Opinion on MGL V16 Radio

South African Based, MGL Avionics designs and produces a wide variety of aircraft avionics from sophisticated, highly flexible EFIS systems to airband transceivers.

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Opinion on MGL V16 Radio

Unread post by Kibim »

Hi Avcom. Not sure if this is the right place to post this.

It's time for a new radio in my aircraft. The 'older than me' escourt II is just not up to the task anymore, the display is failing, transmission is soft, and reception is shocking. My intercom system is perhaps also sub-par.

I've got a bunch of MGL goodies already in the aircraft, and i quite like them, in terms of setup, customisation and config. I know they're not everyone's cup of tea, and i've met naysayers and people who sing thier praises.

I'd like to find out the opinion of the V16 of those who have experience with them. I have heard conflicting reports and am considering just buying one to make up my own mind. It ticks a lot of boxes in my book. Modern, headless, lots of config options, multiple heads available, fits my existing eco-system, has a built in intercom function ... the list goes on.

On paper it looks like a no-brainer, but being in the broadcast industry, there's nothing worse for me than bad quality audio and shoddy transmissions. So please share your experiences. Help me make an informed decision.

Thanks
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Re: Opinion on MGL V16 Radio

Unread post by Kibim »

No opinions, or no-one reads this forum?
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Re: Opinion on MGL V16 Radio

Unread post by rainier »

Kibim wrote: Thu Jun 06, 2024 1:11 pm No opinions, or no-one reads this forum?
Well, probably not many of you take the very low number of posts into consideration.
Perhaps might I suggest you go to the MGL forum and post your question there ? You can find a link on our website www.mglavionics.co.za top right as you land.
It's an unmoderated forum except for your first post that I have to approve before you can get active - that's unfortunately required as the forum typically gets between 50 and 200 spam attacks a day and this is an effective way to sort out the spammers from real posts. I do this about every two to three days so please be patient if your post does not appear immediately.
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Re: Opinion on MGL V16 Radio

Unread post by dfmeyer »

Kibim wrote: Thu Jun 06, 2024 1:11 pm No opinions, or no-one reads this forum?
If you only need a two place intercom, and can afford it, the Garmin GTR200 is absolutely amazing. The non-Bluetooth version is very reasonably priced. Make sure it's the 200 and not 225. The GTR200 intercom is the same as the ridiculously good one you get from the high end Garmin standalone stuff with all that comes with. Even better, it integrates with your MGL setup so you can control it from the EFIS excluding some of the more advanced intercom stuff.

I am a fan of MGL even if I think their hardware is in desperate need of a big update and that their documentation is a train wreck. Regardless, Garmin radios are just that good. Their intercoms are also unreal. Garmin just has radios and intercoms figured out in a way that nobody can compete and they're soooo much less sensitive to a poor installation, or noisy electrical/ignition systems.

If you are on a budget though, the MGL V16 is a pretty damn good radio for the money. Very feature rich and has some great options for control. They are definitely a bit more sensitive to installation. If properly installed, and well configured then you'll be happy with it. Honestly, for the price nothing comes close to it. It definitely has deeper integration with your EFIS but I wouldn't call it a make or break feature differentiator since the Garmin really does integrate well.

I've flown behind MGL radios a fair bit. The V6 could be quite hit and miss but overall acceptable. Fortunately it's gone now. The V16 is way better than the shitty Bendix King or Narco crap. I would say the V16 is better than a Garmin SL40 so that's fairly positive praise considering how well those are regarded.

Just know that a good radio and intercom is one of the absolute biggest quality of life improvements you can make in the cockpit so keep that in mind. Two of our aircraft have MGL EFIS setups, but all four aircraft have Garmin radios and I wouldn't have it any other way.

TL;dr The V16 is an above average but not special radio. Go Garmin GTR200 if you can swing it.
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Re: Opinion on MGL V16 Radio

Unread post by Kibim »

dfmeyer wrote: Sat Jun 08, 2024 2:45 pm TL;dr The V16 is an above average but not special radio. Go Garmin GTR200 if you can swing it.
Thanks for this. Yes, i absolutely agree that a decent radio will make a huge difference to quality of cockpit.

In terms of installation, a Garmin will require a new dash (or cutting holes in my existing) and the MGL is plug and play. Garmin already 3x the price, so make it 4x with the installation work. It's tough to justify for a weekend-warrior. If it was my day-job, and i was flying 10 hours a week, sure, but i fly like 5 hours a month,...
rainier wrote: Thu Jun 06, 2024 2:53 pm Perhaps might I suggest you go to the MGL forum
Thanks Rainier,

Been reading the forum, and a lot of the 'issues' point to installation or just user error.

Expect an order soon :wink:
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Re: Opinion on MGL V16 Radio

Unread post by rainier »


Thanks Rainier,

Been reading the forum, and a lot of the 'issues' point to installation or just user error.

Expect an order soon :wink:
Thanks - I'm sure you will be happy with it. We have nearly 2000 of them flying. Not too shabby...
Our N16 navigation receiver (actually a V16 with transmitter removed) is being used by EASA as well as two other organizations as VOR/ILS test and certification instrument operated from drones. This is about to replace manned flights used currently for this at high cost.
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Re: Opinion on MGL V16 Radio

Unread post by rainier »

dfmeyer wrote: Sat Jun 08, 2024 2:45 pm Garmin just has radios and intercoms figured out in a way that nobody can compete and they're soooo much less sensitive to a poor installation, or noisy electrical/ignition systems.
I apologize but I do have to add my two cents to this comment.
We are certainly competing. In fact when it comes to really noisy ignition systems like you find in some Russian radials - only the V16 can handle it. No other radio can - except for the original Russian steam driven radio. The reason for this is a huge dynamic range of the receiver, direct conversion, no intermediate frequencies and undesired mixing products plus digital signal processing which can detect remaining ignition pulses in the audio signal and cancel them.
Regarding intercoms and installation. As far as I know - the V16 and A14/A16 intercom combination is the only one on the planet you can connect with just two wires. Yes - two V16 radios plus a 4 or 6 place intercom and all you need to connect these up is a single wire from intercom to first V16, a wire between the two V16's and then another wire back to the intercom. Just a single wire - not a harness. If you only have one V16 and the intercom it means only two wires. I don't think anybody can compete with this - yet. And even better, if you do this there is no setup of the various audio levels between radio and intercom needed - it's plug and play. You cannot possibly simplify such an installation even further.

The mentioned wires carry all audio in digital format to and from the radios and intercom as well as PTT signals. In effect in such a case the only wires you need on the radio are power and ground plus the two wires to the intercom (or one to intercom and the other to the second radio). That's it. All of it.

The digital solution to the radio/intercom integration was actually prompted by an Avcom member who struggled to get a V16 and a Garmin radio connected to a third party intercom at the same time - while we can't integrate other radios into our digital scheme - we certainly can do ours.
Who said the sky is the limit ? It's not. The CAA is the limit.

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