Insight : Adopting New Modes & Services

Regardless of why you are considering moving to a different Radio/User service, or adopting new equipment for newer modes (such as digital voice or for digital voice/telegraphy, or digital trunking etc), really give it some thought first.

Now like most Hams, and in some cases collectors of radio and radio tech, a lot of interest stems from curious tech interest and a desire to exploit and extend it such as employing a commercial system equipment and digital mode on ham frequencies - such as happened with ham use of DMR and P25 and NXDN (YSF/C4FM and DStar were targeted at hams as well as commercial users by manufacturers of ham gear who had commercial markets too). Collectors can often be tempted by the novelty of unusual and relatively unknown gear and sometimes are technically curious whilst just for knowledge - let’s face it, serious collectors tend to be mines of knowledge about the nuts and bolts of their collection.

So, excluding us crazy obsessive tinkerers and hoarders and often questionable motives, giving migration a bit of serious thought goes a long way to a good end result.

Unfortunately, the glut of cheap commercial oriented gear that’s made it all so accessible has also got people spending money on gear they’ll rarely really benefit from, sometimes it’ll be a short lived novelty.

So, for example, if you’re using an existing ‘old school’ radio system like CB and non-11m equivalent, and actually still enjoy using it - instead of tech jumping, maybe look at what almost certainly will be an upgrade of the same service.

Clearly, in context of FM usage, an upgrade from a 70/80s era set to a more modern same band unit offers things like tone selective calling and tone squelch featured that when used well and approximately are a better party/group use squelch tech than your existing carrier AM squelch nightmares. Even if that isn’t of interest, most modern good quality FM and multimode CB gear uses a noise squelch for FM ops and carrier squelch for AM/SSB. That, with often improved receivers (still a decade behind most decent gear out there, spec wise) and what usually is a sanity saver, xtal filter prefitted rather than having to retrofit (it’s not a desolder/swap mod if you want decent results as you’ll need to correct impedance match to properly centre the filter window and that really requires a SIG gen).

So for CB, an upgrade to a more modern set and combined with tone squelch enabled items, it’s about as close to digital voice modes as you’ll get and remain legal. As long as you can legally import it and it’s got the right legit TA and you only use sub-bands of 11m and modulation modes your license permits and avoid using the excessive high power settings (unless your region allows for higher outputs), you’ve upgraded and clear to run legally.

Outside of CB, where it’s mostly VHF/UHF gear, again similar considerations come into play. You may benefit from better receivers in more modern kit, and in analogue terms, probably more tone access/squelch and group orientated features that, for local comms use, has a lot of pseudo digital voice feel to it without necessarily getting caught up in complexity of DV radio setup.

So, you can choose from a serious glut of TA compliant VHF/UHF gear, and favour analogue if you want stuff like quad band support (giving you Rx on other allocations for interest) and broadcast FM radio Rx support, which is handy for tidying up an old vehicle’s rats nest of old TxCR and car radio. You may find the Rx performance having a slight edge over dual mode digital/analogue example TxCR as the dual mode digital set will be optimised for DV mode use.

If you want to have DV mode scope, or just want to listen in on DV traffic, then outside of an actual need or committed migration to DV, dual mode units are at least worth considering - just don’t get into a feature-chasing frenzy over what’s probably just a curiosity thing.

That’s my thoughts - just use your head.

That said, we’re probably slap bang into the best time I can recall for choice and value, so the temptation is understable and for being a bit futureproofed, cheap if you do buy with your head screwed on and grey matter running on all cylinders :slight_smile: