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Impressed with CCR's


scubadude85
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I am mostly impressed with the Zastone X-6 handhelds. Today I did a little testing with them to transmit within my neighborhood I was able to hear them with my Icom handheld from 2 miles away. I would recommend the X-6 for a cheap radio that I am not scared to give my kids when they are in the neighborhood.

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It's always worth it to find a good (acceptable) expendable radio.  But even a good radio is cheaper than an iPhone 11.  :P

So true.

 

The main problem with most CCRs is not the transmitter (though that too can be an issue, but usually to traffic on other frequencies), it is in the receiver. Most, but not all CCRs, are created equally (i.e. poorly). But there are exceptions.

 

No one near my place uses GMRS all the traffic I hear is on FRS

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Meh, if you must have a CCR get the Baofeng DM-V1, at least it has a detachable antenna and DMR capabilities which that one does not.

 

For similar price you can buy used Kenwood/Icom/Motorola/Vertex radios with far better receivers than those CCRs... ask around...

 

G.

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Meh, if you must have a CCR get the Baofeng DM-V1, at least it has a detachable antenna and DMR capabilities which that one does not.

 

For similar price you can buy used Kenwood/Icom/Motorola/Vertex radios with far better receivers than those CCRs... ask around...

 

G.

|If you have to ask around to find one, it's not adequately expendable.

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  • 3 months later...

Back... haven't checked regularly in a while... sorry about the delay.

 

I think I meant "ask around" in terms of performance, not to ask to find one.

 

The place I've used so far is eBay... there you can find 2nd hand commercial radios for dirt cheap. In fact, I recently acquired a few Moto XPR6550 for about 100 bucks a pop... I'll be selling all other non Vertex/Motorola radios I own after I am done swapping all the radios with 6550s.

 

G.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ah, that makes more sense.

 

I've gotten lucky with eBay, but I have a jonesing for early 90s Motorolas.  Tried branching out, but had trouble finding the correct variations of the Motorola Saber I wanted to convert to MURS and GMRS.

 

If you're not picky, you can get a commercial radio that'll do what you want.  But if you are picky, it can be hit-or-miss.

 

Gman, got any old Kenwoods?  I'm interested in branching out.  :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yeah, I've had bad luck with all of the CCRs - Baofeng, Wouxun, and Anytone.  The Wouxun GMRS handsets are probably the best GMRS HTs available right now, but the margin is slim on them.  Effectively, they're spitting distance from a good lower powered model, such as the DeWalts or some of the Talkabouts.

 

It's not that they don't crank out the power (though Baofeng notoriously cranks out the power literally everywhere, dumping half your power somewhere you didn't mean to send it), it's that the frontend selectivity is very poor, even on superheterodyne models.  With DMR it's helped out some, but using the same antenna and power into co-located repeaters, I'm on the ragged edge with DMR or FM reception on both Anytone and Wouxun, but achieve full quieting maxed out signal meter on a Yaesu on FM.  Both require similar power to reach the repeater with full quieting, so transmit itself seems OK.

 

The biggest advantage to me of CCR GMRS rigs is that the antenna is replaceable, so I can make up for the radio's shortcomings with much more gain.

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Anything made by Motorola will work great. The Vertex Standard radios also work quite well but IMO are not as feature rich as the Motorolas.

 

I really didn't believe how much better they are until I performed ISOTEE sensitivity tests on those CCRs vs the EVX and XPRs radios... and on average the CCRs were ~20 dB worse than the Moto/Vertex radios I have.

 

The older Motorola radios might require a DOS emulator, or a DOS boot disk, just to get them programmed, so that might be a problem, or not. The newer radios, like the XPRs, will require a MOL account to get the CPS subscription, which isn't that bad. Opening a MOL account might be daunting, but in the end it just takes time. My advice is: don't lie on the forms, be courteous when asked and don't use an email address like superduper1234@spoofmail.kom . I got mine and I love having access to their resource center, being able to purchase things directly, etc.

