Jump to content


Photo

ID-O-Matic IV

repeater controller kit

  • Please log in to reply
28 replies to this topic

#1 RCM

RCM

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 140 posts
  • LocationNorth Alabama
  • GMRS Callsign:WRCM718
  • Ham Callsign:KU4FL

Posted 01 December 2018 - 09:59 AM

I just put together a controller kit yesterday, the ID-O-Matic IV from Ham Gadgets: http://www.hamgadget...m/id-o-matic-iv

From the name it sounds like just an IDer, but it actually can control a repeater. It has a lot of features for the low price, and is in my opinion all I really need or can use for a GMRS repeater. Works pretty well as a ham repeater too, in fact.

 

You can get this controller already assembled for about $60, but I elected to save $20 by assembling it myself. It's been awhile since I put together a kit anyway, and that's part of the radio hobby for me.

 

It shipped quickly and wasn't missing any parts. It doesn't include a hard copy of the manual; you have to download a pdf from the website. I had already done so in preparation. It went together with no issues, and no magic smoke escaped when I powered it up to test.

 

I haven't tested it with the radios yet. First I have to figure out the programming, which is done via usb with a terminal emulator program. I also have to interface to the radios, which shouldn't be too difficult.



#2 n4gix

n4gix

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 406 posts
  • GMRS Callsign:WQWU626
  • Ham Callsign:N4GIX

Posted 01 December 2018 - 02:59 PM

That is a very good, time-tested and reliable controller. You won't be disappointed with its performance. :D


  • RCM likes this

#3 RCM

RCM

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 140 posts
  • LocationNorth Alabama
  • GMRS Callsign:WRCM718
  • Ham Callsign:KU4FL

Posted 01 December 2018 - 06:48 PM

That's good to hear! I think the original design was the subject of an article in the ARRL Handbook, in 2008 or so. Unfortunately while I do have a couple of Handbooks, they're older than that.



#4 RCM

RCM

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 140 posts
  • LocationNorth Alabama
  • GMRS Callsign:WRCM718
  • Ham Callsign:KU4FL

Posted 04 December 2018 - 02:41 PM

So I finally got around to programming my controller today, and it went off without a hitch. I set it up for Morse ID and an EOT tone (Morse "K"). Most GMRS repeaters I've heard have nothing except a squelch tail, but that's not how I want to do mine.

The RF chores will be handled by a pair of Kenwood TK-805Ds.


  • Hans and Elkhunter521 like this

#5 Cactusboy19

Cactusboy19

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts
  • GMRS Callsign:WRAR562

Posted 06 December 2018 - 09:38 PM

I use one for my repeater along with 2 Moto M1225 radios. Works great. I also bout the voice board to do Voice ID


  • RCM likes this

#6 berkinet

berkinet

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 162 posts
  • GMRS Callsign:WQYR510
  • Ham Callsign:WB6TAE

Posted 16 December 2018 - 02:05 PM

The ID-O-Matic may be a great product. But, HamGadget's customer service leaves a bit to be desired.  

All orders are shipped via US Postal Service. I normally ship every day. Please bear in mind, however, that from time to time there may be an extra few days delay in shipping.

I ordered one on Dec 11 and received immediate order acknowledgement. However, on the 14th I had still heard nothing about shipping. So, I wrote them to ask when it might ship. Again, quick response saying it had been stamped and addressed and would be posted on the 15th. Today, the 16th, the USPS stall does not have the package in their hands. 


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

-- Marcus Aurelius


#7 RCM

RCM

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 140 posts
  • LocationNorth Alabama
  • GMRS Callsign:WRCM718
  • Ham Callsign:KU4FL

Posted 17 December 2018 - 10:08 AM

The ID-O-Matic may be a great product. But, HamGadget's customer service leaves a bit to be desired.  

All orders are shipped via US Postal Service. I normally ship every day. Please bear in mind, however, that from time to time there may be an extra few days delay in shipping.

I ordered one on Dec 11 and received immediate order acknowledgement. However, on the 14th I had still heard nothing about shipping. So, I wrote them to ask when it might ship. Again, quick response saying it had been stamped and addressed and would be posted on the 15th. Today, the 16th, the USPS stall does not have the package in their hands. 

