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Vertex VX5500 "Selectable Tones" programming/setup



Hi team-

I'm working on getting a VX-5500U set up and programmed for use with GMRS. I spent a few hours bashing my head against CE49's lovely UX last night and got most of the configuration figured out as well as the groups and channels for simplex operation to start. I've made groups for the GMRS upper/lower ranges and think I've got all of the frequencies input correctly, and so far at least the front panel reflects all of the changes I've made. What I don't have yet is another radio to test things with, am working on that.

It looks like I can set up CTCSS/DCS tones per channel config, as well as in two separate banks of 'Selectable Tones' that should then be accessible from the front panel via one of the programmable keys. It seems like using these separate banks would be the way to go to be able to more easily change tones on the fly while out in the world. However I'm having troubles actually getting the front panel to let me select a tone - whatever key I program to the selectable tones function essentially no longer does anything when I press it.

The Vertex manuals are a little bit inscrutable when it comes to specifying what requires an option board or not - some parts of the manual make it sound like Selectable Tones are a baseline capability of all VX4000/5500/6000 radios, other parts make it seem like I need the "2 Tone" option board. I would have thought "2 Tone" referred to DTMF functionality not CTCSS but not sure.

Adding possible complexity is that this particular unit is ex-NYPD. Would they have used a custom firmware or something that would remove functionality in exchange for adding different functionality elsewhere? It currently has firmware 0446 installed. No idea where to get a current stock firmware or how to get it pushed to the radio, but happy to explore this if necessary. This radio did have some option boards in it at one point based on the scribbling on the labels, but they appear to have been removed before sale. I see an "NYPD mode" in CE49 which as a software developer I find all sort of humorous.

Aside from this gotcha, this seems to be a lovely radio so far. Built like a tank, somewhat fiddly, and UI is manageable and charmingly '90s which all suit the '84 land cruiser it's going in.


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