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Recently in Articles Category

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September 28, 2017

Which FRS and GMRS radios are license free?

In May 2017 the FCC ruled on Part 95 reform. Starting today, September 28, 2017 the new rules are now in effect. There were many changes, but here's the big one. Consumer FRS/GMRS two way radios 2 watts or less are now considered FRS radios and are license free!

Technically speaking, the radios are now licensed by rule, which means that you are no longer required to apply for a GMRS license from the FCC to use these lower powered models with 22 channels, even on those previously considered the 8 GMRS frequencies. The simple act of purchasing the radios gives you a license to use them on all 22 channels.

Since most of the models, particularly those sold in retail 2-packs or "bubble packs" do not include actual power ratings or wattage on the packaging or the product marketing spec sheets, only one question remains. Which FRS/GMRS radios are within the 2 watt power limit and are now considered FRS?

The truth is, most of the FRS/GMRS combo radios currently on the market are under 2 watts and follow the new rules as FRS only radios. In addition to the wattage requirement, any models that are capable of operating on GMRS repeater frequencies are considered GMRS radios and require a GMRS license to operate. Only two handheld models currently available are repeater capable and fall squarely in the category of GMRS.

Rather than creating a long list of radios that do fall under the Family Radio Service (FRS), perhaps the easiest thing to do is list the models that don't, and are now considered GMRS only. It's a short list.

GMRS Handheld Two Way Radios

Make Model Power
(Watts)
Repeater
Capable
Cobra CXR925 2.8W No
Cobra MR-HH450 DUAL 2.24W (GMRS)
6.2W (Marine)
No
Midland GXT1000VP4 3.07W (high power) No
Midland GXT1050VP4 3.07W (high power) No
Motorola MR355R 1.32W Yes
Olympia R500 .973W Yes
We will continue to update this list as models are introduced. Bookmark this page or subscribe to our blog for the latest information.

September 15, 2017

Why upgrade to digital radios?

Vertex-Standard-S24-2.jpgThere is a lot of talk these days about moving from analog to digital two way radios. Although It's not a new concept, these migrations are starting to pick up steam. Manufacturers are constantly adding new digital models, and these new radios are gaining more serious attention and popularity among business users who are in the market for additions or upgrades to their radio fleets.

Some companies and organizations have moved their operations to either mixed or full digital radio communications, but many have not, opting to stick with analog models only.

There are several reasons for this, of course. For many businesses, particularly small scale on-site operations, short range analog radios meet their current needs and expectations of performance. In short, they seem to do the job. Digital two way radios are different, and for many businesses, an unknown or little understood technology perceived to be too advanced or upscale for their current needs.

But let's be honest. For many businesses, the primary reason is usually the cost. When they were first introduced to the marketplace, digital radios were notoriously expensive. They called into question the ROI of such a migration, as most companies considered them too pricey to seriously consider.

However, the past few years have seen a significant drop in pricing, down to a point that now brings some digital models almost right in line with the price points of their analog cousins. These radios are now within reach of more companies and organizations, and perception is beginning change.

Financials aside, there are still the perceived costs of time and effort to move everyone to a new system and new tech. Simple analog radio communications are still an industry standard, and companies still rely on them every day. So if the radios work and business is getting done, why change now?

What's the point of upgrading to digital?
There are a many advantages to using digital radios over their analog counterparts. For now, let's consider the following four:

- Audio quality - Digital radios sound better. It's hard to describe the sound quality difference in an article, but a good comparison is HD television compared to SD television. Once you start using digital radios, you really will wish you had made the move sooner. Not only is the quality always clear (it doesn't degrade with distance), more processing can take place to eliminate background noise.

- Security - Digital radios are also more secure than analog radios, as it's easier to add encryption and your conversation can't be heard by common handheld scanners. Although not a perfect solution for all situations, such encryption does add an extra layer of privacy and security that are a step or two above standard analog voice scrambling.

- Call Management - Digital technology gives you the ability to manage your calls. Digital radios allow you to direct-call a single contact from your list, instead of always calling an entire group. Of course, if you want to call a group or go all out and call everyone, you can do that as well. Digital gives you control. When it comes to digital, it really is your call.

- Text Messaging - Digital radios support text messaging. There are times when verbal communication just won't get it done, yet you still need to get the message across. Digital radios can provide pre-set or full free-form text messaging capabilities as needed, giving you more options for communicating with other members of your group or team.

