Tuesday, August 18, 2015

First impressions of the Juentai JT-6188

If anyone out there is thinking of purchasing one - do yourself a favor - save your money and don't. At least for now.

I have rarely, if ever, run across a product in the Amateur Radio market that I would advise others to avoid like the plague. This may be the first.  The unit is innocent looking enough and after successfully using both Wouxun and Baofeng radios, it was a reasonable assumption (at least in my mind) that this little unit would be somewhat on par with those.  It's not.

The JT-6188 is small, compact, and not that hard to program (using a computer). It fits nicely in the car, doesn't use too much power and the audio output coming out of the speaker is loud - robustly loud. Of course, it's controllable with the volume knob.  The problem is the receive audio quality. On the dining room table, standing still, it's fine! Once installed and the car start moving? For some reason, it becomes garbled almost to the point of being unintelligible. At first, I thought it was a problem of the transmitting station not making it well into the repeater, but then I noticed even nearby repeaters with strong signals were hard to listen to while the car was moving. Switching out the Juentai with an HT revealed it wasn't an antenna or transmission line problem.

As a tiny little base rig - this is not a bad little unit. It has more "oomph" than your standard HT - about 20 Watts out at the High Power setting. As a mobile radio - it stinks, badly. A little "after the purchase" research revealed others reporting the same problem - but interestingly, others not. As always, hindsight is 20/20, and I guess I was blinded by the low price and convenience factor of not having to run power cables through the firewall to the battery.

I'm not going to toss it, as I can probably find a use for it someday. But it won't be in the car, and I guess I'll go back to using an HT connected to the external antenna along with a speaker mic.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the least


  1. Had never heard of one of these until your post Larry. Simple solution might be an external speaker. I use one for my mobile radios. It sits right behind my head wedged between the adjustable headrest and the seat top. Plus side of that is you don't have to drive it hard to hear it. Mine is an older Kenwood speaker that came with a previous 2m radio. If I recall correctly, some of the radio shack external mobile speakers were decent at one time as were the MFJ ones.

  2. Great suggestion - but guess what? No external speaker jack. At this point, I may pop the thing open and do some "elective surgery". Thanks for the idea!

  3. At first glance I thought "ah, that's a Leixen LX VV-898" - but this beast does look a bit different, with a higher power output of 25W/20W. Thanks for "taking one for the team" and purchasing this to check it out. It is awfully tempting at $110!

    Inability to receive a signal at speed but working fine at rest is a very strange symptom. Do you have any ideas what would be causing this?

  4. I have had mine now for 2 weeks... my intention was to get an inexpensive radio that I could keep in the camper. Got mine from Amazon Prime including the software/cable for $129.

    While getting it programmed up and testing it I have had it in the camper hooked up to an Arrow Aluminum J-pole antenna 10 feet in the air, in the house hooked up to a car battery and mobile antenna and in the car sitting on the front seat hooked into the cigarette lighter using the included power cord.

    I have not had, in the two weeks I have had the radio, the type of experience you are talking about with the received audio. To me the audio is a little too bassy for my tastes, I like a little tinnier since I hear the higher frequencies better than the lower ones. That's where an external speaker comes in.

    And I'm not sure what you mean by it doesn't have a speaker jack.. you said you programmed it using your computer.. what do you think the mini-phono connector on the programming cable plugged in.


  5. Thank you for your comments, Mickey. I thought that outlet was for programmming only. Sorry about that. So I took your advice and rehooked up the radio, this time with an external speaker, to see if it would make a difference. once again, the received audio was crystal clear sitting in the driveway, as soon as I put the car in gear and started moving around - garbled audio. Almost like picket fencing. Unfortunately, as much as I would love for this little guy to be my mobile radio, it just isn't going to happen.

  6. have you ever encoutered a problem transmitting in vhf frequencies? mine would suddenly restart when i transmit in vhf ...

  7. No, on mine, transmit was fine. It's only a receive issue when moving. Stationary, it works fine.

  8. Being honest, I have been looking at this radio and I've heard conflicting reports. I've heard good things about it, and I have heard that they are not worth a dime. I have a kenwood tm-733a in my vehicle, and in my shack, I'm running a older Icom Ic-746 non-pro. I will only be using it, as a 70cm base since my Icon has, all the other frequency. It could also, be used as a secondary 2 meter rig if I want to, have another QSO on 2 meters. Should I save the money for a eBay kenwood, or even a used Yaesu or Icom.

  9. I have just seen a youtube video concerning the receive audio, 1 of the guys commented that the squelch was being used and when he turned it off completely the issue went away

  10. I just saw a video on youtube concerning the receive when in a vehicle, 1 of the responders said if you turn the squelch off completely then there is no audio issue.

  11. I have just seen a youtube video concerning the receive audio, 1 of the guys commented that the squelch was being used and when he turned it off completely the issue went away

  12. I don't know if you've seen this or not, but the "picket fencing"is a known issue. There's a solution/workaround here:


  13. KA9WDX (Bernie)7:48 PM

    Yes, you will find that this transceiver appears to be sold under multiple names or manufacturers, as they sure look alike, but I decided to take the Juentai JT-6188 Mini from a friend of mine, who had got it brand new, but hadn't even opened the package or box.

    The transceiver seems to work OK, as far as the received signals, and transmitted signals, but it has problems.

    First of all, it will scan in the VFO mode, but I can not get it to scan when in the memory mode.
    Secondly, when scanning, and then stopping on an active frequency, I can't hear anything out of the speaker until I briefly tap on, or key up, the microphone, and the same thing happens when I switch from VFO or Band A to Band B, like if I have 147.520 in A, and 443.975 in B, when I switch, or push the button, to go to B from A, I won't hear audio until I press the PTT button briefly, and the same thing happens when I go back to A.
    Thirdly, when I try to transmit on 2 Meters, the transceiver appears to shut off on me, unless I hold the mike below where the radio is mounted, meaning that I have it mounted on the dash, and I need to hold the mike below the level of the dashboard, or the transceiver will shut off on me when trying to transmit on 2 Meters, and sometimes the Red light flashes at me.
    The transceiver seems to work OK on 70 CM though.

    Anyway, I am not too happy with the JT-6188 Mini, as far as the operation goes, as it won't scan when in the memory mode, and the transceiver seems to shut off on me when trying to transmit on 2 Meters, unless I hold the mike low, like below the steering wheel for an example.