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Reviews For: SharkRF OpenSPOT

Category: Interfaces, Radio to computer, amp, rotor, coax switch, internet

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Review Summary For : SharkRF OpenSPOT
Reviews: 26MSRP: 204.00
The SharkRF openSpot is a digital radio IP gateway / hotspot which allows connectivity to D-Star, DMR, and C4FM digital voice networks. This device is completely standalone and requires no external PC hardware to operate.
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
VK5BM Rating: 2018-01-24
When it arrives faulty, check for dry joints if not functioning Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.

Needs Help is relative to one unit, one works perfectly. I do question the support received.
We are commercially involved in the Electronics market and we would have sent a new unit to our customer immediately. This was not an option, and dozens of emails proved incorrect as it was SharkRF's hardware that was faulty. I bought two shark units, one setup perfectly,the other has a micro/dry joint issue that is faulty as these units are easy to set up as displayed with the first one. Both units have been locally bootloaded with the latest firmware and yes, the same result, one working perfectly and one is just a dud. To say I have problems getting a replacement is an understatement. I get much better communication from the people who supplied my Nanospot from the USA and communications re the DVmega, faultless. We are suspect of a dry joint in the manufacture process as there are several areas on the board of the faulty SharkRF that are just very noticeably thin in solder , having a workshop here, its going to be easier to just fix it ourselves as communications from the Openspot/SharkRF were just not helpful. I am probably one of the lucky ones as we have the resources to fix this unit ourselves but if you have not got the same resources, it can be a nightmare. Also having two units made it very easy to fault find the out of box warranty issue that was clear to us here in Australia. So lets talk about the unit that does work, transforming modes of transmission is the units strong point and when it works, it does this well. To be fair to the working unit, it has worked faultlessly and appears 100%. I just think if you are not overly technical, and need a simpler more reliable unit, the Nanospot or the DVMega has extremely good support and especially for Australia, DVMega is supported by Future Systems who are very pro active in the case of a problem versus the shark team that have not been the answer to any of our problems with the faulty unit. If you need to transform say C4FM to DMR, the shark can do this quite well but as announced recently, there are now other alternatives which I will be trying as they are arriving later this week fingers crossed. The world of digital is exciting, but I think I like the flexibility of the DVmega and the nanospot more and I have already contacted both companies and asked how they would treat an out of box warranty and far superior to the shark box we will fix ourselves. ******I decided to hold this review back and go out into the workshop and inspect the faulty SharkRF. Whoever is manufacturing this unit is needing to address their soldering process, unit now fixed, working all modes and cross modes, thanks to no helpful assistance from SharkRF unfortunately. Dry joint issue due to poor soldering, I have resoldered a few areas that were disastrous, maybe a batch problem, one would hope its not a long term problem as the care you need to take when fixing one of these boards that are extremely sensitive to static etc, not for the faint hearted. We have a lot of experience in this type of production so a fairly easy fix and both units cross moding and working as they should. If you get into trouble with hardware issues, drop us an email(see qrz) and we can go into detail in what to look for.
N0WTS Rating: 2017-09-08
Awesome Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have been using my OpenSpot know for about 3 weeks and love it. I only use it for DMR. I have a TYT MD2017 and use the OpenSpot two ways. The first way is, I plug it in my ethernet at home and turn on the radio. I have not experienced and dropped packets and it works quite well. The second way I use it is, I created a go box. This box has a GL-AR-150 WISP installed. It is plugged into the Hot spot via ethernet connections. I then connect the WISP controller to the hotspot on my phone. All items are plugged into a small battery pack and bam I have DMR wherever I go. Works great!! I have it on all of the time and only use about 1 gig of data a month. Great little item. It is really easy to set it up IF YOU follow the instructions on the SharkRF website.
N4JAP Rating: 2017-08-11
Simply awesome Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
SharkRF is amazingly simple to set up, especially for DStar. I use the DR function to engage and use reflectors from the radio. You do NOT have to key an "unlink" command to change reflectors, just key up with "Link to reflector ---" and it goes right to where you want to go. Along with control from the radio, you can also use the web portal or a smartphone to change reflectors. Remember, like with other access points you must wait until there is a break in a QSO transmission before you change reflectors.
I also use a DVAP, and the nice thing about the SharkRF is you don't need a computer or Raspberry Pi.. it is all self contained. Plus, there are no convoluted processes to make it work like on a Raspberry Pi, which I found needed to be constantly rebooted.
The Shark RF can also be left alone and powered up all the time, never gets hot and it just works reliably.
N9KO Rating: 2017-08-11
OK for DMR - A waster for Dstar Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I have used the Openspot for 4 months with my DMR radio and it works well. I have used my red DVAPdongle for Dstar for several years. I decided to try Dstar with the Openspot. I loaded memories into my radio per the Sharkrf forum suggestions. I could not change reflectors from the HT, as it would only disconnect and then no other commands from the HT would be accepted.

