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Overall impression of BTECH GMRS-50x1?


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#1 krvw

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Posted 08 February 2020 - 04:33 PM

I've been considering one of these for mobile and home use. It seems to be a lot of bang for the buck, including being FCC Part 95e approved.

 

I saw some here had some problems when they were first released and I'm hoping those were early production teething problems.

 

Anyone here using one of these on a regular basis? Impressions?

 

If you're using it as a base station at home, do you have a recommended power supply for it?

 

My aim is to have a semi-transportable rig between my car and home. Thoughts?

 

Thanks.

 

Cheers,

 

Ken (WRFC318)

 

 



#2 marcspaz

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Posted 08 February 2020 - 06:34 PM

I wrote a couple of opinions about it in the reviews forum. Take a look.

Not my cup of tea, performance wise. Lots of nice features, though.

#3 WRAR990

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 08:10 PM

I want to get one for my truck. Being a first responder, if I don't have my pager with me, I can just tune in on that radio (receive only is nice).


Pat M., WRAR990

-Volunteer Firefighter

-Southtowns 4x4 Recovery Team

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#4 wayoverthere

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 12:23 AM

have one on the way, but it's looking like it'll be late april before they ship.  some hint of that before i ordered might've been nice, though.

 

i do see the wider range of receive only frequencies as a plus.  been pondering repurposing an old computer PSU for base duties. been running things off a car battery for short term usage, and letting it charge when not in use.



#5 Zectron2348

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Posted 15 April 2020 - 08:11 AM

I too have been looking at this radio as a possible less expensive base.

#6 Lscott

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Posted 15 April 2020 - 09:21 AM

been pondering repurposing an old computer PSU for base duties. been running things off a car battery for short term usage, and letting it charge when not in use.

 

Using an old computer switching power supply likely won't work. First they are electrically noisy and will kill your receiver sensitivity. Second the designs use one of the low voltage outputs for regulation, 5 VDC - 3.3 VDC - ???, while the rest float around a bit. If the regulated output isn't loaded down enough it may not even start. 

 

We use a number of off the shelf switching power supplies where I work for some industrial controls. I have one right now in my office loaded down with a fat power resistor on the 5 VDC rail just to get the thing to turn on so I can use the other outputs for testing a project.

 

About using it to charge a lead acid battery may not work well, if at all, since the high voltage outputs are a "nominal" 12 VDC on the computer power supply. You need around 13.5 VDC to 13.8 VDC to charge a "12 VDC" lead acid battery. Then there is the different charge stages to keep from damaging the battery, bulk - absorption - float, which is normally done by a smart charger. There is a bit of a difference between liquid filled, gell cell and AGM lead acid types on the charge and float voltages to content with.  


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#7 wayoverthere

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Posted 15 April 2020 - 05:38 PM

Using an old computer switching power supply likely won't work. First they are electrically noisy and will kill your receiver sensitivity. Second the designs use one of the low voltage outputs for regulation, 5 VDC - 3.3 VDC - ???, while the rest float around a bit. If the regulated output isn't loaded down enough it may not even start.

We use a number of off the shelf switching power supplies where I work for some industrial controls. I have one right now in my office loaded down with a fat power resistor on the 5 VDC rail just to get the thing to turn on so I can use the other outputs for testing a project.

About using it to charge a lead acid battery may not work well, if at all, since the high voltage outputs are a "nominal" 12 VDC on the computer power supply. You need around 13.5 VDC to 13.8 VDC to charge a "12 VDC" lead acid battery. Then there is the different charge stages to keep from damaging the battery, bulk - absorption - float, which is normally done by a smart charger. There is a bit of a difference between liquid filled, gell cell and AGM lead acid types on the charge and float voltages to content with.

Thanks for the info...the power supply was one of those back burner ideas that I never got around to testing....guess I won't hold my breath on it.

I am using (and will continue to use) actual battery chargers for the car battery, though. For occasional use, a small float charger has been sufficient so far, though I have a couple bigger models around too

#8 wayoverthere

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 12:35 PM

Just a follow-up on the power supply thing...decided a car battery inside the house wouldn't be a super idea, and bit the bullet and bought a proper power supply. Should have some headroom for anything I might decide to throw at it (for now).

https://www.dxengine...rts/ALO-DM-30TR

#9 kaz

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Posted 05 May 2020 - 06:36 PM

Wish I knew how to post picture's of my power supply. Looking at the BTECH 50x1 myself just haven't pulled the trigger yet. Midland MXT400( AKA Baofeng 9500) put's up a good comparison. I do like having the receive only option. Midland seems better made. Really happy with my Wouxun KG-805G HT.



