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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03-29-2017, 6:09 PM
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Post VX-7200 P25 VHF

Does anyone own a VX-7200 VHF and use it with P25? I'm seeing a very odd problem but I *think* it's a DSP/FW problem as my like-new VX-7200 has FW 1.11 version installed. I'm trying to find a way to get it to 1.24 (the latest released FW) -- and I'll know on Friday morning whether that can be done.

With the WA State Patrol though, I'm getting a whopping 0.5% decode rate on WSP's P25 VHF frequencies.

(Oddly, the 0.5% that do make it through are all mobile units. Their decode sounds fantastic *IF* the Vertex is able to decode properly. The dispatcher audio NEVER comes through. At times, I've heard the speaker "pop" like it was going to push out audio but it never does. The busy LED lights up but no audio comes through.)

With my XTS 5000 VHF I can transmit/receive perfectly fine on the Vertex so it's got to be something specific with the WSP system.

I did speak with Vertex Standard tech support and their customer care. The tech support guy was quite knowledgeable and was able to point me to a possible solution. (The only other solution is to send it to the El Paso depot to have service done at the factory -- but there's a flat $100 charge.)

I really like this radio so I'm really hoping the firmware upgrade to 1.24 does the trick.

PS. I have the FIF-12A USB programming cable and like others have mentioned this does NOT work with the Vertex firmware utility. The FIF-10A will likely work as the software was written for the FIF-8 or FIF-10 cables. (At least that's the current thinking by Vertex.) The problem is that the FIF-10 was discontinued long ago and isn't available.

Last edited by devicelab; 03-29-2017 at 6:13 PM..
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Old 03-31-2017, 8:28 AM
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Your like new radio might need a bench alignment with a service monitor. Might not be a bad option to send it in for hundred dollars. I have a uhf model and while I like it I'm still partial to using Motorola gear.
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Old 03-31-2017, 4:50 PM
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Very possible N3OBL -- it looks like Vertex (in their wisdom) made the firmware utility work with ONLY the FIF-8 or FIF-10 USB cable. The FIF-12 USB doesn't work.

So thanks to a friendly local radio shop I borrowed their FIF-10 USB cable and was able to upgrade the firmware to 1.24 -- however, it sadly didn't solve the P25 decode issue.

I was just now playing around with various settings -- trying everything/anything possible. One thing I noticed is that when transmitting on P25 the audio sounds rather hashy (poor) compared to say my XTS 5000. The XTS cannot decode the Vertex on FM-P25 but CAN decode on NFM-P25. Sounds like it's in need of a tune job.
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Old 04-01-2017, 2:07 AM
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Have you checked the RX modulation types? Is it set to C4FM or CQPSK. XTS5000 has this choice, but I don't remember if the VX7200 does.
I'd suggest only using Narrow 2.5kHz with P25.
Are you monitoring WSP direct or through the JIWN TRS?
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Old 04-01-2017, 8:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radiotweester View Post
Have you checked the RX modulation types? Is it set to C4FM or CQPSK. XTS5000 has this choice, but I don't remember if the VX7200 does.
I'd suggest only using Narrow 2.5kHz with P25. Are you monitoring WSP direct or through the JIWN TRS?
You might be on to something there radiotweester --

From the service manual, the VX-7200 only supports C4FM -- at least that's what it implies. The APCO P25 standard support CQPSK but I'm wondering if the VX-7200 doesn't support CQPSK/LSM.

From what I've been told, inside King/Pierce County, the state patrol units transmit on the 700 Mhz trunk which is then [ultimately] simulcasted to the VHF Conventional side. (Affiliation priority of 700 IWN, VHF IWN and then VHF Conventional.) Areas outside King/Pierce county may not use the 700 Mhz trunk so perhaps they're only using C4FM on those frequencies.

So for my issue, WSP D1/D2 dispatch and most units do not come thru. TOM units do come thru (perhaps they're transmitting directly on VHF?) D7/D8 dispatch and units seem to come thru just fine.

So my guesses are now:

1. VX-7200 needs alignment and/or hardware fix (but why is P25 working with XTS?)
2. VX-7200 doesn't support CQPSK or LSM.
3. The WSP D1/D2 systems are using some kind of special LSM firmware which is preventing the VX-7200 from working. (I've confirmed that Motorola APX/XTS and ICOM P25 mobiles have no trouble. I haven't confirmed if Kenwood NX or TK P25 mobiles have any issue as yet.)

To answer your questions:

1. No there's no setting in the programming software to specify modulation type (it's pretty limited software)
2. I"ve tried using Narrow and 20/25khz FM digital P25 and there is no change
3. The VX-7200 is P25 conventional only so not thru VHF IWN

Last edited by devicelab; 04-01-2017 at 8:58 PM..
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Old 04-01-2017, 9:26 PM
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Are you setting the proper NAC (F7E)? Do you have a Conv TG set?

My XTS5k is set to CQPSK FYI, and work fine, minus the RF limitations on portables...however that's a mix of IWN and P25 conv. With the costs of XTS5000's plummeting, I'd suggest one of those....

