Jump to content

Which digital voice mode do you prefer?


Lscott
 Share

Recommended Posts

2 minutes ago, PACNWComms said:

Same here (audio and equipment wise), as I have maintained public safety radios for several decades now. I carry a Motorola XTS1500 P25 Phase I for monitoring local county 911, and then a XPR6550 Trbo series radio for some of the GMRS and amateur nets. A 900 MHz DTR410 is also kept close as many construction sites and tugs on the closest few rivers use them, but have left their default TalkGroups programmed. Audio wise the XPR7550e and XPR5550e seem the best in my own use, but build quality does not match the more expensive P25 radios.

For work it is an APX4000 and XPR7550e for handhelds and APX4500 and XPR5550e for mobiles. All get replaced this year for APX8000/8500 P25 Phase I/II gear.....it will be a busy time getting everything programmed and switched out. 

APX8000 and APX8500... not bad at all!! :)

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I LOVE my XPR7550e, fantastic radio!  Currently I have several XTS-5000's in various VHF, UHF, and 700/800 bands that I use daily, even got an XPR-6580 for 900 MHz ham & still got an XTS-2500 in the mix.  I do really like the APX series, tho my Department demo'd a Kenwood NX-5400 recently and it actually wasn't half bad and sounded great.  But in the end of course we went with Moto APX since our statewide Trunked system will be going Phase-2 P25 in the next couple years.  I would give my left pinky finger for an APX-8000 right now...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, gman1971 said:

APX8000 and APX8500... not bad at all!! :)

Believe it or not, there was a push to go with Harris, and I had to pitch the OpenSky debacle.....and the fact that most of the enterprise is already using Motorola ASTRO/Trbo infrastructure......would have cost about $200mil more to go Harris.

This is a company that issued Motorola HT-200's and has been Motorola ever since. I won the argument and it is APX8000/8500's for all now, not just the few sites that have had them a year or two now. Multi-band is needed due to many mutual aid agreements. So, DMR and P25 are my favorite digital modes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, WRAX515 said:

Kenwood NX-5400

Full disclosure, I used to work as an engineer for the the JVC/Kenwood Group / Zetron.....the 5000 series Kenwoods are nice, but I prefer APX series Motorola for sure. I will only contemplate Kenwood amateur radios now, unless they are at a hugely discounted rate. You may have dodged a bullet, and it was hard for me to recommend Kenwood P25 radios when I knew some of the inside info.

My area is going P25 Phase II as well, and multi-band capability is also needed. Years ago, I did have some Harris Unity XG-100P radios for this purpose, but I only keep one for my own use now (amateur bands, marine VHF, GMRS, etc.). P25 is my favorite digital mode, with DMR second.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I understand things correctly P25 Phase 2 is for trunking operation only. I would assume for basic P25 repeater and simplex Phase 1 should be good enough, at least for Ham Radio use.
 

Maybe as various agencies switch to Phase 2 radios more Phase 1 units will show up on the used market for reasonable prices. I did some haggling with an eBay seller the other week and picked up a used TK-5220 VHF P25 radio for $175. That pairs up with the UHF TK-5320, 400-470 band split, so I have both bands covered.

https://pdfs.kenwoodproducts.com/18/TK-5220&5320Brochure.pdf

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is alot of P25 stuff out there, just depends on the band. Alot is in the 800mhz range as many agencies are upgrading. UHF and VHF is not as common as 800. I tossed hundreds of XTL5000's and XTS2500/XTS5000 in the dumpster last year on a project as no one wanted them. 

The 8000/8500 are very good products. I use mine for both work, public safety and ham and love them. P25 in ham is simple and for the most part clean because the guys using it are using quality LMR gear and not some CCR. I think that's an advantage of P25 over DMR in ham for me. The audio is so much nicer. See what the future of the 8000/8500 is with the new NEXT on the horrizons...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, gortex2 said:

There is alot of P25 stuff out there, just depends on the band. Alot is in the 800mhz range as many agencies are upgrading. UHF and VHF is not as common as 800. I tossed hundreds of XTL5000's and XTS2500/XTS5000 in the dumpster last year on a project as no one wanted them. 

The 8000/8500 are very good products. I use mine for both work, public safety and ham and love them. P25 in ham is simple and for the most part clean because the guys using it are using quality LMR gear and not some CCR. I think that's an advantage of P25 over DMR in ham for me. The audio is so much nicer. See what the future of the 8000/8500 is with the new NEXT on the horrizons...

