I posted a while back about a low-cost solution for DMR, which is the Connect Systems CS700 HT Radio. Selling at only $180 for a brand-new UHF DMR radio, it has been fairly well received
I used my radio for about a month, making contacts on DMR through both the Dallas and the Denton DMR repeaters, and all was going fine. The HT sounded good, and worked well on analog frequencies too. It wouldn’t do text messaging, which is a feature of the DMR system, but to me that was a somewhat low priority. I bought the radio to talk on DMR repeaters, not to use as a cell phone. But I know that CSI is working on firmware updates that should make this text messaging feature workable.
There was a firmware update released in December called version 1.21. After updating to this version of the firmware, my radio stopped working. I won’t say that it bricked, because it will power up, and I can change channels and scroll through all of the menus, but it will not key any DMR nor analog repeaters. I don’t have any fancy test equipment to test, and I haven’t tried a power meter behind it, but I worked with some of the nice people on the CSIDMR yahoo group, but to no avail. The radio is basically dead at this point. Yesterday firmware version 1.23 was released, but even after loading this version, I see no change in performance of my radio.
I contacted Jerry at CSI, the president of the company, which is also the person whom I bought the radio from originally. He asked if I had inquired about support from the Yahoo group, which I believe he and his people are members of, and when I told him I had, he graciously agreed to “fix” my radio. Whether this means he will reload it or replace it, I do not know, nor do I really care, as long as it works. He asked that I send the radio back to him without the battery or antenna, and he will correct whatever issues there are, and ship it back to me.
I’ve boxed up the radio and will ship it this weekend. I’ll post again once I get it back about the results of the repair.
As far as I can tell, this is a 1-off issue with this radio. No one else in the group has reported this problem with this radio. Most people are very happy with them. If you are interested in getting your feet wet with DMR, I still think this is a good starting point.