#10 marcspaz

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Posted 05 May 2020 - 07:43 PM

Kaz... the Baofeng 9500 is not an MXT400.  It is a cheap cosmetic knock-off UHF amateur radio.  Outside of looking similar, they are unrelated.



#11 wayoverthere

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Posted 05 May 2020 - 08:52 PM

Wish I knew how to post picture's of my power supply. Looking at the BTECH 50x1 myself just haven't pulled the trigger yet. Midland MXT400( AKA Baofeng 9500) put's up a good comparison. I do like having the receive only option. Midland seems better made. Really happy with my Wouxun KG-805G HT.


Knowing what I know now, if I were considering the mxt400, I would hold off til Midland gets the split tone issues sorted (doesn't let you set send and receive codes separately). Initial impression is the "finish" of the btech isn't with Midland, but it seems to make up for it on the features side.

(For reference, I'm still newish to all this, and I have a mix of radios; Midland handhelds, a kg805g wouxun, and a Midland mxt115 mobile, with the btech the most recent add)

#12 kaz

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 06:22 PM

Knowing what I know now, if I were considering the mxt400, I would hold off til Midland gets the split tone issues sorted (doesn't let you set send and receive codes separately). Initial impression is the "finish" of the btech isn't with Midland, but it seems to make up for it on the features side.

(For reference, I'm still newish to all this, and I have a mix of radios; Midland handhelds, a kg805g wouxun, and a Midland mxt115 mobile, with the btech the most recent add)

Be interested in your long term opinion of the btech.


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#13 wayoverthere

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 06:49 PM

I'll definitely be sharing as I get it going. Set it up for a few minutes last night, receiving side is plenty loud, but nobody on at that time for a transmit check. Will need to get an antenna up to do some better testing, but receiving the local public safety stuff was good and clear even with just a little unity gain wedged in the window.

Haven't gotten into the programming beyond the menu itself yet though...I borked the computer I have chirp installed on trying to update....been fighting with that all day, and then have to reinstall everything.

#14 wayoverthere

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 01:00 AM

Revisiting this, though it's been longer than I meant it to be. First step was where to set up my "shack", initially though garage but ended up in the spare bedroom instead, next to my work-from-home setup. The computer I had chirp on wouldn't update, ended up having to basically reinstall the os twice, as it was a few versions out of date, and no longer supported. That said...chirp set up, and I programmed a few extra channels beyond games...a few public safety, and the vhf and UHF calling frequencies.

Antenna wise, it's currently booked up to a midland mxta-10 5/8 wave, on a mag mount stuck up in the top of the closet..it juuust fits with the tip against the ceiling. (Room for improvement, I know).

Generally I'll leave it scanning gmrs, or dual watch with the local public safety channels while I work, and poke here and there, as the vast majority of the traffic in my area is bubble pack chatter and the kiddos playing with the "call" button incessantly. A couple private repeater in range, and one open, a hair over 60 miles away. Haven't reached out to the closer one (private, ~40 miles out at 5k ft), so I tried for the open one...was able to get a squelch tail but no responses till today..contact confirmed!

Also found a setup menu pin prompt on boot up, but zero luck finding the 6 digit PIN anywhere on the net, and bTech shot my inquiry about what that is down with zero pleasantries.

Chirp makes the programming pretty cake if you're okay with chirp, but it's possible through the menu as well. The settings cheat sheet that was provided (posting from mobile, and can't look back at who posted it, sorry...) Was a big help as to what each of the settings was.

(Hope this isn't too long winded, and helps provide some useful perspective)

#15 Roberttosa

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 05:04 PM

Bought this radio on June 1st. It fried itself by August 1st and wouldn't transmit on any power setting. Running it with a Pyramid power supply and a Nagoya 200c antenna, SWR metered around 1:1.2 on all power settings. BTech says this radio can't take SWR over 1:1.5, which is pretty low. Both power supply and antenna recommended and approved by Btech.

 

BTech sent another radio at no charge of any kind. I really love this radio and hope the replacement runs well. Chirp is easy to use with this rig, and the radio check reports I get say it is clean, clear and loud. Hitting repeaters 30+ miles away with ease. 

