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July 2016 Archives

July 29, 2016

What to do if the programming cable does not work

If you program your two way radio from a computer, the programming cable is critical. It is the one and only data link between those two devices, and it needs to be reliable, stable and easy to install. It needs to connect and work every time. If you have an XLT Painless Programming Cable, it's usually not an issue.

The programming cable for your two way radio is supposed to simply install, connect and work, but what if it doesn't? What if it doesn't seem to work at all?

There is more to a programming cable for a typical two way radio than just the cable itself, and there are several factors that determine its connectivity, functionality and performance, most of which involve your computer. If your radio programming cable isn't working, consider them all before you tie yourself and your cable into knots of frustration.

Follow the steps below in order to properly install and resolve issues with two way radio programming cables and drivers.
Step 1. Verify the correct driver is available for the cable.
  • If the correct driver or driver CD is available, proceed to Step 2.
  • If the correct driver is not available, locate it on the CD/DVD provided with the cable or download the driver from the manufacturer's web site.

Step 2. Before installing, be sure the radio is off, the computer is on and the cable is not plugged into either device. The purpose of this step is to ensure a clean install according to the instructions of the manufacturer.
  • If this is the first attempt to install the cable, skip to Step 3.
  • If a previous attempt was made to install the cable and/or the cable driver, completely and thoroughly uninstall the cable and all elements of the driver according to the manufacturer's instructions, then disconnect the programming cable from all devices and reboot the computer.

Step 3. Follow the manufacturer's step-by-step procedure for proper installation of the USB programming cable and driver.
  • If installation was successful, skip to Step 6.
  • If installation was not successful or the cable is not recognized, go to Step 4.

Step 4. Try other USB ports
  • If the cable successfully installs when plugged into another USB port, skip to Step 6.
  • If installation failed on all USB ports, go to Step 5.

Step 5. install the cable on another computer.
  • If another computer is available, proceed with installation.
  • If installation is successful, Go to Step 6. Note: If the installation is successful on another computer, the issue may be with the first computer. You may need to contact a computer repair technician.
  • If installation is not successful on another computer or another computer is not available, contact the cable manufacturer. If the programming cable was purchased from Buy Two Way Radios, contact us.

Step 6. Verify successful installation in the system and note the COM port number.
You may need this information to configure the programming software.

Step 7. Install and run the programming software for the radio.
It is important to note that our scope of support is limited to the two way radios, programming cables and programming software we sell at Buy Two Way Radios. We do not service, support or troubleshoot computers or computer operating systems.

July 27, 2016

What to do if the radio programming software does not detect the cable or COM port

You've just received your two way radio, taken it out of the package, and now you want to get it operational. You plugged in the programming cable, downloaded the driver, set up the software, and connected the cable the radio to program it.

There is just one small glitch. When you run the program, the software can't seem to find the radio. It can't connect to the cable. It can't even find the COM port. What gives?

First, don't panic or blow a fuse. There are several devices in the mix and multiple connections here, plus an entire computer system. It could be anything. Before you pack up all the new stuff and send it back to the dealer, find out what the real problem is. It may not be as bad as you think. It may even be quick and easy to resolve.

Here are the steps to troubleshoot if the programming software for your two way radio does not recognize the COM Port or the programming cable purchased from Buy Two Way Radios.
Step 1. Verify the programming cable is installed correctly.
  • If using our programming cable and it is installed correctly, proceed to Step 2.
  • If programming cable is not installed correctly, re-install the cable driver.
Step 2. Verify the COM Port number assigned to your programming cable.
  • If you are running Microsoft Windows, go the the Device Manager and click on Ports (COM & LPT).
  • Note the number of the COM port assigned to your cable.
Step 3. Verify the correct COM Port is recognized and listed as active in the programming software.
  • If the COM port assigned to the programming cable is listed as active and available, choose it and skip to Step 5.
  • If the COM port assigned to the programming cable is NOT listed as available, go to Step 4.
Step 4. Assign another COM Port to the USB programming cable.
  • Open the Device Manager, go to Ports (COM & LPT) and right click on the listing for the USB programming cable.
  • Click PROPERTIES in the pop-up menu.
  • Click on the PORT SETTINGS tab.
  • Click the ADVANCE button.
  • Click the drop down list next to COM Port Number: and choose a COM Port below the number 10 that is not in use.
  • Click OK to save the setting, then click OK again to exit the Communications Port (COMX) properties window.
  • Note the new COM Port number assigned to the USB Programming Cable and go back to Step 3.
  • If a new COM Port number was assigned to the cable and it is still not recognized by your programming software, skip to Step 6.

