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Everything posted by JCase

  1. Greetings all, I’m trying to find out information on the Motorola XPR8400 repeater. Specs state 100% duty cycle at full power (40 watt). Does anyone have any experience with this model ? Any known issues etc. ? As always, any feedback would be greatly appreciated. JC
  2. Here’s a link to a pair of 3.5mm double male connectors that I use. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CHR9K9X/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 you can choose the length you need, 50cm = 19.68 inches for $6.99 or 90cm = 35.43 inches for $7.99
  3. This is a list of speaker mics that I have personally purchased and tested along with any pros or cons. I hope this helps. https://www.amazon.com/Compact-Reinforced-Arcshell-Shoulder-Microphone/dp/B01N5LJ0YR/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=commountain&qid=1628179895&sr=8-3 Pros: Small but very loud. Treble seems elevated but this is (IMO) the part that increases the volume and performs well in high noise areas when it comes to hearing received transmissions. Reinforced cord with Kevlar fiber for increased life. Offers 3.5mm ear bud jack. Cons: Not water or even rain proof I have several of these and are used by Fire/EMS team https://www.amazon.com/Speaker-Reinforced-Arcshell-Shoulder-Microphone/dp/B07MX4J3W8/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=commountain&qid=1628180226&sr=8-4 Pros: Heavy Duty waterproof with reinforced Kevlar cord and reinforced strain relief on both ends. Offers 3.5mm ear bud jack These are the speaker mics I own in the greatest of numbers and my number one pick. Cons: Currently have none IMO. https://www.amazon.com/Platinum-Rainproof-Shoulder-Speaker-Kenwood/dp/B073ZZ3DDD/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=xfox+solutions&qid=1628181068&sr=8-1 Pros: Equal to the Commountain in ALL features at a much lower price. You get 2 for the price of one basically. Cons: Currently have none IMO. https://www.amazon.com/BTECH-QHM22-Platinum-Rainproof-Shoulder/dp/B00Z4X3MM6/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=BTECH+speaker+mic&qid=1628181246&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExVUNSUFdGVDZGN0U3JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNjgyMTQyVThVWENVRlFYOU1GJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA1MzI0MzZOMENOQkQ1SDBHM0Mmd2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGYmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl Pros: IP54 Rainproof, High impact casing and High Grade re-enforced cabling but see cons. All in all a decent option Cons: both the casing and cable seems a bit lighter than the Commountain but performs well https://www.amazon.com/Retevis-Shoulder-Speaker-Compatible-Baofeng/dp/B01MTW1AQN/ref=sr_1_15?dchild=1&keywords=Retevis+speaker+mic&qid=1628181532&sr=8-15 Pros: Equal to the Commountain in all features Cons: Currently have none - AVOID ALL OTHER RETEVIS MICS EXCEPT THE POWERED MIC IN THE NEXT LISTING. https://www.amazon.com/Retevis-Shoulder-Adjustable-Handheld-Arcshell/dp/B085LZRZNL/ref=sr_1_18?dchild=1&keywords=Retevis+speaker+mic&qid=1628181656&sr=8-18 Pros: Equal in construction to Commountain. A little larger head unit than most other speaker mics but nothing outrageous. IF YOU USE YOUR RADIO IN HIGH NOISE CONDITIONS AND STRUGGLE TO HEAR TRANSMISSIONS, THIS SHOULD WORK FOR YOU. Cons: Unit amplifies received audio requiring a power source which is provided with the "built in" rechargeable battery. Current models do not allow for replacement of the battery so there's no way to swap it out for extra low use or replacement when the battery reaches end of life but, at this price you can just buy two and rotate them as needed. I have a nephew that is an engineer on a railroad and has struggled to hear his HT in the cab of the locomotive. I gifted him one of these and he swears by it. If you're looking for headsets, these are the ones I use and would recommend. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017KQCYGO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Pros: Absolutely the best quality and most comfortable of all (over eight different brands & models) the lightweight over the head brands/models tested and used. Part of the reason is the flat/smooth ear piece, the double band and amount of flax vs rigidity. I can't praise these enough, we are more then pleased (myself and my team members that choose to wear them) how great these are, especially for the price. They're not always available but you can't go wrong with this headset. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084Z76GY3/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Pros: So far, great medium duty headset. Seems to be well made and all testing has been positive. Decent comfort for this style of headset but we have only tested these headsets and have not had the opportunity to use them in real world or field settings. Cons: Currently have none IMO I am not affiliated with any manufacturers or selling agents for any of the products I have listed. I purchased all equipment with my own money and personally tested over 26 speaker mics and 10 headsets. Above are the results regarding my personal testing and experience along with my team's input. There are other brands and models that have performed decent but only the ones listed would I feel comfortable recommending. I hope this will help and wish you good luck with correcting the USPS mess. JC
