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Monthly Archives: May 2015

  • TWRS-91 - The FCC Eliminates GMRS and Vanity Call Sign Regulatory Fees

    Two Way Radio Show
    We tell you about the decision of the FCC to eliminate the GMRS and amateur radio vanity call sign regulatory fees. We also review the XLT SE445 2 Wire Surveillance Earpiece with Push-To-Talk and Smart Phone Connect.

    Intro :00
    Billboard 1:21

    Discussion Topic 1:38
    We discuss the decision of the FCC to eliminate the GMRS and amateur radio vanity call sign regulatory fees. We'll find out why they did it and speculate about what this could mean in the long term for GMRS licensees and ham radio operators. For more information read the FCC-15-59A1 - Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Report and Order, and Order.

    Commercial Break 18:35
    buytwowayradios.com 1:00

    Product Review 19:31
    We review the XLT SE445 2 Wire Surveillance Earpiece with PTT and Smart Phone Connect.

    Questions and Answers 26:14
    Questions from readers of our Two Way Radio Blog and members of the Two Way Radio Forum.

    Wrap up and Close 30:00
    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!

    © 2015 Cricket Ventures, LLC. All rights reserved.

  • Default Frequencies for Motorola Business Radios

    The Motorola business radios available at Buy Two Way Radios are pre-programmed with itinerant business frequencies by default. Although these radios can be re-programmed to custom frequencies to provide some exclusivity, many businesses opt to use the common frequencies already programmed into the radios. An FCC license is still required to use these frequencies, however it is faster and less expensive to purchase a Business Itinerant Frequency License than to obtain a Single Business Frequency License for a frequency that is exclusive to your operation.

    The following is a list of Motorola business radios with their channel numbers and the default frequencies assigned to them out of the box.

    CLS Series (1 Watt)

    Model Channel Freq. No. Frequency Code
    1 2 464.5500 67.0
    CLS1410 2 8 467.9250 67.0
    3 5 467.8500 67.0
    4 6 467.8750 67.0

    RM/RDX Series UHF (2 Watt)

    Model Channel Freq. No. Frequency Code
    1 2 464.5500 67.0
    2 8 467.9250 67.0
    3 5 467.8500 67.0
    4 6 467.8750 67.0
    5 10 461.0625 67.0
    6 12 461.1125 67.0
    7 14 461.1625 67.0

    RM/RDX Series VHF (2 Watt)

    Model Channel Freq. No. Frequency Code
    1 20 154.4900 67.0
    2 21 154.5150 67.0
    3 1 151.6250 67.0
    4 2 151.9550 67.0
    5 10 151.5125 67.0
    6 12 151.6850 67.0
    7 15 151.7750 67.0

    RDX Series UHF (4 Watt)

    Model Channel Freq. No. Frequency Code
    1 1 464.5000 67.0
    2 1 464.5000 77.0
    3 1 464.5000 88.5
    4 1 464.5000 179.9
    5 1 464.5000 None
    6 2 464.5500 67.0
    7 2 464.5500 82.5
    8 2 464.5500 94.8
    9 2 464.5500 179.9
    10 2 464.5500 None
    11 22 461.3625 74.4
    12 30 462.4875 79.7
    13 32 462.5375 85.4
    14 34 462.0375 91.5
    15 36 464.0875 97.4
    16 38 464.1375 103.5

    RDX Series VHF (5 Watt)

    Model Channel Freq. No. Frequency Code
    RDV5100 1 1 151.6250 67.0
    2 1 151.6250 77.0
    3 1 151.6250 88.5
    4 1 151.6250 179.9
    5 1 151.6250 None
    6 2 151.9550 67.0
    7 2 151.9550 82.5
    8 2 151.9550 94.8
    9 2 151.9550 179.9
    10 2 151.9550 None
  • Olympia R300 two way radio unboxing video

    The Olympia R300 is the middle entry in a line of FRS and GMRS two way radios that is somewhat new to the market.

    In this unboxing video, Danny Feemster from Buy Two Way Radios unboxes the R300 and explains why this radio is very similar in features and function to the Motorola Talkabout MT350R with one very interesting and important exception - the warranty!

  • FCC eliminates GMRS regulatory fee

    The FCC has eliminated the regulatory fee required to obtain a license for the GMRS.

    In a Report and Order released May 21, 2015 as part of the FCC's notice of proposed regulatory fees for fiscal year 2015, the commission issued a Report and Order to eliminate the regulatory fee for the General Mobile Radio Service effective this year.

