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Monthly Archives: October 2014

  • FTDI driver update bricks cloned programming cables

    There are a lot of USB programming cables on the market, many of which are purportedly made with a chip manufactured by either Prolific or FTDI. Some cables use genuine silicon chips from one of these two companies, but many others, particularly the more inexpensive programming cables, may contain a cloned or counterfeit chip.

    Recently, FTDI took measures to combat the counterfeit cable issue with the release of a driver update that soft bricks USB cables with cloned chips. Distributed silently through Microsoft Windows Update, the driver update essentially changed the PID of the chip to render it completely inoperable, thus effectively making the cable useless on any computer system. The update caused an immediate uproar among consumers who suddenly discovered that their hardware no longer functioned.

    Counterfeit hardware is a serious problem on a global scale, so it is understandable for a manufacturer to do what it can to protect its products from such unauthorized duplication. However, FTDI didn't simply issue a driver update that would only ignore the clone cable while recognizing a legitimate one; it attempted to destroy the allegedly cloned hardware itself. The results were immediate and unpleasant for all involved: the update created a lot of suddenly useless devices and a lot of serious backlash from the owners of the affected hardware, many of whom were completely unaware that the products they purchased were not genuine.

    At Buy Two Way Radios, we understand the importance of "keeping it real" for our customers. We do our best to stock only genuine OEM products from name brand manufacturers and deal directly with them whenever possible to ensure authenticity of product and quality control. However, we are a dealer and do not manufacture the product ourselves, so as hard as we try, there is only so much we can do. If the manufacturer is using a counterfeit component within their branded product otherwise marked as genuine, it may be difficult to ascertain. When a situation occurs such as the notorious FTDI driver update, sometimes the only way to find out is to test its authenticity first hand.

    So we did.

    We tested it on the FTDI programming cable from XLT.

    The XLT Painless Programming Cable is very popular among users of handheld two way radios, and with good reason. It's easy to install and easy to use for a painless programming experience. It also uses an FTDI chip. But is it genuine?

    To be sure, we intentionally installed the infamous version of the FTDI driver that performs the soft brick on fake chips and then tested it with the XLT Painless Programming Cable. We tested it with the update in Windows 7 and Windows 8, putting the cable through its paces. Each time, Windows quickly recognized the FTDI chip as genuine and the XLT cable worked flawlessly.

    Since its covert release, the FTDI driver update has received quite a lashing from angry consumers and a lot of unwanted attention from the press. In response, FTDI pulled the driver update, replaced it with the previous driver that was not hostile to clones and said it would work on other alternatives to fighting counterfeit hardware that are not as intrusive as the last one.

    In the meantime, Buy Two Way Radios will continue to provide our customers with quality products at great prices, deliver great service and do our best to keep it real.

  • How to program the Wouxun KG-UV950P to receive 800MHz frequencies

    KG-UV950P-9-l.jpgThe Wouxun KG-UV950P is a popular mobile radio for good reason. The versatility of quad band reception and transmission on 2m, 6m, 10m and 70cm frequencies, twin band simultaneous reception, cross-band repeat capability and a great low price for the entire package makes the UV950P a very attractive radio for hams who want the biggest bang for the buck. But that's not all it can do. In addition to the four amateur bands, it can receive on other frequencies as well, including the those on the 800MHz band. Actually, the full range of reception is from 700.000 MHz to 985.000 MHz.

    However, there is one caveat. You can only access those frequencies from the "A" side.

    The KG-UV950P is a "dual radio"; it essentially contains two separate radio circuits in one single package. Wouxun defines them as "A" and "B" areas. As with other dual band radios, the A/B button on the panel and speaker microphone toggles access and control back and forth between the two areas.

    These dual radios may be twins, but they aren't exactly the same. Some bands and frequencies are accessible on Area A only. In fact, there are three more menu options on Area A than Area B, one of which enables the built-in commercial FM radio. The B side does not support 700MHz to 985MHz frequencies. They are accessible on area A only.

    To access the 800MHz band, simply press the A/B button and switch to A, Press the 2 Key (MHz), and enter a frequency from 700.000 MHZ to 985.000 MHz. Once entered, you can also scan the entire range of those frequencies on the A side by pressing the * (Scan) key for two seconds to initiate the scan. That's really all there is to it.

    Keep in mind that the radio can receive on these frequencies only. The KG-UV950P cannot transmit on 800MHz frequencies.

  • Icom business radio rebates

    Note: This promotion expired December 31, 2014 and is no longer available.

    Icom-Rebate-Banner-Q4-2014.png

    Autumn is a great time to save on two way radios, and this year the savings are big! Icom has now entered the arena with a great rebate for commercial and business users for the remainder of 2014! When you purchase a minimum of five (5) select model Icom business radios from Buy Two Way Radios, you can qualify for a $25 rebate for each unit!

    This rebate is fulfilled directly by Icom, so your rebate will be mailed to you after Icom receives your rebate form.
    Offer valid on up to 60 select model radios purchased from October 1 through December 31, 2014. All five radios purchased must be the same model. Use code #58638 when you submit your claim. You can submit your claims online at Icom Rebates or fill out the form and mail it in.

    The following radios qualify for this special offer (promotion valid for every five radios purchased up to 60 radios):

    Model Type Min Purchase Max Purchase Rebate
    (per radio)
    IC-F50V
    IC-F60V
    Handheld 5 60 $25
    IC-F1000S/T, IC-F2000S/T
    (display/keypad models only)
    Handheld 5 60 $25
    IC-F5021
    IC-F6021
    Mobile 5 60 $25
    IC-F5011
    IC-F6011
    Mobile 5 60 $25

    NOTE: All rebate claims must be sent in by January 15, 2015. Claims received after that date will NOT be eligible. Rebate payments will be mailed within 8-10 weeks from submission of the rebate request. All claims require a proof of purchase and a copy of the UPC code for each radio model. This offer is intended for commercial or business end users only. Not valid for private individual or government sales. Railroad customers are not eligible for this promotion. Offer good only in the U.S. and is void where prohibited, taxed and restricted by law.