As you pointed out though, it can't even properly talk to another P25 radio, you probably have alignment issues.
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Old 04-02-2017, 12:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jparks29 View Post
Are you setting the proper NAC (F7E)?
I've tried the proper NAC codes and F7E and neither make a difference. At this point, I'm pretty sure it's not a radio setting.

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Originally Posted by jparks29 View Post
As you pointed out though, it can't even properly talk to another P25 radio, you probably have alignment issues.
No, you misread my post. The VX-7200 works fine with the XTS 5000 and the Unication G5. This is what is most frustrating. It works perfectly fine -- it's just not decoding P25 correctly.

The VX-7200 has the AMBE+2 vocoder and is P25 conventional only. Also, it allows for customized zone capacity. It has a great set of features -- if I can just get the P25 decode to work properly.

It looks like I'll be shipping it to the depot on Monday. Perhaps it's an alignment issue and/or a hardware issue.
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Old 04-02-2017, 1:11 AM
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Hmmm... Well before dropping $$$, are you able to put the RX info into your XTS?
Set 1 conventional as C4FM and 1 conventional as CQPSK, same WSP freq the 7200 is having issues with. From what you're describing 700 to VHF and patches it's quite possible they're broadcasting CQPSK. I haven't listened to WSP besides a tiny smattering of D5 Vancouver. No P25 down here though. You could also try setting the transmit on the other freq you were testing to CQPSK and see if you can mimic the hash you were describing. I'd guess it's set as C4FM now and that's why it sounds so good.
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Old 04-02-2017, 2:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radiotweester View Post
Hmmm... are you able to put the RX info into your XTS? Set 1 conventional as C4FM and 1 conventional as CQPSK, same WSP freq the 7200 is having issues with.
Of course but I don't think that setting affects the Rx -- just the Tx modulation. I could be wrong but the CPS help is limited. So, I changed the channel personality to CQPSK and the XTS receives WSP using just fine -- using either C4FM or CQPSK values. There's no change. (Again, I think this might be a Tx option only.)

The XTS receives the P25 from the VX-7200 just fine and vice versa. (The VX-7200 receives the CQPSK P25 from the XTS 5000.)
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Old 04-02-2017, 3:49 PM
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Stick with the XTS, problem solved!

Haha..

SO, both radios talk to each other in close proximity.

The XTS5k unmutes on P25 audio, and the 7200 which you have programmed identically does not, or very infrequently.

You're getting portable units but very rarely base stations....

1. Get it aligned.
2. Triple check your programming.

Does your radio have ID decode?
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Old 04-02-2017, 4:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jparks29 View Post
The XTS5k unmutes on P25 audio, and the 7200 which you have programmed identically does not, or very infrequently. You're getting portable units but very rarely base stations....Does your radio have ID decode?
"ID decode" -- not sure what you mean by that? TGID, RID, other..?

FWIW, I'm receiving CREST from VIctoria, BC on VHF P25 with no issues. WSP out of Bremerton (District 8) is perfectly fine. WSP out of Everett is about 90% but WSP Seattle or Tacoma... only the TOM units come through (transportation / incident response units.)

Pretty sure it has something to do with this 700 Mhz IWN system.

Last edited by devicelab; 04-02-2017 at 4:21 PM..
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Old 04-02-2017, 7:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devicelab View Post
"ID decode" -- not sure what you mean by that? TGID, RID, other..?

FWIW, I'm receiving CREST from VIctoria, BC on VHF P25 with no issues. WSP out of Bremerton (District 8) is perfectly fine. WSP out of Everett is about 90% but WSP Seattle or Tacoma... only the TOM units come through (transportation / incident response units.)

Pretty sure it has something to do with this 700 Mhz IWN system.
The systems are supposed to be linked, but I found numerous times, I'd have 2 VHF xts5k, and one 700/800, and something would come up on 700 and IWN, but not VHF, or on VHF and 700 but not IWN, or ONLY on IWN and VHF and 700 was silent... So, I think they're either working on some bugs, OR they are selecting mullticast sites as needed...

and as far as decode. TGID or RID....

I also know that portable coverage in KC is #%(& on VHF multicast, near perfect on 700 and IWN...
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Old 04-03-2017, 11:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jparks29 View Post
The systems are supposed to be linked, but I found numerous times, I'd have 2 VHF xts5k, and one 700/800, and something would come up on 700 and IWN, but not VHF, or on VHF and 700 but not IWN, or ONLY on IWN and VHF and 700 was silent... So, I think they're either working on some bugs, OR they are selecting mullticast sites as needed...and as far as decode. TGID or RID....
Yes I can see the RID of users. And I can specify the Tx TGID if so desired. It doesn't affect Rx.

It'll be just my luck that they'll dump VHF conventional radio services!
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Old 04-06-2017, 3:12 PM
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Just to bring closure to this thread...

It looks like I definitely have either an alignment issue or some kind of hardware issue with my Vertex VX-7200.

I picked up a LNIB Kenwood TK-5720 P25 VHF and it's working 100% perfectly. Even with its original firmware, it was decoding WSP dispatch without issue. It sounds slightly better with the latest firmware however.
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