But wait, there's more.
If you'd like to hear about more features, check out this Guide to Digital from Vertex Standard. Also, watch this video to see and hear a side by side comparison of analog to digital.

Will you have to eventually upgrade to digital? Most likely. In 2015 the FCC stopped approving conventional analog-only radios that are 2 watts and up. All new 2+ watt radios approved by the FCC must be digital. As manufacturers discontinue old radios, their only option is to replace them with digital models. For this reason, eventually most businesses will likely find themselves using digital radios for lack of other options. At this point there is no indication that the FCC is going to force end-users to upgrade to digital.

What's the best approach to switching to digital? There are two options: all at once, or gradually. Since replacing all of your radios at once can be an expensive undertaking, most businesses choose to do it gradually. As you add new radios to your fleet or replace older or broken radios, simply start buying digital radios instead of analog. Fortunately, all digital radios are also backwards compatible to analog radios. We can program analog channels to be compatible with your old radios, and separate digital channels for groups that are all-digital.

We offer free basic programming for the life of any radio that you buy from us, so when you reach a high number of digital radios and want to add some advanced functionality just send the radios back to us and we'll update your programming (or you can buy a programming cable and do it yourself!)

Do you have more questions? Migrating your radios from analog to digital feels like a hassle and is something that most people would just rather not deal with. We understand that and we try to make the process as simple as possible. Contact our sales department today and we'll quickly get you on the right track.

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!

July 12, 2017

How to update the TYT MD-2017 to store 100,000 contacts

TYT-MD-2017-firmware-update.jpgAs many of you may know, I work tirelessly with TYT directly to provide feedback to them (both my own and that of the end user) to enhance their products. I can honestly say it is an around-the-clock job. I spend many hours outside of normal day working with TYT to make their products the best in the Chinese market. I was the one who had them re-work the programming software for the MD-2017 and MD-9600 so they could be used with your pre-existing code plugs. This has been a game changer as far as I am concerned. So, let me jump off my soap box now..

When the MD-2017 was released, my biggest concern was the lack of storage in the radio for contacts. For most folks, 10,000 contacts is more than enough; however, I am a firm believer in the old saying that bigger is better.

From my feedback, TYT recently released a firmware upgrade for the MD-2017 to allow up to 100,000 contacts! However, in order to accomplish this, the recorder option had to go away. I was not a fan of the recorder anyhow. It was a neat concept on paper, but a useless function on the radio- kind of like a flashlight or a wrist strap.


Want to add up to 100,000 contacts into your TYT MD-2017 dual band DMR digital radio? Here's how to do it.

What you need:

Note: Microsoft Excel is currently required to be installed on the PC for the import of contacts to work.

Step 1: Save the correct firmware version to your desktop. In the case of the early release radios, it is V3.33 bin (non GPS)

Step 2: Double click on the "FirmwareDownloadV3.04_EN.exe" link

Step 3: Under the "User Program" section, click on "Open file upgrade". This is where you will find the file you saved to your desktop.

Step 4: Plug the programming cable in to your radio and the USB in to your computer. With the radio powered off, hold down the PTT and orange button and power the radio on. The screen will remain black but the LED light on top will flash red and green. You are now in firmware update mode.

Step 5: Write the firmware to the radio. To do this, click on the "Download file of upgrade" button. Your radio will now begin to receive the updated firmware. Once the download is complete, power the radio off and unplug the cable from the radio.

Step 6: Open the V1.17 software and plug the cable back into the radio. If you have a current code plug, the contacts that are in that will remain. This is important for your talkgroups.

Step 7: Click on the "Program" dropdown and select "Write contacts". A box will open with available buttons "Read, Write, Export, Import, and Cancel".

Step 8: If you already have a list, you will want to click the "Import" button. After you do this, select the list and import it to the software. The only notification you will get is if it was successful or not. You will not see these in your regular contact list.

Step 9: Once you get the notification that the import was successful, you will now want to power the radio on and hit the "Write button". The process will now begin. Upload times depend on the number of contacts. With the 64,000+ contacts I uploaded, it took about 5 minutes. Be patient and do not power the radio off!

Step 10: Once the download is complete, power the radio off and then back on again. Next is the most important step: You will need to go into your menu for the radio, click > utilities > radio settings > ContactsCSV, and turn it on.