  4. I’ll add my two cents just in case it could help. Depending on the type of farming the OP operates, if you have grain silos the repeater antenna (along with any other necessary equipment) could be mounted on top of the highest point. This would eliminate the need for the added expense of a tower or extension pole mast. The repeater itself (enclosed in the appropriate weather proof housing) could possibly be mounted close by which would shorten your feed line requirements. I’m sure the OP was hoping for a simple reply with a simple solution (since no experience and little knowledge of communication equipment), unfortunately it’s a little more complicated (isn’t that the truth for life in general ?). All suggestions made have their merit. Hopefully the OP and anyone else that reads this post will be able to take away enough information to allow them to choose the option that best works for their needs. JC
  5. Greetings Gentlemen, I misunderstood my interpretation of the FCC rules regarding station identification, thank you for clearing that up. Now that I understand correctly, it makes perfect sense lol. As always, thanks for taking the time to reply as it is greatly appreciated. JC
  6. I looked into these not long after Retevis first released them. They didn’t have a station I.D. built in and could only do a 10mhz split. I see they now offer a 5mhz version but still don’t find anything listed stating the station I.D. Feature. How can it be part 95 certified/accepted without this ?
  7. JCase


    Sure thing. I’m glad it helped. Good luck programming everything.
  8. I know I’m a little late adding my comments but, I discovered the same issue with the bottom not sealed. I filled the cavity with silicone and this remedied the issue. So far, so good.
  9. JCase


    I purchased my Kenwood USB cables from bluemax49ers on eBay. If you send him a request immediately after purchasing, he’ll email you the link for the free software download and all for approximately $20. You can’t go wrong.
  10. I am in complete support of the GMRS community. With that said, THIS IS NOT AMATEUR RADIO (HAM) !. Just to be perfectly clear, again, this is NOT amateur (HAM) radio and was/is not designed/created as such. Nowhere that I have read, is it my responsibility to promote, encourage or even support GMRS use whether it be for family, business, personal or at the hobby level of use. That would be better served in the Amateur (HAM) radio classification and it's something they do quite well. I support and commend the HAM's for the time, expense and dedication they have and continue to perform at. I whole heartedly support their mission. I also can't thank them enough for their OUTSTANDING work and support of the citizens, emergency services agencies, infrastructure, beit power, water, red cross and the list goes on, during major incidents such as hurricanes, wildland fires and other manmade and natural disasters. The amount of money, time, training and dedication these folks invest is unbelievable and GREATLY APPRECIATED !. My hat is off to each and every operator . However, again I say, this is NOT amateur (HAM) radio, was not created by the FCC as such and the rules governing its use do not reflect such, so why is it always compared to and "expected to be" just like the Amateur service. If you prefer the way repeaters are operated in the Amateur field, then by all means choose and use that spectrum. If GMRS is a better fit for your needs and expectations, please feel free to utilize GMRS. The same goes for the Business classification and the rest. Understand (which requires you to take the time to read) the intended purpose and acceptable use and practices of this spectrum and you'll save yourself and the rest of us the possible aggravation and possible heart ache, associated with potentially choosing the wrong classification. Your failure to do so should not result in me being expected to and receive ridicule if I don't, conform to "your vision or expectation" of GMRS. I placed my repeater in service to serve the needs of myself, my family, my friends and my team, all of whom are current GMRS license holders. As a courtesy, let me say that again, as a "courtesy", I decided to offer access to, with my prior permission, other local, licensed users, that felt they could benefit from the use of this repeater. Why limit access to permission only and local only ? This checks several boxes on my list. First, I want to verify that the person or persons using my repeater are in fact currently licensed, local, and have a specific need to support their request. Second, it's another tool in the quest to keep control over the type of use my repeater will be utilized for and as a responsible and liable repeater owner, this is one of many ways I attempt to accomplish this. Another reason is notifications, if I need to take the repeater off the air for any reason or there's a problem that all users should be aware of, I am able to make notification to ALL operators that I have granted permission to by a group email. Yes, I keep a current list of everyone permission has been granted to as well as all of those who have requested access but were denied along with the reason for denial. I have spent and continue to spend a substantial amount of money to place this system on and keep it on the air and while it is still not able to deliver an optimum coverage area, continue to explore the possibilities for improvement almost daily. As most are already