    The fee, which was previously assessed at $5 per year, added $25 to the total cost of a GMRS license, which has a term of five years. While it does not eliminate the cost of a license altogether, the complete elimination of the regulatory fee brings the total cost of a General Mobile Radio Service license from $90 down to $65.

    According to the FCC, the fee simply wasn't worth the cost. in the Report and Order, the commission stated:

    "After analyzing the costs of processing fee payments for GMRS, we conclude that the
    Commission's cost of collecting and processing this fee exceeds the payment amount of $25. Our costs have increased over time and now that the costs exceed the amount of the regulatory fee, the increased relative administrative cost supports eliminating this regulatory fee category."

    The GMRS license required two fees, the application fee and the FCC regulatory fee. The total cost of a GMRS license has risen through the years, mostly due to automatic, scheduled increases in the application fee. In 2014 the total cost of a GMRS license rose again, from $85 to $90. The cost of a GMRS license is currently greater than the cost of most higher end GMRS radios for which the license is required to operate, and more than double the cost of an entry level radio.

    The disproportionately high cost of GMRS licensing compared to other types of radio service licenses and to the GMRS radio equipment itself has been a growing complaint among GMRS users, and is a primary reason why many who are aware of the license requirement do not purchase one.

    The FCC, acknowledging the problem, gave it as another reason to remove the fee. "Once eliminated, these licensees will no longer be financially burdened with such payments and the Commission will no longer incur these administrative costs that exceed the fee payments.", the commission added in the report.

    This is not the first time the FCC has considered the costs and caveats of licensing the GMRS. In 2010, the commission proposed to do away with the requirement for individual licensing altogether and instead license by rule. However, backlash from the community of licensed GMRS users helped stall the decision and as the FCC has since noted on their web site, "the proposal is still pending".

    Is the elimination of the GMRS regulatory fee the beginning of the end of the individual GMRS license requirement? If not, will the application fee remain and continue to rise automatically on its own until it even surpasses the previous $90 fee?

    Tell us what you think. Enter your comments below.

  • The Kenwood ProTalk PKT-23 is a little radio with big benefits

    PKT-23-2.jpgKenwood introduced a business radio to the market that is a lot different from the other business two way radios in its product line. It's very small, very light and it is very simple to operate. However, don't let the small size fool you. This isn't just another tiny transceiver. This radio is definitely not a toy. It's the Kenwood PKT-23.

    There are a number of benefits to choosing the PKT-23 over other Kenwood radios for business communications. Obviously, the biggest benefit is its size. It's about the size of a credit card and can fit in your pocket. This makes it an ideal choice for hospitality centers, retailers, and restaurants and is a logical alternative to other compact, light duty radios such as the Motorola CLS 1110, CLS1410 and CLP Series radios, such as the CLP1010, CLP1040 and CLP1060.

    Like the CLS and CLP radios, the PKT-23 is designed for simplicity of operation and is indeed easy to carry and use. It has 4 channels, hands-free VOX, a stubby antenna to minimize its overall footprint and a PTT button on the front instead of the side for quick and ergonomically convenient access, although it is not as large and in-your-face as the PTT on the Motorola models.

    PKT-23-3.jpgIn comparison to its competitors, the PKT-23 is pretty powerful for its size. Most of the other radios of its size and class are generally limited to 1 watt. Kenwood has 1.5 watts in this radio, so it transmits with a little more power than you might expect. According to Kenwood, the PKT-23 should cover up to 250,000 square feet, and assuming it is true, that's considerably larger than some of the 1 watt competitors.

    The Kenwood PKT-23 is also a durable radio. At first look it really doesn't seem that durable at all, in fact it really does look kind of toyish as far as how small and light it is. When one looks at a radio this size, one may not expect it to be able to withstand a lot of weathering or take a beating. But it definitely can. We do not get this radio back. We've carried the PKT-23 since it first launched in January 2014 and the return rate has been extremely low.

    The PKT-23 meets military specifications 810c,d,e,f, and g, which are the same specifications met by higher end radios such as the Kenwood TK-3402 or the Icom IC-F4011. Those radios meet the same specs as this radio. For instance, the ports on this little radio are very well protected. You can notice that right away. There's a charge port and an accessory port on the very top of the radio with a sort of a rubberized cover over them, so it's clear they did that for waterproofing reasons.

