Last year, about this same time, I posted a post on this site titled “My 3 big purchases of 2014“. Well here it is in April of 2015 and none of these purchases have been made, but not because I changed my mind or anything, but rather because Ham Radio is all about “hurry up and wait”, it seems.
Connect Systems CS800 DMR Mobile Radio
In late 2013, Connect Systems released their CS700, which has been very well-received and is still a popular seller today. This DMR HT for $199 is a great way to get into Amateur Radio DMR, and can also be used for commercial applications. Later released was the CS701, the VHF version of this same radio.
When I attended Dayton Hamvention in May of last year, I signed up on the pre-order list for the CS800, a 40-45 watt mobile version of the CS700 DMT HT. The “expected” date was October of 2014. October came and went, along with the end of the year and 2015, but still no mobile radio. I received in February that Connect Systems should have the first sample of this radio in stock soon. Orders for the radio should start being filled by the end of the month. I have already spoke to Connect Systems to make sure that I am on the list of pre-orders. The starting price will be $280.
Alianza’s 2-way radio dock that will allow you to drop-in a smartphone (Android, iPhone or BlackBerry10) is still in the wind. Their Twitter account has been mostly silent over the last year, and their website still says it in the “final pre-production and certification phase”, which is basically what it has said since late 2013. Rumor has it that their kickstarter program didn’t live up to the required budget needed to get this project off the ground, but nothing on Alianza’s site can confirm or deny this. I assume that the project is still moving forward, but the company has been mostly silent, so who can tell? Should the device actually be released this year, I will still take a serious look at it, but it will largely depend on price. In about the same price-range as buying an Android phone without a carrier contract, you can find Runbo X5 and Runbo X6 phones on ebay or various other places on the internet, which essentially have the same features as the Alianza, although they are one single device instead of a dock, and are only monoband (VHF or UHF) at this point in time.
Released about mid-to-late last year was the Anytone AT-3318UV-E Triband HT, which has been met with some rather boring success. I say that because the sales of this radio have been somewhat flat, but the radio itself is actually quite good. Out of the small handful I have sold, nearly all of the customers have emailed to called me after receiving the radio, and complimented it’s features. It has a great receiver, high-gain antenna, and clean audio. The only limiting factor, in my opinion, is the 200-channel memory bank. With a triband, it really should have something closer to the Wouxun UV8D memory storage of 999 channels.
However, the mobile unit still seems to be vaporware. From what I am told, the radio has run into some issues with 2M and 220 playing nice together, which is understandable for radios of the past, but this same company has already made a successful HT with 3 bands, so what is the problem with making the package BIGGER? Not sure, but I am not a radio technician either.
The most recent “release date” is April. We’ll see if this date holds true once April ends, and I don’t expect we will actually know anything before then. However, I am still very excited about this radio. The 220MHz band is growing quickly in the DFW area, and I know several hams that will be picking up this radio as soon as it is available. I have them for sale on a pre-order on my website, and have filled several orders already. So the interest is alive, but the wait is getting tiresome.
New for 2015:
These items are anticipated for 2015 and should be very popular when they arrive:
- Yaesu FTM-400DR Dual Band Fusion Radio – already released and growing in popularity, but the success of Fusion is still to-be-determined.
- BFDX TD-503 DMR HT Radio – already released with built-in GPS and a heavy-duty feel. Great receiver and great audio
- BFDX MT7250 DMR Mobile Radio – beating Connect Systems to the punch, this radio is ready now. We should receive our first shipment this week.
- TYT TH-9800 with 220 – not much is known yet about this radio, but TYT is releasing another model of the TH-9800 which will incorporate the 220MHz band. This band will replace one of the existing bands in the radio, keeping it a real Quad Band, but it isn’t known yet which band will be replaced. My hope is for 10-meters.
- TYT MD-380 DMR HT Radio. TYT is jumping onto the DMR bandwagon, ahead of the more popular Chinese companies like Baofeng and Wouxun.
- Connect Systems CS7000 – Announced early last year, and vaporware up until this point, but still going full-steam in production. This little HT will incorporate analog, DMR and DSTAR into a single radio. Later on, through firmware updates, new digital modes such as P25 Phase 2, Fusion and NXDN should be able to be added. The rumor is also that the mobile version of this radio, which we will not see until 2016 I can almost guarantee, will be dual-band.
I will attempt to keep up with this blog more often, especially for upcoming radios and reviews of new radios. Keep checking back.