aware, every time that repeater is keyed up, it's causing additional wear and shortening the life of the equipment. So, unless someone has an unlimited amount of disposable income available to them it would only make sense that a GMRS repeater owner could & would take steps to limit the amount of unnecessary wear to their system in an attempt to lesson the maintenance and inevitable replacement cost, attempt to limit the amount of down time and most of all ensure the system is operational when they need it. This is one of the reasons that I clearly state in my listing that THIS system is not a "social networking" system. I not only discourage but will revoke permission to someone who decides they're going to start a lengthy transmission on what they had for dinner last night or what they watched on television etc. as this not the intended use I want for my equipment and causes the repeater to be tied up unnecessarily while causing the most damage (over time) to any system. Both are issues I am attempting to avoid by clearly conveying my rules in advance and if you don't like my rules, there's nothing written anywhere that says you "MUST" use my repeater. There are other repeater frequencies you can choose (or if you wanted to be a less than neighborly user (a jerk) you could choose the same frequency) and if there are no other repeaters available in your area and you don't like my rules, you are more than welcome to purchase, install and maintain your very own system where you too can make up the rules for accessing and utilizing your repeater. Yet another reason why I state once again, know and understand the different types of licensing/spectrum available and choose accordingly. I hope everyone that does signs up for and use GMRS has a positive experience and if GMRS is right for you, would encourage you to pursue obtaining your license. Just make sure you are choosing the correct category/spectrum for your likes & needs first. Good luck to all, stay healthy, well, safe and happy. Respectfully submitted, John
  11. LOL to Sbsyncro’s “state your call sign first”. Made me literally LOL so I thank you for that.
  12. Although I myself don’t use and am not a fan of roger beeps, if you have the option on your radios to turn off “squelch tale” and you have family members or friends that are new to radio, the roger beep actually serves a valid purpose of signifying that the transmission has ended. We shouldn’t belittle or berate anyone that chooses to use them. If it bothers you that much simply listen to a different frequency. The roger beep can be a very useful and helpful tool at times but regardless of that, each and every operator is able to decide for themselves whether to enable or disable the feature on their radios. Stay healthy, well, safe and in spite of the roger beeps, happy ! JC
  13. WRAK968, Thank you for the help. That worked for the comm port unfortunately, while the seller informed me that the KPG-46 cable would work for this radio (TK-863G) it does not. I read now that I need the KPG-46P for this model so yet another cable ordered lol. My apologies for just now replying. Just after submitting the issue, my schedule got all twisted and other than trying to keep up with repeater access requests, I haven't had the time to devote to programming anything until today. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to share the info and hope you are doing well. Thanks again, stay safe, healthy, well & happy JC
  14. Greetings all, Well, I knew I would need help again at some point but, didn’t expect it to be so soon. I purchased a copy of the Kenwood CPS KPG-76D from a communications business selling on eBay and purchased my USB based KPG-4 programming cable from none other than “bluemax49ers” also on eBay. For starters, this isn’t my first cable purchase from bluemax49ers (won’t be my last either) and have always had 100% success using his cables. As extra proof this cable works, I used it to program a TK-760HG1 radio with no issues. Here’s the issue. After installing the KPG-76D software on my Windows 10 pc and connecting my KPG-4 cable to my pc and radio, I opened the software and attempted to set the comm port. However, the window that popped up only shows ports 1-4 and all of them are greyed out, not allowing me to actually select a port to use. I thought it might be a software issue or maybe I missed something during the installation process but no matter what I do (including uninstalling & re-installing the CPS), I have been unsuccessful and continue to get the same results. The seller of the software insists there’s an issue with my pc and they would need to have my pc to confirm and correct the issue. Now, I currently have four other versions of Kenwood CPS on this same pc along with several for Motorola, Hytera, Retevis, Baofeng, Ritron and a few more and have never encountered this issue. Obviously if the CPS isn’t recognizing a valid comm port and or not offering an option to select, I’m not able to program any radios with it and it basically does me no good. The seller of the software has offered a full refund but immediately gave up on any other options of trying to correct the issue. I don’t want the seller to lose money but I also don’t want or need any CPS that doesn’t work so, I am once again turning to the fine members of this site for assistance. I have attempted to upload a pic of my screen shot showing the comm port widow that pops up but no matter what I do to reduce the size of the file, I get an error message and the process fails. I look forward to your responses with high hopes of a solution. Best regards, John WRDM373
