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Thread: Radio recommendation

  1. #1
    ke4vfd No Longer Registered

    Default Radio recommendation

    Hello, I am looking to get either a CDM1550 or MCS2000 in VHF for 2M operation. I was wanting any feedback or recommendations between the two models. I also would be using the radio for the occasional inter-agency work with the fire department.

    thanks,

    Josh
    KE4VFD


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    Well I don't have a CDM radio, but I have 3 MCS2000's. Great radios with good tx, & rx audio. Sensitive rx, w/o intermod. Several buttons can be programmed to do what you want. They have never let me down. GARY

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    If you can find an MCS with the features that you need included in the flashcode, like MDC1200 and 2 Tone signalling, then i would go with one of those, because they are cheaper, and the programming software is available on here for free. But finding one with the features that you need may be difficult, because the MCS is a Flashport radio, so you can not add them due to toolproofing.

    A CDM radio already includes all of those and they just need to be enabled. The downside to CDMs are that they are currently more expensive and also the CPS is not available because they are still currently supported by Motorola.

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    Of course the CPS is available. 1-800-422-4210. If he is going to buy a CDM, he should buy the software.
    "God as my witness" - Jeremy Dewitte - Felon

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    I know its available, i just meant that its not LEGALLY available for free yet, and it must be purchased through Motorola. And yes it would be better to purchase the software so you can make your own changes instead of having to bring it to a dealer every time, but for the cost of the radio and the software, you could buy 2 MCS2000s and download the software for free and have money to spare.

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    I'm saving all my MCS2000 control heads for Micom control heads now!! The MCS is a bit old, and I have seen a pretty fair 'jankyness' with the radios in the last year or two, they just seem to be getting more touchy about bricking. Plus, like was previously stated, what flash you have is what you get.
    "God as my witness" - Jeremy Dewitte - Felon

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    It will probably be pointed out that the flash can be upgraded on the MCS, but it is NOT cost effective or worth the hassle to have it done. And speaking from experience, it is very hit or miss as far as finding radios optioned how you want.

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    Quote Originally Posted by N4KVE View Post
    Well I don't have a CDM radio, but I have 3 MCS2000's. Great radios with good tx, & rx audio. Sensitive rx, w/o intermod. Several buttons can be programmed to do what you want. They have never let me down. GARY
    I'll second this comment. I have several MCS2000 radios and they are top notch. IMO the MCS2000 was a higher tier product than the CDM from the get-go, the CDM is intended more for industrial use, whereas the MCS2000 was a public safety tier radio. While the MCS is an older platform with support having ended, the CDM series is not too far behind from being cancelled, and then the clock starts ticking.

    IMO the MCS radios will last longer, they were higher tier products, and if you get ones in poor shape that aren't well cared for or maintained, like anything, then you may have problems down the road sooner than later. The MCS2000 will work fine for HAM purposes regardless of the flashcode, while MDC1200 and QCII is nice, they aren't REALLY needed for use on 2M/440- about the only desirable features for HAM use is the 250 channel option and user selectable PL/DPL. The model III's have a beautiful control head with a nice two line 16 character display versus the CDM's single line display. This makes it easy to name repeaters by location and frequency, for instance:

    Zone 1 ATLANTA HAM
    Channel 1 145.41 R W4PME

    Zone 2 BIRMINGHAM
    Channel 1 146.88 R W4CUE

    You get the idea.

    One important note about BOTH series of radios is the duty cycle. These radios WILL require external cooling (e.g. a simple fan across the heat sink) if you intend to ragchew with them, even when set to low power. Both the CDM and MCS series were designed for commercial duty cycle, meaning intermittent short transmissions (30-60 seconds). They will overheat and eventually have premature PA failures if you make back to back 3 minute long transmissions without some type of cooling. This is the same for most commercial mobile radios not just Motorola products.PA replacement on both radios is a chore, and the parts and labor can exceed the value of the radio. So, a cheap but effective muffin fan blowing across the heat sink should be good enough to keep the temperature within design specifications and dissipate much more heat than the heat sink alone.

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    I had one MCS on each band way back when. They were both Model 2's and the UHF was high power.

    Display was easy to read and programming was a snap.

    Great radios! I would highly recommend them for amateur use.
    Cyrus

    Bubbles: I'd like to see that Red Blue Green c***sucker put one of those together, duct-tapin' it.

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    My 30 watt 900 mhz radios stayed pretty cool, but my 100 watt UHF needed cooling fans even at low power to keep from getting hot. I actually made a cooling shroud with 3 fans to keep the radio cool in the trunk of the car. After that the radio barely got warm. I also set the TOT to 30 seconds. GARY

  11. #11
    iamjason No Longer Registered

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    I've always enjoyed the ergonomics of the MCS over the CDM. That would be my choice.

  12. #12
    ke4vfd No Longer Registered

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    Thanks for the input from everyone! I really like the looks of the MCS, but I may be leaning towards a CDM simply because there is already a UHF one in the "company car" and programming one won't be an issue. I think the main downer towards the MCS line is finding one in good shape that covers the entire 2M band.

