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#1 berkinet

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 12:47 PM

Our CERT group is, once again, evaluating handheld radios.  We have looked at, and owned, a bunch. But, none seem to match 100% of our wish list items.

 

Here is our feature wishlist (I.e. the ideal radio would have all of these capabilities):

  • GMRS frequencies (Part 95 compliance is not required)
  • Display (LCD or?)
  • Single VFO or dual VFO with single VFO mode
  • Lockable keyboard
  • Text name assignable to each channel
  • Power (H/L) and PL options settable for each programmed channel
  • Split PL support (xmit/rcv on different PL tones)
  • Power settings can be temporarily changed from keyboard without having to reprogram the channel
  • PL receive setting can be temporarily defeated. (I.e. channel monitor)
  • Current production model 

The following are under the would be nice category (but, not specifically required. Highly desirable features are marked with a *):

  • * Dual band (VHF/UHF)
  • * Option to receive ham and public service frequencies
  • * CHIRP support
  • Price $150 or under
  • High power option (nominal 5W)
  • Can optionally use alkaline batteries
  • Standardized antenna connector (BNC, SMA, etc.)
  • Ability to lock out transmit on a channel
  • * Only one transmit button (Some radios have 2, for VFO-A and VFO- B )
  • Programmable function buttons or keys. Could be used for power setting, PL mode, etc.
  • General online availability 

In other words... we are looking for a fool proof radio. Something that cannot easily or accidentally be reset to another frequency or PL setting and has a clear easy to read display with a minimum of not-lockable buttons.


Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

-- Marcus Aurelius


#2 Hans

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 06:28 PM

I think the Alinco DJ-500TB (Part 90) and the Alinco DJ-500T (Part 97) (practically same radio except label and how it is set at factory) check all of the first list boxes and many of the second list. It is also sold as the Anytone AT 3318UV-A (Part 90). Unfortunately, it doesn't have: alkaline battery option, decent programmable function keys, or BNC antenna connector. However, they are sealed nicely against the elements and sound really good on the air. They run from $80 to $130 on Gigaparts, Newegg, etc. They are very easy to unlock. The DJ-500TB requires a programming cable (generic will work fine) and a freely available dealer program to unlock the keypad. The DJ-500T only requires a key press sequence at power up to unlock it. After the keypad is unlocked, the DJ-500TB requires the same key press sequence to unlock the frequencies. I assume that the Anytone AT 3318UV-A is already unlocked? The Anytone uses a standard Kenwood connector for the speaker mike and the Alinco uses an Icom connector.

I'll take a closer look at your posted needs and wants lists and compare to the DJ-500 radios we have here.
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#3 Hans

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 06:44 PM

Features:
  • GMRS frequencies (Part 95 compliance is not required) -- Yes.
  • Display (LCD or?) -- Yes.
  • Single VFO or dual VFO with single VFO mode -- Yes.
  • Lockable keyboard -- Yes. Soft keypad lock key through keypad and hard keypad lock via software and cable for both TB and T (not sure about Anytone; probably not)
  • Text name assignable to each channel -- Yes.
  • Power (H/L) and PL options settable for each programmed channel -- Yes.
  • Split PL support (xmit/rcv on different PL tones) -- Yes.
  • Power and PL settings can be temporarily changed from keyboard without having to reprogram the channel -- Yes. However, not with keypad hard locked (if I am remembering correctly)
  • Current production model --Yes. 
Would be nice:
  • * Dual band (VHF/UHF) -- Yes.
  • * Option to receive ham and public service frequencies -- Yes.
  • * CHIRP support -- No. (If someone sends one in, someone would undoubtedly make a profile for Chirp. Alinco software sucks but is free.
  • Price $150 or under -- Yes.
  • High power option (nominal 5W) -- Yes. High ~5W, Medium ~2.5W, Low ~1W
  • Can optionally use alkaline batteries -- No.
  • Standard antenna connector -- ?? What is standard ?? For some, that is BNC; which it doesn't. It has the same ubiquitous SMA connector as the rest of the China stuff.
  • Ability to lock out transmit on a channel -- Yes.
  • * Only one transmit button (Some radios have 2, for VFO-A and VFO- B ) -- Yes.
  • Programmable function buttons or keys. Could be used for power setting, PL mode, etc. -- No.
  • General online availability -- Yes. 
Here is the DJ-500T specifications page. The DJ-500TB are the same except keypad is supposed to come hard locked and it is Part 90. Both need the initial key sequence to unlock full frequency Tx. Both operations, keypad unlock and frequency expansion, can be reversed on both T and TB models.
http://www.alinco.co.../ham/ht/DJ-500/
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#4 Hans

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 06:46 PM

I will also note that the DJ-500 radios and At 3318UV-A have true narrow band receive. Some radios just up the volume for narrow band.

We run Niteize holsters for ours. I *think* they are the medium but will have to check to verify. These are available for size checks at many hardware chain stores. http://www.niteize.c...ce-Holsters.asp

#5 Hans

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 06:54 PM

One thing you will probably dislike completely is the blinding key pad backlight.

