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Everything posted by Radioguy7268

  1. Yes, that's a weak point on some used/older XPR6550 radios. That, along with a PTT side button that becomes kind of picky about exactly where you squeeze to transmit. The fix for the side button is to replace the entire housing (Motorola doesn't sell the microswitch & flex assembly separately to my knowledge) - or to just use a Remote Speaker Mic to supply PTT. The volume pot is a difficult repair for a hobbyist, but if you've got skills, it can be done. Before I'd pay someone else to do it, I'd probably look for another radio. That volume pot problem is rare enough that you don't always see it on older units, and even a "soft" pot still has some life left in it if you're not turning it on/off up/down 10 times a day.
  2. Just to keep things More Moto-confusing, there's another software pkg out there called "Tuner". You better know what you're doing before you mess around with Tuner blindly & just "try some stuff" to see what it does. Save your Tuner files before you do ANYTHING you might regret. You also need to match up the firmware package on the radio with the version of Tuner you plan to use. Newer versions of Tuner pretty much assume that you've got the radio hooked up to a high end Aeroflex service monitor to do "Autotune" which is a nice feature if you're going through 100 or 1000 radios, but not so great for the hobby user. Anyway - the Tuner software is where you can actually adjust the squelch settings. From the factory, the standard Normal squelch is fairly close to threshold, and Tight usually brings it up 3-5 dB.
  3. Search up some stuff on the RS-232 data standard, and I think it will help you. CD = Carrier Detect RTS = Request to Send CTS = Clear to Send DTR = Data Terminal Ready? DSR = Data Set Ready? Ring = ??? Detect ringing voltage on the line? It's been too many years since I messed around with doing Modem stuff over radio channels. At one time it seemed like the future for SCADA control. That was a LONGGGG time ago.
  4. The Impres battery system is one of the few Motorola things that impresses the heck out of me. I'm surprised that other manufacturers haven't followed Motorola's lead on this. I can vouch for the increase in battery life & efficiency. I've had some customers getting 4 and 5 years out of daily use Impres batteries before they drop below 80% capacity. Prior to Impres, those batteries would have been tossed after 2-3 years. Nearly doubling the lifespan makes a pretty good case for why you should pay twice as much for Impres. Newer 2nd generation XPR radios (not the XPR6550) and systems allow you to report and track battery status "over the air" as the units transmit.
  5. It's a different board build. Not as simple as just ordering up the correct SMA jack & screwing it in. I'd guess that ordering in the Call Box configuration option basically gives you the same board - just flashed for North American XPR7550e firmware.
  6. And yet the same XPR7550e radio sold over in the EU as a DP4801 can be ordered up with an SMA connector (as a regular radio option, no call box option needed). I think it's all marketing. Nothing to do with the engineers. Same reason why Motorola won't give their APX series radios DMR capability.
  7. FCC field agents carrying DNA kits. That's something I haven't seen.
  8. Unless I've really missed something in the rules, there's no titling or registration involved with GMRS equipment, so "proof of ownership" isn't going to get you far as proving what equipment belongs to whom. Everyone in my extended family is using "my" equipment, even though I gave it to them, and some of them live a few states away.
  9. Yesterday, while transmitting to my wife, a neighbor's kid heard us talking, and said "What is THAT!?" while I was still keyed up. My wife heard the kid, and answered young neighbor kid, so obviously his question went out over the air. Which one of us broke a law? Asking for a neighbor...
  10. Oh, and Radio Management & templates is probably not something you want to mess with for basic codeplug builds on one or two radios. As you surmised, it's more of a fleet management tool. It is good if you want to push out OTAP codeplug updates to 100+ radios, without having to lug around a laptop and cables to touch each radio.
  11. There are Motorola training videos if you have an MOL subscription *oops, MOL is going away, replaced by PartnerHub and the Learning Management Platform. I will tell you that the Motorola training videos don't really show you much of how to build a codeplug for any specific purpose. They're very general, and they'll give a few pointers, but most of what I've learned over 15+ years messing with DMR has been by poking around and experimenting. Analog is pretty simple and straightforward, but the Digital stuff can drive you nuts until you figure what ticking one checkbox does to 10 other parameters. There's a few videos on the Utube that will help you out for a few specifics like setting up IP Site Connect or building a Capacity Plus codeplug, and there are sample codeplugs out there for some of the more popular DMR Ham platforms that will get you 90% of the way to what you want without spending a bunch of nights typing in 1000 contacts and 15 zones. You can also give Wayne Holmes blog a look, he's probably the best free resource you'll find for Motorola. He's also got a few videos online that are better (In my opinion) than what Motorola puts out. https://cwh050.blogspot.com/
  12. Except that in order to actually transmit through a repeater - you do need to be operating under an actual GMRS License. So they're not really "license free" - they're just cheap 2 watt radios with a fixed antenna.