 

IMO, once you go Motorola there is no going back, really; and the XPR7550e is arguably the best single band radio you can buy these days, with audio leveling, auto mic gain, and the best receiver on the market, you simply can't touch those... I avoided going Motorola for years, made up any possible excuse in the process, but in the end I simply delayed the inevitable... and wasted a lot of money in the process... money I could've spent towards more XPR7550e radios. Moral of the story: In radios, you buy cheap, you buy twice.

 

As for Kenwoods, sorry man, I only have a couple of Kenwoods left on my collection: two TH-F6a talkies and a TM-V71a mobile, which I'll probably hold onto since they offer features that no other radio I have has. 

 

G.

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Superheterodyne?... hmmm, really?  All CCR I own use an elcrapo direct conversion receiver, with front ends wide enough to let the Milky Way galaxy through. These POS will desense up to 60 dBm with strong adjacent signals, or in plain English: they suck. Those figures were measured with ISOTEE tests. And I have an ample collection of CCRs... yes, I know, I am dumb and I wasted a lot of money on those POS... but may my waste of money save you from wasting yours.

 

Yep, power doesn't mean much if its all wasted in spurious output, heating transistors, etc, etc, b/c at that point all you're doing is making your neighbor's TV appear hazy, at best... and at worst you can and will damage monitors, and other sensitive electronics while at it. Don't buy that garbage. You wouldn't buy a polished turd, would you? no matter how well polished it is, right? Same applies here. A second hand commercial Kenwood radio, or Vertex, or Motorola, will draw rings around those polished turds.

 

Don't be fooled by the color screens, or the gazillion contacts.... a radio performance is not measured by how fancy the screen is, or how many ringtones it can dish; its measured by how well it can transmit and receive radio signals. If you want fancy screens, buy the latest Galaxy phone... or splurge and get the XPR7550e... I can assure you won't regret that. Buy once, Cry once.

 

The biggest advantage to me of these CCRs is that I can throw them off a cliff, light'em up on fire, smash'em with a hammer... etc... while not losing any sleep over it. Great stress relief tools, while at it too.

 

Waste your money at your own peril.

 

G.

 

Yeah, I've had bad luck with all of the CCRs - Baofeng, Wouxun, and Anytone.  The Wouxun GMRS handsets are probably the best GMRS HTs available right now, but the margin is slim on them.  Effectively, they're spitting distance from a good lower powered model, such as the DeWalts or some of the Talkabouts.

 

It's not that they don't crank out the power (though Baofeng notoriously cranks out the power literally everywhere, dumping half your power somewhere you didn't mean to send it), it's that the frontend selectivity is very poor, even on superheterodyne models.  With DMR it's helped out some, but using the same antenna and power into co-located repeaters, I'm on the ragged edge with DMR or FM reception on both Anytone and Wouxun, but achieve full quieting maxed out signal meter on a Yaesu on FM.  Both require similar power to reach the repeater with full quieting, so transmit itself seems OK.

 

The biggest advantage to me of CCR GMRS rigs is that the antenna is replaceable, so I can make up for the radio's shortcomings with much more gain.

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CCR's are the free samples of crack of the radio world.  I bought a 70cm Baofeng Mini when they were on sale for about $10 shipped not realizing to get it programmed the way I wanted it would cost more for the programming cable than I paid for the radio. Then the programming software wouldn't run on my Mac and I had to program it from the Dell laptop I use at work. I have several of the local 70cm repeaters programmed into it but have never had the opertunity to try it close enough to hit any of them.  It does receive if you are line of sight to the towers at least 5 miles away, I have done that with it; its almost worth the $10 for that alone.

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...Then the programming software wouldn't run on my Mac... 

 

I use VirtualBox on MacOS to run any radio configuration software that does not run natively on the Mac, which is most vendor supplied, and have no issues whatsoever.  It might be a bit of a challenge getting VirtualBox set up the first time. But, from then on it is a snap. The biggest problem is getting a copy of Windoze.

