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Used Thales Liberty a good buy in 2024?

chanrobi

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Joined
Jul 21, 2023
Messages
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I've been eyeing some of the Thales Liberties that have been coming up on ebay and i'd really like one but a couple things concern me --

Programming cable, are these available at all? I can't find any for sale on ebay or anywhere else. I own a thales 25 and the pinout was simple to DIY a programming cable, just 3 pins to a serial port.

And lastly -- is the pc programming software readily available as well?
I've read most of the threads on this radio on this forum here, but it seems like there isn't many users for these ...
 

PACNWDude

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Oct 15, 2012
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The lack of programming software availability is what kept me from getting any of the Thales Liberty radios, (Sunny Communications has them as well), even with Front Panel Programming. I went through the hoops for Harris Unity XP-100P, and all it did was confirm for me that I am a die hard Motorola guy.
 

MTS2000des

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Software is out there. Google is your friend. As far as cables, it's fairly easy to 3D print one. Three pins and direct USB connection, no other parts other than wire and "pogo pins" needed.

Is it a good buy? Depends on the price. I wouldn't pay more than $300-400 for one. They are abandoned by their maker, no TDMA, and if it breaks, you will find no one anywhere who can service them.
 

chanrobi

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Joined
Jul 21, 2023
Messages
8
Ah, my google fu is not as good as yours! Ok so let's say programming software I can find on my own, and i've got the cable 3d printed per your link.

The only ones I can find at the moment are $375 USD for the radio (in beat up condition according to the listing) and another $145 USD for a brand new NOS battery. Does loading crypto require a hardware keyloader or can that be done via the programming software?

That's assuming I can find a charger for said batteries as well ....

I bought 3x of the Thales/Racal 25's on ebay there for $75USD and those came with AA clamshell and the programming software was also readily available, cable again 3d printed or just ghetto serial adapter.
 

MTS2000des

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Yep, forgot batteries are the expensive part. Keyloading is done via a hardware KVL. The downside to these radios are the accessories. If you're buying one and they aren't included, you are gonna pay for them. These are cool radios but honestly not worth the hassle. APX prices will be dropping like a rock in the next year or so. Don't overpay.
 

mmckenna

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I am a lineman for the county.
APX prices will be dropping like a rock in the next year or so. Don't overpay.

@chanrobi

Yeah, what's your budget?
I played with a Liberty when they first came out, and I never really liked it. There's several new multiband radios hitting the market in the next year, plus a lot of the original APX8000's are going to be aging out/getting replaced.
I agree with MTS, I'd hold off a bit and wait for prices to drop.

There are a lot of hidden costs in buying old radios, especially something as poorly adopted as the Thales. What might seem like a good deal could turn into a costly nightmare.
 

AF1UD

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294
If you need something... You'd be better off with an XG-100P. I've talked to people who had the Thales and thought it was a POS. Plus the XG-100P supports TDMA non-affiliate scan trunking and parts likes batteries are more commonly found new.
 

chanrobi

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Jul 21, 2023
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@chanrobi

Yeah, what's your budget?
I played with a Liberty when they first came out, and I never really liked it. There's several new multiband radios hitting the market in the next year, plus a lot of the original APX8000's are going to be aging out/getting replaced.
I agree with MTS, I'd hold off a bit and wait for prices to drop.

There are a lot of hidden costs in buying old radios, especially something as poorly adopted as the Thales. What might seem like a good deal could turn into a costly nightmare.
Honestly not much, i'm at corporal pay lol.

I just like playing with collecting radios civy side as I just got my ham license, particularly like stuff that is ruggedized/robust and is/used in a mil setting. I don't need it for any real purpose except talking to my buddies when we go offroading/camping.

Hidden costs is why I looked at and didn't purchase for example XTS2500/5000s -- ebay sellers asking insane prices and even though I read through most of the posts on this forum and others on the internet. I just have no idea what i'm really looking at to buy a used unit, that is in alignment then has the proper flash code, that isn't rehoused with some jank china replacement etc. etc.
 

chanrobi

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Jul 21, 2023
Messages
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If you need something... You'd be better off with an XG-100P. I've talked to people who had the Thales and thought it was a POS. Plus the XG-100P supports TDMA non-affiliate scan trunking and parts likes batteries are more commonly found new.
The only reason I haven't bought one of those is I can't figure out if the reports of for example, constant keypad issues and not being able to FPP it. And programming software not readily available?

Fpp is not a hard requirement but I would like it if possible. And compatibility with KFDshield/micro to load crypto (AES256)
 

mmckenna

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Honestly not much, i'm at corporal pay lol.

Ah, got it. I remember E-3 pay, but that was back in the early 1990's.

I just like playing with collecting radios civy side as I just got my ham license, particularly like stuff that is ruggedized/robust and is/used in a mil setting. I don't need it for any real purpose except talking to my buddies when we go offroading/camping.

Anything military grade is going to be very expensive, even on the used market. There are collectors you'll have to bid against. There are those hams/hobbyists that like them also.

