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Nextel Direct Talk (not Direct Connect)

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rescuecomm

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Is the Direct Talk format on 900 mhz just digital or is it spread spectrum too? If I use them on a Carribean cruise in multiple countries, could I be breaking some laws? I picked up 5 Motorola i355's from the web dirt cheap (~$25 each) and from looking at a friends i355, they look like a much better radio than the FRS or the Trident exrs stuff.

Bob
 

n9upc

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The OFF Network (DirecTalk) uses a FHSS system that uses a format of channels and codes with in the channels for pattern sequence. They put out about 1/2 watt and feature either a group call format (meaning everyone one on Ch 1 code 1) or a private call format (using your PTN based on SIM card).


The question about using them on a cruise ship in international waters is a good one. I have heard this asked by amny people and I do not recall one set answer. I do want to say this: while they are in the ISM band for operation, based on the United States FCC freqeuncy assignment sometimes it is different in international waters.

Another question is can you power them up and place them into DirecTalk mode w/o a SIM card in place. I am not sure if you have any SIM cards or maybe they did come with the phones. BUt, I have heard some people say that w/o a SIM card you really can not get past the please insert SIM screen.


Most cruise ship agencies can answer the radio question from what I have found on some researching which boils down to "well the cruise is going here in this country/area. You should check with them."


Good luck!
 

rescuecomm

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From other persons using only the Direct Talk feature, you are correct in that a Sim card is required to get to the selection screen. I have the sim cards for the radios. The info on the transmission mode being FHSS makes the cruise ships and Carribean use easier on the mind. The fact the the Nextels are pretty much considered cell phones is a good thing. I actually made one of the long distance (4 mile?) GMRS comms with a friend on the cruise ship deck to my spot on Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman. It was only later that I realized that we were probably doing something illegal.

Thanks,
Bob
 

KD8BVS

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Yes, you need a SIM card but don't worry because SIM cards are a dime a dozen! Just slip em into the phone and you can actually program your Direct Talk private phone number to anything you want. Just edit the phone number in the main menu, turn the phone off then back on and your ready. I got about a 3 mile range with Direct Talk and it works pretty well. I also like how its digital 900 and not analog like FRS.
 

SKYNET156

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i am just wondering that even though you need a SIM Card for these phones. do you need to have paid service to use the direct talk?
 

N2DLX

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I think you just need a Nextel SIM card. Doesn't need activation, but it does have to be an old Nextel card. You can't take a SIM card from another provider and expect it to work. As for how to get one, I'd look on eBay or ask around. A lot of people remove them when they sell phones online because they're afraid of personal data being recovered including phone numbers. So perhaps you can find 'em there anyway -- but most phones probably lack them so don't go buying a cheap phone online expecting one to be in it.

I had a discussion with someone a while back on the topic and looked into getting some old phones off eBay to mess with, and SIM cards came up. I scrapped the idea when I heard how limited the DT system is. It would have been nothing more than another toy for me, but I wouldn't get any actual use from it.
 

SKYNET156

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i am just looking to get a few for a contractor site that i work at doing building maintainence and landscaping, i am not looking for something that will connect farther than a mile,
What type of limitations are you speaking of?
 

rescuecomm

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Rich has a lot of radio gear from what I percieve so he has considerable two way capability compared to the rest of us.. As far as Sim cards go, I have found Boost starter kits with Sim cards for less than $10 on the web (limited minutes). Used sim cards can be found for much less. The cards come in 32K, 64K, and 128K flavors, so be sure which one your particular iden phone requires. I bought four 128K sims for the five i355's and plan to get one Boost (sim and) activation to check them out. I also have five 4 watt UHF handhelds for serious communications, but have a need for some less visible two way stuff for the mall and the beach.

Bob
 

SKYNET156

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like i said, i am just looking to use them for on the job communications, sometimes my boss picks up a building maintainence or landscaping contract, and we'll be in huge warehouses that are abandon and no way to communicate, we tried FRS, but we didn't like it, and the radio are too flimsy, i figured i would pick up a few i355's and use them, they are rugged and cheap, so i am just wondering what the coverage is? i dont know if it's simplex and can cover about a 1/2 mile?
 

bezking

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Regarding the legality, the following is from the nextel site:
International service. In addition to the U.S. and U.S. territories, Direct Talk is legally approved and capable for use in Canada, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Venezuela, and the Philippines.
 

KD8BVS

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like i said, i am just looking to use them for on the job communications, sometimes my boss picks up a building maintainence or landscaping contract, and we'll be in huge warehouses that are abandon and no way to communicate, we tried FRS, but we didn't like it, and the radio are too flimsy, i figured i would pick up a few i355's and use them, they are rugged and cheap, so i am just wondering what the coverage is? i dont know if it's simplex and can cover about a 1/2 mile?
I use DT all the time and I get about a 2 - 3 mile range. All you need to do is buy used Nextel SIM cards on Ebay. They are a dime a dozen! Literally, they are about .99 each.

You can email me at HT2500 at gmail dot com if you have anymore questions.
-Alex
 

rescuecomm

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I got the i355's today and tried two of them using charged up batteries from my old i60c. The delay in transmit/receive is interesting (about a second) but the audio is loud and clear. Found that there are 10 channels and 15 codes, so 150 combinations all together. Not bad for $25.00 apiece. Now for a few carrying clips and we are ready to go. I won't dump my and my son's GzOne Verizon contract for Boost just yet because on a rural squad call last Sunday, we couldn't hit the county VHF repeater on our WT's from inside the patient's residence. I had two bars of service on my GzOne while my partner's Nextel had no service. I ended up walking to the car to use the mobile radio to request a transport unit.

Bob
 
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N2DLX

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Rich has a lot of radio gear from what I percieve so he has considerable two way capability compared to the rest of us..
I'm just a radio geek with a few HT's, mobiles, and repeaters. Most people with a Ham or GMRS license have more radios than I do.. but I enjoy getting creative with them on the software level, while others like to dig into the hardware. You'd be surprised what you can make things do without having to crack open the case..

I'm certainly not knocking the Direct Talk feature, I'd rather see businesses use that than FRS/GMRS bubblepack radios. On a personal front, I don't have anyone to give one to so it'd just be a cheap toy for me, and I wouldn't get any personal use out of it. I was hoping it was a little more secure, but you can't beat it for the price of used phones on eBay and a SIM card.

Someone needs to do a good demo on Direct Talk. I hear claims like 2-3 miles or more, which I find hard to believe on level terrain. 900 MHz at 1 Watt can only go so far, especially outside. In an urban environment you'd have the advantage of the higher frequency, especially when in a building, but outside I wouldn't expect more than a mile at best.
 

JASII

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Nexterl Direct Talk

A fellow ham and I have done a demo on this. I was at home and I was in a car. We had a one mile range in a suburban area. We also compared this to P-25 simplex on 800 mHz with 3 watt Motorola XTS5000s. We got two more blocks of range with the XTS5000s. I thought that was interesting because the XTS5000 is more powerful than the Nextel unit, but not a great difference in range.
 

grem467

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I use DT all the time and I get about a 2 - 3 mile range. All you need to do is buy used Nextel SIM cards on Ebay. They are a dime a dozen! Literally, they are about .99 each.

You can email me at HT2500 at gmail dot com if you have anymore questions.
-Alex
will a 32k sim work for just using DT? i have a couple of extra boost phones i have "enabled" the DT feature in, but have no sims...
 
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