#6 Hans

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 07:40 PM

Features:

  • Power and PL settings can be temporarily changed from keyboard without having to reprogram the channel -- Yes. However, not with keypad hard locked (if I am remembering correctly)

Whoops! I might have that wrong. The power setting can be changed without reprogramming but I am pretty sure that you have to go into settings for the channel to change the PL. If one does not use the save sequence, it will revert back to programming after you change channel or if you power cycle the radio. In other words, it is a temporary change unless you do a specific series of button presses to save it to memory.

Sorry about the oversight.

#7 berkinet

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 07:47 PM

 

• Standard antenna connector -- ?? What is standard ?? For some, that is BNC; which it doesn't. It has the same ubiquitous SMA connector as the rest of the China stuff.

Sorry, I guess that wasn't as clear as I thought.  I meant, any standardized connector (BNC, SMA, rev-SMA, etc.) as opposed to some proprietary connector, or no connector, I.e. "fixed."  Or, more basically... after market antennas are available.


Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

-- Marcus Aurelius


#8 berkinet

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 07:49 PM

...I am pretty sure that you have to go into settings for the channel to change the PL. If one does not use the save sequence, it will revert back to programming after you change channel or if you power cycle the radio. In other words, it is a temporary change unless you do a specific series of button presses to save it to memory.

Thanks for the clarification. What I really wanted was something like a temporary PL defeat switch, in  particular, on receive.  I'll edit the post.


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Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

-- Marcus Aurelius


#9 Hans

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 07:50 PM

Sorry, I guess that wasn't as clear as I thought.  I meant, any standardized connector (BNC, SMA, rev-SMA, etc.) as opposed to some proprietary connector, or no connector, I.e. "fixed."  Or, more basically... after market antennas are available.


No problem. smile.png

Are Part 97 okay or are you sticking with Part 90 (and Part 95 as a bonus)?

Hopefully, many others will throw some suggestions in here so y'all have a lot to choose from. I have a fuzzy list of a few more radios but will have to do research online before posting them. I'm being lazy in the hopes that others will add to the list. wink.png

#10 Hans

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 07:54 PM

Thanks for the clarification. What I really wanted was something like a temporary PL defeat switch, in  particular, on receive.  I'll edit the post.


The best work around that I've come up with is to have a second channel programmed with no PL. Of course, one of the two side buttons can be programmed as a monitor switch.

Additional information:
Apparently, the Anytone has an easy talk around button for repeater channels (one of the guys runs Anytone) and the Alinco does not. Of course, that can be overcome by programming a separate channel as well. The Alinco does have a reverse key on the keypad.

#11 berkinet

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 07:58 PM

No problem. smile.png

Are Part 97 okay or are you sticking with Part 90 (and Part 95 as a bonus)?

Hopefully, many others will throw some suggestions in here so y'all have a lot to choose from. I have a fuzzy list of a few more radios but will have to do research online before posting them. I'm being lazy in the hopes that others will add to the list. wink.png

Part 15 is even Ok, as long as it meets the requirements .  (Actually, isn't Part 97 effectively, no Part?)   As for other suggestions, I could name many that do not meet our requirements, and they are all in a box somewhere around here.  But, I don't want to prejudge any postings, and in any case, we may have missed something on a radio we ruled out.  Thanks for your post(s).


Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

-- Marcus Aurelius


#12 Hans

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 08:03 PM

One thing you will probably dislike completely is the blinding key pad backlight.


I had to check before posting...

A work around is to turn backlight to always off. CERT members, and any other prepared radiomen for that matter, should always have a flashlight on their persons anyway. I think I'm going to set my radio without backlight to avoid the blinding keypad.

#13 Hans

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 08:15 PM

Part 15 is even Ok, as long as it meets the requirements .  (Actually, isn't Part 97 effectively, no Part?)   As for other suggestions, I could name many that do not meet our requirements, and they are all in a box somewhere around here.  But, I don't want to prejudge any postings, and in any case, we may have missed something on a radio we ruled out.  Thanks for your post(s).

Understood. I was being lazy by using Part 97 when I should've typed Part 15. The latter wasn't foremost in my brain but the former was. Good catch!

If others don't post up some, I'll try to go through some specs online of some of our alternate choices and post something up. I'd really rather see people post information about those radios they actually use that fit your features list. We use the Alincos every single day over the past couple of years. They aren't perfect but they do satisfy our needs quite well.


Some things I would change about the DJ-500T & TB:
  • Keypad light is blinding
  • No super capacity battery available
  • Not BNC connector
  • No alkaline battery pack
  • Prefer clickey keys instead of membrane
  • No CSQ button
  • No talk around button
  • Not a waterproof speaker mic connector
  • Needs more programmability for side buttons
  • Wish there was a way to specify individual setting permissions in Part 90 mode instead of all or nothing
  • Not yet Chirp compatible
However, overall these serve our everyday and prepper type needs well enough. Everyone in the group and out of the group really like them. If I could change just one thing it would be have a super capacity battery and alkaline pack.

#14 RCM

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 09:53 PM

I was hoping Icom had something in their F series line, but no dice. The only one I found that isn't $350+ is single band and no display. Too bad, especially considering they have a couple of F-series mobiles in the $250-$300 range that are perfect for our needs.






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