Now your radio should be good to go! I think there are a few little things I would like for TYT to fix, but for the most part this is pretty awesome!! I like the display on it. It has the look of a pretty well-known firmware hack from the MD-380 days.

I installed this on my MD-2017 a few weeks ago and have been using it ever since. I also released my csv file containing over 64,000 contacts.

As always, my sales staff and I appreciate each and every one of our customers. We will continue to support you and the products we sell!

73,

Anthony R.
Sales Manager
www.buytwowayradios.com


February 1, 2017

Midland MXT MicroMobile GMRS radio comparison

The Midland MXT Series adds an exciting new element to the world of GMRS radios. These micro mobiles offer more power, range and features than any of the consumer FRS/GMRS portable handheld radios currently on the market, expanding the flexibility and capabilities of the General Mobile Radio Service. Midland MXT MicroMobile GMRS radios are available from Buy Two Way Radios.

The chart below lists all the models in the MXT Series for a full feature comparison. These models include the MXT105, MXT115 and MXT400. Although now discontinued, the original MXT100 is included as a reference to the upgrades and improvements added to the current models in the MXT line.

Midland MXT Series Comparison Chart

Midland MXT Series Comparison
Item MXT100 MXT105 MXT115 MXT400
Radio Service GMRS GMRS GMRS GMRS
Transmit Power 5W 5W 15W 40W
GMRS Channels 15 15 15 15
Repeater Channels
Weather Channels
Weather Scan
Weather Alert
Privacy Codes 38 CTCSS/
104 DCS
38 CTCSS/
104 DCS
38 CTCSS/
104 DCS
38 CTCSS/
104 DCS
Backlit LCD Display
Manual Squelch
Channel Scan
Monitor Mode
Keystroke Tone
Voice Compander
Keypad Lock
5 Call Tones
Digital Volume
Silent Operation
Timeout Timer (TOT)
Auto Power Off
Call Alert
Signal Strength Meter
Talk Around
Selectable Power Levels Hi/Lo Hi/Lo Hi/Lo Hi/Med/Lo
Backlit LCD Display
Display Colors 1 1 8 1
Adjustable Backlight
Keystroke Tone Signal
Flip Display
Flip-Frame Detachable Mount
Hand Microphone
3.5mm Audio Connector
USB Charger Port
Reset Function
12V Adapter Cord
12V Hardwire Cord
Includes Antenna
Warranty 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year
Weight (ounces/grams) 6.08/172.36 6.08/172.36 - -
Price (MSRP) $149.99 $99.99 $149.99 $249.99


Additional resources:
TWRS-108 - New Midland Mobile GMRS Radios
TWRS-86 - The New Midland MXT100 Mobile GMRS Radio
Midland MXT MicroMobile® radios unboxing video
Midland MXT100 Micro Mobile GMRS Radio Preview video


December 23, 2016

GMRS Radio Range Chart

Range is a popular word in the world of portable handheld two way radios or walkie talkies. Ironically, it's also one of the least understood among the masses, which makes it quite controversial. This simple, five letter word is easy to enunciate, yet it is perhaps one of the most complicated to resolve in the consumer radio marketplace.

The reason for this is contained in the word itself. Although range has an absolute definition, it is defined by a range of variables. In short, range is absolutely relative.

The Variables of Range
A number of variables determine actual range. These include (in no particular order):
  • Type of Radio Signal
  • Obstructions
  • Terrain
  • Distance to Horizon
  • Antenna
  • Radio Power (Wattage)
  • Atmospheric Conditions
Type of Radio Signal
The type of radio signal is a significant variable in determining range. Lower frequencies such as those on the VHF band travel farther but can be more easily blocked. Higher frequencies in the UHF band do not travel as far but can pass around obstacles more easily. The GMRS operates on UHF frequencies around 460 MHz, so our range estimations will be based on that variable.

Obstructions
GMRS radios operate on "line-of-sight", which simply means that as long as they or their operators can clearly "see" each other with nothing between them to obscure their view, the radios should be able to communicate with one another. Anything that gets in the way can adversely affect the line of sight. Such things include, but are not limited to, hills, trees, bridges, buildings, vehicles and anything else that can potentially block, deflect or divert the radio signal away from its intended target.