  • TWRS-81 - National CB Radio Day

    We celebrate National CB Radio Day 2014! We also review the Cobra 29 LX BT LCD CB Radio with Bluetooth.

    Intro :00
    Billboard 1:17

    Discussion Topic 1:35
    We talk about National CB Radio Day. What is CB Radio Day? We'll tell you. We'll tell you what it is, how it started, and pass along a few fun facts and trivia about CB Radio.

    Commercial Break 13:24
    buytwowayradios.com 1:00

    Product Review 14:20
    We review the Cobra 29 LX BT LCD CB Radio with Bluetooth.

    Questions and Answers 22:46
    Questions from readers of our Two Way Radio Blog and members of the Two Way Radio Forum.

    Wrap up and Close 28:30
    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!

    © 2014 Cricket Ventures, LLC. All rights reserved.


  • Join us at the Rock Hill Hamfest 2014!

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    We're going to the Rock Hill Hamfest!

    Join Buy Two Way Radios at The 62nd Annual Rock Hill Hamfest to be held Saturday, October 4, 2014 at the Faith Assembly of God, 2800 Faith Blvd. Rock Hill, SC 29730. The church is located off Cherry Road behind the Home Depot. General admission is $5 per person and tailgating spaces are $5 each in addition to the general admission. Gates open to the public at 7:00 a.m. eastern.

    Activities include an ARRL Forum and VE Testing for those who want to obtain an amateur radio license or upgrade an existing one. Hourly prizes will be drawn, and the Grand Prize will be given away at noon - a Baofeng UV-82, courtesy of Buy Two Way Radios!

    Visit our booth for a first look at some new products and demos of popular handheld and mobile amateur radios. Ragchew with the hosts of The Two Way Radio Show Podcast and walk away with some special discounts, deals and freebies just for stopping by!

    The Rock Hill Hamfest is sponsored by the York County Amateur Radio Society. For more information visit www.rockhillhamfest.com.

  • How to fix a Baofeng UV-5R that stops receiving after CHIRP file is uploaded

    The Baofeng UV-5R is an extremely versatile and inexpensive dual band handheld radio, which makes it one of the most popular and biggest selling transceivers around the world today. It's Baofeng's flagship radio, and they constantly tweak and update the UV-5R it to keep it on top in the marketplace.

    Sometimes the updates are minor and are hardly noticeable, if at all, save for a higher firmware version number. However, if a more serious internal change is made, it may require a bit adjustment in the way the radio is programmed or operated, especially among seasoned users.

    Such is the case with the most recent revision to the UV-5R. The latest known firmware version is N5R-20. The version number previous to this was BFS313. Up to firmware BFS313 the version numbers were fairly consistent, with only a change to one letter and/or number, an indication that even major feature updates and additions were not too radical as to affect overall compatibility of the programming data files between versions of the radio. With the introduction of N5R-20, the numbering system completely changed, a possible indication that the older and newer firmware may have more fundamental differences than previous versions.

    This would explain why some users are experiencing issues when attempting to upload older programming files to the new radios using the CHIRP programming software. The older CHIRP image files from Baofeng UV-5R radios with BFB or BFS series firmware are not compatible with radios equipped with the N5R-XX version of the firmware.

    For the first time owner of the UV-5R, this isn't an issue at all, since you would simply download the image from the radio into CHIRP, save the file to your computer, program your frequencies, and upload the same image file back into the radio.

    For the user who is adding the new UV-5R to a mix of other Baofeng radios, this means that you can't just upload an existing CHIRP .img file from your old radios to the new one. The differences and changes in the latest firmware simply will not let it work with the old file. As annoying and time consuming as it sounds, the best practice is to create a new CHIRP image file for the radio. As with the new user, download the defaults from the new radio into CHIRP, save the file, enter your data, and upload them into the radio.

    Of course, that's all well and good if you are reading this before you try to program the new radio, but what if you've already found out the hard way? You already uploaded your old .img file to your radio and it begins to act strangely. The UV-5R has no audio, won't receive unless you press the MONI button, or stops responding altogether. Performing a reset doesn't work to fix the issue. Has the damage already been done?

    First, don't panic. You haven't damaged your radio. The firmware is permanent, and can't be upgraded, changed, or "flashed". The CHIRP image file doesn't alter the firmware in any way either, so it's all good. All you really need to do is clean out the bad data, so to speak, and re-program the radio.

    To do so, you will need to use another version of CHIRP. Download the appropriate version of chirp-daily-20140714 for your operating system (Linux, Mac or Microsoft Windows) to perform the fix. You will also need an original or stock .img file from a UV-5R radio with the N5R-20 firmware.

    If you downloaded the image from the radio to CHIRP and saved it to your computer before you uploaded the .img file from your old radios, you're in great shape. Otherwise, you will need to locate and obtain an .img file from a new or working UV-5R with the N5R-20 firmware. Note: If the radio was purchased from Buy Two Way Radios, we can provide the N5R-20 version of the stock image data that is typically pre-programmed into the UV-5R at the factory on request.

    After CHIRP is installed, load the N5R-20/stock .img file into CHIRP and upload it to the radio. This should restore the UV-5R to its original settings. Use this new image file as your working image to program the new radio as needed.

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