In February 2010 I was asked to evaluate some equipment and radios for use by blind radio amateurs. Initially this equipment was to be purchased by RAIBC the charity working for radio amateurs with disabilities, and loaned to amateurs in the UK. Due to the popularity of the evaluations, we are now extending their scope to include any amateur equipment, and making them available to anyone with an interest.
I would guess the majority of new radio amateurs are loaned their first radio by a friend. Unfortunately, This avenue will not be open to most blind amateurs, as independent operation will require the equipment is accessible.
Much of the equipment reviewed here has been looked at for a few hours only, so it is important you try before you buy. I cannot accept any responsibility for incorrect information leading to purchases. Also, I am sure there is a lot of equipment being successfully used, but no one has thought to make this public. I continually run across accessible equipment by pure chance!
I have no qualifications for testing the performance of these radios, but I have years of practical experience as a blind Ham. Therefore, my comments are about the ease with which the radios can be used by a blind person, not how they perform.
With the advent of computer control, it is possible for a blind amateur to extract much vital information from most modern radios, but the operator will need a PC, screen reading software, and good computer skills if this method is to be used. Therefore, the evaluations are mainly based on how easy the equipment is to use as a standalone unit. Some modern radios have voice synthesizers available as an optional extra, and some have them included as standard. Where needed, the voice synthesizer has been fitted.
I appreciate these findings might influence buying decisions, but I would point out that accessibility is only one part of the story, and that ultimately the radio’s performance is a crucial factor. I think it is important you try before you buy! If you are a CW operator, it is even more important you check the specifications and you know what filtering you are getting.
Saying all that, you may decide the best radio in the world is not much good if it cannot be used by yourself independently!
All evaluations and demonstrations produced by M0AID and others on this site are the property and copyright
of their respective authors, and may not be downloaded or copied without written permission.
Both Kenwood Electronics UK and Icom UK have given permission for accessibility recordings of their equipment manuals to be hosted on this site
Kenwood TH-D74 VHF/UHF/D-Star Handheld Accessibility Review
Kenwood TM-V71E/ VHF/UHF Mobile Accessibility Review
Kenwood TS-2000 Accessibility Review
Kenwood TS-480 Accessibility Review
Kenwood TS-570 Accessibility Review
Kenwood TS-590 Accessibility Review
Kenwood TS-990 Accessibility Review
Array Solutions Power Master and HamPod Review and Demonstration
HamPod SteppIReader Talking Stepper Controller Review and Demonstration
LDG TW-1 Talking SWR Meter Review
LK10 Talking Multi-Meter Review
MFJ 1026 Noise Cancellation Accessibility Review
Pro-Sis-Tel 2051D Rotator Accessibility Review
Snap Circuits Suggested Method of Learning Basic Electronics
Yaesu G-1000DXC Rotator Accessibility Review
Amateur Contact Log 4.2 Audio Review and Demonstration
G4FON Audio Review and Demonstration
Take Another Stab at CW, G4FON Accessibility Review
Ham Morse iPhone App Accessibility Review
JJRadio Rig Control and Monitoring Program
N1MM Logger Audio Review and Demonstration
RT Systems programing software Accessibility Review
WSRotor Audio Review and Demonstration