We have seen pictures of the AT-6666 floating temptingly around the Internet for many months and now at last it seems production has started and they are available to buy.
Like most radios I have tried out of the Anytone factory the AT-6666 is well built and well packaged. Inside and out the radio looks the part. It is about the same size as the Lincoln 2 and Optima..perhaps even a few mm thinner. It feels solid and is slightly on the heavy side. Construction wize Anytone have deviated from the norm in incorporating a different style of heatsink. Big solid looking thing that covers the entire rear section of the radio. Oozes Ham radio here. If you bend or damage the heatsink you will have trashed the radio in the process. The Heat sink looks expensive and impressive. But doesn’t have a lot of surface area to disperse the heat either. Remains to be seen how much it heats up in operation.
The power cable is integrated directly into the board. Great idea but perhaps a potential problem if the cables get yanked hard they may come out of the board. If your AT-6666 does not power up out of the box I would go looking here after checking out the fuse. The cables don’t seem to be that securely soldered into the board if you look at the underside of the board. I would have thought I could have easily spotted them had they gone through the board. Perhaps they don’t. It also means you can’t get a spare cable and easily switch the radio between cars or power supplies. A flying plug would make make more sense than this set up.
So …A solid well built radio that covers the 10m 28.0 to 29.695mhz ham band or in CB mode from 25.615mhz to 30mhz in 9 40 channel (programmable) bands. They don’t mention anything about the CB coverage in the manual or even how to put the radio in the CB mode.
OK lets go to 10m and see what we have..We have no CW mode. A big deal for some I am sure. In order to make some use of the band switch button the radio is restricted to 200khz per band and in the default step of 5khz you will scroll thru with no gaps or funny CB style jumps. I think it is a bit restrictive for a 10m radio..I can live without CW in the car but all the button pushing to change the bands? Does Anytone have any radio users on staff at all? Fortunately band C covers 28.4 thru 28.6 mhz where most of the 10m SSB action is anyway. A lot of button presses if you want to go down in the bands. They only scroll in one direction and that is up. But not to worry. We have six memories. Yes it does and as long as you only want to save in either USB or LSB it is fine..but it doesn’t seem to want to save memories in both LSB or USB. All SSB memories will revert to the last mode programmed in. When you are in memory mode you are in memory mode. Don’t think you are going to be able to use the memories to jump around the bands. If you want to scroll you need to go back to where you were in the vfo mode and move on from there. You can’t push the memory into the VFO. It can operate ‘split’ which is good. Up or down.
There is a good chance that a few people will be buying this radio to use on the CB and freebands as well. In order to use outside the 10m band hold in the Band and Menu buttons while turning the radio on and select either CB.BAND or HF.BAND with the channel selector and then confirm your choice by holding in the menu button for a few seconds. It will remain in the mode you choose until the above process is repeated. If you chose the CB mode the radio will then be capable of working from 25.615 to 30.105mhz in 10 bands. Band D is the normal 40. All the various functions including the Split or repeater work in the CB mode. Transmit power is as it should be..60w PEP on sideband, 40w on FM and 10w carrier peaking 30w on AM. I am sure the AM and FM could be tweaked up if required. I pretty well stick to SSB. Receive..much the same as every other radio from Anytone. Sensitive, a bit of white noise and gets splattered by strong stations a few channels away. Volume did not seem too light for use in the shack though reports of a different audio chip on the next run may raise things a little more. I have to use headphones if in the car anyway so not a big deal either way.
I am a bit frustrated with the way this radio works. The buttons are a bit small and lacking feeling. If the radio is not screwed down pushing the buttons is going to move the set back a few inches each time one gets pressed. Ch selector is good and firm. Press it quickly and you can set the step for about 10 seconds…you can scroll in 100hz, 1khz, 10khz, 100khz, 1mhz steps but it will revert back to 10khz steps after 5 seconds or so if you don’t keep moving the selector. Unfortunately, if you use the select step facility to change the frequency; that is the frequency that will remain in the radio…To give you an example…I had the radio in D band and 27405 ch 40. I selected the 1mhz step to see how it worked and scrolled up to 30.105 for a few seconds..My channel 40 now became 30.105 Ch 39 was still 27395. Actually I was running around using the step function on a variety of channels and in a few minutes I was in band D but there was not a lot of 27mhz left in it. This is very frustrating. Don’t use the step function. Every time you turn the volume control the display reads the volume level for a few too many seconds. That pisses me off too..I set the volume with my ears not my eyes. The RF gain backs off an 8th of a turn and the signal is gone. Watch out for that! I like the radio a lot, but I hate the way it works. Poor programming has ruined this radio for me. It has 3 separate menu options: 1 : press the menu button momentarily (F appears on the display right hand upper corner) and then depress the ch selector momentarily and 4 menu options are available. No 3 the repeater option seems the only one worthwhile in there.
Then you can press and hold the menu button and 12 menu options become available. beeps, backlight colour, mic gain, clarifier function repeater offset etc etc As if that is not complicated enough if you press and hold the ch selector and you have 5 menu options in there too..Hi cut, NB, Echo, +10khz, and roger beep: off and on. Like the Lincoln 2 this radio is supposed to share a common platform with this radio has 6 memories but they don’t work the same as the lincoln. On the AT-6666 when you are in memory mode you stay in memory mode. All you can do is switch between the memories then go back to the channel mode. The only thing you can change is the mode of the memory..USB/LSB/AM/FM; which is just as well because the radio decides for itself in which SSB mode it will present the memory! If you want CTCSS you need to buy the board and plug it in.
This should have been a great little radio. They could still change the programming and make it into one. It falls short in the “userbility” department for me but could well suit some people. It is up there with the lincoln 2, the cre 8900, the stryker 955 in how it works as a radio on transmit and receive, but I find it just a bit of a pain in the arse to use. What could have and should have been a great little 10m and freeband radio just wasn’t allowed to be.