    This is an IP54 rated radio, which means its very dust and water resistant. It's not completely waterproof, which means it is not submersible, but that IP5 number indicates that it can take a reasonable amount of atmospheric moisture and can even withstand being out in the rain. Just don't drop it in the pool.

    Another benefit to the PKT-23 is the micro USB type charger. In addition to being able to charge by sitting in a charging cradle, you can also plug in a standard micro USB cable and charge it that way. A lot of cell phones use the same type of charger, so that's a nice benefit. For example, you can a buy little "pocket charger" for your cell phone, and if you need a quick jump start on your phone while in a vehicle or somewhere away from an AC outlet, the little USB pocket charger can charge the battery on your cell phone or another USB device, such as your Kenwood PKT-23 Pocket Radio.

    PKT-23-4.jpgThe PKT-23 does not take what you would consider a standard radio battery pack. This is more like a little cell phone size battery. It's a very thin battery that connects inside the radio with a little wire attached to the radio board. To access or replace the battery you must first remove the back of the radio. The battery is protected in a clear, plastic sleeve, presumably to make the battery somewhat waterproof. It is another indication that Kenwood is serious about ensuring the PKT-23 has considerable water resistance inside and out.

    Now, the chassis quality of the PKT-23 is pretty good, but the display, well, there really is no display on this radio. That may be simply be a trade off for its tiny size. You don't really need a display for what it is designed for anyway. The general idea behind the PKT-23 was to keep it simple to operate, and it seems as though Kenwood did so. They certainly made it easy to change channels. There are up and down buttons on the front of the radio, and there's a voice announce, so when you change channels you'll hear the channel number announced. The menu is voice driven as well, so that sort of removes the need for a display altogether.

    It may not have a display, but there is still a visual indicator, however simple. The PKT-23 has a multi-color LED, which is good for indicating what state the radio is in and what's going on with it. If you have a low battery, if you're receiving a transmission or transmitting, you'll see the light indicate that. Other than that there's really not a whole lot to it on the chassis itself.

    As for audio quality, The PKT-23 does rather well, considering its small size. The reception is very clear, and within range, you don't get a lot of noise. Of course, the audio is not what you'd get on a larger radio like a ProTalk. This radio has a 300mw speaker, compared to a 500mw or 800mw speaker on a larger radio. But, like the lack of display, that was likely a size consideration as well. Also, considering the target vertical markets for this radio and the working environments in which radios of this type are utilized, most users of the PKT-23 will probably use it with a light headset or an earpiece. The speaker is just kind of a nice, added benefit.

    The one big drawback to this radio is the accessory connector. Kenwood radios typically use a two pin connector, which is actually a huge advantage for Kenwood users, since this Kenwood two-pin connector, also known as a K1 connector, was adopted as a standard of sorts by a number radio manufacturers based in China. As such, accessories with a K1 connector are plentiful and sold at very reasonable prices.

    Unfortunately, the PKT-23 doesn't use the standard K1 connector. it's a single pin 3.5mm connector and it's threaded, which means a standard 3.5mm audio accessory will not work, either. So if you have a fleet of Kenwood radios already and you have headsets, you're not going to be able to to use them with the PKT-23. It requires its own set of audio accessories, and the choices are very limited.

    It is a drawback, but not unusual. We saw that with the CLP Series from Motorola as well. Motorola traditionally uses their own style of two pin connector on their business radios. When they came out with the CLP 1010 and 1040, they changed the connector type, most likely to accommodate the small form factor of the radios. Once again, with the Kenwood PKT-23, the decision to use a single pin connector is most likely due to a limitation in the amount of space available on the radio to accommodate such a connector.

    However, this may only be a temporary drawback. The PKT-23 is still fairly new to the market. As these radios become more prevalent, third party manufacturers such as XLT, Impact and RocketScience may begin to take notice of this pocket sized portable and begin to offer some of their accessories with the PKT-23 audio connector as an option. It may just be a matter of time.

    PKT-23-6.jpgAs for the price? The Kenwood PKT-23 is $144. Compared to other radios in its class, the PKT-23 is priced to be a contender. The Motorola CLP Series start at $199 for the one channel model and $219 for the four channel model. When you're looking at that you also have to take into consideration the total package. the Motorola radios include a headset priced at $25- $30. Although the PKT-23 doesn't include a headset, adding one to the 4 channel Kenwood package is still about $15-$20 cheaper than the one channel CLP radio. Kenwood isn't looking bad at all.

