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August 2017 Archives

August 29, 2017

Part 95 Reform effective September 2017

Well, the wait is over. It's finally about to happen. Part 95 reform will officially become effective September 2017.

Earlier this year we reported on a final consideration by the FCC to completely reform the Part 95 rules on Personal Radio Services. The decision passed unanimously during the FCC's monthly open commission meeting May 18th, and upon its passage, many of the publications incorporated in the new rules were to take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

The question was, when would it be published?

We discussed this in episode 113 of the Two Way Radio Show Podcast, and as promised, we continued to follow up on it since. We've been keeping tabs on it throughout the summer, checking the Federal Register daily for any indication of any notice of a publication online.

Now it's here. Personal Radio Service Reform was published in the Federal Register this morning, August 29, 2017. As many of these rules become effective 30 days after publication, this means those rules will become official on September 28.

As stated in the Federal Register, "Effective September 28, 2017. The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the rule is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of September 28, 2017."

What does this mean for users of two way radios on the Personal Radio Services? A lot. For one, it's a big win for users of lower power FRS/GMRS radios, particularly the millions who do not have a GMRS license and were previously using those radios "illegally". Now, users of consumer FRS/GMRS radios or walkie talkies operating at 2 watts or less are licensed by rule, meaning that these radios can be used without applying for or purchasing a license to use them. In effect, Anyone can purchase one of these radios and use it legally.

This is a big win for consumers who rely on these radios for personal, business and recreational activities These radios are now considered FRS only, and they can essentially be used by anyone in the US who needs or wants one.

This is also a win for licensed GMRS users, who have long complained about the illegal use and interference by unlicensed users of low powered combo FRS/GMRS or "bubble pack" radios on GMRS channels and repeaters. The new rules provide them with more exclusivity on the GMRS and a more serious attempt by the FCC to prevent the GMRS from degenerating into a service many feared would become "the next CB".

There are many changes intended to benefit other Personal Radio Services as well, including CB. Read this summary of key changes to Part 95 for details.

August 28, 2017

TYT MD-9600 Firmware Update Available

8/31/2017 Update - Firmware version 3.29 has been released and the download link was added below. Please download the 3.29 firmware and refer to it anywhere 3.28 is mentioned below. The new version fixes a bug where the display would remain lit after the radio was powered off.

Some of the TYT MD-9600 owners reported an issue loading channels into their radio using the programming software. The software was reporting that the data was being written successfully, but some or all channels were not accessible on the radio.

To address this issue, TYT released an updated firmware version (3.28) and an updated version of the programming software (1.18). You can download these updates, along with the firmware loader, at the links below:

If you need help upgrading your software firmware, save the three files above to a location on your PC and read below for detailed instructions.

Upgrading the Programming Software

Upgrading the software is very straightforward. It's the same process as installing most other applications on your PC.

1. Find the file CPS MD9600 Setup v1.18.exe that you downloaded above.
2. Double-click (open) the file.
3. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the updated programming software (v1.18).

Upgrading the Firmware

Upgrading the firmware is not quite as straightforward. You will need to power up the radio near a PC, place it in Firmware Upgrade mode, and then run the Firmware Loader application to install the updated firmware on the radio.

First, let's install the Firmware Loader application:

1. Find the file FirmwareDownloadV3.04_EN.exe that you downloaded above.
2. Double-click (open) the file.
3. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the firmware loader application.
4. Depending on your Windows version and configuration, you may need to run this installer as an Administrator.

Now, let's place the MD-9600 in Firmware Upgrade mode and connect it to the PC.

1. Be sure the radio powers up automatically (without having to press the green power button) when external power is applied to the radio. You can get to this mode by removing external power without first turning off the radio (using the green power button).

2. With the external power source OFF, hold down both the P1 button AND the round, orange button to the left of P1 at the same time. With both buttons held down, turn the external power source ON. When the display starts flashing, you can release the buttons. This indicates you are in Firmware Upgrade mode.

md9600-firmware-upg.gif

3. Connect your MD-9600 to your PC using the programming cable.

Launch the Firmware Loader application and upgrade the firmware.

1. Open the Firmware Loader application. The installer should have left an icon on your desktop called UpgradeDownload.

2. In the window that opens, click the Open file upgrade button in the User program section. In the file selection screen that opens, find the MD9600-REC-D03.28.bin file that you previously downloaded and then click Open.

3. Confirm the correct file appears in the blank, and then click the Download file of upgrade button to begin the firmware upgrade.

md9600-loader.PNG

4. A progress bar will appear across the top of the application as the firmware is installed. Do not disconnect the programming cable until this is finished! Once complete you'll see the message "Download upgrade file successful!"

5. Once you see the success message, you can click OK and remove external power from the radio. When you power the radio back up it should function as normal. To confirm the firmware version, you can open the following screen on the radio: Menu -> Utilities -> Radio Info -> Versions.

August 21, 2017

Are your radios ready to go back to school?

We are quickly approaching that time of the year again - back to school!! Not only are parents going to run like crazy to get the kiddos ready for the new year, but faculty and administration will be doing the same.

I talk with a lot of schools throughout the year in regards to radios. Two way radios are a must in this day and age, especially for schools. They provide quick and easy communication throughout the premises and are important in the operation of everyday activities. Radios are particularly important when it comes to security.

One thing schools typically miss and are scrambling at the last minute to find are batteries. Their radios will typically sit unused all summer long and aren't checked again until school is back in session. Unless they are stored properly, this can be damaging to the batteries.

Here at Buy Two Way Radios, we don't just offer radios, but also all the accessories that go with them, including antennas, belt clips, chargers, cases and batteries. If your batteries are more than 3 years old, it is probably time to purchase replacements. If you have an antenna that is bent or damaged, it is definitely time for a new one of those as well to insure proper coverage across the campus.

The last thing you want is a radio that is not working properly. The good news is we have you covered!

Give us a call at 1-800-584-1445 and let us take the worry out of your radio accessory needs. Best of luck with the new school year!