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overrulecaratmutt

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  1. Thanks. It sounds like the export/int'l versions of the CE** software is the way to go for the most straightforward current wideband programming of GMRS channels, unless there are other limitations put in place for export use. I'm new to all of this as well and it's been a bit challenging to navigate used commercial gear and then try to figure out where the support infrastructure is. I'm still unclear if the CE** software is normally paid, always/usually bundled with cables, free with some funky Motorola account, or other. Just ordered a VX-264 to go with a VX-5500 that is mostly assembled and operational now, so down the rabbithole we go.
  2. Thanks @wayoverthere. I'm new to all of this so not sure what versions are contemporary or not. I think these versions (5.15 and 5.17) of CE49 are circa 2012? Will have to cross-ref that with the deployment of the narrowbanding directive. @WRFP399 Is there a different product name to search for for the international version of CE49? Looks like 5.17 is current per https://www.repeater-builder.com/yvs/pdfs/vertex-software-matrix.pdf. I was just in Canada where the int'l version is allowed. I wonder where it can be had from up there.
  3. Thanks for the clarification @kb2ztx! Sounds like the Larsen NMOKHFUD is still the way to go then. ocm
  4. Well damn, I've been trying to figure out how to get CE49 (v5.15 and v5.17) to program a VX-5500U wideband as well but the software seems locked independent of the computer date.
  5. The PCTEL Maxrad MBM looks like it's sort of a surface-mount to their angle/mirror bracket, with the cable coming out the side of a housing. Does anyone know if these are actually weatherproof assemblies? I ordered a Laird MB8 before realizing that the NMO is open on the bottom, will have to try the Larsen NMOKHFUD next.
  6. Just an update that the switching converter is working great with a bench supply on my desk so far, and I am slowly getting everything pieced together. Thanks for the Samlex recommendation @mbrun! ocm
  7. Hi team- I'm working on getting a VX-5500U set up and programmed for use with GMRS. I spent a few hours bashing my head against CE49's lovely UX last night and got most of the configuration figured out as well as the groups and channels for simplex operation to start. I've made groups for the GMRS upper/lower ranges and think I've got all of the frequencies input correctly, and so far at least the front panel reflects all of the changes I've made. What I don't have yet is another radio to test things with, am working on that. It looks like I can set up CTCSS/DCS tones per channel config, as well as in two separate banks of 'Selectable Tones' that should then be accessible from the front panel via one of the programmable keys. It seems like using these separate banks would be the way to go to be able to more easily change tones on the fly while out in the world. However I'm having troubles actually getting the front panel to let me select a tone - whatever key I program to the selectable tones function essentially no longer does anything when I press it. The Vertex manuals are a little bit inscrutable when it comes to specifying what requires an option board or not - some parts of the manual make it sound like Selectable Tones are a baseline capability of all VX4000/5500/6000 radios, other parts make it seem like I need the "2 Tone" option board. I would have thought "2 Tone" referred to DTMF functionality not CTCSS but not sure. Adding possible complexity is that this particular unit is ex-NYPD. Would they have used a custom firmware or something that would remove functionality in exchange for adding different functionality elsewhere? It currently has firmware 0446 installed. No idea where to get a current stock firmware or how to get it pushed to the radio, but happy to explore this if necessary. This radio did have some option boards in it at one point based on the scribbling on the labels, but they appear to have been removed before sale. I see an "NYPD mode" in CE49 which as a software developer I find all sort of humorous. Aside from this gotcha, this seems to be a lovely radio so far. Built like a tank, somewhat fiddly, and UI is manageable and charmingly '90s which all suit the '84 land cruiser it's going in. Thanks!
  8. Great advice @mbrun and @Radioguy7268, thanks much. I would like to be able to change the programming as well, just don't really have a good understanding of how much that is ahead of time. I pulled the trigger on an eBay VX5500U radio chassis and (separate listing) head unit, and will have to see if I have the right crimpers in storage to make up the cable between the two - we certainly would have had at work before that place imploded. Just need to confirm what sort of clearance I've got through the grommets on the back of the vehicle and should be able to get an antenna and cable/mount ordered this weekend, along with the programming cable and software. Once I've dug my bench supply up to get everything up and running on my desk I'm sure the questions will recommence
  9. Thanks for the clarification @Radioguy7268and @mbrun! I do use some other 24/12V DC/DC converters for other stuff (mostly cigarette lighter powered things which have power supplies that only accept 12V) and have had luck with smaller 1-2A converters, this'll likely be the biggest draw item on 12V so will have to do some rewiring there and see if I can put everything on one 15A-ish converter. Will put an ignition relay upstream to cut the supply to prevent parasitic drain when not in use. Regarding programming - I assume most of the software is about the same between Kenwood/Vertex/... for older commercial radios. Is it worth sorting out the software myself, or given that there are relatively few GMRS frequencies should I just try to get the ones I'm interested in pre-programmed by whoever I get the radio from? Once the frequencies are programmed, is it straightforward to adjust PL tones (should I need them) from the front panel, or is that typically a config software activity on this type of radio? Looking forward to getting this thing up and running, and yes definitely aware of the perfection being the enemy of the good problem
  10. Oops, this also might be better suited for the "Technical Discussion" but I don't see a way to delete and post there, or move. Sorry mods!
  11. Hi team, I'm new to mobile radio but would like to use it for convoy management in remote areas; just spent a month chasing remote beaches in Baja with two other vehicles and it seems to be so helpful for navigating through the poorly mapped backroads. From my understanding, GMRS seems ideal for this without the testing/licensing 'hassle' of ham (so far), especially with mixed vehicles in the convoy who may not be as motivated to study for a ham license. We had some FRS handhelds on this trip, but the range was insufficient for much independent exploration without totally losing each other. With that use case overview out of the way, complicating matters I have a 24V diesel Land Cruiser that I'd like to install the mobile system in. Most mobile radios still seem to have 13.8V nominal power input, presumably to simplify the design of the analog amplifier sections. Please correct me if I'm wrong on the reasoning here, but I guess it likely doesn't matter. Will I run into trouble if I use a DC/DC switching converter to step down from 24V to 12V? I don't know how noise-free these DC/DC converters are at the frequencies these radios are operating at internally. Do most radios have enough filtering on the inputs to clean this stuff up, or will I have to figure out some sort of external filter? I have been looking at used Kenwood TK-8180H and Vertex VX-5500 for remote faceplate capability in 40-50W range and I understand Part 95A compliance. Are there any other devices I should be considering? I think I'm comfortable enough with the wiring and programming hassle to prefer a used commercial radio over a Low Part Count SDR, but am open to contrary reasoning. I'd also probably like to get a ~5W handheld to send with a family member into vehicles that have temporarily joined the convoy to enable them to communicate as well. Suggestions for a handheld for this use case are appreciated. Also I have long since ditched the stock 'radio' in the vehicle, so I have the mounting hole for the stock antenna available on the front right quarter panel. From looking at some of the other posts it sounds like a 1/2 wave antenna is recommended - is this a good enough location or should I be aiming for something somewhere else? Thanks for humoring my journey out of noobness! overrulecaratmutt
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