That's too bad. I would have taken a couple of the XTS-5000's you trashed for free. A buddy got a used one for 800 MHz which he's using as a scanner for the local PD.

I have some Kenwood NX-200's and NX-300's for NXDN. They use the same VOCODER chip as the Kenwood P25 radios I've got.

https://purcellradio.com/Downloads/Radio/Kenwood/nx-200-300_brochure_nx-200-300-brochure.pdf

The sound quality should be about the same I would assume between the P25 and NXDN radios.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, gortex2 said:

The 8000/8500 are very good products. I use mine for both work, public safety and ham and love them. P25 in ham is simple and for the most part clean because the guys using it are using quality LMR gear and not some CCR. I think that's an advantage of P25 over DMR in ham for me. The audio is so much nicer. See what the future of the 8000/8500 is with the new NEXT on the horrizons...

Very nice products is the understatement of the year... hahaha... mewantstwenty!!

I agree with the audio suffering in DMR if CCRs are used... on my system, everything is SL/XPR so the audio quality is pretty good. Isn't the older XTS radios use the IMBE vocoder vs the AMBE2 on the DMR and P25 Phase2 stuff?

 

G.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Lscott said:

That's too bad. I would have taken a couple of the XTS-5000's you trashed for free. A buddy got a used one for 800 MHz which he's using as a scanner for the local PD.

I have some Kenwood NX-200's and NX-300's for NXDN. They use the same VOCODER chip as the Kenwood P25 radios I've got.

https://purcellradio.com/Downloads/Radio/Kenwood/nx-200-300_brochure_nx-200-300-brochure.pdf

The sound quality should be about the same I would assume between the P25 and NXDN radios.

Yeah, given the shortage of radios, I would've taken a couple as well ... :D 

 

G.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

39 minutes ago, gman1971 said:

Isn't the older XTS radios use the IMBE vocoder vs the AMBE2 on the DMR and P25 Phase2 stuff?

My Kenwood P25's and NXDN radios use AMBE+2. I believe it is backwards compatible with the older IMBE VOCODERS.

If there is any audio differences I suspect that's due to different bits rates and compression used on the data stream.

Some radios, codecs, don't do well in a noisy environment. The codecs are highly optimized for human voice only and in a noisy environment the audio gets distorted. Those radios have some kind of noise filter to process the audio before going to the VOCODER.

In fact one complaint I've read is with the NXDN radios used by railroads. A lot of the equipment is controlled by tone sequences which works poorly over digital NXDN voice channels. They revert to analog FM when necessary when tone control is required.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know that some Kenwood diehards will disagree with me, that is fine, but I tried the NX stuff and they have measurably worse receivers, inferior audio and features that I didn't deem critical for our application. I reached the same conclusion as the other guys who chose APX over the NXDN stuff. Unfortunately, my budget didn't have an extra zero at the end of the check, otherwise I would've certainly chosen APX radios over the XPR as well...

XPR radios provide 100% crystal clear audio pretty much all the way to the end coverage, even in noisy environments, inside a car, inside a store... etc.

People who have the gain on ther mics +20dB, forcing me to lower the volume... etc...  is a thing of the past.... And the APX radios are even better from what people who own both keep telling me... and like I said before, unfortunately the budget isn't that rich to own and operate a fleet of APX8000 and APX8500... :D

G.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, gman1971 said:

I know that some Kenwood diehards will disagree with me, that is fine, but I tried the NX stuff and they have measurably worse receivers, inferior audio and features that I didn't deem critical for our application. I reached the same conclusion as the other guys who chose APX over the NXDN stuff. Unfortunately, my budget didn't have an extra zero at the end of the check, otherwise I would've certainly chosen APX radios over the XPR as well...

XPR radios provide 100% crystal clear audio pretty much all the way to the end coverage, even in noisy environments, inside a car, inside a store... etc.

People who have the gain on ther mics +20dB, forcing me to lower the volume... etc...  is a thing of the past.... And the APX radios are even better from what people who own both keep telling me... and like I said before, unfortunately the budget isn't that rich to own and operate a fleet of APX8000 and APX8500... :D

G.

