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Everything posted by Lscott

  1. Yup, it takes a lot of work and time. I had to apply some significance pressure to make progress. It's slow but does work. When you get to the point where you're happy with the result lighten up on the pressure, and as you observed, do circles to buff out any remaining swirl marks. I've also experimented with using an electric toothbrush as well with some modest results. I put a small dab on a paper towel and went to work. I use the toothpaste just as it comes out of the tube. After polishing for 5 to 10 minutes wipe off the toothpaste then tilt the screen to get a light to reflect off the surface while looking at it. This highlights any scratches in the plastic so you can see how much progress you're making. One hint. Use tape around the edges of the screen. This keeps the toothpaste from getting into any buttons and keys nearby. Don't ask me how I know this.
  2. Myself I'm leaning towards DMR. Fairly cheap hardware is available. You can get reasonably priced Chinese radios. Then move up in performance to the commercial vendors, Icom, Kenwood and Motorola, yeah they cost more but have less issues than the Chinese ones. I have a collection of radios for D-Star, DMR, P25 and NXDN. Nothing for Fusion yet. If one is interested in P25 or NXDN your only real choice is getting a commercial grade radio. As far as I know there are no "amateur" level radios being sold for those two. Around the Detroit area, where I'm at, there is very little P25 and NXDN activity. In fact there is exactly ONE repeater in the whole state that is listed in "Repeaterbook.com" as being NXDN enabled! I don't think it's even networked. https://www.repeaterbook.com/repeaters/feature_search.php?state_id=26&type=NXDN Around the west coast area of Florida NXDN seems to have a fair bit of activity. https://www.repeaterbook.com/repeaters/feature_search.php?state_id=12&type=NXDN There are a few P25 repeaters around. https://www.repeaterbook.com/repeaters/feature_search.php?state_id=26&type=P25 Most of the digital voice modes seem to be mostly used on UHF. That's fortunate since its far easier to find used commercial radios that do analog/digital in the UHF versions. The VHF models are not so common. And, in my case, the VHF Kenwoods seem to be expensive relative to their UHF versions of the same radio model, particularly for hand-held radios. At lest all of the digital radios I own can also do analog FM too. Not everyone has a digital radio you're going to talk too. The CON to the whole digital voice mode is if you want to use a different mode you're likely stuck buying another radio. Yes there are some out there that do more than one digital mode, and have a huge price tag, but none do all of the modes. You want to talk D-Star hang a radio for it on your belt, want to do DMR get another radio and hang it next to the other one etc. Petty soon your waist line is going to look like a Batman's utility belt full of HT's.
  3. Yeah, one of the radios I have has the flaky PTT button. I seemed to have fixed it by being a bit aggressive by repeatedly hitting it strongly a few dozen times. Now it seems to be working OK. I suspect the internal contacts get a bit dirty. Getting the contacts to close with a fair bit of pressure for a number of cycles should clean the contacts up a bit. If they get corroded or oxidized there isn't much that can be done.
  4. One thing about the hardware for the 6550's and the 6580's. The volume controls don't seem to have a solid "click" for the off position. I can just barely hear it and feel it on several of the radios I have except for a couple which has a good feel to it and makes a distinct click. I'm guessing this is a common issue on these after a period of use? The radios turn on and off OK, volume seems to function fine, just have to watch the display to be sure. I'm guessing it's the case since I've seen batches of volume control pots for these radios for sale on eBay because they need to get replace frequently.
  5. Is it you just get a communication error or some other message? A few unlucky people get stuck with a used radio that is password locked. One thing to check if it's a communication issue is the quality of the programming cable and the port on the radio it plugs into. Sometimes the cable port contacts are dirty or the cable isn't fully inserted into the socket. On the issue with programming cables, the USB to serial type you commonly see people use, could have a counterfeit Prolific chip. The official Prolific chip drivers can detect those and simply refuse to work. A lot of people have gotten burned on cheap cables due to the counterfeit Prolific chips used in them. The best cables use the FTDI chip.
  6. I see the point. Thanks for the reminder. Ended up typing first and thinking later, not a good combination.
  7. I should add the recovery procedure completely wipes the radio leaving it with the factory empty code plug. There is no chance the old code plug can be read out of the radio when the procedure is completed, it isn't there any more.
  8. All the procedure allows is to reprogram the radio. The feature is built into the CPS, it’s not a secret, and it is clearly called “recover”. What it doesn’t do is allow one to read the existing code plug out of the radio. That’s an important point if one gets a radio programed for a trunking system. You don’t want rogue radios on the system. If one had the code plug they would have the info necessary to program other radios. The password function is not there to prevent theft of the radio or it’s use. If you wanted to prevent a stolen radio from being used “on the programed frequencies or trunked system” that’s why there is the “stun” feature.
  9. Yup, Kenwood has the tuner feature in many of their CPS packages. I'll agree you can really mess up a radio if you're not careful. I got the package because it was used by another guy when he was breaking the password protection on the Moto radios. You save the current tuner values in the radio to a disk file, then "recover" the radio by loading the firmware and code plug through the Mototrbo CPS. Then to be sure you reload the radio's tuner values. You should then be able to read an empty code plug out of the radio without getting the password prompt anymore.
  10. Yup. in the case of the TK-5320 the other guy had a much higher bid limit set. I'm sure he thought he was going to get a really good deal. I could see where it appeared he made more that one bid, but the amount displayed didn't change. I figured he had adjusted his max bid up a bit. I also look at the number of items a bidder has purchased. When you see 100's to 1000 plus purchases you know the bidder is likely looking for that cheap deal where all they want is to flip it later for more money. You very rarely see them bidding up an item. It's the low purchase number bidders you have to watch out for, those are the people that run the bid amounts way up. Buying stuff on eBay has a lot to do with the psychology of the other bidders, and sometimes the sellers. A few times I've sent a message to a seller asking if they will take about 2/3 of their "buy it now" price even it they don't offer a "best offer" option. You would be surprised how many sellers consider it and a number took my offer! Squeezing every last cent out of a buyer isn't their goal.They just wanted to sell the item and be done with it. If you don't ask you won't know.
