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Looking at Motorola/Vertex hand helds...


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#1 berkinet

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 12:08 PM

Our local CERT group is considering upgrading some of our (GMRS) radios and are looking at the Motorola/Vertex EVX-S24 and VX-264. Model numbers EVX-S24-G6-3 and VX-264-G7-5.

 

Both radios seem suitable for our needs and the VX264 looks a bit more attractive with 5 watts output and a slightly lower price point on the used market. However, the EVX-S24 is available in Yellow which is something to consider for our application.

 

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone here has direct experience with these radios, or some good information to help us decide if we should get a couple of radios for testing.

 

Any thoughts welcomed.

 

 


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

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#2 gman1971

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 12:56 PM

I have a lot of Vertex gear, some 2nd hand, some new, but I really like it overall, and before they were fully absorbed by Motorola last year, they were basically Motorola quality without all the red tape associated with the Moto stuff. Software is free, just the FIF-12 cable was expensive for my EVX stuff... other than that they are pretty straightforward radios to use.

 

If you don't need to have a DMR radio, then the VX-5500 and VX-6000 mobiles have one of the hottest receivers I've seen.

 

With that said, one of the biggest let downs with the models you've posted is (as explained on another thread) that the bells and whistles factor on those radios is rather low. You get an alphanumeric LCD segment screen, so if you want to use them for DMR stuff like the DMR-Marc etc, you might find the screen a bit lacking lacking compared to, say, the XPR7550e series of portables.

 

G.


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#3 berkinet

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 03:04 PM

[Vertex Standard was] basically Motorola quality without all the red tape associated with the Moto stuff. Software is free, just the FIF-12 cable was expensive for my EVX stuff... other than that they are pretty straightforward radios to use.

 

If you don't need to have a DMR radio, then the VX-5500 and VX-6000 mobiles have one of the hottest receivers I've seen.

 

With that said, one of the biggest let downs with the models you've posted is (as explained on another thread) that the bells and whistles factor on those radios is rather low. You get an alphanumeric LCD segment screen...

 

Thanks for the comments. We do not need DMR or bells and whistles, these radios are solely for use on GMRS so the key requirement, besides overall quality, is simplicity of use. Thus the need for a display - so users get visual confirmation they are on the right frequency/channel. The VX-**** radios are also interesting. But, for the moment t we are concentrating on hand-helds to augment our existing P1225s. BTW, the major problem with the P1225s is battery capacity and life -- the only available batteries are NiCad & NiMh. For some reason, nobody makes a lithium pack for the P1225


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

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#4 gman1971

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 04:13 PM

Thanks for the comments. We do not need DMR or bells and whistles, these radios are solely for use on GMRS so the key requirement, besides overall quality, is simplicity of use. Thus the need for a display - so users get visual confirmation they are on the right frequency/channel. The VX-**** radios are also interesting. But, for the moment t we are concentrating on hand-helds to augment our existing P1225s. BTW, the major problem with the P1225s is battery capacity and life -- the only available batteries are NiCad & NiMh. For some reason, nobody makes a lithium pack for the P1225

 

Then those radios should fit the bill rather nicely. I still think, based on the specsheet at least, that the EVX-53x series might have the better receiver and are more futureproof. The EVX-534 might be a good trade off, if you don't need a DTMF keypad... but the 539 is a fine radio too, the G7 model for 450-512 is the one I would chose if you want to use it for GMRS only.

 

G.



#5 Radioguy7268

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 02:34 PM

The only potential GMRS trouble I've seen with the Motorola branded EVX-S24 and EVX-261 is getting them to work in Wideband. The Motorola units I've gotten in are strapped as Narrowband out of the Box, and I've yet to be successful in changing them over to Wideband. I've done that with ease on Vertex labeled units, but there's something that I haven't bothered to figure out when it comes to the MSI branded version.

 

I've heard people say that you NEED to use the FIF-12 cable in order to use the Wideband enablement mode (as well as using the Export version of software) - but I haven't bothered to try that out, as my basic Vertex cable worked for updating (backdating?) previous Vertex units to Wideband enablement.

 

They do seem to be great little units for the price.  Be aware that the EVX-S24 is only listed at 2 watts for Analog UHF (3 watts DMR).

 

*Edit - just noticed that you specifically said the VX-261.  Same issues may apply, but the analog VX-261 is a screaming steal in the Used market. I've been snatching them up in good condition at less than $40 per unit with accessories.


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#6 gman1971

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 05:34 PM

I am pretty certain that Vertex radios can be made wideband by using the NON-USA programming software. I've done it to my EVX mobiles without any issues.

 

and YES, other cables will certainly not work. I did try, but didn't work, almost ruined the radio so I returned these and got the OEM FIF-12, never had an issue with that.

 

G.


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#7 berkinet

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 07:26 PM

I found a YouTube video on configuring the VX-231. According to Vertex

From January 1st in 2013, if the USA version is used for the radio programming in the following frequency range, the CE programmer automatically/forcedly programs the radio with 12.5 kHz width. In addition, once the USA version is used for programming (even the programmer was used before that date), the radio is marked electrically in the radio memory that the radio is sold/used for the USA (NA) market, and this marking cannot be erased.

