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Reviews For: Connect Systems CS580

Category: Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held

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Review Summary For : Connect Systems CS580
Reviews: 11MSRP: 130
Handheld UHF DMR radio
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
N2NOW Rating: 2021-02-19
very nice radio Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Great little radio, nice ht just limited...

Rx audio is loud and clear (And I prefer the RX audio quality sound over MD380). Now, TX has received good audio reports but it also was mentioned that the audio was quite LOUD as well (and with no adjustment to lower TX audio (not in radio menu or in CPS so, you'll need to speak about 8-10 inches away from radio)...
Also, limited digital contacts (only 250 DC, maybe if radio had at least 500 or 1000 would have been better so you will most likely end up looking for another radio with more contacts, feature in the near future IMO)...

Programming wasn't that bad first time but its a just another learning process. I do not see it as being any more difficult to program but just a different software learning curve so, once you understand it, your a professional (hihi) at it...

Anyway, the price is $130 but have now seen on sale from Connect Systems for $99 at different times. I got mine used and came with Speaker/Mic, Programming cable and desk charger of course) So $99 is fairly reasonably priced, free software and a very friendly knowledgeable customer support.
Built very well, nice feel in your hand, performs very well in all respect. I nice DMR radio but with limits...

BUT,,,, CS580, is a nice HT but as you all can see what else is available out there on the market to purchase - and for even a cheaper price (as much as $30-40 cheaper than the CS580), and offering more features plus a larger memory of digital contacts, etc... Also this is direct coversion (prefer those superhets, IMO)...

Google & YouTube can help in your decisions for that "first" DMR radio... 73
K7HEP Rating: 2020-05-27
Solid radio for the price, maybe overshadowed by now? Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
First I'm coming from the position of this being my first and, only DMR radio.

The good: Sounds great on both internal and the reasonably priced speaker mic you can get for it and this applies to both digital and analog tx/rx.
It's rugged, there's not a lot of accessories but those that do are affordable and you don't end up paying 80% of your radio for a programming cable ( Hello Yaesu ft-25) Same with battery, same with mic.

It's usable without a PC nearby for both regular / DMR modes. You're still going to want to program it with a computer.

The not so good: Display isn't usable in strong sunlight, has no contrast options, just Always on, or off after 3 seconds.
Lack of memories. I don't need to have the entire DMR world programmed but I could see this being a limiting factor.
The battery is a pain to get out with the clip.

I really like it, It was a good intro to DMR and for the price, I got it for,$99 a total bargain
KM4SFF Rating: 2018-10-06
CS580 UHF Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
This is a rock solid DMR HT. Here is a list of some of the great features: Long battery life, loud speaker, large display, good audio reports, wonderful documentation, good price and quick delivery. In summary, this DMR met my spec and I'm having fun with it. I recommend ordering the programming cable when you purchase the CS 580.
KB2KOS Rating: 2017-12-02
cs580 Time Owned: more than 12 months.
great radio very east to used
N8DJR Rating: 2017-08-28
I love mine! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Programming software is near identical to Motorola XPR CPS but simplified with less confusion, super easy to create and write codeplugs to the radio, it has a frequency scan that will detect DMR repeaters and hotspots and will decode talkgroups, color codes, types like all call or group, private call all right out of the box no firmware hack or software manipulation. Now that you have all this data just program it in FFP (Maybe not a hotspot) and even the current channel already programmed can be changed to whatever you want with the press of a button CC,TG,Type all accessible in the field no dragging laptop and cables with you on trips. The radio doesn't have that cheep Chinese feel or fit and finish it's well built with the a sizable display considering the size 4" tall 2" wide without the antenna. The audio is amazing, while monitoring a local repeater in a shopping center I had this little radio in my shirt pocket, people were looking around for the two gentlemen talking in my shirt pocket! The supplied antenna WORKS! unlike some other stock antennas you get just dummy load, I accessed a DMR repeater 27 miles away S/W of me in Gallipolis, OH and made it with this little radio. Battery life is good, Keypad is well laid out like a candy bar cellphone navigating the menu is about the same too.

Bottom Line is if you're looking for a tough little DMR starter radio or an addition to your collection The CSI Connect System CS580 is a great little radio for the money $139 with programming cable included depending on where you buy it!!!!

AA8HS Rating: 2017-07-31
Great little DMR radio. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This radio was obtained from a different Chinese manufacturer than the Tytera and has a different approach to software and uses the Motorola style programming cable. The audio quality is excellent and the sensitivity and scanning speed is superb. I also use it for a commercial and police scanner with good results. Since the talkgroups are maintained as a receive group, some unusual results occur: a label from a different receive group appears when there are common talkgroups between sites. The radio will scan a selected segment of the UHF band with either digital or analog to discover new frequencies. With Ham DMR, promiscuous mode for your current zone is not an option: the software allows one transmit contact (TG) but you choose a list of receive contacts in a folder; to avoid this, you could create separate folders for each receive contact (TG). This is the only radio that allows you to change all DMR parameters and frequencies from the keypad. While traveling, just keep a list of DMR parameters for the area that you are visiting and change them when you arrive and talk. Or, if you hear a conversation, hit one button and start talking. Separate batteries are available but no battery eliminator or duck antenna yet. On my Comet analyzer, the antenna is superb!
N1GMV Rating: 2017-06-20
Great lil rig! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Love this radio, I use it with a SharkRF Openspot. Although I have it programmed for all our local repeaters and the ones I travel to I am easily able to punch in a TX and RX Frequency, color code , time slot and TalkGroup or for FM a Tone directly from the keyboard making this rig extremely flexible. It also works well on FM.Audio is a bit hot so need to refraid from shouting into it. Just a fantastic rig altogether and having a lot of fun with it.