    The Kenwood ProTalk LT PKT-23 Pocket-Sized Business Two Way Radio comes with the radio, lithium-ion battery, a belt clip, the fast charger, power supply, and a two year manufacturer warranty, so if anyone does have any concerns about this little radio getting busted up or not being able to take it, a two year warranty should put aside those fears somewhat. that's the same warranty that Kenwood has on their higher end, larger ProTalk line, such as the TK-3402. If Kenwood isn't worried about the durability of such a tiny radio for light business use, why should we be? The warranty indicates Kenwood has a lot of faith in this radio.

    If you have any questions about the Kenwood PKT-23, don't hesitate to give us a call.

    Hear our discussion of the Kenwood PKT-23 on The Two Way Radio Show Podcast in episode 78!

  • TWRS-90 - Blackbox Base Station

    Two Way Radio Show
    We tell you about a new desktop dual band base station from Klein Electronics that looks oddly familiar. We also review the AlertTech EA-200 Series call boxes.

    Intro :00
    Billboard 1:21

    Discussion Topic 1:41
    We talk about the Blackbox Base Station from Klein Electronics, which looks very similar to a very popular and low cost Baofeng handheld transceiver. We'll give you an overview of its features and specifications and reveal the retail price. It may not be what you expect.

    Commercial Break 20:53
    buytwowayradios.com 1:00

    Product Review 21:49
    We review the AlertTech EA-200 Easy Assist 200 Call Box.

    Questions and Answers 33:19
    Questions from readers of our Two Way Radio Blog and members of the Two Way Radio Forum.

    Wrap up and Close 35:15
    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!

    © 2015 Cricket Ventures, LLC. All rights reserved.

  • The new Wouxun KG-UV9D has arrived!

    KG-UV9D-2.jpgRecently Wouxun announced the KG-UV9D, a new amateur radio with a large color display and 7-band receive. Last month we received two samples and created an KG-UV9D unboxing video so you could get a preview of this new transceiver and what it has to offer.

    Well, the wait is over. The new Wouxun KG-UV9D is here!

    If you already pre-ordered the 9D from Buy Two Way Radios, get ready. Your new radio is now on its way! If you haven't ordered yet, we have a limited number currently in stock, so if you want one, get it now.

    Update: The KG-UV9D was originally introduced at a significantly lower price. Wouxun required that we raise the price to their suggested retail price. The current price was set at the request of Wouxun.

    For more on this new radio, read the Wouxun KG-UV9D spec sheet and listen to The Two Way Radio Show Podcast TWRS-89 - The New Wouxun KG-UV9D Multi-Band Radio.

  • Cobra MR-HH450 DUAL unboxing video

    It's a rugged GMRS radio with a removable antenna. It's also a waterproof VHF marine radio that floats. It's the Cobra MR HH-450 DUAL. Now you can get a look at this powerful hybrid portable handheld up close and personal, right out of the box!

    In this unboxing video, Danny Feemster from Buy Two Way Radios takes this radio out of the package, tells you what it comes with and shows you what it's all about.

  • Get a Gordon West General Class Study Manual, get free stuff!

    This promotion expired May 31, 2015 and is no longer available.

    GWGM-11-2.jpgIf you're a technician level ham radio operator and are thinking about upgrading to a General Class license, now may be a good time to do it. One of the easiest ways to study is with the Gordon West General Class Manual. Utilizing his method of study, this manual is easy to read, easy to understand and easy to remember. Now, there is another incentive to go with Gordon West.

    For the month of May, 2015, when you purchase the Gordon West General Class Manual with bonus CD or the Gordon West General Class Manual with the HamStudy Software, you also get the Amateur Radio Quick Reference Card and a T-shirt, FREE!

    The Amateur Radio Quick Reference Card is a great tool for any ham. Use it to help you study for the exam and keep it in your ham shack to reference whenever you need it. As for the T-shirt, well, who can't use a T-shirt to wear when you're either in your shack or out and about, especially if it's free?

    You don't need a promo code for this free bundle. When you purchase either of the Gordon West General Class items from Buy Two Way Radios, your free T-shirt and reference card will automatically be added to your order. This Offer valid through May 31, 2015 or while supplies last.

    Note: We have a very limited number of these free bundles in stock, so no rain checks. when they are gone, they're gone!

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