  13. A Duplexer should be tuned for a single pair of frequencies - ie: 462.550 transmit (low) and 467.550 receive (high). There are people selling duplexers that are supposed to be tuned to the middle of the GMRS band - and are advertised to cover all the GMRS repeater channels. What they don't tell you is that they don't perform as well as a duplexer that's actually tuned to the specific frequency pair that your repeater is using. This is ESPECIALLY true for the compact "flat pack" notch duplexers which are often used by budget conscious repeater owners. A duplexer works best when it has high isolation & narrow notch windows. Trying to make the duplexer cover a wider range of frequencies will never improve system performance.
  14. Which Vertex model do you have? Are you willing to ship it? Vertex software is pretty easy to come by, and a simple programming cable for most models is about $25 online.
  15. Most of the cable TV stuff will be 75 Ohms - not the 50 Ohms that GMRS equipment would want to see. Would it work? yes, to a degree. You'll have higher losses and higher SWR than you would with "real" 50 Ohms coax. You will also find out that they don't really make LMR connectors that fit 75 Ohm cable (at least, not correctly.) You can buy some semi-expensive adapters or build your own toroid coils to deal with it. Putting a cheap radio together with cheap cable that's 75 Ohms will probably lead to a bunch of headaches, but if it ultimately means one more burned up CCR and a learning experience - then I'd probably be in favor of it. I would guess that in the long run, you'll end up buying more stuff in an effort to "save money" than you would have spent to do it right in the first place. If you want to get up higher so that you can get out further, using cheap CATV coax is NOT the way to go.
  16. Just the other day I was setting up some rental radios on a MURS channel. I had some constant chatter on some of the frequencies from a nearby construction site. One of them was a Crane operation - who kept getting stepped on by a Paving Contractor. Not sure I'd want to run MURS or similar job site "dot" freq's for a Crane operation... but that's just me. MURS in my area is pretty well used. Not nearly to the point of congestion, but keeping it Simplex keeps out the worst offenders. Longer range CB sounds nice - but who wants a 4 ft. telescopic antenna for their portables?
  17. A 2 watt mobile for $369. I guess it has a market... if you like to scan.
  18. Here's a link to the manual. Disclosure: I've never used an ID-O-Matic, but sounds like you've got the deviation set too high on the CWID. https://radiodan.com/idom3/ID-O-MATIC IV-20140527.pdf
  19. I'm hardly an expert. I've learned by doing, and I've just been doing for a long time. I still get twisted up sometimes. I once spent nearly an hour trying to figure out why I wasn't seeing an option that I knew should be there on a Vertex repeater, before I realized I hadn't set my new software to 'expert' mode. Rookie mistake, 20 years in. If you never programmed radios before, Kenwood and Vertex are probably 2 of the easier commercial software programs to learn on. Kenwood keeps a very common software platform among most of their programs, so once you learn their software, you're pretty familiar with where to look for most any settings you might need to adjust. For a first timer, I'd say that getting a basic codeplug set up for you from the start is a good jumping off point, and at least you have a working codeplug to refer to if you want to start modifying stuff on your own. Rule #1 if you start programming - SAVE YOUR ORIGINAL CODEPLUG before you do any modifications. Keep that original archive untouched, and you'll always have something to go back to.
  20. Samlex makes some decent 24 to 12 volt step down converters for around $100. No matter what, pay attention to the Amp rating, the cheaper ones are often limited to just 10 or 15 amps advertised, which might be under what your 50 watt radio will pull under transmit. (Note that the actual ratings are often less for continuous draw - as compared to the "advertised" max instantaneous rating.) I wouldn't get too worried about DC noise getting into your radio from the converter. More noise comes from bad grounding and alternator whine. If you're planning to use a 1/2 wave antenna, then no ground plane should be necessary. Fender mounts are not ideal, but they work. Fender mounts will far exceed the range of any portable you're talking simplex with. You're asking good questions - but don't let perfection become the enemy of good. Your setup will be good enough.