If you just got your ham radio license, buy a basic hand held amateur radio as your first one. Yaesu, Kenwood, Icom should be your short list. Yeah, new, but you'll still be cheaper than trying to bid against others on E-bay. Plus, you won't be paying for a bunch of features you cannot use. Once you learn the radio and how to use it, save up some of your left over pay and keep your eyes open for good deals. May take months/years to find what you are looking for.

Hidden costs is why I looked at and didn't purchase for example XTS2500/5000s -- ebay sellers asking insane prices and even though I read through most of the posts on this forum and others on the internet. I just have no idea what i'm really looking at to buy a used unit, that is in alignment then has the proper flash code, that isn't rehoused with some jank china replacement etc. etc.

You are on the right track. Messing around in the commercial/public safety/military radio market can get expensive, and there are a lot of hidden costs if you don't pay close attention.

Start with a new radio from the big 3, and ease your way into the hobby. You have a lot of learning to do as you go, and struggling with the radio on top of all that will just make it harder. Keep the old commercial/military stuff until you get some more experience. That stuff has a steep learning curve and as a new ham, you will find it very frustrating.
 

prcguy

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I had a Liberty for a couple of weeks about 3-4yrs ago, I put a lowball snipe on eBay and got it for $107 including the side connector USB programming and Hirose adapter. I kind of remember it having a speaker mic also. It did FPP and the battery had some life left but at the time there was not a single new battery I could buy on this planet for any price. Programming software was unobtainable for free back then and I put it back on eBay and got $700 for it, which I thought was ludicrous. In hindsight I should have kept it, not for everyday carry as it’s a special kind of klunky, but as a historical piece being the very first multiband public service radio and batteries and software are more available these days.

A couple of years ago I got a Harris XG-100P and loved it so much I got a second one as did many of my friends. Everything we need is available for the Harris either free or at very good prices. I got one XG-100P for $400 and it works great and a few other friends got some in the $355 range as a package deal. As long as you know what you are getting and look for late version hardware like R20 the chances of keypad and other problems are slim and I think the Harris XG-100P handheld and XG-100M mobile are the very best bargains in multiband radios these days.
 

TDR-94

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I'll add to that.The hardware version doesn't matter, when it comes to the keypad issues and the XG-100P. I believe the H/W version refers to the RF hardware.It's the front covers and the s**ty keypad design in general. I've seen just as many later hardware version radios have many of the same issues as earlier version units.
 

prcguy

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I'll add to that.The hardware version doesn't matter, when it comes to the keypad issues and the XG-100P. I believe the H/W version refers to the RF hardware.It's the front covers and the s**ty keypad design in general. I've seen just as many later hardware version radios have many of the same issues as earlier version units.
Even if it’s the same keypad through the products lifetime, newer RF hardware should be a newer radio and I’ve seen more problems with older hardware like R13 or earlier compared to R20. I had an R13 hardware radio and its keypad gave me fits then I replaced the front cover with keypad and all is good. I had four 100Ps here checking them out for a friend and they all had bad keypads with R13 and earlier hardware. Those got returned and the next batch of four were R20 with great keypads. The guy bought four more late hardware radios and they were all fine.
 

merlin

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Jul 3, 2003
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DN32su
They are klunky radios with klunky firmware. Batteries run $200 (+) and 'IF' you can locate a programming cable, it will be about the same.
Try to find CPS software, now that is funny.
Do yourself a BIG favor, get a Harris XG-100P, Cheaper than Moto or Thales.
 

merlin

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Jul 3, 2003
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Yep, forgot batteries are the expensive part. Keyloading is done via a hardware KVL. The downside to these radios are the accessories. If you're buying one and they aren't included, you are gonna pay for them. These are cool radios but honestly not worth the hassle. APX prices will be dropping like a rock in the next year or so. Don't overpay.
People selling APX think they can get near new prices. An APX6000 has been listed on feebay for over 2 years now.
Harris is down a bit from a year ago except the mil stuff out of Rochester.
 

chanrobi

Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2023
Messages
8
They are klunky radios with klunky firmware. Batteries run $200 (+) and 'IF' you can locate a programming cable, it will be about the same.
Try to find CPS software, now that is funny.
Do yourself a BIG favor, get a Harris XG-100P, Cheaper than Moto or Thales.
Easy to find CPS for the XG100p?
 

TDR-94

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Joined
Mar 30, 2014
Messages
1,293
Even if it’s the same keypad through the products lifetime, newer RF hardware should be a newer radio and I’ve seen more problems with older hardware like R13 or earlier compared to R20. I had an R13 hardware radio and its keypad gave me fits then I replaced the front cover with keypad and all is good. I had four 100Ps here checking them out for a friend and they all had bad keypads with R13 and earlier hardware. Those got returned and the next batch of four were R20 with great keypads. The guy bought four more late hardware radios and they were all fine.
Well, I have two R20 versions now giving me keypad issues along with one that likes to randomly reboot from time to time. The R13 version that I have hasn't had the keypad issue yet, but it stays in a box and doesn't get much use.I think it really comes down to how much overall use the radios have had and the conditions the radios have been subjected to. If it's was a NIB, been a cache radio or lived it's life as a desk queen, then it probably isn't going to have any issues initially.l will say the THALES Liberty is a more ruggedly built radio than the XG-100P.
 
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