Terrain
The terrain between the radios is another important consideration. If the area is flat with few or no obstructions, the signal can freely travel unencumbered towards the horizon, even at a very low power. If the terrain is populated with vegetation such as trees or heavy brush, such obstructions can slow or eventually block the signal at some point along the way. Higher frequency GMRS radio signals cannot penetrate earth, so if the terrain is hilly or mountainous, the distance the signal can travel may be reduced significantly.

Distance to Horizon
Since the earth is round, GMRS radio signals do not have an unlimited line of site across the entire globe. At some point, they are blocked or diverted by the curvature of the earth. This is the earth's horizon. In an area of open, level terrain with no obstacles or over open water, the average distance to the horizon is just a few miles. On the roof of a very tall building or mountaintop, the horizon could be ten, twenty or thirty miles. The higher you are over the terrain, the greater the distance between you and your horizon, hence the farther the line-of-site. Conversely, the closer you are to the ground, the nearer you are to your horizon, thus the shorter your line-of-sight.

Antenna
The antenna is one of the most critical components of a radio. It converts the radio signals into the electrical signals the radio can understand and vice versa. Without an antenna, your radio could neither receive nor transmit across any perceptible distance at all. This means the type, height, location and quality of the antenna will have a significant impact on the overall range of the radio signal.

Radio Power (Wattage)
Obviously, the more powerful a signal, the greater its potential range. Or is it? When comparing a 5 watt radio transmission to a 50 watt signal, the difference in range can be quite significant. However, when comparing two low power signals between 1 and 5 watts, the difference is not as impressive. Depending on some of the other variables, there may not be much of a difference at all. For instance, an entry level GMRS handheld walkie talkie operating at about half a watt in an open field may have about the same coverage as a five watt model in the middle of a large city. Depending on the distance to the horizon and/or the height and quality of antenna, it may be even better! The moral? Don't let the wattage rating alone dictate your choice of radio. Consider all of the variables.

Atmospheric Conditions
One variable that is sometimes overlooked is the atmosphere. While not as disruptive as many other variables, atmospheric effects such as rain, snow and fog can interfere with a radio signal and may slightly reduce overall range.

The Confusion with Range
Considering all the variables, calculating range still doesn't seem too complicated. It isn't, really. So, why the confusion? To answer that question, all we need to do is pick up a brand new pack of consumer FRS/GMRS radios and look at the packaging.

One of the first things you may notice, more often than not, is a great big number emblazoned in bold and prominently displayed on the front of the package, usually designated in mileage. It may read 16 Miles, 26 Miles, 36 Miles or more, and is implied to be the mileage rating of the radios enclosed. The higher the number, the greater the range, and the more powerful or higher wattage the radios are perceived to be. But are they? Not necessarily.

Remember, power/wattage is only one of the many variables used to calculate range, and as we've noted, it is not the most influential. After all, a low wattage handheld radio can have a greater range than a higher wattage handheld radio within reason, provided the other variables exceed those of the higher wattage model.

It's easy to pick out the big bold number on the box, but miss the words "up to" in the small print above it. As a result, many who latch onto the large font and tune out the tiny type naturally assume the double digit figure is an absolute, when it isn't. In fact, the mileage on the package doesn't really figure into the range equation much at all.

The Truth About Range
Are the manufacturers lying? Well, technically, maybe no. If the radio is advertised to transmit (up to) 36 miles, you might get 36 miles - that is, if you're transmitting from a mountaintop or hovering somewhere in the upper troposphere and the horizon is at least 36 miles away. If you're orbiting the earth and there are no obstructions, you might even get more. But then, how often do you go there? Exactly.

The truth is, the number on the box only indicates how far the radio has supposedly been tested to transmit and receive under what the manufacturers refer to as optimal conditions. This phrase or a variation thereof is usually found in even smaller type somewhere on the back, side, or bottom of the box. Unlike those big numbers, you'll probably have to look around to find it.

Optimal vs. Actual Range
Forget the fantasy figures. Let's get real. If those numbers mean anything, they serve as a general reference as to which tier the radio is placed within the industry. It works like this. GMRS radios with a low optimal range of 10-16 miles typically have basic features and functionality. These are considered low-end or entry level models. Those labeled as a higher optimal range of 35 miles and above with the most wattage, add-ons and options are considered the high-end models. The mid-tier models consist of everything in-between. While not perfect, it's a fairly reliable method and goes a long way towards simplifying the confusing marketing hype surrounding the range claims created by the manufacturers of FRS/GMRS two way radios.

