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Thread: XTS-4000, are they worth it?

  1. #1
    saberthree No Longer Registered

    Default XTS-4000, are they worth it?

    Hey guys, One of my buddies showed me his XTS-4000 radio. I was blown away by the fact that, thats one small digital radio!!! But I'm suspecting that the radios battery life is just as cool as a car with 7 MPG. Does anyone have personal experiences with this particular radio? likes and dislikes? I've had this debate with myself for the longest time to decide if they are even worth it or should I just stick to the old fashioned astro saber P25? If I had the money, Id buy an APX-7000 but thats for down the road of course.


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    Audio not as good, battery not as good, low power output, etc.

    It was designed for one situation and one situation only. Covert use of a radio in a cell phone profile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Technoweenie View Post
    Audio not as good, battery not as good, low power output, etc.

    It was designed for one situation and one situation only. Covert use of a radio in a cell phone profile.
    They would work good if they made them in 800MHz, but they never did. They don't look like a current phone and I imagine there won't be support for them much longer.

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    The battery life is a big downside.. Even with the high cap battery which makes it twice as thick, it doesn't last long at all.. The small upside is that they have 2 displays, and can be flashed with the same options as the 5000..

  5. #5
    TheWizard No Longer Registered

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    I had one for about a year or so, pretty expensive for what it is.

    Battery life on a radio that basically 99.9% receive (but scanning and receiving something much of the time) was about 5-6 hours. A second battery to cover a shift is manditory (but I was using the standard capacity battery).

    For 800Mhz or a trunking situation, I'd imagine battery life to be much much worse than that.

  6. #6
    saberthree No Longer Registered

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    First of all, thank all you guys for your input! I greatly appreciate it. I was suspecting it had a horrible battery life, sounds like it would have lasted just as well as the Thermal scopes we used to get issued....6 AA batteries would be dead in 4-5 hours. I like the idea that its a small discreet radio, bigger plus since it supported crypto. I might consider buying one that I would probably take into town while Im bored watching a hockey game or grocery shopping while being discreet at the same time. (i live in stockton, carrying a astro saber will either get you shot or beat up not to mention the crazy looks you'll get). Another question I had for you guys, is there any other radio out there that comes close to the concept of the XTS-4000, that supports P25 or do I have to play the waiting game? ( san joaquin valley switched to P25 1 year ago) I really might get one for the cool and discreet factor, now I just have to find someone willing to sell it!!!

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    I personally own an XTS4000 UHF, bought it 1 yr ago and never regret about it. It is very light and discreet, noone looks at you suspeciously when you have it with you in public places. It has a colour display, rich feature package, nice and loud audio, sensitivity as high as it is on "large" XTS. It is rather small and easy to carry.
    The main drawbacks for me are:
    1. Battery. It doesn't last more than 4-6 hrs when you use trunking or turn the loudspeaker on.
    2. Antenna. It is almost impossible to connect an external antenna for everyday use. Stock antenna has a habit of popping away from it's retainer if you roc it sideways or apply pressure on it from above (that's why I don't recommend to carry the radio in pockets, I've picked a custom corduroy case for it)
    3. Power. Sometimes 2 W is not enough. 4K will show "no comms" in trunking where 5K or 2500 work perfectly.

    To make it shorter, XTS4K for me is like a Swiss knife. It is always with you and will be helpful in some situations, but it will never replace the professional tool kit.

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  9. #8
    saberthree No Longer Registered

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    Hey Eaton, thank yoy for your response. I just wished someone would post a review on youtube on them...Ive only seen like 3 videos, and they hardly count! they basically just turn on the radio and spin it around a few times! I've become turned onto purchasing one for the fact that it is very discreet for what it is. The local PD boys switched from analog to the P25 system which basically puts all my radios in the dark now...about all I can do with them is use them to communicate between the firing line and the main office (i am the head range master at the local range) I been looking into possibly integrating MDC1200 for emergencies and TMS for discreet messages from the office while I am on the firing line with customers. having the XTS4K would be very discreet and people would probably assume Im just texting my girlfriend lol. We are out in the middle of nowhere so there are no cellphone coverage, and we have to resort to using FRS and some of my old sabers in the FRS band....which gets interference all the dang time! Eventually I am going to convince my boss to a license for us to operate in the business band.


    I do agree that the XTS4K is like a swiss knife...sure is convenient though! I been invited to come out to the local amateur radio club in the county, so at least I will have people local I can talk to and learn from on how to set stuff up in terms of repeaters, TMS and MDC1200 for use.

  10. #9
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    Be aware that MDC is an analog thing, and TMS is a P25 thing. You can't use them both on the same mode, one is for analog, the other for digital modes. P25 does most of the same things that MDC did in the analog world, paging, selective calls, status/messages, emergency, etc. so if you are thinking of playing with TMS, give up on MDC entirely.

