Alinco: Alinco DJ-MD5TGP and direct SMS over simplex

bozata

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May 28, 2015
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15
I have been pulling my hair in the past few days and hope someone could help.
Using two Alinco DJ-MD5TGP in DMR mode, same frequency, simplex, direct - no repeater or hotspot, same CC, same time slot. No problem with voice - they connect to each other perfectly.
However, I cannot send any SMS to the other radio nor I can do APRS. I can see the messages in the outbox but the other radio does not receive them. The sending radio red light is blinking (i.e. Tx) and the receiving radio green light is blinking (i.e. Rx).
I am using the Moto format for SMS and both radios are configured identically (aside from the Radio ID). Checked the notification alert settings and they are enabled.
What am I missing? Are those radios even able to send messages to each other without a repeater?
 

devicelab

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Jul 18, 2016
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Bothell, WA
Make sure you have the latest CPS and FW installed. It sounds like it should work with your settings. The manuals for the MD5 are a joke so they're not much of a help.

Here's the link for the latest software: Alinco DJ-MD5T
 

bozata

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May 28, 2015
Messages
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Yes, I got the latest 1.13c (I have the GPS version).
Has anyone done this? I am starting to doubt the radios can do it...
 

bozata

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May 28, 2015
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OK, I did a full reset and added only one, simplex, direct channel. I was able to do APRS (check and alert) between the two but messages still do not work. I can see the message in the outbox but the other radio never received it.
I would appreciate if someone who actually has done this could give me some pointers. As @devicelab mentioned, this should be simple to do and should work...
 

bozata

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May 28, 2015
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Does that mean it hasn’t actually been sent yet?
I do not have a way to monitor the communication between the two but if it is in the outbox of #1, not in the inbox of #2, and there is a red light on #1 (Tx) and green light on #2 (Rx) then I would suspect that #2 for some reason does not recognize the message as addressed to it. Which is weird because #2 recognizes the APRS messages. Another option is for #1 to start the transmission and for some reason not delivering the payload to #2.
There are multiple hypothesis and that is why I was looking for someone who has actually done this. Simultaneously, I will be posting to Alinco tonight but, given their manual, I am not very hopeful...
 

n9mxq

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Dec 15, 2005
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Belvidere IL
I don't own one of these, but could it be because they both have the same DMR ID? Just something I thought of reading the post.
 

Firekite

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Apr 2, 2019
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I do not have a way to monitor the communication
No, sorry, what I mean is since I’m unfamiliar with radio itself is there an outbox and a sent box? Meaning the message is queued up and ready to send, but it hasn’t actually sent yet?
 

bozata

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May 28, 2015
Messages
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I think I have figured it out, although it sounds weird.
They do have different IDs. That is the only difference.
They do have outbox where they keep a copy of the outgoing message (even after it was successfully sent).
It sounds bizarre but it seems that it was proximity - the radios were 4-5" apart. Once I put them about a foot apart everything started working. The only thing I could come up with is some sort of interference. Also, I think there is some sort of a sleeping mode that kicks off a while after the screen is blanked out.
I need to do more research but I am disappointed that the sender shows "Message Sent Successfully" even when the receiver does not receive it. Alinco should have done some basic confirmation check...
 

Firekite

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It said sent successfully, not received.

Try to keep all handheld radios a couple feet part if you’re intending to send and receive between them.
 

bozata

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May 28, 2015
Messages
15
It said sent successfully, not received.

Try to keep all handheld radios a couple feet part if you’re intending to send and receive between them.
Yes, practical lesson learned :)

However, there is something else going on. If I wait for the screen to turn off (15s) and then another about a minute then the receiver stops receiving messages. If I wake it up with a short PTT push from the sender (just to open the squelch) then it starts receiving again. The power saving ratio is 1:1 - I may experiment with that and also look for some sleeping settings in the software.
I am glad that I got at least a few of them through - now the troubleshooting starts ....
 

dazey77

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Jan 30, 2015
Messages
72
Hi, I have a MD5 as well and have also been ubable to get sms working in any form between either hyteras or motorolas regardless of format sellected in the MD5 or the other radios. I gave up. SMS seems completly broken on the alinco.
I am running older firmware, perhaps I will give the new one a go at some point. . .
 

bozata

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May 28, 2015
Messages
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I got it to work with 1.13c (see my first post for the config - start with a clean slate/full reset and take it from there) but it is not reliable. Still trying to figure it out why the receiver misses messages when the screen is off. The challenge is that it works sometimes and sometimes it does not.