To simplify things further, the chart below was created to convert the manufacturer's advertised range to an actual, real-world range and assigned to a tier as a range rating. The chart is further divided by type of terrain for greater accuracy. Note: These are real world estimates only.

Rick's Simple GMRS Radio Range Chart

Urban Terrain
Advertised Range Actual Range Range Rating
16 miles 1-2 blocks Low
20 miles 2-3 blocks Low
26 miles 3-4 blocks Mid
30 miles 4-6 blocks Mid
36+ miles 0.2-0.25 mile High


Suburban Terrain
Advertised Range Actual Range Range Rating
16 miles 300-800 feet Low
20 miles 0.1-0.3 mile Low
26 miles 0.4-0.5 mile Mid
30 miles 0.6-1.0 mile Mid
36+ miles 1-2 mile High


Open (Level) Terrain
Advertised Range Actual Range Range Rating
16 miles 0.5-1 mile Low
20 miles 1-3 miles Low
26 miles 3-4 miles Mid
30 miles 4-5 miles Mid
36+ miles ~6 miles High


No Terrain
Advertised Range Actual Range Range Rating
16 miles Up to 16 miles (est.) Low
20 miles Up to 20 miles (est.) Low
26 miles Up to 26 miles (est.) Mid
30 miles Up to 30 miles (est.) Mid
36+ miles Up to 36+ miles (est.) High


Related Resources
30 Miles? The Truth About Range
Getting The Most Range From Your Radio
The Two Way Radio Show TWRS-05 - Radios in Range
The Two Way Radio Show TWRS-45 - The Truth About GMRS Radio Range
Radio 101 - The truth about FRS / GMRS two way radio range
How To Optimize Range for Motorola Talkabout Two Way Radios


December 12, 2016

How to reset the TYT TH-9800 to factory defaults

The TYT TH-9800 quad band mobile radio is a popular counterpart to the popular Wouxun KG-UV950P. With its powerful features and flexible options, the TH-9800 is generally considered a good value for the price. One example of this flexibility is the reset option. Most mobile radios allow the user to reset the transceiver as needed, however it is often limited to one or two reset options, either a partial reset of selected programmable items, or a full reset of the entire radio. The TH-9800 offers four. Now, that's a quad bander.

TH-9800 Factory Reset Options
  • F-1 SETMOD RESET
    Resets the menu settings to factory defaults
  • F-2 HYPER RESET
    Resets the Hyper Memory settings to factory defaults
  • F-3 MEMORY RESET
    Resets regular memory settings to factory defaults
  • F-4 ALL RESET
    Resets all memory, menu and other settings to factory defaults

Follow the steps below to reset a TYT TH-9800 Quad Band Mobile Two Way Radio from Buy Two Way Radios to its original factory settings.

To perform a Reset
1. Turn off the radio.
2. Press and hold the LEFT [LOW] and turn the radio on.
3. Turn the DIAL to choose the RESET menu.
4. Choose the appropriate reset option [F-1, F-2, F-3 or F-4].
5. Short press the [SET] key to reset the radio.
7. Reset is complete.

A reset may resolve many issues or malfunctions, but may not work for every scenario. However, it is usually a recommended first step when troubleshooting a two way radio.


August 17, 2016

How to reset the Wouxun KG-UV8D to factory settings and English prompts

KG-UV8-Display-800.jpgThe Wouxun KG-UV8D two way radio has a quick and easy reset. The only downside to the reset operation is it also clears out all the language settings and sets them to the default. English is its second language. The default is Chinese. The reset process clears all the language settings, both voice prompts and menu items shown on the display. If you speak and read Chinese, that's not an issue. If English is your first or only language, fear not, we're here to help. if you can read this, follow the instructions below and post-reset navigation should not be a challenge.

There are two reset options.
Functional Parameter Reset (VFO)
the VFO option resets the function settings to factory defaults without wiping out the channel settings.
Total Parameter Reset (ALL)
The ALL option performs a full reset back to factory defaults and clears the channel settings.

Follow the steps below to reset a Wouxun KG-UV8D, KG-UV8D Plus, or KG-UV8E two way radio from Buy Two Way Radios to its original factory settings and English prompts.