You do realize this is the busiest week of the year for USPS, right? I wouldn't assume the problem is with Hamgadget just because USPS can't provide tracking info yet.


  • Jones likes this

#8 Jones

Jones

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 110 posts
  • GMRS Callsign:WQYM541
  • Ham Callsign:KB0HAW

Posted 17 December 2018 - 11:10 AM

The ID-O-Matic may be a great product. But, HamGadget's customer service leaves a bit to be desired.  

All orders are shipped via US Postal Service. I normally ship every day. Please bear in mind, however, that from time to time there may be an extra few days delay in shipping.

I ordered one on Dec 11 and received immediate order acknowledgement. However, on the 14th I had still heard nothing about shipping. So, I wrote them to ask when it might ship. Again, quick response saying it had been stamped and addressed and would be posted on the 15th. Today, the 16th, the USPS stall does not have the package in their hands. 

 

Not only is this the busiest time of year for the postal service, it is a busy time for most people as well.  Keep in mind that the HamGadgets company is actually only one man, and he has a lot going on.  Dan Magro, W7RF, is the ARRL Technical Specialist for the Colorado Section, the Rocky Mountain DX club President, as well as NCARC, WARC, past President.  He's also a 6-meter band fanatic, and with all of the recent aurora activity, he is probably banging out Morse code DX contacts on 50.125MHz.

 

If you order a kit, he is the guy who counts all the parts, bags them up, and ships them.  If you ordered a product assembled and tested, he is the one who solders it together, and tests it. ...then re-packages it for shipping.  I've never had bad service from the guy, but I can see how he might get behind schedule a bit.


  • RCM likes this

#9 berkinet

berkinet

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 162 posts
  • GMRS Callsign:WQYR510
  • Ham Callsign:WB6TAE

Posted 17 December 2018 - 12:01 PM

My comment was about customer service, not quality. Of course I realize it is the holiday season. USPS has already provided tracking info, the label was printed. However, the package still has not been tendered to them. Scanning in a Priority Mail package is not an option, all such parcels are scanned, regardless of the post office load.

I also assumed it was a one-man business. However, I would also assume it would be a well managed business and that means not preparing product as needed, but maintaining a small stock of products that are ready to be shipped when ordered. As to his ham activities... really? If you want to go into business you have to prioritize your life. If you value your hobby over your customers, then expect to get customer comments like mine. (And don't even start with the ARRL). If you order a new fishing rod online for your trip to Idaho and it arrives too late because there was a bass run at the rod vendor's location, would you accept that?

My point was, and is, I have no doubt about the quality of W7RF's products, that's why I ordered the controller in the first place. However, I also think people might want to know exactly the type of things other commenters have pointed out, especially if time is an issue.

BTW, for anyone in the market for a controller, you might want take a look at this review list from Ham.Net. (Note: the ID-O-Matic clearly comes out on top in a price/feature/quality comparison)
  • Hans likes this

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

-- Marcus Aurelius


#10 berkinet

berkinet

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 162 posts
  • GMRS Callsign:WQYR510
  • Ham Callsign:WB6TAE

Posted 26 December 2018 - 09:48 PM

I finally received my ID-O-Matic. It was delivered Late Saturday, but I couldn't pick it up until yesterday. Those who commented about postal delays were right. But, of course that was all the more reason to be prompt about mailing it in the first place.

 

I ordered the controller and box hoping to get a nice fitting installation.  The controller itself is fine. I used a Mac to set it up (OS 10.14.2) and had no issues whatsoever (well, other than grabbing a faulty usb cable from my cable bin). My only minor gripe is that 20 years into the second millennium, something like this really ought to have a built-in web server for setup (and Wi-Fi or ethernet onboard).  That would also make it easier for post install changes.

 

However, I do have some serious reservations about the box.  #1, the only way the board will fit into the box makes it impossible to have the USB plug connected and difficult to access the wire connectors. Also, although the board is drilled for hold-down bolts, there are no matching studs in the box.  Basically, it is just a standard project box that is ill sized for the board it will contain, at about 5 times the price I can get it on Amazon or the local electronics shop (Yes, we still have one.)  

