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I have been watching a few youtube videos lately and get inspired, confused and a little overwhelmed.  What I do know is the digital sound from DMR radios is vastly superior to the analog radios.  Think crackling bacon sound with voice in the background vs. talking to someone on a cell phone.  

My pondering is: will you be introducing digital radios and are they compatible with our existing Rugged setups like our RH-5R and Vertex 2200 systems?  

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Regardless how the frequency gets made, Tube, Transistor, or Digital Chip the Signal is the same! So as long as a radio has the ability to use a certain Frequency all radios will be usable with it.   

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We just transferred over to digital on our 900mhz system at work. Astonishing crystal crisp clear. I'm not a guru in this field but it would be amazing if my radio and intercom worked that. I'm sure Rugged will chime in.

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13 hours ago, Papa Bear said:

Regardless how the frequency gets made, Tube, Transistor, or Digital Chip the Signal is the same! So as long as a radio has the ability to use a certain Frequency all radios will be usable with it.   

That is what I figured but I couldn't confirm it anywhere I was looking. Most of the info was from HAM operators who are using the radios in duplex and, depending on the DMR radio, were not able to talk to repeaters if they were Type 1. 

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Hey guys, we do actually carry a few digital radios. The EVX-531, PD782, and the VXD-720 are all digital handhelds that we carry. The EVX-531 is nice because it's the lowest cost option, but is also waterproof and can support both digital and analog radios.

We also have a digital mobile radio capable of 45 watts, the VXD7200, and like the others it's capable of analog and digital.

One important note is digital radios do not talk with analog radios unless they are set to analog mode. This is because the digital radio signal is actually composed of packets of data that the receiving radio decodes and converts to audio. Analog only radios do not have the ability to decode those packets of information. 

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3 hours ago, Adam G said:

That is what I figured but I couldn't confirm it anywhere I was looking. Most of the info was from HAM operators who are using the radios in duplex and, depending on the DMR radio, were not able to talk to repeaters if they were Type 1. 

 

The part that you are not taking into account is the wind noise and engine noise in your moving vehicle. Yes, digital has the potential to transmit crystal clear audio. The drawback is: that isn't the problem in offroad vehicles. A ham operator is sitting in a nice quiet room in the house, with a nice expensive broadcast mic, not driving through the dunes with 75 mph winds and a screaming engine at 6500 rpm.

I use a regular analog Yaesu radio with Rugged Radio intercom and helmet kits mounted in full face street bike helmets. The reason I chose those helmets was to keep wind noise down at speed, and to cut down on sand in my eyes at 65 or 75 mph. At those speeds, even with added fur on the mic and careful adjustment of the squelch on the intercom, wind noise can get loud enough to trigger the vox and you have to talk very loud with the mic right up to your lips to overcome the background wind and engine noise.

 

A digital radio would transmit the EXACT same wind and engine noise, with crystal clarity.   :lol:

When I'm stopped on a dune idling, the clarity and audio quality of my radio is good enough that people can recognize my voice. There is no problem with the clarity of my radio signal that a digital radio could fix. It sounds as clear as my digital cell phone.

Now there are a lot of people out there running around (99% of them on channels 1-5) transmitting with so much distortion that it sounds like they're screaming and doing a Metallica impersonation in a WWII dive bomber. That's a matter of too much audio gain into the mic input of the radio. Again, a digital radio would sound exactly the same. Those people need to adjust their mic gain so they don't overdrive the mic input to the radio.

The other issue is if you're transmitting digital and everyone else is still analog, you can't talk to each other. Unless everyone else is willing to toss out their $600 radios and switch over to digital, you have no one to talk to except yourself. It's the same problem we're still having with channel usage. All of the radios I sell come with 112 race channels, but since a lot of people in camp only have radios limited to 5 or 16 basic channels, the entire camp ends up using one of those 5 channels I was mocking earlier in the post. This is in every camp, not just a few.

There are 4 main things you can do to increase your vox clarity and decrease wind and engine noise.

1. Transmit to someone in camp at your normal driving volume and ask them if you sound too loud, too soft, or distorted. If any of the above, then adjust your mic gain so the radio gets a nice loud, clear signal of your voice.

