Wouxun KG-UV3D Audio Levels

Wouxun KG-UV3D with GPS-audio interface
Wouxun KG-UV3D with GPS-audio interface

The Wouxun KG-UV3D is advertised as a “dual band” radio, but it has only one hardware receiver: in TDR mode (there is no explanation of what TDR means, so there may not be an English equivalent; I suspect it’s not Time Domain Reflectometry) with two frequencies / channels displayed, the first to receive a transmission produces audio output until that signal stops, regardless of what happens on the other frequency / channel. In contrast, the ICOM Z1A and W32A radios we were using had two hardware receivers and the audio output was the sum of the two signals, with independent volume controls.

That wouldn’t matter, except that I monitor the E911 dispatch channel while riding, so that I know when an emergency vehicle will be coming along my route: distracted drivers are bad enough, but a distracted driver dodging an ambulance is really bad. The E911 transmitters have punchy audio compared to anything else, so it’d be nice to turn down the dispatcher’s level compared to the relatively quiet voice + APRS signals on the other channel.

No can do.

The KG-UV3D also requires much higher audio on the mic input than the Z1A for the equivalent output. Contrary to that schematic, I’m now running the op amp gain at about 4.5 (13 dB) instead of 1.6 (4 dB): it’s a 100 kΩ feedback resistor. That puts it on a par with the E911 audio, but it’s still somewhat quiet.

The TinyTrak3+ board produces audio tones through a 4-bit binary resistor network that feeds into a 220 kΩ resistor in series with the 10 kΩ trimpot that sets its output level. Cranking that pot all the way up produces roughly the same volume as the +13 dB helmet mic audio. If I increase the mic gain any further, however, I should also increase the TT3+ audio output, which means reducing the 220 kΩ resistor on the TT3+ board. The TT3+ doc advises:

Some mobile radios require more audio drive than TinyTrak3 puts out. If audio levels are too low, even with the R6 pot set to maximum, consider replacing the 220K R5 with a 100K resistor or shorting jumper. This should allow for about double the audio range.

Dunno if that means another 3 or 6 dB or what, but it might come in handy.

However, increasing the mic gain has the disadvantage of causing more wind noise: it’s always there and high mic gain makes it much worse. The foam balls over the mics work well, but the voice volume drops off dramatically as the mouth-to-mic distance increase; about half an inch is a good distance. So there’s an upper limit on mic gain.

I’ve also increased the earphone attenuation, with a 150 Ω resistor in series with the earbud, to give the receiver volume control more useful range.

It’s workable as it stands and the many APRS receivers have no trouble decoding the packets, so all this is in the nature of fine tuning. I do miss the dual audio outputs, though…