Frankly, I am disappointed by the radio despite the glowing online reviews. Nowadays the radios become more and more SDR (software define radios) and one can see that software is a challenge for hardware people. I am a bit generalizing here, but that is a trend all over and the results are mostly disastrous - SCADA systems, washing machines, smart homes, smart cars...

The hardware seems decent but this thing did not go through basic UAT (user acceptability testing). The manual is atrocious (still trying to find out exactly what all the screen icons mean); the menu, while based on the old phones, is less intuitive; some options are very weird (why is there a difference between the options I can assign to short and long PF press?! why I am limited in menu options I can assign to the speed dial keys?!). If they clean up the firmware to address functionality (e.g. SMS, GPS) and usability (e.g. menus) issues this could be a very good radio. Right now, I cannot recommend it.
 

dazey77

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Jan 30, 2015
Messages
72
I agree, I expected better. Dissapointing that the analogue side doesn't even have the same functionality as a UV-5r, can't scan for ctcss codes etc.
I tried the new firmware, managed to get one way sms. . .
I am using hyteras sending DMR standard text messages and motorola sending DMR standard texts (so the two interop just fine).
Using M-SMS I can send from the alinco to a group and the Moto recieves the message properly (hytera don't get anything). Can't send from the moto to the Alinco (message gets to alinco but its a blank message). Can't send from the Alinco to the moto privatly
H-SMS I don't get messages to or from hyteras.
In H-SMS the Alinco will recieve a message sent to a group from an older PD365 (that only supports Hytera format SMS). It doesn't recieve if I send to the Alinco as an individual contact. The older Hytera does not recieve any texts from the alinco (send to group or private contact).

All in all not great!
 

bozata

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Joined
May 28, 2015
Messages
15
I agree, I expected better. Dissapointing that the analogue side doesn't even have the same functionality as a UV-5r, can't scan for ctcss codes etc.
I tried the new firmware, managed to get one way sms. . .
I am using hyteras sending DMR standard text messages and motorola sending DMR standard texts (so the two interop just fine).
Using M-SMS I can send from the alinco to a group and the Moto recieves the message properly (hytera don't get anything). Can't send from the moto to the Alinco (message gets to alinco but its a blank message). Can't send from the Alinco to the moto privatly
H-SMS I don't get messages to or from hyteras.
In H-SMS the Alinco will recieve a message sent to a group from an older PD365 (that only supports Hytera format SMS). It doesn't recieve if I send to the Alinco as an individual contact. The older Hytera does not recieve any texts from the alinco (send to group or private contact).

All in all not great!
The (somewhat) good news is that all of it is fixable through firmware. My dilemma is wether to wait for Alinco to fix those things or to get rid of it.
What is Alinco's track record? Do they usually fix their software? I don't have much experience with them.
 

ladn

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Oct 25, 2008
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407
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Southern California and sometimes Owens Valley
The (somewhat) good news is that all of it is fixable through firmware. My dilemma is wether to wait for Alinco to fix those things or to get rid of it.
What is Alinco's track record? Do they usually fix their software? I don't have much experience with them.
I'm pretty disappointed with Alinco's track record on this radio. Firmware updates have been few and far between. I also have the Alinco 878, which is the same hardware in a different package. Anytone has been very good on issuing updates (they are up to 1.16 now).
 

dazey77

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Jan 30, 2015
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I am considering chopping the Alinco in for the 878. Bluetooth, extra programmable buttons and analogue APRS all appeal. Downside seems to be the loss of the USB programming port, nice not having to have a special cable.
 

ladn

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Oct 25, 2008
Messages
407
Location
Southern California and sometimes Owens Valley
I am considering chopping the Alinco in for the 878. Bluetooth, extra programmable buttons and analogue APRS all appeal. Downside seems to be the loss of the USB programming port, nice not having to have a special cable.
The USB port on the Alinco is nice, but not enough (for me) to offset the overall dissatisfaction with Alinco's minimal support. The Anytone uses the same two pin accessory port as Kenwood and most other CCR's . I've been looking around to see if anyone has a successful hack that will allow Anytone firmware to run on the Alinco.
 
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