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 51).
3. Press MENU to choose RESET.
4. Press the UP/DOWN arrow keys to choose VFO.
5. Press MENU. The radio will display RESET SURE?
6. Press MENU to confirm. The radio will display Waite please (yes, "wait" with an "e") for a few seconds, then shut down and restart.
7. 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 51).
3. Press MENU to choose RESET.
4. Press the DOWN arrow key to choose ALL.
5. Press MENU. The radio will display RESET SURE?
6. Press MENU to confirm. The radio will display Waite please for a few seconds, then shut down and restart.
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 LANGUAGE (Menu Item 12). Note: the menu will be in Chinese, so the next two steps are important if you cannot read Chinese characters.
3. Press MENU.
4. Press the DOWN arrow key once.
5. Press MENU.
6. Press EXIT.

A reset may resolve many issues or malfunctions, but may not work for every scenario. However, it is usually a recommended first step when troubleshooting a two way radio.


August 15, 2016

How to program the Wouxun KG-UV8D

The Wouxun KG-UV8D is a popular dual band handheld two way radio for a reason. It has great performance, it's loaded with features, and it has a nice, large, color LCD display. It's also reasonably priced.

Then there is programming.

Programming the KG-UV8D isn't very difficult if you do it with a computer. Although the programming software provided by Wouxun isn't perfect, it's really not too bad, and it's not too difficult to figure out over time. Of course, if you have the open source programming software called CHIRP, it's even better, because it now supports the original KG-UV8D. CHIRP is freely available online.

For the most part, programming the KG-UV8D from a PC is relatively painless, especially when connected to an XLT Painless Programming Cable from Buy Two Way Radios. Programming it manually from the radio itself is another topic. To someone who is not familiar with the process, it can certainly be confusing or downright frustrating. Yet, there may come a time when you need to program your 8D and there is no computer or programming cable handy. There may be a time and place when you may need to do it manually. What do you do? How do you do it?

Follow the instructions below to manually program your Wouxun KG-UV8D, KG-UV8D Plus or KG-UV8E directly from the keypad of the radio.

How to manually program a simplex channel
  • Step 1. Press [A/B] and choose the A Side (upper display) as MAIN.
  • Step 2. Press [VFO/MR] and enter Frequency Mode.
    The radio should be in Frequency (VFO) Mode to program all settings to the channel.
  • Step 3. Enter the frequency.
    Use the keypad to enter the frequency into the radio.
  • Step 4. optional - Enter the transmit CTCSS/DCS code.
    • CTCSS - [MENU] 16 [MENU] [enter/choose code XXXX] [MENU] [EXIT]
    • DCS - [MENU] 18 [MENU] [choose code XXXXX] [MENU] [EXIT]
    • Use the [Arrow Up/Down] keys or the channel selector knob to choose the codes from the menu.
  • Step 5. Assign the frequency to a channel.
    [MENU] 27 [MENU] [enter channel number XXX] [MENU] [EXIT]
    If the Channel number is displayed in black, it is already assigned. Choose another channel.
    If the channel number is blue, the channel is available.

How to manually program a repeater channel
  • Step 1. Press [A/B] and choose the A Side (upper display) as MAIN.
  • Step 2. Press [VFO/MR] and enter Frequency Mode.
    Like the simplex channels, the radio should be in Frequency (VFO) Mode to program all settings to the channel.
  • Step 3. Enter the frequency.
    Use the keypad to enter the frequency into the radio.
  • Step 4. optional - Enter the transmit CTCSS/DCS code.
    • CTCSS - [MENU] 16 [MENU] [enter/choose code XXXX] [MENU] [EXIT]
    • DCS - [MENU] 18 [MENU] [choose code XXXXX] [MENU] [EXIT]
    • Use the [Arrow Up/Down] keys or the channel selector knob to choose the codes from the menu.
  • Step 5. Input the repeater frequency offset.
    Press [MENU] 23 [MENU] [enter the offset for 2 meter or 70 cm repeater] [MENU] [EXIT]
  • Step 6. Enter the Transmit Frequency Shift.
    Press [MENU] 24 [MENU] [enter 1 for positive shift or 2 for negative shift] [MENU][EXIT]
    Note: There are three ways to enter the frequency shift.
    • Enter 1 for positive (+) and 2 for negative (-).
    • Press [Arrow Up/Down] to toggle + or -.
    • Turn the channel selector knob to choose + or -.
  • Step 7. Assign the frequency to a channel.
    Press [MENU] 27 [MENU] [enter the channel number XXX] [MENU] [EXIT]
    If the Channel number is displayed in black, it is already assigned. Choose another channel.
    If the channel number is blue, the channel is available.