 

However, that same announcement also says there is a way to reset the radio:

The software tool is “Wide_Band_Recovery_Tool_1_00”. Located via VSOL > Resource Center > Technical Information > General Information.

 

So far I have been able to locate the international version of the programming software for the VX-264. But not the Wide_Band recovery software.  I have also read that even with the recovery software, it must be used with a genuine Vertex FIF-12 cable ($150).

 

I have already bought a VX-264 and BlueMax49ers cable on eBay, due to arrive Saturday. So, I will report back on what happens when I try to re-program the radio.

 

In the meantime, any tips/pointers most welcomed.


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 26 November 2019 - 07:27 PM

...*Edit - just noticed that you specifically said the VX-261.  Same issues may apply, but the analog VX-261 is a screaming steal in the Used market. I've been snatching them up in good condition at less than $40 per unit with accessories.

 It was the VX-264, with display, I was most interested in.


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

-- Marcus Aurelius


#9 berkinet

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 08:14 PM

Updating my last post. I found my old Motorola support credentials and was able to download more current versions of the programming tool (5.01 international - I had v2.04), the VX-264 firmware (2.07 - I had v2.04) AND the Wide Band Programming Recovery Tool - Version 1.02 (though I have heard there is a v1.03).

 

Any thoughts on how to proceed? I am thinking I should try to program the radio as it arrives and if that fails, try updating the firmware, that might reset the US/Wide lock - if it is locked.


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

-- Marcus Aurelius


#10 Radioguy7268

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 10:21 PM

I'd say you're on the right path, but if they are brand new units, you are 99.999% guaranteed that they're going to be locked to Narrowband.  If they're just some used units that are Vertex branded with older firmware, the Wideband Recovery tool should be the ticket.

 

Motorola will tell you that you need to buy the FIF-12 tool for updating. No ifs, ands, or buts. I have updated older units using their Wideband Recovery tool and a simple USB cable. I have not had that same success on newer EVX radios that were MSI branded. I've read the same info about a mystery version 1.03 that isn't available through the MOL site, but I haven't bothered to call Motorola to see about getting it directly.

 

Good luck with it.



#11 gman1971

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Posted 27 November 2019 - 12:31 AM

No, is not just Motorola, I tried two different cables, and none of my EVX radios worked with those. I had communication errors and all kinds of headaches, on 2 different machines. After 2 hours of mucking with these, they went back to oriental chasm whence they came.

 

The FIF-12 cable can be found in Wiscom.com for ~100 bucks IIRC.

 

If you are going to buy/use quality radios, cheaping out on the cable is like buying a Ferrari and purchasing narrow steel rims and tires b/c these OEM tires are too expensive to replace...

 

G.



#12 berkinet

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Posted 27 November 2019 - 05:12 PM

...The FIF-12 cable can be found in Wiscom.com for ~100 bucks IIRC.

 

If you are going to buy/use quality radios, cheaping out on the cable is like buying a Ferrari and purchasing narrow steel rims and tires b/c these OEM tires are too expensive to replace...

 

Thanks... Bit the bullet and ordered:

FIF-12A - Motorola Vertex Standard USB PROGRAM CABLE PC I/F AAJ23X501 1 @ $105.03

CT-106 - Motorola Vertex Standard Programming Cable AAD68X501 1 @ $29.25

 

According to Wisscom the CT-106 is required to connect the FIF-12A to the VX-264.

 

BTW, v1.03 of the recovery tool is online at communications.support in this thread. However, attachments cannot be accessed until after some probationary period and some minimal number of posts, so I can't download it, yet.


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

-- Marcus Aurelius


#13 gman1971

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 02:41 AM

Sweet.... I think you'll be very happy with those radios, and if you ever decide to venture into DMR you'll find that those radios are absolutely AMAZING compared to the CCRs...

 

G.



#14 berkinet

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 02:47 PM

Update:  Thanks to @Radioguy7268 my first VX-264 is on the air in wide-band mode.

 

Some notes for those who may follow...

My Vertex Standard branded VX-264 with firmware 2.07 just arrived today and I used the Motorola CS150 v5.01 international version software to program it.

 

To switch the radio to accept wide-band channel settings I used the Wide_Band_Recovery_Tool software v1.03. (This is not available from Motorola but, thanks to Radioguy7268, I can share a copy with anyone who needs it.)  NOTE: with the VX-261/264 radios you must use v1.03,  v1.02 does not support them.

 

I did not use, though I have ordered one, the FIF-12 programming adapter. Instead, I used the <$20 CT-106p cable from BlueMax49ers. 

 

Extras: I do not own any windows machines so I used a Win-7 VM in VirtualBox for the wide-band recovery and programming. Also, as my MacBook only has USB-C ports, I used a USB-A to USB-C adapter.

 

So far I am very pleased with the radio and find it almost ideal suited for CERT type applications.


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

-- Marcus Aurelius


#15 gman1971

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 03:23 PM

Very cool. Thank you.

 

G.






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