Earlier 5-star review posted by N1GMV on 2016-12-31

I really like this unit. Have had it for about a week now and impressed in its sound quality and reports I have been getting on both DMR and FM.

Couple things I noticed though. Although the programming software which is easy to use allows me to sort in all areas it ends up being un-sorted when I go in each zone and look at the channels. The other little bug is that in DMR mode if someone is talking I am not able to bring up the menu.

Other than that all other features work fine. I really like its size, weight and feel.
N8PMG Rating: 2017-06-13
Found unfixable problem Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I added a new repeater to my radio two days ago on 444.000. After downloading the code plug, I turned the radio on and had a full receive signal indicated. Here is the official answer from Jerry. "There is a birdie only at 444.000 and there is no fix for this. We contacted the manufacturer and I looked at their schematics and it is not possible to fix it because the oscillator in their current design cannot be shifted." Not a game breaker, but a disappointment as It is the easiest to reach DMR-MARC system from my location.

Earlier 5-star review posted by N8PMG on 2016-12-31

First of all, if you have firmware 1.05, check the CS software page. There are two updates.

I am very happy with this radio. It has good sound, the software is easier than other DMR programs I have used, and the cost is very reasonable. Receive seems very sensitive, and it picks up a repeater with the stock antenna that require my outside antenna on my other radios. I have not been able to save anything entered with FPP to a specific zone, but hopefully that will come with updated firmware, as will entering scanned data. Battery life while scanning has been far better than expected, and the software works well in 64 bit Windows 10 as well as Windows XP. I have a CS750, and the service and help from CS is one more plus for this radio.
N4SJW Rating: 2017-04-02
Pleasant surprise Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Ditto to the reviews below. Excellent audio for a radio this size. Nice fit in my hand about the same size as my ID-51. Flexible programming capability. Only minor negatives, I find the battery release a bit hard to activate and the programming cable is a bit awkward to plug in. Wish is had VHF/UHF capability like the FT-60. If you want a low cost entry into DMR/Brandmeister, this radio will be a good choice.
K7DAA Rating: 2017-01-04
Very good quality, feels good in the hand Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Santa gave me a CS-580 for Christmas, and I'm still learning all of its features. First negative I've noticed is that it does not seem to be able to send DTMF from either the keypad or from memory when in analog mode. For this reason I almost gave it a 4, since I own or maintain several UHF repeaters, and need to be able to control them. The rest of the radio and CSI itself are easily 5's, though.

CSI seems very responsive to bug reports and has already issued two firmware updates within just over a month to address issues users noticed. I have faith that they will look in to adding DTMF transmit in a future firmware update.

I also own a pair of TYT MD-380 handhelds, and the CS580 compares well with them. It's a bit smaller and feels a bit more elegant and finished. I also like the way it fits my hand. Transmit and receive audio are very good, and on par with the MD-380, which I think has great-sounding audio also.

As to the comment below about not being able to bring up the menu when the radio is actively receiving, yes, that's true. It's also exactly how the MD-380/390 works as well. If someone you're listening to is long-winded, you will have to wait a bit to be able to get control of the radio back. As an alternative, you can either remove your antenna (yes, seriously!), or maybe turn the channel knob to a talkgroup or timeslot that's not being used. I don't know why it has to be this way, but the CS580 is not alone in doing that.

This is probably a personal choice thing, but I find it annoying that the MD-380 has its belt clip screwed into the battery instead of the radio body. If you get a second battery to swap out, you will lose your belt clip unless you spend the extra $$ to buy another one. The CS580 does not have this problem, with the belt clip mounting directly to the radio as nature intended!

All in all, I like my CS580 very much. The audio feedback beeps are a bit more muted and less annoying than those on the MD-380/390. It is comparable to the more-expensive TYT MD-390 in that it is rated to resist moisture and dust, as well as passing a tough MIL test for vibration, humidity and shock. That being the case, it's the best bargain on the market presently with higher-end specs for toughness. The ability to program and run the radio from the front panel also puts it well ahead of the MD-380/390. It just feels like a more finished and refined radio.

One other thing: I had a problem running the radio programming software on my computer (caused by my PC crashing just as I plugged the radio's USB cable in). It was not the CSI software's fault, but a file got damaged by the crash, and uninstalling and reinstalling didn't fix it. I emailed CSI's support group, and the company president himself answered back right away with some very good suggestions. And this was over the New Year's holiday this past weekend! Kudos for responsiveness!