Step 5. Run or close and restart the programming software.

Step 6. If the program does not recognize the programming cable or the COM Port assigned to it, refer to the manufacturer of the programming software.
If you are using CHIRP programming software, go to the CHIRP web site at http://chirp.danplanet.com/projects/chirp/wiki/Home and download the latest daily build of CHIRP or report the issue to CHIRP.

If these instructions are followed correctly, the programming software for your radio should be able to recognize the correct COM port and access your programming cable.


July 25, 2016

What to do if your computer does not read or detect the Buy Two Way Radios CD

You may encounter a situation in which the CD or DVD drive in your computer may not detect or read the software CD provided by Buy Two Way Radios. Although troubleshooting your computer is outside our scope of support, we do need to determine if the issue is caused by a defective CD/DVD disc drive or a defective disc.

Follow these steps to troubleshoot and possibly resolve the issue if your CD or DVD drive does not read or detect a Buy Two Way Radios branded CD.

Step 1. Verify you have a genuine Buy Two Way Radios CD.
The CD should have the official Buy Two Way Radios blue handheld radio graphic on the left side and the text www.buytwowayradios.com printed at the bottom.
  • If using our CD, proceed to step 2.
  • If a CD was included with a primary product purchased from us but it is not our supplied CD or is a copy created by a third party, contact us to request a genuine copy our CD. (The CD may have an additional fee when purchased separately). Important note: this applies to Buy Two Way Radios branded CDs only. We do not copy and sell duplicates of CDs or DVDs created and branded by the manufacturer or third parties.

Step 2. Insert another commercial data or audio CD into the CD/DVD drive.
The term commercial refers to a professionally or commercially mass produced Compact Disc or Digital Versatile Disc containing audio or data, such as a computer program, music or video CD/DVD.
  • If the CD/DVD Drive successfully reads the other commercial CD, proceed to step 3.
  • If the CD/DVD Drive does not detect or successfully read the other commercial CD, try a third commercial CD.
  • If it reads the third commercial CD, go to step 3.
  • If it does not read the third commercial CD, The CD/DVD drive may be defective. You may need to contact a computer repair technician.

Step 3. If your CD/DVD drive can read other commercial CDs but cannot read our CD, contact us at Buy Two Way Radios.
Please note: we do not service or support computers.

July 22, 2016

Last chance for Kenwood Summer 2016 Rebates

Note: This promotion expired July 29, 2016 and is no longer available.

Kenwood-Rebate-Q2-2016.pngThe Kenwood Summer 2016 Rebate is almost over! Purchase six select Kenwood ProTalk® business two way radios of the same model from Buy Two Way Radios and get a $20-$30 rebate per radio plus a FREE multi-unit charger! Yes, you read it right. You get a rebate and a FREE multi-charger, shipped direct from Kenwood, when you purchase six Kenwood TK-3230, TK-2400-V16P, TK3400-U16P, TK-2402V16P or TK-3402U16P radios!

Whether you are new to business radios or upgrading your fleet, this is the perfect time to buy and save your company serious cash! It's a no brainer. Just purchase the radios, get some cash back for each unit, and get a free multi-charger to boot for each set of 6 radios (with a maximum purchase of 60) to save more!

The following Kenwood models qualify for the rebate promotion:

Model Min Purchase Max Purchase Offer
Kenwood TK-3230 (UHF) 6 60 $20 rebate plus multi-charger
Kenwood TK-2400-V16P (VHF) 6 60 $25 rebate plus multi-charger
Kenwood TK-3400-U16P(UHF) 6 60 $25 rebate plus multi-charger
Kenwood TK-2402V16P (VHF) 6 60 $30 rebate plus multi-charger
Kenwood TK-3402U16P (UHF) 6 60 $35 rebate plus multi-charger

This a manufacturer rebate offer, so the rebate and/or multi-unit charger(s) will be shipped to you after Kenwood receives your rebate form. Offer valid on up to 60 radios through July 29, 2016. Limit of one multi-unit charger per six radios for a maximum of ten multi-chargers on a purchase of 60 radios. Charging cups are included.Click here for full details. To redeem your rebate, visit Kenwood's rebate website and access the rebate registration by entering Program offer code PRO-26120.