 

Or, use CHIRP. Runs fine on MacOS and AFAIK works with all Baofengs.  Even if your particular model is not listed, there is almost always a similar model that will work.

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I use VirtualBox on MacOS to run any radio configuration software that does not run natively on the Mac, which is most vendor supplied, and have no issues whatsoever. It might be a bit of a challenge getting VirtualBox set up the first time. But, from then on it is a snap. The biggest problem is getting a copy of Windoze.

 

Or, use CHIRP. Runs fine on MacOS and AFAIK works with all Baofengs. Even if your particular model is not listed, there is almost always a similar model that will work.

I've had no problems running chirp in Linux (mint mate), also, though installing is slightly more involved than windows.

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I use VirtualBox on MacOS to run any radio configuration software that does not run natively on the Mac, which is most vendor supplied, and have no issues whatsoever.  It might be a bit of a challenge getting VirtualBox set up the first time. But, from then on it is a snap. The biggest problem is getting a copy of Windoze.

 

Or, use CHIRP. Runs fine on MacOS and AFAIK works with all Baofengs.  Even if your particular model is not listed, there is almost always a similar model that will work.

 

I use Chirp for all my other Baofengs, but there isn't a  Chirp version for the Mini 

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Superheterodyne?... hmmm, really?  All CCR I own use an elcrapo direct conversion receiver, with front ends wide enough to let the Milky Way galaxy through. These POS will desense up to 60 dBm with strong adjacent signals, or in plain English: they suck. Those figures were measured with ISOTEE tests. And I have an ample collection of CCRs... yes, I know, I am dumb and I wasted a lot of money on those POS... but may my waste of money save you from wasting yours.

 

Yeah, some Wouxuns and Anytones are superheterodyne.

 

My daily drivers aren't CCR's, I picked them up to fill a niche... mostly in DMR and GMRS, but I had someone challenge me when they first started hitting the market and watched my 1990's vintage radio shack HT mop the floor with Baofengs ... may that poor thing rest in peace, it served me well for many years.

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Absolutely, hahaha, "samples of crack", I started with 2 UV-5Rs... but back when I got started these CCR radios where somewhat of a novelty and there wasn't much info out there on those... nowadays, with plenty of forums like this where they advise to go with something higher quality, I think, IMO, its not worth wasting money on substandard radios.

 

CCR's are the free samples of crack of the radio world.  I bought a 70cm Baofeng Mini when they were on sale for about $10 shipped not realizing to get it programmed the way I wanted it would cost more for the programming cable than I paid for the radio. Then the programming software wouldn't run on my Mac and I had to program it from the Dell laptop I use at work. I have several of the local 70cm repeaters programmed into it but have never had the opertunity to try it close enough to hit any of them.  It does receive if you are line of sight to the towers at least 5 miles away, I have done that with it; its almost worth the $10 for that alone.

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Well, thats good to know. I wonder which ones, b/c according to someone who knows a lot more than I do about electronics even the AT-578UV is a hybrid receiver, not a true superhet.

 

Regardless of receiver type, a superhet without proper front end filtering is just as bad, b/c you'll have a noisy mess due to intermod piling up noise in the IF stages.

 

Those CCRs lack of any sort of front end filtering, which is where the $$$$ is at.

 

Also, some people might be shocked to hear this but the Motorola XPR7550e uses a direct conversion receiver, not a superhet, yet they smoke anything else in the market. Its all about implementation. 

 

G.

 

Yeah, some Wouxuns and Anytones are superheterodyne.

 

My daily drivers aren't CCR's, I picked them up to fill a niche... mostly in DMR and GMRS, but I had someone challenge me when they first started hitting the market and watched my 1990's vintage radio shack HT mop the floor with Baofengs ... may that poor thing rest in peace, it served me well for many years.