To add more channels, repeat the steps above. If these instructions are followed correctly step-by-step, you should be able to program all 999 memory channels in your Wouxun KG-UV8D. Note: These instructions will also work for KG-UV8D Plus and KG-UV8E radios.

August 8, 2016

Two way radio programmability

The two way radio is a powerful tool for short range communications, and for a number of reasons. There are no recurring connection charges, no subscription or usage fees, and it is easy to operate. Perhaps the best reason is the almost instantaneous connection. There is no dialing involved. Simply push a button and talk.

That is how a two way radio is supposed to work, and that is what users expect it to do. Many expect the radio to do it as soon as it is turned on, right out of the box, and some radios do. However, some of them don't, and a user who is not familiar with how a radio works may assume their brand new, freshly unboxed transceiver may not work at all. To those who are new to radio, it can be a real source of confusion and frustration.

While it is possible to receive a product prone to malfunction, such damage or defect isn't usually the issue. In fact, in all likelihood, there is probably nothing inherently wrong with the device itself at all. More often than not, the radio simply needs to be programmed.

The two way radios of today usually fall under one of two general categories: those that need to be programmed by the user, and those that don't. Some radio services, such as FRS, GMRS, CB and MURS, require the devices to operate on specific frequencies and/or within certain parameters, which means the radios operating within those services are generally pre-packaged and "hard programmed" at the factory to meet those requirements.

Other radio services are more flexible, and the radios operating within them are more flexible as well. These transceivers are designed for partial or full programmability by the owners themselves. That's a lot of accessibility, power and control over a device, particularly one used for communication, and many radio operators want and prefer to take full advantage of it whenever possible.

As these programmable two way radios become more sophisticated, so does their programming. Many can be programmed from the units themselves, usually either through a set of buttons or a full keypad embedded in the radio. However, some of them don't have that option, and even some that do require additional input by the user that can be cumbersome, complicated and often confusing for anyone who hasn't studied the manual from cover to cover (and if it is a manual for some imported radios, even if they have). In such scenarios, programming the radio via computer is generally considered a more practical or desirable option.

Some radios, such as lower end models used by many small businesses, retailers or localized business operations, may need to have only limited user programmability or may need to be completely locked down to prevent users from tampering with their functions and settings. These radios may be pre-programmed with frequencies, CTCSS/DCS codes and other features at the factory or by a dealer, allowing the end user a preset choice of programmable options.

Most higher end radios used for commercial, industrial, business purposes or public service operations are fully programmable and may be programmed by the dealer or the end user. Transceivers used in amateur radio are almost always fully programmable, and are usually shipped without any pre-programming from the manufacturer or dealer. These units must be programmed by the end user before they are able to transmit or receive calls.

The chart below lists the programmability of different types of two way radios we carry at Buy Two Way Radios. It is not intended to detail the programming capabilities or limitations of every make and model, only to provide the basic differences between them.

Two Way Radio Programmability Chart

Radio Service Manufacturer Model Programmable Programmer
Airband Icom IC-A6
IC-A14
Yes Dealer/End User
Amateur (HAM) Baofeng
Icom
Leixen
Tytera
Wouxun
All Yes End User
Citizen's Band (CB) Cobra
Midland
Galaxy
Uniden
All No Manufacturer
Business Band BlackBox
Hytera
Icom
Kenwood
Motorola
Olympia
Vertex Standard
All Yes Dealer/End User
FRS/GMRS Cobra
Midland
Motorola
Olympia
Uniden
All No Manufacturer
VHF Marine Cobra
Icom
Uniden
All No Manufacturer

Additional resources:
Motorola RDX Two Way Radio Programming Software
How to program Motorola DLR1020 and DLR1060 Advanced Configuration options
How to Clone a Motorola RDX Two Way Radio
Don't Let Your Two Way Radio Dealer Hold You Hostage
How to Wirelessly Clone Kenwood Protalk Radios
How to program the Wouxun KG-UV920P mobile radio from a PC
How to program a frequency into the Wouxun KG-UV920P-A
Radio Compatibility: Which Models Will Work Together