NOTE: Rebates must be postmarked on or before August 12, 2016. The Kenwood rebate is NOT valid on radios delivered before May 2, 2016 or after July 29, 2016, regardless of invoice date. Offer good only in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and is void where prohibited, taxed and restricted by law. Read the Kenwood promotional flyer for full details.




July 20, 2016

TYT MD-390 DMR Digital Radio unboxing video


First came the TYT MD-380, which forever changed the game of DMR digital two way radio. Now, TYT has upped the game, with the introduction of a new version, the MD-390!

So, what's different and unique about the MD-390? Find out in this unboxing video, as Rick Savoia from Buy Two Way Radios takes it out of the package, gives you a brief overview of this transceiver and performs a side by side comparison with the original MD-380. For more on this DMR radio, hear our review in Episode 102 of The Two Way Radio Show Podcast.

Want more videos? Browse our video blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

July 18, 2016

What to do if the radio is damaged

The two way radio is considered one of the most stable and reliable modes of communication available to modern man. This is why industry, commerce, emergency responders and consumers around the world rely heavily on radio technology to communicate every day. As stable and reliable as it is, the two way radio itself is still a man-made device, and like all devices, stuff happens. It's inevitable. So if it does happen, and your two way radio becomes damaged, what do you do?

Troubleshooting radio damage
Follow these steps to troubleshoot possible radio damage before contacting the manufacturer or dealer for warranty support.

Step 1. Check for exterior damage.
Inspect the exterior of the radio for any sign of external damage or trauma. Check for the following:
  • Excessive wear or stress
  • Missing knobs or other parts
  • Broken or missing antenna
  • Broken, cracked, scratched or discolored display
  • Chips, gashes scrapes or other signs of trauma to the chassis
  • Traces of contamination from bodily fluids, i.e vomit, urine, blood, etc.
  • Burn marks
  • Outward signs of moisture
If your radio shows signs of exterior damage, skip to step 4.
If no exterior damage or trauma is visible, proceed to step 2.

Step 2. Check for internal damage.
Inspect the radio for any sign of internal damage. Check for:
  • Moisture or condensation inside the display, particularly around the edges.
  • Slight or heavy burnt smell when battery compartment opened or back of radio exposed
  • Slight dank or moldy smell when battery compartment opened or back of radio exposed
  • Water or moisture
  • Excessive dirt or dust
  • Traces of contamination from bodily fluids, i.e vomit, urine, blood, etc.
  • Signs of corrosion on battery terminals
  • Signs of leakage in battery compartment
If your radio has signs of internal damage skip to step 4.
If your radio does not have signs of internal damage, proceed to step 3.

Step 3. Check to determine if the radio is operable.
  • If the radio shows no signs of physical damage and is still operable, no warranty support is needed*.
  • If your radio shows signs of external or internal damage, go to step 4.
*Important: If an intrinsically safe radio is subjected to possible damage, never turn it on or attempt to use it in a potentially hazardous environment until it has been thoroughly inspected offsite. Just because the radio looks undamaged, doesn't necessarily mean it is safe to use in such an environment.

Step 4. Review the terms of the manufacturer warranty.
In most situations, the manufacturer warranty does NOT cover damage to the radio, including damage caused by intentional or unintentional misuse, contamination from foreign substances, electrical damage, battery leakage, improper storage or failure to follow proper usage or care as instructed in the owner's manual. The damage from improper use may even void the manufacturer warranty, depending upon the situation. when in doubt, contact the manufacturer of the radio.

In such situations, an extended warranty or service plan could be the answer. These service plans can not only extend the life of the existing warranty on your radios, they may also provide some coverage or provision for the repair or replacement of your radio when the damage is not covered under the warranty provided by the manufacturer.

A selection of service plans is available from Buy Two Way Radios through CPS. These service plans are flexible and provide coverage for a wide variety of electronic devices, including consumer and business two way radios.

Icom also offers a 3 year extended warranty for its line of business two way radios.

For more information on these extended warranty and service plans, contact us.

July 15, 2016

What to do if CHIRP does not list your radio

CHIRP is a free, open source application created by a team of volunteer amateur radio operators. The software is used to program a wide variety of different makes and models of two way radios with a computer.

When programming certain models of two way radios purchased from Buy Two Way Radios, some of our customers, particularly those who are ham radio operators, prefer CHIRP in lieu of the programming software provided by the radio manufacturer. This preference for CHIRP is largely due to a couple of reasons. CHIRP is often easier to understand and use than the original programming software from the manufacturers of certain radios, particularly those in China. The use of CHIRP also often minimizes or even eliminates the need to install and use a different programming application for each individual product when using a mix of of different radios.