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It seems whenever there is a failing with a radio's performance it gets blamed on "intermod".

 

https://account.dyn.com/

 

This seems to be the go to bogyman to explain the problem. I'm not so sure that's the case with the frequency it gets mentioned. There are at least two other factors to consider.

 

The first is image response. Given the general lack of filtering on the front end, which by the way is also a problem with the name brand Japanese radios, might be a more likely cause of poor signal rejection from off channel signals.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_response

 

The second is based on the fact many of the CCR's use the ubiquitous RDA1846 radio-on-a-chip design.

 

https://www.w5txr.net/upload/RDA%20%20Microelectronics%20RDA1846.pdf

 

This chip is effectively a software define radio, a cheap one. The max clock frequency of the chip from the datasheet I have max's out at 26MHz. That's way too slow for UHF communications for a normal sampling period to be used, theory says it must be at least twice the highest frequency of interest, so something else must be going on.

 

Normally in DSP applications aliasing is avoided, however it can be used as a type of frequency down conversion method.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliasing

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_down_converter

http://hunteng.co.uk/pdfs/tech/ddctheory.pdf

 

For a typical application example of the chip have a look at a schematic for the UV-5R radio from Baofeng, one of the original CCR's.

 

http://static2.rigreference.com/manuals/baofeng/baofeng-uv5r-circuit-diagram.pdf

 

Given the low clock frequency of the chip, relative to the frequency of interest, several signals, at different frequencies, could end up being down converted and appear to be on the same frequency.

 

Some comments about the Anytone D578UV were made in some other posts. Additional info on that radio can be found here.

 

http://members.optuszoo.com.au/jason.reilly1/578mods.htm

 

About 3/4 of the way down the page is some interesting details about the internal design of the radio, specifically about the IF stage. The comment about the possibility of the third unpopulated IF strip being used in a future model for AM air band RX is nice.

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Not sure if your comments about intermod are sarcastic or not? 

 

Intermod is a catch all word, and usually the result of poor filtering.

 

G.

 

 

It seems whenever there is a failing with a radio's performance it gets blamed on "intermod".

 

https://account.dyn.com/

 

This seems to be the go to bogyman to explain the problem. I'm not so sure that's the case with the frequency it gets mentioned. There are at least two other factors to consider.

 

The first is image response. Given the general lack of filtering on the front end, which by the way is also a problem with the name brand Japanese radios, might be a more likely cause of poor signal rejection from off channel signals.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_response

 

The second is based on the fact many of the CCR's use the ubiquitous RDA1846 radio-on-a-chip design.

 

https://www.w5txr.net/upload/RDA%20%20Microelectronics%20RDA1846.pdf

 

This chip is effectively a software define radio, a cheap one. The max clock frequency of the chip from the datasheet I have max's out at 26MHz. That's way too slow for UHF communications for a normal sampling period to be used, theory says it must be at least twice the highest frequency of interest, so something else must be going on.

 

Normally in DSP applications aliasing is avoided, however it can be used as a type of frequency down conversion method.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliasing

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_down_converter

http://hunteng.co.uk/pdfs/tech/ddctheory.pdf

 

For a typical application example of the chip have a look at a schematic for the UV-5R radio from Baofeng, one of the original CCR's.

 

http://static2.rigreference.com/manuals/baofeng/baofeng-uv5r-circuit-diagram.pdf

 

Given the low clock frequency of the chip, relative to the frequency of interest, several signals, at different frequencies, could end up being down converted and appear to be on the same frequency.

 

Some comments about the Anytone D578UV were made in some other posts. Additional info on that radio can be found here.

 

http://members.optuszoo.com.au/jason.reilly1/578mods.htm

 

About 3/4 of the way down the page is some interesting details about the internal design of the radio, specifically about the IF stage. The comment about the possibility of the third unpopulated IF strip being used in a future model for AM air band RX is nice.

 

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