 

My advice: Since you'll have to drill holes in the box anyway, you might as well save the money and get a box that fits your individual needs somewhere else. OTOH, the ID-O-Matic is a nice piece of kit, especially at the price they sell it for.


  • Hans likes this

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

-- Marcus Aurelius


#11 berkinet

berkinet

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 162 posts
  • GMRS Callsign:WQYR510
  • Ham Callsign:WB6TAE

Posted 31 December 2018 - 04:38 PM

Well.  I got the ID-O-Matic setup and running on a Motorola MTR2000. In fact, the only reason we needed the ID-O-Matic was for a "Roger Beep" that some users felt was necessary.  Anyway, it works fine but I had noticed one minor issue, so I emailed Dan...

 

I have the controller hooked up and generally working.  However, I have one issue. After receiving COR, turning on PTT, losing COR and then dropping PTT (I.e. a normal transmission) the LED remains blinking green and never returns to solid green.  Everything seems to operate correctly, it is just the LED that is an issue.
 

 

And, here is his reply.

 

I never even pay any attention to the LED so I cannot even tell you what the manual will tell you about it.

 

I USE the controller and never care what flashy lights mean unless there is a problem.

 

If you want to know more about the LED, read the manual.


There are so many parameters to change and it is a waste of time trying to chase down what you MAY have programmed to make the LED operate as you describe.

 

If you want to see the LED operate the way the manual states or if something you may have programmed is not right but you cannot figure it out then do a reset, of course all of your programming is reset to factory, but the LED will be just as the manual describes.

 

Use the controller, if it operates the way you want, leave it alone.

73, Dan Magro W7RF

 

Seriously, RTFM? Is this the kind of customer response he normally provides.   First he says he never read his own manual about the LED. Then, he says I should read the manual.  In fact, he just bought the company in 2017 and it is likely he actually does know nothing about the operation (and peculiarities) of the ID-O-Matic.

 

Summary: If all you want is to tie two radios together with an ID and Roger Beep, the ID-O-Matic will work fine. But, you should know it does essentially no audio (PL/DPL, etc.) processing, logging etc.  Also, as demonstrated above, you probably shouldn't hold out high hopes of support if you have any problems.


  • Hans and Elkhunter521 like this

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

-- Marcus Aurelius


#12 Hans

Hans

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 255 posts
  • LocationTrapped in Yankee territory
  • GMRS Callsign:WQXE920
  • Ham Callsign:N8VHF

Posted 31 December 2018 - 05:53 PM

Wow. No soup for you! I wonder if he realized that brands can be killed with just such an attitude; even hobby endeavors? Judging by the whole experience that you have described in this thread, I don't think he cares anyway.

Thanks for the updates.
  • Elkhunter521 likes this

#13 berkinet

berkinet

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 162 posts
  • GMRS Callsign:WQYR510
  • Ham Callsign:WB6TAE

Posted 31 December 2018 - 05:57 PM

No soup for you!

 

❤️


  • Hans and Elkhunter521 like this

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

-- Marcus Aurelius


#14 RCM

RCM

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 140 posts
  • LocationNorth Alabama
  • GMRS Callsign:WRCM718
  • Ham Callsign:KU4FL

Posted 31 December 2018 - 09:17 PM

The reason it keeps flashing is because it is in timing mode. After the timer expires (10 or 15 minutes; whatever you programmed it for) it IDs again and then the LED returns to solid. Exactly as it says in the manual.

 

I give Dan two thumbs up and will continue to support him and his products.



#15 Hans

Hans

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 255 posts
  • LocationTrapped in Yankee territory
  • GMRS Callsign:WQXE920
  • Ham Callsign:N8VHF

Posted 31 December 2018 - 09:33 PM

I give Dan two thumbs up and will continue to support him and his products.