 

I will post updates as they happen. 

 

review by John Miklor ...  https://www.miklor.c...w_GMRS-50X1.php


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Why? Why not?


#16 marcspaz

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 08:05 PM

Bought this radio on June 1st. It fried itself by August 1st and wouldn't transmit on any power setting. Running it with a Pyramid power supply and a Nagoya 200c antenna, SWR metered around 1:1.2 on all power settings. BTech says this radio can't take SWR over 1:1.5, which is pretty low. Both power supply and antenna recommended and approved by Btech.

BTech sent another radio at no charge of any kind. I really love this radio and hope the replacement runs well. Chirp is easy to use with this rig, and the radio check reports I get say it is clean, clear and loud. Hitting repeaters 30+ miles away with ease.

I will post updates as they happen.

review by John Miklor ... https://www.miklor.c...w_GMRS-50X1.php


I hope it works out for you. Feature-rich radio, for sure.
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#17 Roberttosa

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Posted 30 August 2020 - 12:20 AM

Love my GMRS-50x1.

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Why? Why not?


#18 mire

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Posted 30 August 2020 - 03:22 AM

I won’t be buying one. If I were, I could find some value in it as a base station, but I don’t see any substantial advantage over my Part 90 LMR radios which would compel me to switch.
The CTCSS and DCS scan is a nice feature to have, as is the ability to change those tones on the fly. However, I don’t know about you, but if I’m in my car, I’m not just sitting in it and monitoring the radio, and I’m not going to be messing with that while I’m driving. As if, if I hear traffic on one of the repeaters, I can simply pick up the mic and respond if I feel like it. If at some point someone wants to go to simplex, I can just press a couple buttons on my 12 key Kenwood DTMF mic and I’ll be at whichever frequency/DPL tone combo preprogrammed into my radio that I wish to be at. To that end, I don’t bother with Operator Selectable Tone, either.
If it’s like the GMRS-V1 handheld, and can only have one setting per frequency at a time, that’s not going to compel me to switch. Right now, Front Range GMRS plans to eventually have three repeaters at 462.700 in the Denver Metro area, all with different input tones. So, for each of the repeater output frequencies, I dedicate a bank to that in my LMR radio. So, for example, let’s say we’re talking 462.600, which is the most often used GMRS repeater for FRGMRS. In my 600 bank (or zone, as Kenwood refers to them as), I’ll have the Metro 600 repeater programmed in, and Metro 600 TA which is just simplex on the receive side. And any other repeaters I add (as well as travel tone), I’ll just add to that zone, with a corresponding TA channel which I’ll remove from the scan list. Then there’ll be a zone for simplex frequency/DPL tone combinations such as those proscribed by FRGMRS for events, ones others and I have set for ourselves, etc. Then a zone of miscellaneous frequencies within the radio’s band split as I see fit to add them then a zone with the FRS/GMRS simplex frequencies in carrier squelch which I can add or remove from the scan list as I see fit to with the DTMF key assigned for scan delete/add. The strip clubs around here... some use the business band itinerant frequencies, and a couple use FRS, and sometimes you can witness some absolute hilarity over the air when you drive in the vicinity of them.
The GMRS-50X1 has some capabilities my LMR radio doesn’t have, but none which offers me any particularly fantastic benefit. It also lacks in some compared to my LMR radio, and those would be to my detriment as I see it.
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Kenwood TK-3700
3x Kenwood TK-350G
Kenwood TK-353G
A whole slew of BaoFeng BF-888S and GT1 radios
Kenwood TK-880
Kenwood TK-890
Kenwood TK-8360

#19 wayoverthere

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Posted 30 August 2020 - 03:58 AM

My current programming (primarily for base use) has the normal+repeater channels, plus 2 repeaters on 16 (with 2 different tones), plus 1 on 18, along with the vhf calling frequency (146.520) and the local public safety dispatch (in the 460.xxx range). So it doesn't appear to have the same limitation as the v1. The quad watch is nice as I'll usually have the 3 repeaters and dispatch up, or set it to scan, with dispatch excluded from the scan.

I also did similar with the ht, though that one Also has the same 70cm channels, plus another set of the repeater channels, so I can stick another repeater in if I'm out of town but in the same spot for a couple days.




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