2. Use full face helmets to block wind noise.

3. Add mic fur to the backside of your mic to block wind noise. It works amazingly well.

4. Add the DSP circuit to your intercom. It really does work wonders to knock down background noise and make your voice stand out. 

Hope this helps!

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Excellent information!

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On 4/21/2017 at 8:22 AM, Rugged Radios said:

Hey guys, we do actually carry a few digital radios. The EVX-531, PD782, and the VXD-720 are all digital handhelds that we carry. The EVX-531 is nice because it's the lowest cost option, but is also waterproof and can support both digital and analog radios.

We also have a digital mobile radio capable of 45 watts, the VXD7200, and like the others it's capable of analog and digital.

One important note is digital radios do not talk with analog radios unless they are set to analog mode. This is because the digital radio signal is actually composed of packets of data that the receiving radio decodes and converts to audio. Analog only radios do not have the ability to decode those packets of information. 

This is the info I was interested in. I didn't think it was as easy as the same frequency meant that both analog and digital radios could talk. That alone pretty much rules out switching to digital for me. 

 

I use digital 800mhz radios at work and used to use 700 MHz analog radios before that. The range and terrain following aspect of the 700 was the only saving grace. The sound clarity was terrible with a ton of static. The 800's do require more repeaters but the sound quality is 100% better. 

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On 4/21/2017 at 0:21 PM, socaldmax said:

 

The part that you are not taking into account is the wind noise and engine noise in your moving vehicle. Yes, digital has the potential to transmit crystal clear audio. The drawback is: that isn't the problem in offroad vehicles. A ham operator is sitting in a nice quiet room in the house, with a nice expensive broadcast mic, not driving through the dunes with 75 mph winds and a screaming engine at 6500 rpm.

I use a regular analog Yaesu radio with Rugged Radio intercom and helmet kits mounted in full face street bike helmets. The reason I chose those helmets was to keep wind noise down at speed, and to cut down on sand in my eyes at 65 or 75 mph. At those speeds, even with added fur on the mic and careful adjustment of the squelch on the intercom, wind noise can get loud enough to trigger the vox and you have to talk very loud with the mic right up to your lips to overcome the background wind and engine noise.

 

A digital radio would transmit the EXACT same wind and engine noise, with crystal clarity.   :lol:

When I'm stopped on a dune idling, the clarity and audio quality of my radio is good enough that people can recognize my voice. There is no problem with the clarity of my radio signal that a digital radio could fix. It sounds as clear as my digital cell phone.

Now there are a lot of people out there running around (99% of them on channels 1-5) transmitting with so much distortion that it sounds like they're screaming and doing a Metallica impersonation in a WWII dive bomber. That's a matter of too much audio gain into the mic input of the radio. Again, a digital radio would sound exactly the same. Those people need to adjust their mic gain so they don't overdrive the mic input to the radio.

The other issue is if you're transmitting digital and everyone else is still analog, you can't talk to each other. Unless everyone else is willing to toss out their $600 radios and switch over to digital, you have no one to talk to except yourself. It's the same problem we're still having with channel usage. All of the radios I sell come with 112 race channels, but since a lot of people in camp only have radios limited to 5 or 16 basic channels, the entire camp ends up using one of those 5 channels I was mocking earlier in the post. This is in every camp, not just a few.

There are 4 main things you can do to increase your vox clarity and decrease wind and engine noise.

1. Transmit to someone in camp at your normal driving volume and ask them if you sound too loud, too soft, or distorted. If any of the above, then adjust your mic gain so the radio gets a nice loud, clear signal of your voice.

2. Use full face helmets to block wind noise.

3. Add mic fur to the backside of your mic to block wind noise. It works amazingly well.

4. Add the DSP circuit to your intercom. It really does work wonders to knock down background noise and make your voice stand out. 

Hope this helps!

My group ponied up several years ago and purchased our own frequency. We do not have any issues with other groups stepping on our conversations. 

We also keep our radio equipment in tune and maintained so the issue isn't in either one of those. The analog radios just sound like walkietalkies to me.

At work I use a 800 MHz digital system and can stand on the side of the freeway with all that background noise but the mic cancels out the unwanted noise and only transmits clear voice data. 

The DMR radios just don't sound worth it at this point unless we all switch over. 

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