Perhaps you could get Dan to read "How to Win Friends and Influence People" beacause he's not doing anybody any favors, especially himself, with emails like that. biggrin.png
http://en.wikipedia....nfluence_People
  • Elkhunter521 and RCM like this

#16 RCM

RCM

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 140 posts
  • LocationNorth Alabama
  • GMRS Callsign:WRCM718
  • Ham Callsign:KU4FL

Posted 31 December 2018 - 09:39 PM

Maybe it's intentional. If his business grows too much, he'll have to hire people. And that opens a whole new can of worms! :lol:


  • Hans and Elkhunter521 like this

#17 berkinet

berkinet

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 162 posts
  • GMRS Callsign:WQYR510
  • Ham Callsign:WB6TAE

Posted 01 January 2019 - 03:52 AM

The reason it keeps flashing is because it is in timing mode. After the timer expires (10 or 15 minutes; whatever you programmed it for) it IDs again and then the LED returns to solid. Exactly as it says in the manual.

I eventually came to this conclusion as well. The manual says the flashing LED means it is in a timing cycle. Which cycle it is, is not specifically mentioned and it sure wouldn’t have killed him to answer my question. That’s ok. I got the message, my business is not appreciated and I should, and will, shop elsewhere next time.

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

-- Marcus Aurelius


#18 berkinet

berkinet

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 162 posts
  • GMRS Callsign:WQYR510
  • Ham Callsign:WB6TAE

Posted 01 January 2019 - 04:48 PM

Since this topic was posted in the Equipment Reviews forum, I guess a review of the product itself (as opposed to sales and service issues) is appropriate.

 

The ID-O-Matic is a very basic station ID and repeater controller offering a minimal set of functions including:

  • Automatic periodic ID in CW and optionally, with an extra module, voice.
  • An optional "Courtesy (Roger) Beep" when the incoming carrier is dropped.
    • ​The "beep" consists of one or more characters sent in audible morse code.
    • A separate "beep" is available for input timeouts.
  • The speed, volume, and pitch of the beep and ID are controllable
  • Timing controls for maximum talk-time (PTT) hang time, ID time, etc.
  • Option for one alternate ID message (based on the state (high or low) on an input line.
  • Beacon control functionality.
  • An option to control an external fan.
  • Programming is via a terminal connection over USB using a simple menu based system.

The following common repeater control functions are not available:

  • Other than a gain control, there is no processing of audio.
  • There is no processing of CTCSS (PL, DPL, etc.).
    • This means any use of CTCSS on Rx or Tx must be done in the radios themselves.
  • There is no provision to trigger an ID with an external signal.
  • There is no provision to have an alternate "beep" or "beeps." (For example, when on battery power.)
    • Note, while sales material states it is possible to have an alternate "beep," such an option does not appear in the programming menu and is not documented in the manual.
  • There is no logging.
  • Other than for backup power, it is specifically not recommended to configure the controller or to even leave the USB control line connected during operation. This means you should not plan on being able to alter the program remotely. However, In practice leaving the controller connected to a PC during operation does not seem to exhibit any problems, as long as you take care to Quit the programming menu after use.

For the price, for a very basic repeater system, this probably cannot be beat. However, do consider the design, documentation and firmware are now 5 years old and the original developer Dale, N0XAS, is no longer with the company having sold it to the current owner, Dan, W7RF in 2017. As noted in posts above, this change may impact the level and quality of support available.


  • Hans likes this

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

-- Marcus Aurelius


#19 PastorGary

PastorGary

    Senior Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 1407 posts
  • LocationMultiple locations in USA seasonally.

Posted 01 January 2019 - 06:46 PM

Staff reminder - This thread is 'in the open' and complaints against a certain individual have been posted. If anyone involved in this thread wishes to have it moved to the Private Discussions area, please send a PM.


PastorGary -
Senior Moderator

MyGMRS Forums.

Weather postings Copyrighted  ©  TSRC, All Rights Reserved


 


#20 Hans

Hans

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 255 posts
  • LocationTrapped in Yankee territory
  • GMRS Callsign:WQXE920
  • Ham Callsign:N8VHF

Posted 01 January 2019 - 07:12 PM

Thanks for the review, berkinet. I have a couple of questions if you might be able to answer...

Is the variable pitch for beeps and ID for the individual ID & beep or is it a one-for-all setting?
Is the voice module something that records a voice or is it a computer generated voice?

I know that I might be able to google some of this but since you have the unit and did the review, I figured I would ask.





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: repeater, controller, kit

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users