FAQ

You will find most of the relevant information for the various topics contained on the designated parts of this website, so this section is meant to fill the gaps when they arise. As more questions come in that have not been answered on the other pages, we'll add the info here for lack of a better place.

There are some important things you need to know prior to purchasing your radio. It will help you determine whether we can actually help you. And, as some of that information is not 'Public Domain' we provide more information about how we may be able to help you once you have contacted us via email and outline what your requirements are.

Programming:

Q: Can I just look up frequencies on the internet and program them into the radio manually?

A: If it is just a simplex channel, such as a logging road for example, that would probably work. However, if the licensee for the frequency uses tone codes, or narrow band, or both, it becomes more complicated because typical online frequency lists do not contain this important information. Many repeaters now use tone codes to open their squelch circuit. The tone code is like a 'key' to open the door so the repeater can hear you. Use the wrong tone encoding schema, or no tone code when one is required, and the repeater will not respond to your transmission. Even on simplex if the person you are trying to call has tone decoding set for the channel you are communicating on, he will not hear you calling him unless you have tone encoding set on your end. As tone codes are like 'keys', they are meant to keep unauthorized users from opening that portal that enables the squelch circuit on the receiver, so it is not surprising that they are not posted in the public domain. In addition, if that person's radio is set to narrow band for that channel, and you transmit on wide band (which is the default setting for most radios), while you will be able to hear him OK, your transmission will sound over modulated to him to the point where he probably won't be able to understand what you are trying to communicate.

Q: I have a Yaesu radio with programming cable. I also have a Wouxun. I have friends with Anytone and Baofeng and Puxing radios. Can we use the same cable and software for all of them.

A: The Japanese HT radios all require their own proprietary programming cable. Just about all the Chinese HT radios use the same programming cables (and the same antennas). The software is not as universal. CHIRP software is about as universal as you can get and supports selected Japanese and Chinese radios. As of this writing (Sept 2014) CHIRP does not yet support the Anytone, but is expected to soon. Each brand and model of radio does come with proprietary software specific to it. Most software will support a CSV file import (Anytone currently does not).

Q: Why do you refuse to program certain frequencies that I have requested even if I can prove I have the authority to use them?

A: An analogy serves best to answer why we will not program frequencies into a radio that has not ordered the proper antennas to match those frequencies. Let's imagine I run a car lot that sells new BMW's. You come to my lot, and decide to buy a new BMW. I give you a choice, you can save a lot of money if I give you the car with one standard OEM wheel, and 3 "run-flats" on it. As your cash is tight at the moment, you decide to see how the car will go with run-flats temporarily until you have more money, when you will buy the proper wheels.  I warn you not to drive the car at highway speeds while you have the run-flats on it. You get home, and the first thing, your teenage son wants to take the car out for a spin. He thinks it's going OK, so he takes it up to highway speeds, has a blow-out, crashes through the barrier, and damages the car. Well, using a radio with an antenna that should not be on the radio for a given frequency is the same as using a car with a wheel that is not meant for a given speed, both results can end up not only damaging the item (via a standing wave in the case of the radio), but present a safety hazard for the operator and his companions (EG: not being able to summon help in the case of the radio). I would have a very dim view of a car dealer that offered to sell me a new car with only run-flat wheels on it. The stock OEM dual band antennas that come with all handheld radios are the equivalent of run-flat tires - it is only safe to use it for a very narrow window of operating parameters. What you do with your radio once you own it is entirely your business, however just as it would be for a BMW dealer to let you leave the lot in your new car with run-flat tires on it, it would be negligent of use to supply a radio with frequencies that can cover a span of 30mHz with a stock antenna that can only cover 5mHz of that span, and even that 5mHz window only allows for not damaging the radio, it does not even come close to providing the maximum transmit range.

Q: I have a Yaesu 6R, can you program that for me?

A: We can only program radios that we presently, or previously sold. With respect to Yaesu that includes the VX170, FT-270, and VX150. With Chinese radios it is Baofeng, Wouxun, and Anytone (most models).

FRS:

Q: You offer the dual band radios with a block of pre-programmed FRS frequencies, how do I know which ones match the channels on my friend's Motorola FRS radio?

A: The frequencies in the radio database file we have built correspond to commonly used FRS frequencies in North America, not to the channels that are assigned by a given manufacturer such as Uniden or Motorola. We're not sure if there are mandated channel assignments for North American FRS radios or not, in the Wiki we used to lookup the standard FRS frequencies they did not list any corresponding channel numbers. We got the impression that each manufacturer can put any FRS frequency they want into their radios as long as the frequency is within the FRS band window approved by the authorities in the region the radio is sold in.

If you want to match frequencies between two different brands of radio you transmit on one and listen on the other while changing channels on the receiving radio.

If there is a frequency being used in a commercial FRS radio that is not covered in our list it can be added via the Programming software or via keypad.

Q: How do I scan FRS 'sub channels'?

A: The so called "sub-channel" is a simple tone squelch system. When a station transmits on a particular channel (frequency) he sends a low level sub-channel tone which opens the squelch (audio path) of the receivers set to the same sub-channel tone. That keeps others from hearing that station but the frequency is still in use so only one transmitter can use a channel at any given time, regardless of the sub-channel setting.

If you tune your receiver to any of the pre programmed channels and do not have your tone squelch turned on then you will hear any FRS transmitter on that frequency, regardless of his sub-channel setting.

FRS radios usually have a button that you push to disable the tone squelch to check the channel (frequency) for any activity before transmitting.  So the problem now becomes, how does the person with the FRS radio hear the person with the Dual Band radio that is transmitting to him? Either the person with the FRS radio does not use any so called 'sub channels', or he will have to keep his squelch open, or your dual bander needs to program the same tone code that the FRS radio uses for that particular 'sub channel' into his FRS channel that he is using for that frequency. To find out which tone code to use for individual channels, refer to the documentation for the FRS radio that is being used.