    Another quick question, does anyone have any experience with using a MAXRAD MWV132S "wideband VHF". They claim it has a 24mhz usable bandwidth, and looks to be a 1/2 wave in gain.

    thanks again,
    Josh

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    I believe the MCS only has one split in the VHF band, 136-174mHz.
    Cyrus

    Bubbles: I'd like to see that Red Blue Green c***sucker put one of those together, duct-tapin' it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ke4vfd View Post

    Another quick question, does anyone have any experience with using a MAXRAD MWV132S "wideband VHF". They claim it has a 24mhz usable bandwidth, and looks to be a 1/2 wave in gain.

    thanks again,
    Josh
    I believe you're referring to the MWV1365S? If so, they work just fine. I had one on my Silverado for a few years with no troubles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrus View Post
    I believe the MCS only has one split in the VHF band, 136-174mHz.
    If you look on that popular auction site, some VHF MCS radios show a 136-174 split, while others show a 146-174 split. These same radios have the same model numbers, & hardware. The seller, Erac1, sells both, & his auctions assure that the 136-174 radios are not hacked, or hex edited. So anyone looking to use a VHF MCS on the ham band, make sure you are getting a 136-174 radio. GARY

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    Quote Originally Posted by N4KVE View Post
    So anyone looking to use a VHF MCS on the ham band, make sure you are getting a 136-174 radio. GARY
    Better yet, look for an actual spec sheet from Motorola instead of trusting information gleaned from eBay.

    Here's a link to the spec sheet published by Motorola:

    http://pdf.textfiles.com/manuals/SCA..._Datasheet.pdf

    Scroll down and you'll see all VHF MCS2000's do 136-174mHz.
    Cyrus

    Bubbles: I'd like to see that Red Blue Green c***sucker put one of those together, duct-tapin' it.

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    @KE4VFD, the Maxrad MWV1365S is a broad band 21 inch high 1/4 wave and needs a ground plane. I have one on the roof of my truck and +1 on the performance (it's rated at 150W so OK for HP Astro decks), good where height is limited and very well made. For the trunk on a sedan check out the Tram 1159-WB 6/8 wave broad band, no ground plane needed. Cheaper, 54 inches of goodness, but maybe not so well made. Both claim 38 MHz usable bandwidth.
    It is a fine thing to be honest, but it is also very important to be right

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrus View Post
    Better yet, look for an actual spec sheet from Motorola instead of trusting information gleaned from eBay.

    Here's a link to the spec sheet published by Motorola:

    http://pdf.textfiles.com/manuals/SCA..._Datasheet.pdf

    Scroll down and you'll see all VHF MCS2000's do 136-174mHz.
    Yes, I have seen that, but I have also seen early Motorola spec sheets that say the "R" split MTS2000 covers 438-482, when it's actually 403-470, GARY
    Last edited by N4KVE; Sep 29, 2013 at 10:24 PM.

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    Really? I find that hard to believe. Every spec sheet I've seen shows the proper UHF split and the first spec sheet I saw was when the MCS was released.
    Cyrus

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    viii
    Model Numbering System
    Position 1 - Type of Unit
    H = Hand-Held Portable
    Positions 2 & 3 - Model Series
    Position 4 - Frequency Band
    Less than 29.7MHz
    29.7 to 35.99MHz
    36 to 41.99MHz
    42 to 50MHz
    66 to 80MHz
    74 to 90MHz
    Product Specific
    136 to 162MHz
    146 to 178MHz
    174 to 210MHz
    190 to 235MHz
    336 to 410MHz
    403 to 437MHz
    438 to 482MHz
    470 to 520MHz
    Product Specific
    806 to 870MHz
    825 to 870MHz
    896 to 941MHz
    1.0 to 1.6GHz
    1.5 to 2.0GH




    This partial chart shows the various bands in the Jedi service book. We all know it's incorrect, but there it is.

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    and everybody knows that's a generic page stuck in every manual for every radio they make.

    I'm talking about a proper spec sheet that shows the radio specifications and capabilities like I posted. Not some generic page out of the manual. When I asked about the MCS's capabilities, Motorola faxed me spec sheets like the one I posted a link to. They clearly show the radios various frequency ranges.
    Cyrus

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrus View Post
    and everybody knows that's a generic page stuck in every manual for every radio they make.
    I guess I now know too. Thanks. GARY

  23. #23
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    Had a VHF high power MCS2000 dropped off to me a couple weeks ago for programming, couldn't get it to program past 162MHz (FD wanted NOAA Wx freqs added.) Makes me wonder if there weren't two splits at some point, or perhaps something weird with the CPS I was using.

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    I have both the MCS2000 type 2 and 3. I like the model 2 better. If you buy the Freq K model you will have to modify the CPS to program down to the low end. If you search the site you will find the info needed to modify the CPS. You can get all the 2 meter band channelized into the MCS2000 along with the NOAA Weather. You can scan 16 channels at a time. You will need to create different talk groups to scan more channels.

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    High power might have been available in two splits. I know the mid power radio covered the entire band but I could have been wrong about the high power model.
    Cyrus

    Bubbles: I'd like to see that Red Blue Green c***sucker put one of those together, duct-tapin' it.