  15. Greetings kb2ztx, Thanks for your response and information. Since I lack the equipment, knowledge and skills to achieve much of the service items listed by all who responded, I am in the process of attempting to find a qualified local technician with affordable rates and plan on having him/her/them perform a full system check in order to confirm everything is programmed and tuned for optimal, safe, successful and reliable operation before relocating the system to a new location. This will not only provide peace of mind for me, but will also hopefully provide the certification required for installation at the hospital reassuring the host authority that my equipment meets factory specs. Again, a huge thank you to all who responded. Now on to my next post.......... I told y’all there would be a “next time” lol
  16. PS- I just wanted to add - yes, the internal cooling fan for this unit is set to run 24/7. In addition, the rack cabinet it is housed in came with a single top mounted fan that runs 24/7, I added two more, one on each side, that run 24/7 and last but nit least, I added a fourth fan for added protection, that is connected to a separate thermostat and will trigger at a preset temperature. Hopefully, this is enough to avoid or at the very least, minimize the chances of overheating.
  17. Radioguy7268 & WRAK988, Thank you both for your response and invaluable information. I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can about this model and I’m surprised that this is the first time I have heard of the TX power reduction “feature”. I can’t thank all three of you that responded enough. This all makes sense now. My friend/tech, I’m assuming adjusted the power setting to 27.5 intentionally, in an attempt to minimize the chances of overheating and since the power is a slow & steady reduction that returns to the full 27.5 on each transmission, it would make sense that it has been programmed to do so for the reason you both pointed out. I did re-check all of my connections again with a focus on my cables and everything seems tight and secure. I’m sure my friend/tech intended on informing me of this feature and to be honest, he may have on the day I picked it up. I either don’t remember or it’s possible I was too busy babbling with his wife (most likely) or since my visits were usually spaced apart by several months, and as friends do, there was always a lot of catching up to do, some show and tell, some gifts and more. My bad for not paying closer attention and taking better notes. Whether I receive good news or bad, I always receive the information I need from all of the supportive members on this site and I can’t thank everyone that responds, enough, for taking the time to to monitor and offer guidance by sharing their knowledge and experiences with the rest of us. Until next time (and I’m sure there will be plenty of “next times”, stay healthy, well, safe and happy ! John
  18. Hey Michael, Thanks for the response. I never thought about disconnecting the transmitter’s cable from the duplexer but I’ll work on that today and see what kind of readings I get directly from the transmitting side. Unfortunately I don’t have a scope or any real advanced equipment and currently don’t have the programming software that would allow me to tune the unit much less any other “serviceable” options. And the SWR didn’t budge during the transmissions, not even a twitch. The only thing that moved/changed was the slow & steady drop on the power meter. Thanks again for the feedback. I hate the obvious, I’m thinking I’ll end up having to take it to a local tech’s shop and pay a small fortune to fix the issue. I miss my friend and tech every day but days like today remind me just how fortunate and blessed I was to have him in my life for so long. John
  19. Greetings all, I’m running a Motorola RKR1225 40 watt repeater that should be transmitting 30+ watts after duplexer but I’ve only ever realized 27.5 watts however, that’s not the main issue. When the unit first starts transmitting my test meters (tried three different ones) all show 27.5 watts. But, the longer the repeater remains transmitting, the lower the transmit power goes. It’s a slow but steady drop from 27.5 watts down to 23 watts. I’ve double checked all of my connections and my SWR meters all register 1.00 (using a DM-408B and temporarily using a 35’ run of LMR400 since I’m hoping to relocate the system to a local hospital for better range and saturation and decided to save my heliax cable for the new location. I just can’t figure out why the constant drop in tx output power. As always, I appreciate any and all suggestions and look forward to the replies. John WRDM373
  20. Any links sent to you direct from Retevis are only valid for a limited number of days and then expire. As for the issues, I have never run into any problems when using the Retevis software and I own six different models. My guess is that since the RT76 family of radio is so newly released that they brought to market too soon and ended up with bugs still remaining but will correct this over time (one reason I never buy the newest model of ANYthing). As far as CHIRP goes, I almost ALWAYS have issues with their programming software whether using it on Kenwood, Baofeng, Motorola or Retevis so unless as a last resort, tend to stick with the manufacturer's software.