I do not want to sit in front of a PC to change reflectors. If I did, there are other devices that do that for half the price.
W2MB Rating: 2017-08-02
Works Flawlessly Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
This device is an example of great engineering from both the hardware and software perspective. Nothing but power and an Ethernet connection is required. Once configured, it just works. One caution: make sure to set it up to operate on an appropriate frequency, by default it is set to operate in the satellite sub-band.

Earlier 5-star review posted by W2MB on 2017-05-23

I use this device exclusively with DMR. I found it easy to setup, the user interface to be polished and it to simply work very well. Bought mine from Ham Radio Outlet in New Hampshire.
N1GMV Rating: 2017-06-25
Works great!! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
This unit works great with my CS580 DMR handheld.

I can get into talkgroups with ease, coverage is about 1/8 mile. With my CS580 handheld I can simply key in any talkgroup I want or can use designated programmed channels or from the OpenSpot I can using a web browser and select a talkgroup or clear a TG. Can do cross mode links etc. Upgrades are simple and setup couldn't be easier!
W4HRC Rating: 2017-05-23
It works great! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I received a replacement for my defective unit and it works as it should. I guess there is an occasional bad apple in every bunch. I have upgraded the firmware on this one twice without any problem. The service with Grapevive Amateur Radio was excellent and I highly recommend them and the Shark Open Spot to my fellow hams.

Earlier 1-star review posted by W4HRC on 2017-04-08

I receive my Shark Open Spot that I had ordered 3 weeks ago last Wednesday. So far I have had no luck at getting it setup where I can use it. It has firmware 1.1 on it and I have tried to upgrade to the latest firmware using both Windows 10 and 7 and the bootloader files come up, but there is no flash drive seen on the drive list like the instructions say. I used a ink pen and plugged in the USB cable while holding in the reset button. This also did not work and afterwards I heard a rattle inside the case. I removed the case and found that the reset apparatus had came loose from the connection on the circuit board (what a very cheap, flimsy and poorly designed reset device this is). They are lots of these on the air and the seem to work great, but for over $200.00 you would expect a better built, quality product at this price. It's going back to the seller for repair or replacement.
KC4ZGK Rating: 2017-03-10
Made D-Star relevant again Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Have a D-Star radio but no repeater? This device is awesome, just plug the CAT 5 cable into your router, a quick set up on a computer or mobile device and your good to go. Great product!
N0FIB Rating: 2017-03-08
works great Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I have 2 Openspots one set to dStar one set to C4FM i use Windows 10 to set them up one was Dell one was Toshiba and no problems
then have been running for one 2 months the other for 3 days for just got it
I have had no hangs up no lost of program no locks and have to reboot like the 2 DV4MINI i have and i do a reveiw of them later.

Gary N0FIB No Fib
N5CSU Rating: 2017-02-03
Easy Setup, Great Support Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Wow, what a great device. I had it out of the box and in use within 5 minutes. I have used it on D-STAR, Fusion and DMR, and also Fusion-to-DMR crossmode, all with great results. Their support forum is active and suggestions are weighted and included in frequent firmware updates. Check out the videos on YouTube and see how it works. An amazing device; I highly recommend it!