• 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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Radio implementation for a new company

mmckenna

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That doesn't sound too bad. I was expecting something that would cause it to not pass part 90 regs. Usually, it is the harmonics, spurious, D and E masks. No issues there?

I don't recall if I checked that. I got as far as them being that far off and gave up. The over deviation, if not correctable, would not let them pass part 90. 500Hz is kind of a lot for being off frequency, in my book.
I was replacing them with new Kenwood's and didn't want to waste much time on them.
If I ever run across any more, I'll spend a bit more time on them.

I do know that some of them sounded like crap on the system. I did everything I could do with the damn repeaters and got things sounding good with my radios, but when they started using their BaoFengs, the audio was bad.

Easy fix, put a suitable radio on the system and most of the issues went away.
 

MTS2000des

5B2_BEE00 Czar
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Our local club put this video out a couple years ago. Granted, this was to demonstrate that a Baoturd could not even meet PART 97 (amateur) limits for spurious radiation, let alone part 90. Using a Rigol spec-an and compared to a Kenwood TH-D74, the Baoturd showed that indeed, a $20 toy radio based on an RDA1817 or similar cheap consumer crap chip is well...crap. Shocker.
 

btt

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500Hz is kind of a lot for being off frequency, in my book.
500 Hz (1.11 ppm @450 MHz) is well within the limits for a mobile radio. The limit is 2.5 ppm in 450 MHz band.

Our local club put this video out a couple years ago. Granted, this was to demonstrate that a Baoturd could not even meet PART 97 (amateur) limits for spurious radiation, let alone part 90. Using a Rigol spec-an and compared to a Kenwood TH-D74, the Baoturd showed that indeed, a $20 toy radio based on an RDA1817 or similar cheap consumer crap chip is well...crap. Shocker.
Using a Rigol DSA-815 spectrum analyzer with external attenuation to measure a 5Watt radio for part 90? Really? Those results are highly suspect in my opinion. In order to use a low-end analyzer like that to measure the harmonics accurately, you would have to filter out the fundamental and get rid of the external attenuation.
 

mmckenna

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500 Hz (1.11 ppm @450 MHz) is well within the limits for a mobile radio. The limit is 2.5 ppm in 450 MHz band.

I have no problem getting Kenwood's and Motorolas down to ±40-50Hz or less, and keeping them there.

It may fall inside specs, but it doesn't mean it's good. And for a one year old radio to be out that far, I'd like to see how they held up.
 

btt

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I have no problem getting Kenwood's and Motorolas down to ±40-50Hz or less, and keeping them there.

It may fall inside specs, but it doesn't mean it's good. And for a one year old radio to be out that far, I'd like to see how they held up.
I hear what you are saying. I always measure reference frequencies / calibrate anything I ship. I'm just pointing out that 1ppm offset doesn't automatically mean junk. They probably have a TCXO in there. If it really is only $20, they probably don't take the time to measure/calibrate the reference for the PLL.
 

CG23

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Thank you again for the advice. I spoke to Management this morning and stated that I was not going to waste any more resources pursuing radios that would not work. I was greeted with a good, supportive response. An immediate investment would most likely not be viable but a plan to implement something in the next 12 months with professional consultation is doable.
 

mmckenna

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Thank you again for the advice. I spoke to Management this morning and stated that I was not going to waste any more resources pursuing radios that would not work. I was greeted with a good, supportive response. An immediate investment would most likely not be viable but a plan to implement something in the next 12 months with professional consultation is doable.

That's good news. Hopefully they either fund it down the road, or try using an outside provider for service.
Good luck!
 
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500Hz is kind of a lot for being off frequency, in my book.

Back when I was racing we were in Miami at the last race of the year. Most teams mounted their radios in the side pod near the radiator.
During the race Al junior's side pod picked up some paper which blocked the radiator and caused the radio to overheat. His radio got so hot he could not RX so crew chief Dennis Swan could not get him to change his pit strategy.
He was battling his dad for the win and championship but didn't win and of course it was the radio's fault....

When the race ended I got the radio out and took it back to my service van. It was so hot I had to carry it in a shop rag. It was over 3k off freq and finally came back down after cooling off.
 

mmckenna

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When the race ended I got the radio out and took it back to my service van. It was so hot I had to carry it in a shop rag. It was over 3k off freq and finally came back down after cooling off.

Damn.

I had an EFJ 5100 that was sitting on my desk for a long time that had been dropped inside a large air handler. At some point it went through the belt drive. Had grooves in the radio. Still worked fine, even though you could see the innards.

I tossed one of the new Kenwood NX-3400's I received a week ago on the auto tester. 3hz off frequency. I've tested a few NX-410's that have been in the field 10 years and they were in the ±30Hz range.

A Baofeng being 500Hz off an only a few months old is pretty poor QC in my book.
 
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Project25_MASTR

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Damn.

