• To anyone looking to acquire commercial radio programming software:

    Please do not make requests for copies of radio programming software which is sold (or was sold) by the manufacturer for any monetary value. All requests will be deleted and a forum infraction issued. Making a request such as this is attempting to engage in software piracy and this forum cannot be involved or associated with this activity. The same goes for any private transaction via Private Message. Even if you attempt to engage in this activity in PM's we will still enforce the forum rules. Your PM's are not private and the administration has the right to read them if there's a hint to criminal activity.

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    For M/A Com/Harris/GE, etc: there are two software packages that program all current and past radios. One package is for conventional programming and the other for trunked programming. The trunked package is in upwards of $2,500. The conventional package is more reasonable though is still several hundred dollars. The benefit is you do not need multiple versions for each radio (unlike Motorola).

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YOUR choice for commerical radio/ham use

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#1
Over the years there has been a ongoing discussion about the merits/detractions of using commercial gear on the ham bands. Leaving that argument behind and going with the assumption that you use commercial gear What would you recommend ?
Please include the following:
audio quality
cost of accessories(batteries etc)
programming ease
capability Channels, priority, etc
cost

no flaming, opinions are just that .
specific models please, not just brands

As an example I love my moto mts 2000 however batteries can get expensive and the programming is very Motorola...
 
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#2
Over the years there has been a ongoing discussion about the merits/detractions of using commercial gear on the ham bands. Leaving that argument behind and going with the assumption that you use commercial gear What would you recommend ?
Please include the following:
audio quality
cost of accessories(batteries etc)
programming ease
capability Channels, priority, etc
cost

no flaming, opinions are just that .
specific models please, not just brands

As an example I love my moto mts 2000 however batteries can get expensive and the programming is very Motorola...
Just about all of the major radio vendors have radios that can be used on the commercial / public safety frequencies as well as most of the ham frequencies. You would be more helpful if you provided some information on just how you expect to use the radios. Like there are dash mount and trunk mount mobiles. There are low power, medium power and high power mobiles.

How many channels are required?

Do you intend to use zones to separate the channels?

Is there any special requirements the radio needs to have?

Does the radio need to stay on after the engine is shut off?

Do you need a portable radio? Portable with speaker mic operation?

You will need programming cables to match the radios you select. In some cases there may be a requirement for a voltage level converter between the radio and the computer. In other cases, this level converter is part of the programming cable. Most of the current radios use a programming cable that plugs into the computer with a USB connection.

Plus you will need the programming software to program the radio. Some vendors require a software license to be in place before you can obtain the software and other vendors will just sell you the software.

You will need a computer to put the software on. In most cases this can be a computer that has Windows XP all the way up to Windows 10. I tend to stay away from anything above Windows 7. Call me old time, but it's stable and I don't have to keep updating my printer. It doesn't need to be the top speed that you can find. A computer with a clock speed around 1 GHz. is fine.

Some radios have problems being programmed with faster computers. I know the older EF Johnson radios like the 5100 and 5300 don't like high clock speeds. But they will work well on the commercial frequencies as well as the ham bands. I own a number of these EFJ radios.

My personal selection seems to be Icom, Kenwood, and Motorola. I use what I can get my hands on. My personal preference is not important to this discussion. But I do spend my frequent time on the road on the ham frequencies. I do have 5 radios in my truck, to keep me amused while on the road.
 
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#3
YOUR Choice For Commerical Radio/Ham Use

...What would you recommend ?
Please include the following:
audio quality
cost of accessories(batteries etc)
programming ease
capability Channels, priority, etc
cost...
Motorola APX7000 was my choice. However, now that my local P25 repeater is analog only, I will likely sell my APX7000 soon.

-Audio Quality: Excellent

-Cost Of Accessories: Expensives

-Programming Ease: The FPP isn't too bad. The Motorola CPS is a pain.

-Capability/Channels/Priorities: Excellent

-Cost: Expensive


The other issue, for those of us that might like to try D-Star or System Fusion, is there are no commercial radios for those, nor would I expect them.

I do have a DMR radio on order/ I didn't go with a Motorola DMR, at least not yet. There are some features on some non-Motorola radios that are worthy of consideration. It well may be that some people end up with two DMR radios to get all of the features that they want.
 
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#5
Whatever I have laying around or can pick up cheap.

Since I only need analog on VHF, I picked up a used CDM-1550. I purchased a new remote head kit since new was cheaper than the inflated prices for used ones on e-Bay.
I already had programming software and cables for it at work, so bonus.

The other radio is one of my spares from my work system, so it was free.

Cheap, works fine, does what I need, and best of all I didn't need to purchasing programming software or cables.

Down the road a few years when I get a new truck, I'll see what I have laying around that I can use. Might go with a P25 digital if work/county stuff ever goes that way, but it's not looking like it anytime soon. I don't need high dollar radios to do what I need, just something that works, is reliable and reasonably priced.

Audio quality for both of them (CDM1550, NX900) is good with external Motorola speakers.
Accessories for the CDM are cheap, and getting cheaper.
Accessories for the Kenwood are basically free, since it's a work radio.
Programming ease - yep. Had the software/cables/RIB at work.
The CDM-1550 has 160 channels, so I've got a few for work, and the rest are of play. Plenty of space to program in the simplex channels and enough repeaters to cover most of the state. Probably have 20 - 30 left over slots.
Cost = Free or Cheap. My two favorite flavors.
 
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#7
For straight up analogue? I really like the TK-7/8180 mobiles. Straight forward to program. Lots of channels, lots of zones. Display is nice, clear and easy to read. Software runs on a very wide varieties of operating systems, and is very stable. Audio is decent.

While I do not own nor used the TK-2/3180 portables, they are the companion to the mobiles. Programming is the same. The feature sets are virtually the same, and use, AFAIK, use the same firmware.

For DMR, all I have used are CS700 and XPR6550. I really like the CS700 for amateur use, although I want to upgrade it to a CS750. I have only used the XPR6550 on a linked CAP+ system. I did not like them a whole lot.

No P25 experience so nothing to recommend that way

NXDN NX2/700. Great mobiles and portables. Software is just as simple as the TKx180 series, but with digital portions. Mobiles have the exact same footprint as the x180 mobiles.
 
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