  21. I in the communications center for Jacksonville Fire/Rescue (FL) in the early to mid 90’s and we operated on UHF. The Volusia County (Daytona Beach) EMS provider (EVAC) at the time also used UHF, the same frequency as our “Rescue Radio” channel and a couple of times a year for up to several days in a row Jacksonville almost drowned out Volusia it was so strong and clear. Volusia was just before submitting a new frequency request but the County switched over to an 800 trunked County wide system that included the private EMS provider which of course, solved that issue. Radio waves do weird things and no matter how much explanation, scientific data, individual testing etc., anyone does you can’t always account for every anomaly. Things happen every day that according to the experts, shouldn’t. That doesn’t mean they don’t occur. That being said, no it’s not the norm but, ANYTHING is possible. Just felt like adding my 2 cents........
  22. I would agree with separating your tx and rx radios by 1 mile. I’ve found that I usually don’t have this issue with the big US brands of radios however the CCB radios with the exception of Wouxan always experience front end overload. A responsible repeater owner will respond to all inquiries within a reasonable amount of time (usually within the first 48 hours but up to one week). Of course, these are the same responsible owners that keep their listings current, up to date, this is what I do as a responsible owner. If you’re not receiving a response, I’d move on since chances are if the system experienced an issue, say one serious enough to knock it off line, the chances of the owner correcting the problem and placing it back on line or even on line within a reasonable time period are very low. That’s not really the option that I want to rely on for my communication needs. Something to consider is all. Although my current system is providing less than adequate coverage which I’m working diligently to resolve (I chose to start small and hopefully improve over time), I or one of my “control monitors” are monitoring the repeater 24/7 and if the primary system fails for any reason, it’s a quick and simple changing the coax connection and flip of a single switch and the backup repeater is up and running while repairs are made to the primary unit, with minimal down time and interruption. I can’t speak for anyone else, but this is the way I have chosen to implement my operation in order to ensure that everyone using my system can rely on, within reason, that it will be up and running when it’s needed.
  23. RF Medic, thanks for the reply and info. J.
  24. LScott, thank you for taking the time to reply and the information provided. I greatly appreciate it. J
  25. Greetings all, There are two AM Radio broadcast (talk radio) stations in my area. One uses three commercial towers and the other uses one, not that the number of towers matters.........or does it ? In my attempt to place a GMRS repeater on the air it has become painfully obvious that I am not able to achieve the antenna height needed to render this repeater to be of much use to most people, including myself, since the maximum range in all directions is just over 7 miles using a 25-30 watt mobile approximately 3.5 miles for handheld use. I noticed that none of the towers that the AM radio stations have, have any (that I can see) antennas mounted to them and remembered learning somewhere, that AM Radio transmitters use the tower structure as the antenna so with that in mind, it’s understandable not seeing other antennas on the tower. But, that got me thinking....... I remember years ago on the opposite side of the county the local AM (country music) radio station and the State Highway Patrol (using VHF) shared a tower and it worked quite well for both parties except for the last 5-10 years. During the end of this setup, every time the Highway Patrol dispatcher would transmit, the music from the radio station would also come across but was at very low levels sort of like “background” (no pun intended) music so you could still hear the dispatcher with no issues. I’m guessing this could have been mitigated with either filters or some form of adjustment but wasn’t since the State was in the process of switching to an 800 trunked system. So, now that I’ve written a short story........... This answer might be obvious to some but as I’m still learning, I could use some help. Can a GMRS/UHF repeater antenna be mounted on an AM radio tower without causing problems for both users? Is there additional equipment needed for either party, other than what’s already in place for the radio station and for the repeater side, the repeater with duplexer, feed line and proper grounding ? I look forward to the always helpful and friendly advice and guidance I continue to receive from the members. J
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