I had an EFJ 5100 that was sitting on my desk for a long time that had been dropped inside a large air handler. At some point it went through the belt drive. Had grooves in the radio. Still worked fine, even though you could see the innards.

I tossed one of the new Kenwood NX-3400's I received a week ago on the auto tester. 3hz off frequency. I've tested a few NX-410's that have been in the field 10 years and they were in the ±30Hz range.

A Baofeng being 500Hz off an only a few months old is pretty poor QC in my book.
Be glad you didn't build a TRBO system due to the NIPSAC issue at the time you built your current system. The XPR4580's had a massive drifting problem. Every 18 months I would have to realign hundreds of them for air time customers 300-1200 Hz of drift was not uncommon.
 

mmckenna

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Be glad you didn't build a TRBO system due to the NIPSAC issue at the time you built your current system. The XPR4580's had a massive drifting problem. Every 18 months I would have to realign hundreds of them for air time customers 300-1200 Hz of drift was not uncommon.

I trialed a Trbo system. Back then, Motorola had the software setup so you could not program in NPSPAC channels into Trbo radios. I asked about that, and Motorola said "If you are using NPSPAC channels you -MUST- use P25".
Typical Motorola BS.
So, we went with Kenwood.
NXDN sounded way better than Trbo at the time.

Motorola sales tried to strong arm us a few times into over built systems. Made it really easy to walk away from their B.S. and not look back.
 

N4KVE

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I trialed a Trbo system. Back then, Motorola had the software setup so you could not program in NPSPAC channels into Trbo radios. I asked about that, and Motorola said "If you are using NPSPAC channels you -MUST- use P25".
Typical Motorola BS.
So, we went with Kenwood.
NXDN sounded way better than Trbo at the time.

Motorola sales tried to strong arm us a few times into over built systems. Made it really easy to walk away from their B.S. and not look back.
Are you aware Moto has a Canadian EID to get around that? It’s free, & one simply asks for it. All my 800/900 Trbo radios have the five freq’s in them.
 

mmckenna

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Are you aware Moto has a Canadian EID to get around that? It’s free, & one simply asks for it. All my 800/900 Trbo radios have the five freq’s in them.

12 years ago that wasn't an option. I needed to replace the failing SmartNet system and we were not going to P25. Motorola had their chance, but their attempts at forcing us into spending more than we had in the budget failed.

Kenwood got the money because they had a system that worked, and worked well.
 

MTS2000des

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Kenwood got the money because they had a system that worked, and worked well.
Not to mention, no issues with pirated software, 30 year old sys key generators, and cloned IDs from Fraudbay radios. NXDN trunking is about as secure a network as you can buy LMR wise. From day one. ESN validation aka LLA, AES-256 capability, and KPG software locked down tighter than a convent of nuns. For less money.
 

KI5EDJ

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I'ma address it from a Maintenance Director's perspective. I don't mean to sound harsh, just telling it like it is.
If you hand my guy a radio and expect him to carry it, he's gonna expect it just to work. Under the hood there are things going on he won't know about but that could save his life.
My *personal* chosen radio is a Motorola XPR3500e. It has wifi capability, a man down alert, lone worker mode, and a non GPS capability to pinpoint its exact location in the facility. The one radio alone cost me $800.
We're the guys that depend on a cheap padlock to keep someone from turning on a palletizer while we're inside it (your guys do lock stuff out, yes?). It takes a few seconds to get out of that machine. Electricity doesn't give us a warning when it comes on, it just finds the path of least resistance to ground. I have seen all kinds of maintenance issues go seriously wrong with results as simple as four inches of water on the deck to cranes flipping over, people falling in the ocean, one guy getting covered in and inhaling toxic powder, another dude got pulled into a saw, etc. These folks lived fortunately, and in some cases quality two way radios got the word out. The dude with the toxic powder got word out through an XPR3500e like mine. In my Dad's time they didn't have that kind of communications. I too, have worked places where maintenance people were killed. At the local GM plant, two people were killed during the entire run. One was cut in half when a hydraulic ram broke loose and dropped a steel plate on him. The other was caught in a body stamping machine, he was pressed to death as the thing tried to stamp a Pontiac floorboard. Years later I worked a job where an operator was moving 30 freshly made 8,000 pound steel rods from the furnace to one of the mills. His truck hit a dip in the road, stopped suddenly, and all that hot steel came in the cab with him. He died instantly. In another case, my co worker and I had gone underneath a quenching machine to find a dropped tool. We heard over our radios they were sending hot steel and we had 3-5 minutes until it arrived (the machine was scheduled to be down that shift). We booked it and found the lost tool later.

In most of those cases, dependable two way radios would make a difference. The pinned or poisoned workers' radios would sound a man down alert. In the flood situations, communications proved their worth as we isolated water sources.
I have handled those comms over CCR's, but I much prefer purpose built radios for that. I'm glad the one night Ernie and I had radios when we crawled under the quencher. They weren't much but they saved our lives. Modern radios could have locked the quencher out automatically until their locators reported we were out of danger.

