I have been waiting for this since it was announced at the Dayton Hamvention this year. Alinco has released the DJ-G29T dual band handheld. The price is $349.95 and both Universal Radio and Ham Radio Outlet are accepting preorders. Universal Radio says it should be available for shipping by December 27.
What is the significance of this radio? It is the first commercially produced radio specifically for amateur radio operators that covers the 900 Mhz band. Huh wha? Amateur radio operators have operating privileges on a wide range of bands in the radio spectrum. Not all bands have ready-to-use equipment that you can purchase. For example, if you want to operate on the 10 GHz band, you'll be building a transverter and antenna. If you want to get on the 144 MHz band, you can buy any number of handheld or mobile radios from many companies. 900 MHz is gaining popularity, but until this Alinco radio came out, we had to purchase used commercial gear and modify it for use on the amateur radio bands. Not always easy and not always possible with the gear you bought.
Most users on 900 MHz have commercial Motorola or Kenwood gear. At least the ones I have talked to. I have Motorola and love it. It's a pain to program, but that's not something I do often to care about. With the Alinco radio, I will have a radio I can program directly, something that is common in the amateur radio world.
To make the radio more appealing, Alinco added support for the 220 MHz band. 220 has seen more users than 900 and there are an assortment of club repeaters around the country. Still not as popular as 144 MHz or 440 MHz, 220 is at least a band that will give the radio user more likelihood of finding a nearby repeater.
The radio also supports crossband repeat, which could prove interesting in some use cases.
I have grown interested in the uncommon VHF and UHF bands in amateur radio and Alinco came out with a dual band radio that covers two seldom used bands right now. I love it. Interested in VHF and UHF but tired of 144 MHz and 440 MHz, try out some new bands with this radio. Also, consider buying it to encourage more manufacturers to cover bands other than 144 and 440.