Which NX model radios did you test?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, gortex2 said:

See what the future of the 8000/8500 is with the new NEXT on the horrizons

My only issue with the NEXT series is the cloud based programming, Motorola CPS as a service.......I work for a corporation that often messes up billing and payment, especially with Motorola, so I can see my programming option being held hostage until payment is current. (Can't fault Motorola on that though, at least not entirely.) Software as a service was tried by Harris, they needed the MAC address of a specific computer to program XG-100P handhelds and mobiles, where I can download Motorola CPS and put it on a dozen computers if I want. The one APX NEXT we borrowed as a demo did not work well for firefighters, but security it worked well.....that huge touchscreen was the issue with fire, and gloves.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A lot of companies don’t understand how their customers use their software. The Internet connection required to run it, license servers, dongles and all the rest of the crap really keeps me using older software that isn’t shackled 10 different ways. 

Some companies have legally purchased the software then go out and find a crack for it to avoid the hassles the licensing forces on users.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd say that the NX-1200 is closer to being equivalent to the CP200d - especially since the NX-1200 is about 1/3 the cost of an XPR7350e!  You know I don't disagree with you about the receive sensitivity on the XPR "e" series, but I found the DMR audio on the NX-1200 to be exceptional out of the box. Then again, I wasn't trying to mix & match within an existing fleet of Motorola units.

Motorola is painting themselves into a corner with some of the Software Update Management subscription things they're doing on the DMR lineup - so I'm glad to have Kenwood as an alternative.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Radioguy7268 said:

I'd say that the NX-1200 is closer to being equivalent to the CP200d - especially since the NX-1200 is about 1/3 the cost of an XPR7350e!  You know I don't disagree with you about the receive sensitivity on the XPR "e" series, but I found the DMR audio on the NX-1200 to be exceptional out of the box. Then again, I wasn't trying to mix & match within an existing fleet of Motorola units.

Motorola is painting themselves into a corner with some of the Software Update Management subscription things they're doing on the DMR lineup - so I'm glad to have Kenwood as an alternative.

I've purchased most of the 7550e radio fleet I have in the 2nd hand market, and its hard to find NX5300 for <300 bucks... whereas I was able to find plenty of used XPR7550e, most of them with minor cosmetic flaws for around 300 bucks a pop (or less).  Replacement parts for the XPR radios are readily available, things like microphones, antennas, accessories and IMPRES batteries... a feature to which there is no equivalent in the Kenwood lineup.

Well, the NX1200 audio is good until you get inside a noisy cockpit, or inside a noisy location, mall, etc, then the XPR7550e simply wipes the floor with the NX1200.

I've also heard the APX8000 noise suppressor wipes the floor with the XPR7550e... so there is that... :) 

Agreed, I am not thrilled with the whole direction they are taking with the XPR lineup, but there isn't much I can do to change that and it looks like the XPR7550e/5550e radios will be the last radios I purchase for a very long time, which is about the time it will take for APX8000 to go for 300 dollars in the used market... a long time. :D

G.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@PACNWComms supposedly with the next release of software the next can be programmed by CPS again or RC. I hate having to use RC but on the other side I have the code plug backed up. As for FF use agree. I took mine on a few calls and the display doesn't work well with my gloves. There is a new "XE" version out but don't think i'll end up with one anytime soon. I do use the NEXT for SAR because I can look at the map. Just a feature. Not for navigation. But still like my 8000XE for Fire stuff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/23/2021 at 7:46 AM, Lscott said:

If you had to pick one digital voice mode which would you use?

I shied away from D*Star because I did not like the idea that a private party (Japan Amateur Radio Society) owned the technology and licensed it to ICOM.  Later DMR was based upon the public domain TDMA digital technology.

When DMR came to my attention, I discovered, to my delight, that Radioddity converted their GD-77 into a Baofeng UV-5R style case and hence all my Baofeng accessories would work (primarily my high capacity batteries) and for only $69!

With 3 DMR repeaters within range of my home shack, I have not yet dipped my toes into "hotspot" technology.

About a year ago, a Ham in Australia developed OpenFirmware technology for both the GD-77 and RD-5R and as soon as I find some experimental time, I will be installing it.

So with the RD-5R I have in the palm of my hand: Analog, DMR, 2 meters, 70 cms, GMRS, MURS and MORE! 👍

And did I mention, all this for only $69!?!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, MichaelLAX said:

So with the RD-5R I have in the palm of my hand: Analog, DMR, 2 meters, 70 cms, GMRS, MURS and MORE! 👍

And did I mention, all this for only $69!?!

It's a cheap way to experiment. If the radio gets bricked with funky firmware won't cry much. Better than bricking a $500 radio.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, MichaelLAX said:

I’m going to look into that a bit more. It would be nice to have some cheap hardware that does digital modes that would be costly buying commercial radios to do. Might be more fun than screwing around with a hot spot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Guidelines.