Sorry but I'm not going to get my crew to trust a radio that will let them down. If I'm depending on man down, lone worker, etc. to alert me when my guys are in trouble, it needs to be 100% reliable. Anyone who compromises their safety to cut costs will find themselves at best on the receiving end of many expletives at amplified levels and possibly a lawsuit. There's no excuse for it.
As was stated, we're not carrying something that doesn't work, either. Tool space is *extremely* limited as we work our way into a crawlspace or a machine.

I'm glad you came here to ask about this, most companies will just buy a load of the cheapest radios they can find, pass them out, and assume all is well. Find a reputable dealer. I've worked with Chickasaw Communications, Tri Electronics, and North Georgia Communications. They'll all deal straight with you even if they seem a bit elitist at first.

Oh, someone mentioned Morton-Thiokol... whoo... I know me. Had I been the person who spoke up they wouldn't have launched the Challenger that day. Unfortunately I was a 10 year old doormat.
I had a situation last year that put 1,500 lives in grave danger over one piece of faulty equipment. The company had messed around for five years with this thing, then changed hands, and the new bosses decided to yell at ME for filling out the paperwork correctly with the words "AUTO START FAILURE". Wrong move. I left that job with a clear conscious.
 
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rescuecomm

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This situation could easily be resolved by having the 4 or 5 radio experts here write a review that explains how having no two way radio communications on site is vastly preferable and safer than having inexpensive gear.

My experience is that companies either have the money to spend or they definitely will spend only the minimum.

In the areas around where I worked, it ranged from a few WT's on itinerant freqs to a massive automobile manufacturer with an on-site digital trunked radio system along with a dispatch facility. In an ideal world, corporate safety departments should take care of this. In the real world, they send out bundles of compliance paperwork with no financial support leaving the OP with few options.
 

buddy119911

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Hello, I hope to get help on here for a few specific questions. Please excuse my ignorance on some items as I am still educating myself when I can on Radio knowledge. I am the safety manager for a relatively new company which is a peanut sheller in a rural community (we have been in business for about 1.5 years and I have been here for right at 1 year). As part of the tasks given to me, I need to establish a functioning radio communication network and do it as inexpensively as possible. At the previous place I worked we had Motorola CP-200 radios but mainly they worked inside the building and were not used for a large distance.
Background:
I have established a few things so for:
  • FCC license for 5 frequencies in the UHF frequencies 400-470 MHz
  • Purchased and programed (18) 5 watt FPCN30A Samcom radios
  • Purchased (6) 10 watt H-6 Tidradio (have not programed yet as they just arrived)
  • I also have 3 other radios: (2) Baofeng UV-5R and (1) Baofeng BF-F8HP (I used these as test radios to determine what to get)
Facility and Layout:
The structure of our facility is made of metal and sits on about 60 acres on a relatively flat, but sloping plain. The warehouse feeding the plant has an underground tunnel surrounded by several feet of concrete. We also have some very tall grain(peanut) elevators. I recognize that the area covered should possibly have a repeater.

Problem:
The 5 watt radios cover most of the area from the front offices to the plant with out too much issue, however, once you get past the plant the radio signal drops to heavy static or nothing at all. The tunnel gets no radio reception at all.

I got a quote on a repeater and it was WAY MORE than my company is able/willing to put out at this time. So I have been tasked with getting done a difficult, but I don't think impossible, task. I have come across a device that I believe will work well enough as a repeater for our "little" area. (here is a link to it on amazon-2 way repeater box). It consists of using 2 mobile radios linked by a box. We don't need a repeater that works for miles just enough to get a signal from the furthest corners of our property. So here is where I start asking the questions:
  1. When setting up a repeater, do the Tx and Rx frequencies both have to be from the FCC or is one frequency issued and then the user does an offset?
  2. In addition to the device above, I would like to use external antennas to Rx and Tx. Can I link 2 receiving antennas with a splitter going back to the Rx radio? Likewise, can I link 2 transmitting antennas with a splitter? See 2 options below. Which is more feasible? I need to try to cover the tunnel and the yard area with the same repeater.
  3. Does a duplexer have to be programed for the frequencies we have or can I program it myself if I need to order one? any suggestions on the best one to order?
  4. I want to mount the antenna to the highest point which will be about 75'-100' off the ground What type of antenna should I get, vertical or Yagi? Something else?
  5. I am looking at running about 100' of cable maybe more. What type of cable should I run from the radio to the antenna? RG-58, RG-6, RG-8x?
Keep in mind I'm not looking at this as a long-term solution; I just need this to get by for now so that we can have communication for an emergency. Any help or ideas this community can contribute will be greatly appreciated!

Here is a picture from the location where the antenna(s) will go.
View attachment 134141
From my experience, in your situation....you got very bad advice trying to use UHF. VHF should work MUCH better and without an expensive repeater.
 
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