previous versions, but if you look closely you will notice that all the digits in the frequency display are the same size now.
The radio seems sturdier than the earlier ver 6 from last year and the knobs function well. Display is sharp. The LCD S meter works well, sensitive but not overly jerky like some we have experienced recently! The SWR has been tamed and reads well. No need to turn it off like we do on most radios of this type.
The radio will probably arrive in the 10m only mode so to use on 11m it is neccessary to turn on the radio with the RB button depressed and change the band setting to Band 1 instead of band 2. There is also band 3 and 4 but they allow the use of 24mhz.
Be careful what buttons are depressed when you turn on the radio as there are several turn on menus. Best stay away from these until we get clarification of what they are there for! The programming from the factory still needs some work. A lot of unneccessary bands complicating the set up. If you choose band 1 (25.615-30 mhz) the program will not allow you to input a frequency below 25.615mhz so difficult to write 24 mhz frequencies into this setting. Difficult; not impossible…we got the 12m band in band A and the freeband in Band C , 10m in band D with a little effort and ingenuity.
The clarifier takes a bit of getting used to. You can alter the way it works from the menu via function and then again by pushing the clarifier knob in. Most of the menu functions can be accessed from the front panel but the descriptions of what each does needs the manual !! For example the Mic Gain comes set in the mid position of 31 and can readily be cranked up towards the max of 63 with good effect.
The RF gain control is nice. Not overly sensitive so easy to achieve comfortable listening without losing the signal. Not sure what they have done here but it is an improvement. You don’t need to be able to back off the RF gain to nothing. Receive is pleasant. “Hi cut” drops a lot of the white noise. leave the Hi cut in. These radios were remarkable for the stability when they first came out and this new one is no exception. Sits on frequency and doesn’t move. TX reports have all been favourable.
Programming: it needs the right cable and ver 7 of Maxlog’s M8800 software. I have not been able to get the cable to install properly in Win 8 so use XP or Win 7 to save a lot of fuss. Installing the program is a 2 stage process. Install the program first without the cable attached to the computer. Then install the driver you need from the options under the program in the start menu. Then attach the cable.
This is a solid performer…I like it. It has come of age!
After a couple of days of use I removed the lids. Very tidy inside. Pots all marked but with 30-35 W PEP out put I did not see the point of turning things up further. The frame has been beefed up and the radio is now stiffer and heavier and stronger. Only problem is that the +10khz switch only move the frequency up 1khz! We programmed the radio in 5khz steps so it did not cause any problems where we operate.
FM power was 35W, AM was 10w Carrier peaking 25W, (Could up the AM Mod if you work a lot AM: We don’t) SSB was 30-35 PEP. Good separation between upper and lower side bands.
Colours fixed Green back light and Orange lettering. Easy to get used to and really stands out. Have not messed with the echo. Most functions either turned off or default.
CW has a few features like adjustable side tone monitoring but I have yet to try them.