CHIRP supports an impressively wide selection of radios, but not all of them. The list is expanding over time. When a new product is introduced to the market, depending on its popularity and relevance, The CHIRP project team may add support for the new model in a future version or build of the software.

We often receive calls from customers who request tutorials, tech support or other instruction for CHIRP. Although we do include CHIRP as a free add-on with a few select programming cables, we do not support it ourselves, as it isn't ours. It was created by a community of ham radio operators, and relies on the community to support it. We merely provide the application as a courtesy to our customers who may need or want it.

As of June 2016, CHIRP supports the following radios we currently sell or previously carried:
If your radio is currently listed in CHIRP, you should be good to go. If your radio is not listed, download the latest daily build of CHIRP.

If the latest build of CHIRP does not list your radio, CHIRP does not currently support it. The CHIRP programming team does accept requests for support of new radios. You can submit a request to the CHIRP project and ask them to add the radio to a future version or build of CHIRP.

July 13, 2016

XLT Painless Programming Cable installation video


Why go through the pain and hassle of installing the driver for that old programming cable in Windows 10 when you can do it painlessly with the Painless Programming Cable from XLT!

Installation of the XLT Painless Programming Cable is quick and easy. How easy is it? Watch as Rick Savoia from Buy Two Way Radios introduces you to this programming cable, plugs it into a laptop, and shows you just how easy and painless it really is to install.

The XLT Painless Programming Cable is available with connectors for: For additional installation instructions, read How to install the XLT Painless Programming Cable.


July 11, 2016

TWRS-105 - What To Do When Your Two Way Radio Does Not Work

Two Way Radio Show
We tell you how to troubleshoot and possibly resolve the issue when your two way radio stops working. We'll also review the Midland EX37VP Two Way Radio Emergency Kit.

Intro :00
Billboard 1:13

Discussion Topic 1:31
We tell you what to do when your radio does not work. We'll tell you what to do if your radio doesn't power on, doesn't charge, or may be damaged.

Commercial Break 21:30
buytwowayradios.com 1:00

Product Review 22:26
We review the Midland EX37VP Two Way Radio Emergency Kit.

Questions and Answers 29:38
Questions from readers of our Two Way Radio Blog and members of the Two Way Radio Forum.

Wrap up and Close 34:31
Send in your comments and questions for Danny, Anthony and Rick to show[at]buytwowayradios.com. Feedback on this and other topics will be read by the hosts and included in future episodes of the show. Visit us at www.twowayradioshow.com!

© 2016 Cricket Ventures, LLC. All rights reserved.


[ Download MP3 ]

July 8, 2016

FCC to increase GMRS license application fee

The application fee for a GMRS license is about to become more expensive. The FCC announced July 7, 2016 an order to adopt an amendment to its schedule of application fees for the processing of license applications and other filings. Included among the fee changes is a five dollar increase to the current application fee for a General Mobile Radio Service license. The already hefty fee for a GMRS license application will increase from $65 to $70.

Also known as Section 8 application fees, The Schedule of Application Fees contains the Schedule of Charges for a number of categories and includes the procedures for the modification and collection of the fees. The FCC is required to review these fees every two years and adjust them based on changes in the Consumer Price Index.

According to the order released July 7, They had no choice in the matter. FCC had to do it.

"The methodology and timing of adjustments to application fees are prescribed by statute
at 47 U.S.C. § 158(b). Because our action implementing the statute leaves us no discretion, prior notice and comment is unnecessary pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 553(b)(3)(B). This Order is also exempt from the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. § 601 et seq., pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 601(2). Copies of this Order will be sent to Congress and the Comptroller General in compliance with the Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. § 801 et seq.
"

The FCC adopted these changes July 6 by order. (FCC No. 16-87). The fees will become effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

If you plan to apply for a GMRS license, you may want to think about doing it now.

A wide selection of FRS/GMRS two way radios is available from Buy Two Way Radios.

July 6, 2016

What to do if the radio does not power on

You stored your walkie talkies away for awhile and now you're planning that big weekend hiking or camping trip with your family or friends across the great outdoors. Naturally, you need them again, so you take them out, dust them off, turn them on and -

Uh oh. Nothing happens. They won't go on.

You have your company fleet of two way radios packed and ready to take to the next job. When you arrive onsite, you take them out of their case, pass them out to your workers, instruct everyone to stay on Channel 1, and -

No, wait. They don't turn on.

