The Udon 000: A Receiver Review
By Dr. Philip Simpson
The Udon 000 is the most convenient radio I have ever owned. Imagine having a shortwave radio with you all the time, strapped to your wrist! That's right - the Udon 000 comes with its own wrist strap and is designed to be worn like a wrist watch. When set to time mode, the display shows the current time and it actually can be used as a wrist watch! Of course the real fun begins when you switch to radio mode for DXing. (Note, the watch pauses while the unit is in radio mode, so will need to be reset after each listening session.)
The Udon 000 comes with a wireless earphone that looks like a hearing aid. That makes it a great way to partake in your favorite past time during boring events like church services, your grandchildrens' weddings, lectures from your wife, etc. You can blame your sudden hearing problem to all those years of listening to static-filled radio broadcasts on too-tight headphones. And, with your hearing problem, no one will be surprised that you didn't get what they said. If you need a doctor's statement confirming your hearing loss, so that you can use this at work, just write me and include a check for twenty dollars.
So, what makes this receiver special, besides the fact that it can be worn as a wrist watch?
The Udon 000 is designed to be the last radio you ever own, or at least the last one you ever use. And, not only can you take this tiny radio with you anywhere, but it might just save your life!
That's right - it can save your life. The Udon 000 comes with a software interface and plenty of room on the 4GB flash memory to store your entire medical history. Just insist that your medical providers upload your records via the USB2 connection. (The included USB2 cable doubles as an antenna.) Your records can then be displayed, 150 characters at a time, on the LCD display or uploaded to any computer or MP3 player. In an emergency, the bright red words "MEDICAL ALERT" on the wrist band alerts medical professionals and bystanders that they can access your complete medical history while deciding how to treat you.
The locking strap prevents anyone (doctor, wife, bystander) from removing the radio from your wrist without either your full cooperation or a very sharp machete. (In which case, they probably already have your full cooperation.) Because of the radio's small size, medical purpose, and function as a wrist watch, the American Society of Medical Insurers has approved wearing of the Udon 000 at all times in medical facilities. That's right, you can wear it in your doctor's office, in your hospital room, or even in the operating room!
As a doctor and DXer, I was contacted by Udon during the design phase for this receiver. I was able to arrange for the late Omy Goshen to be one of several testers for the prototype. Omy enjoyed using his Udon 000 for the several weeks that he got to use it, and I can say that its presence comforted him during his final moments. I was by Omy's side as he was wheeled into the operating room for open heart surgery. He had the Udon 000 tuned to HCJB and was dictating what turned out to be his last logging to his wife. Once he was sedated, one of the nurses retuned the radio to Radio Havana so we could listen to some Cuban rhythms while we operated (Her merengue demonstration really livened up what otherwise was a depressing operation). Omy wasn't conscious, but I like to think he heard those hot tropical rhythms that afternoon. And, everyone who knew Omy agrees, it's only appropriate that he went out with tropical music, considering that surely he is in a very hot place now.*
In the past four months, I've used my Udon 000 for dozens of hours. And, as a trained medical professional, I strongly recommend the Udon 000 to all my patients that are also DXers. That's why my Udon 000 goes with me everywhere I go. In fact, you won't get my Udon 000 from me until you pry it off my cold, dead wrist.
* The last thing Omy said to me before we sedated him was, "If I don't make it, be sure to let Clay Hastings know that I still think he's a schmuck because of what he did in 1968." Omy was a true DX Squabbler to the end. All BLANDXers should be proud of him!