  21. I live and work in the real world. LMR400/LMR600 is what we use in probably 75% of our installations for repeaters. Price/performance, the stuff is hard to beat. Plus, it's easy to install & holds up well - provided that you install it correctly. That means that you need to shrink wrap the connections & use mastic on any outdoor connections. Keep the line secure & don't let it flap in the breeze, keep water out of it, and you'll see 15+ years out of it IMHO. When I have pulled LMR400 due to noise or "the Rice Krispies effect" it's almost always been soldered on PL-259 UHF connectors. I did have a recent replacement of a customer's LMR400 that was 20+ years old & was showing noise during the repeater tail. Once we got up on the roof, we discovered that the real problem was a cut in the line due to a recent roofing job, not really a failure of the cable due to install or age. When I do installations where the line runs are over 100 ft, or when the budget allows, then Heliax is my go-to favorite for UHF or VHF. I find more problems typically with the jumpers used for duplexers than I do with LMR400. Pay attention to the quality of your connectors and cabling used at ground level before you spend big money on heliax. There is sense to the idea of buying quality one time, but there's also a realistic factor.
  22. Phantom antennas suck. Do a simple test: Put on the Phantom antenna, run your VSWR test, then step back 10 ft. from the vehicle & tilt your head 10 degrees to the right. Now, screw on a standard 6 inch hatpin UHF quarter wave antenna, measure VSWR again, and then step back 10 ft. and tilt your head 10 degrees again, this time to the left. I'm thinking the 1/4 wave hatpin will look much better after running your test. The 10 degree head tilt is optional.
  23. The R1225's were famous for burning up if you ran them at high power. Someone probably did you a favor by turning down the finals to limit the power output. The sales brochure said they'd do a 50% duty cycle at high power, experience says that even at 25 Watts, anything close to a 50% duty cycle would kill them. Lots of the later Maxtrac/Radius mobiles that the R1225 series were based off of had a thermistor controlled limiting circuit that would turn down the power as the amp heated up - kind of a self limiting feature to keep the radio from burning itself up. I haven't dug into the manual for one of those R1225's in probably 15 years - so I can't say for sure that's what is causing the pull-back that you're seeing, but it seems like it might be. Make sure you're keeping the fan on & blowing cold clean air across the heat sink. Either way, if you want more than 20 watts out of your R1225 repeater, you should either get an external amp or go find a nice used MTR2000. I'd also say if you're trying to crank more than 20 watts out of your duplexer - what are you talking to? Portables at 4/5 watts? How far can they talk back in? Transmit power sounds sexy, but it's rarely the limiting factor in a repeater system.
  24. Anything electronic is built overseas. Even Motorola doesn't do much in the USA except assemble parts built elsewhere. There's a pretty big issue with component supply right now due to some of the political wrangling that's been going on, tariff's, etc. There was a fire at a semiconductor factory in Japan (AKM) that's causing all types of trouble for Kenwood - but it's supposed to be affecting other products like some Ford Trucks and Tesla that have idled assembly lines for certain models. Rumor has it that another chip manufacturer had a plant fire in March - Renasas in Japan. Most of the rare earth metals are being mined in China. Batteries and semiconductors are not "green" when it comes to manufacturing. The USA has effectively off-shored most of it's pollution by having everything built overseas. I'd purchase what fits my budget - with an eye towards resale value. If it's $100 but has zero value once used, it is junk. If you want to support US business - consider your local radio shop. They probably have some well built equipment hiding on the back shelf that would work well for GMRS.
  25. A remote mounted head would be a big help. There's very few options for a traditional install. Most of the dash & console are plastic, with no good options for mounting a heavy brick. You can also get an advanced mic option RMN5127 - or the full tilt PMLN7131 Hand Held Control Head mic (costs darn near as much as the radio - but makes mounting a breeze.) Either one of those allows you to hide the brick under a seat or behind the seat, and then control the radio via the mic. Having voice announcement enabled helps a bunch with the more limited RMN5127. If you go with the hidden radio - then you're probably going to need a mic extension cable - Motorola makes a few in different lengths - the PMKN4033 at 10ft or the PMKN4034 for 20 ft. are the ones we use most often.
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