Yeah, it happens. Sometimes a radio may not power on. Of course, if it happens, it is a big deal, because the two way radio as we know it is considered one of the most stable and reliable modes of communication available to the modern world, especially during an emergency. As stable and reliable as two way radios are, it still happens. So if or when it does happen, what do you do?

Follow these steps to troubleshoot, identify and hopefully resolve the issue when your radio does not power on.

Step 1. Verify the batteries or battery pack is/are installed correctly.
  • Verify the battery pack is seated or batteries are installed correctly or with the correct polarity. If correct, proceed to Step 3.
  • If not installed correctly, reseat the battery pack or batteries.

Step 2. Check to be sure the radio is really on.
Some consumer FRS/GMRS radios turn on by pressing a power button or holding it down for one to two seconds. Sometimes there is a delay or there is poor contact internally and it needs to be held down a little longer. Other models, such as business, air band, amateur, CB and marine portable handheld radios have a power knob on top of the unit that must be turned to power them on. If the knob is loose, you might think it turned the shaft of the switch when it didn't. The on/off switch could also be defective.

  • If the radio is turned on and there is power, proceed to Step 5.
  • If radio switch is on but there is no power, check to be sure the battery or batteries is/are fully charged.

Step 3. Check to be sure the battery is charged.
  • Swap out the battery pack or batteries with another or fresh one(s). If no spare batteries are available, put the battery(ies) in another known working radio to test.
  • If no other battery(ies) or radio is available, go to Step 4.
  • If swapping the battery(ies) or radio was successful and the radio has power, skip to Step 5.
  • If there is still no power, proceed according to battery type.

Step 4. Troubleshoot according to battery type.
  • If the battery is rechargeable, recharge it according to the manufacturer instructions. If the battery charges, go to Step 5.
  • If the rechargeable battery pack does not charge, troubleshoot the battery pack and charger.
  • If the battery is non-rechargeable and replacement batteries do not power on the radio, check the radio for damage.

Step 5. Turn the radio on.
  • If the radio turns on, the issue is resolved.
  • If the radio does not turn on, check the radio for damage and refer to the manufacturer for warranty support.

If these instructions are followed correctly, you should be able to quickly determine the cause of the issue and possibly resolve it. If these troubleshooting steps did not resolve your issue and your radio is out of warranty, contact us at Buy Two Way Radios.

July 1, 2016

How to reset a Baofeng UV-5R two way radio

Baofeng-UV-5R-Reset.jpgCertain circumstances may require you to perform a reset on your Baofeng. Performing a reset is extremely easy, however if you speak only English and the voice prompts are in Chinese, performing a simple reset or recovering from one may require a little more attention.

Follow the steps below to reset a Baofeng UV-5R, BF-F9, BF-F8+, UV-B6 or UV-82 two way radio from Buy Two Way Radios.

To perform a VFO Reset
1.Turn on the radio and press the MENU button.
2.Press the UP and DOWN arrow key to select RESET (Menu Item 40).
3.Press MENU to choose RESET.
4.Press the DOWN arrow key to choose VFO.
5.Press MENU. The radio will display SOURCE?
6.Press MENU to confirm. The radio will display WAIT... for a few seconds, then beep twice to confirm reset is complete. The radio will revert to Chinese language mode. Reset is complete.

To perform a FULL Reset
1.Turn on the radio and press the MENU button.
2.Press the UP and DOWN arrow key to select RESET (Menu Item 40).
3.Press MENU to choose RESET.
4.Press the DOWN arrow key to choose ALL.
5.Press MENU. The radio will display SOURCE?
6.Press MENU to confirm. The radio will display WAIT... for a few seconds, then beep twice to confirm reset is complete.
7.The radio will revert to Chinese language mode. Reset is complete.

To set language from Chinese to English
1.Press MENU.
2.Press the UP and DOWN arrow key to select VOICE (Menu Item 14).
3.Press MENU to choose VOICE.
4.Press the DOWN arrow key to choose ENG.
5.Press MENU to choose ENG.

NOTE: a VFO RESET only resets the frequency values in VFO mode. To reset the radio back to factory defaults, choose RESET/ALL. A reset may resolve some issues, but will not resolve them all. Some scenarios, such as inoperability due to an incorrect or corrupt image file cannot be resolved with a reset and require another resolution. It is, however, usually a standard first step when troubleshooting the radio.