  11. Sure, you can set a max bid then walk away. However the bidding never really seems to start until just minutes before the auction closes. A few times I was the only bidder. Still can't figure out why that happened. There was nothing wrong with the radio. I guess at the time nobody wanted it.
  12. I'll have to look some more but so far I can't find the level settings. I think the help file comments likely applies to some other models, but the help file doesn't mention anything along that line. I don't see any settings in the Mototrbo app either for different squelch levels, just the two funky named settings I mentioned. You're right about the Moto software. Even with the Kenwood stuff I have I won't consider purchasing a used radio until I have the programming software in-hand, installed and functioning. The main reason why I'm picking up some of the XPR6550's is the prices aren't crazy and I found finally found a full version of Mototrbo V16 build 828, with the 25KHz entitlement hack and code plug password bypass mod's. I also found the Mototrbo Tuner app, V16 build 238 as well. There is a V16.1 but so far I can't find it on-line yet.
  13. I suspect that any of those tiny mobile radios are based off a cheap HT design. When you're paying only $100 more or less for one you're not going to get a high performance radio. Better receivers require a more complex design, and thus more money. You're lucky if you get what you paid for and sometimes not even that. On the D578 they do seem to have a crystal filter in the IF chain. From the write up there is a spot to add in a second crystal. No idea how much that "may" improve performance. I guess is if somebody wants to do the mod on their radio and get it tested we'll know for sure. This site has some info and mod's for the radio. About 3/4 of the way down there are some photos of the IF section and a few comments about the crystal filters. http://members.optuszoo.com.au/jason.reilly1/578mods.htm
  14. I'm going to experiment with the few XPR's I have and see how I like them. The one thing I have noticed is the squelch settings. You only have a choice of "Normal" or "Tight". The help file in some places says there is also a level you can set, more like the other radios I have, but on the 6550's I don't see it anywhere in the menus. Looks like I'm stuck with the two funky settings. It does work but I have no idea how the two work. I'm just wondering if it's somehow self adjusting. I like the battery pack monitoring. That's a cool feature to have. I plugged all the packs in to a radio and got the first service date and current capacity limits. Used that and put a label on each pack so I know which one is which. I have two at 100%, one at 70% and the last one is 40%. That last one gives me the flashing yellow light for low service life on the charger. What I would like to know is the actual mAh rating of the pack. Some I can't read the label and that info isn't stored in the pack either from what I can see.
  15. I was going to try something like that with a cheap Kenwood Protalk radio if I ever found one for sale. These radios have a predefined list of frequencies the user can select from. What can now happen with the code plug hacking is the manufacture can employ some level of encryption in the code plug itself. I've found where Kenwood has done this on several of their older analog and digital radios. It took a bit of work and some lucky guessing but it seems they use a simple method, they have a key byte stored in a fixed location in the code plug's header. This key byte is then "XOR'ed" with the rest of the contents. Once done all of the text strings for channel names etc. can be seen. I also found in at least one case where the radio's serial number seemed to be in it. The license key used to install the software was definitively in there for several models I checked. Just keep that in mind when sharing code plugs.
  16. I would tend to agree with you. As it is with my growing pile of various used Kenwood battery packs I've spent weeks running capacity tests on them, I used a lab grade E-Load with a built in battery test mode, and putting a sticker on the back side showing date and measured capacity when I'm done. Having the charger do it is much better.
  17. If you have the right CPU Linux has a virtual machine subsystem. I had several computers at one point all running Windows XP. I accessed them remotely using RDP on the Linux box and a Windows Terminal app on the computer I was using. At the moment I have Virtual Box running on my office machine, Win 7 Pro, with several VM's, Win 2K, Win XP, Win 7 Pro, depending on what I need. These are all accessible over the network. Sometimes I use these as a sandbox when trying out software from sources I have doubts about. I just save the main VM file as a backup, then run the VM. If it gets infected I just shut it down, erase the VM file and copy back my backup version I saved. I'm ready to go again in a few minutes. They also have a version for OSX and Linux hosts you might want to look at. https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads
  18. Yup, that's how I snagged an almost new TK-5320 analog/P25 radio, used battery pack and charger base, no antenna. The current bid was around $70. I waited until 15 seconds before the auction closed to enter mine. I let eBay do the auto bidding with the max bid limit of $120. The other guy apparently had a max bid set for $108, I saw it after the action closed, and no time to increase it. I got lucky and walk away with it for $110.
  19. Weekends are supposed to be where you kick back with a few cold Browns from the fridge and watch the game on TV. You're weekend doesn't sound like it's going to be much fun.
  20. I don't know where you're located in Ohio but I'm planing on going to the Findlay Ohio Ham swap this Sunday. If you're going to be there we could meet up and say hi.
  21. OK, I was bidding on an NX-300 and somebody beat me by a few bucks.
  22. Did you just get it the other day on an eBay auction?
  23. That's how they found a number of the 1/6 protesters. Their cell phones got pinged of the local cell towers. The Fed's got the info from the wireless carries.
  24. Well FedEx showed up with the VHF XPR6550 radio a few minutes ago here at the office. Looks like it's in good condition. Now as long as it works...
  25. Kenwood sort of does, at least multi-mode, with their NX-5000 series radios. They are still mono band however. Even at that they are really spendy. http://comms.kenwood.com/special/nx_5000/common/pdf/nx_5000_brochure_2016.pdf
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