    That said, TMS is a joke the way it's implemented. There is NO RETRY, so if the ONE attempt made gets lost, or the response gets lost, there is no confirmation or retry attempts made. Horrendously unreliable. Maybe if you drop $20,000.00 on a complete infrastructure, TMS controller, etc. you might get a system that is semi-reliable, but without any such controller/infrastructure it's a completely useless "feature" trying to use TMS in a simplex conventional mode.

  11. #10
    saberthree No Longer Registered

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    @ alpha thanks for the info, I have no experience with both systems so its something I will have to look out for! generally on the range, we would need to TX and RX within a 500 to 800 yard radius with small hills, the only time I would see it being a problem is at our 200 yard which is basically a small valley. The only time I would probably use TMS would be for small emergencies but even then they could just key the mic and call me on the radio if that fails. I was thinking about rigging a small door bell style button to the door to sign in so I get paged to know that someone wants to sign in. Usually during the weekday I work the firing line and office at the same time by myself which is a huge responsibility considering what I am around all day, it can be a handful!!! but thank god I have a cute blonde working the office for me on the weekends when its super busy.

    The TMS thing did get me alittle worried though, so I may just have to stick with MDC if its more reliable. As for dropping 20K for a system...ehhh I dont think its that important lol. Maybe If I had a full time staff on a huge range, that would be a possibility, but we are a small family run range in the area for 30 years, we like to try to keep things simple and pain free. I might have to go and purchase some XTS3000s for office use, we only really need maybe 5 or 6 radios to keep in the arms room, usually we only need 2 or 3 radios for regular days and maybe 5 or 6 radios when we shutdown the range to civilians for the law enforcement, military contracts and corrections dudes show up to use our range. as much as I hate to admit it, they are horrible shots!!!

  12. #11
    saberthree No Longer Registered

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    BTW do you think it would be better to use VHF in this case? we are an outdoor range, it is important that we have as much clarity as we can get, but as far as penetrating buildings and structures goes, its not important

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    The P25 equivalent signaling that works like MDC is very reliable, it's just the TMS part that isn't great. So paging, etc. on P25 digital work just as well as their analog MDC counterparts. You need to decide if you have any analog interoperability needs, and if not, going with P25 is probably the better choice - otherwise stick with analog and you can talk to other cheaper (non-digital) radios if need be.

    VHF would tend to get better overall range with less building/foliage penetration. UHF gets in and out of buildings better but doesn't go quite as far for the same power level. Either way simplex at ground level you should get 1/2 mile easily on either band. For the office if you have a base station with an antenna on the roof or a pole that will probably cover a mile or two very easily. If that's not cutting the mustard, you can always put up a repeater...

  14. #13
    saberthree No Longer Registered

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    I might just consider going all out digital, just for the main reason that alot of people around this county havent invested into digital radios/ scanners so I can somewhat have a form of privacy in terms of joe shmow the farmer or the punk kids that love to talk on our net. All the law enforcment departments in the county switched over to digital just last year...you could imagine how pissed I was with all the old sabers I had that dont pick them up anymore!!! to make things worse I only had the 512K board in them, So I couldnt just update the radios.

    to make things relatively cheap, I could probably program the radio with one bank that runs digital and another bank that does analog MDC until I get all the radios to go to digital format. do you have any recommended websites in mind that I can study info on MDC/TMS. Chances are, ill just keep using the sabers on analog for general communications until I can afford to get digital radios. I do have the DESXL cryptos in them and a KVL so that can at least work for now to keep eavesdroppers off the net.

    If things go well, I should be having a XTS4K in my hands soon next month, thanks to Mars the admin guy, cant wait to test that baby out! It wont out do a XTS5K but, its nice to have something discreet! Thanks again Alpha for giving me some insight!!!

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    Astro Sabers with 512K VOCON's can be upgraded to to APCO P25/IMBE. The last version that would fit in 512k was 5.60.04, IIRC, DSP 6.05.02 or so. So if the Sabers you are referring to are analog only or VSELP they CAN be upgraded, just so you know. There is much info related to this posted elsewhere on the site, and there are several people capable of doing the upgrade for you if needed, unless you have a SmartRIB, you may need some assistance with that.

    For more info, search here, and at Batlabs, Repeater Builder and yes, even RadioReference. The in-site search sucks, and won't do less than 4 letters, so use Google instead - for instance, to search this site for MDC, use the search string "MDC site: p25.ca" in the Google box. It will reveal a wealth of information, like 10 pages of results, plus - all from here, alone. (Note: no space between the colon : and the p in p25, but the damn forum put a smiley in there mistakenly, so I had to add a space there...)

  16. #15
    saberthree No Longer Registered

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    I didnt know the astro sabers with the 512K vocon could do that, Ive heard that they either wont work, or if they do it would be very crappy....I guess Ill have to find someone that could do that for me, maybe Mars, I saw in a post that he does firmware stuff like that. Thanks again Alpha for your wealth of knowledge, its back on the firing line for me, its sad to see all these guys with nice guns that cant even hit paper at the 100 yard, take care bud