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Reviews For: Connect Systems CS 800D

Category: Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held)

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Review Summary For : Connect Systems CS 800D
Reviews: 12MSRP: 299
Description:
Connect Systems Inc. Dual Band DMR Radio
Product is in production
More Info: http://www.connectsystems.com/products/top/radios%20CS800D.htm
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
33.3124.2
WA5VRL Rating: 2019-11-06
Good dual band DMR and analog mobile radio Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I have two of the CS-800D rigs. One in the shack and one in the car. Both were tested as received using calibrated HP test equipment and both met all specs for both TX and RX.
This is basically a commercial radio that is adapted for ham use. It is manufactured by Shenzhen Covalue and many of the circuits in the rig are based on the designs used in the Kenwood mobiles. The 800D even uses the Kenwood KMC36 mic.
All internal settings and adjustments made to the rigs at the manufacturing and service locations are done with dedicated computer programs so there are really no changes that can be made by the end-user.
Minor issues that I noted with both rigs are that the small s-meter does not show full scale on UHF even when the incoming signal is driving the AGC circuit fully. The lowest analog squelch setting (1) is factory programmed too tight and causes weaker signals that could be received to fail in opening the squelch.
Added: The FM analog CTCSS encode works but the CTCSS decode usually does not work and allows all received signal to be heard in analog mode.
The display does not always update correctly following certain button selections but can be overcome with other I/O inputs such as adjusting the volume knob.
Overall it is a decent rig for the cost and the firmware continues to be improved on a regular basis.
Best advice is to read all information available including all reviews before deciding if the radio will work for your intended purpose.
73 to all...
ND3U Rating: 2019-09-18
Great concept...but... Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Bought this second hand. This being my first DMR radio there was a definite learning curve vs a Yaesu radio.

First off I don't like the inability to program it from the mic keypad. Makes it useless in a go-box of which I had intended it for.

I found out that without the latest firmware upgrades it won't transmit on the full frequency spread it advertises. I was able to load the firmware for the main body but keep on getting timed out when attempting to upgrade the head unit.

The mic feels cheap. The front firing speaker sounds tinny. The overall feel of the radio makes it feel cheap.

It's a great concept in DMR radios, being a dual-bander mobile rig. It being Part 90 certified is also good but it still needs work.
KT4NR Rating: 2019-08-12
Very Good DMR Radio Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
This is my first DMR radio. I have experience with P25, DStar, YSF, and analog radios.

Overall the radio is very good. It's solid, with a loud front speaker. Font is very large and, once programmed it works very well. On air reports have given me very good feedback on transmitted audio. A friend noted how it seems to be a Kenwood body and a Motorola-esque software.

Display - It is a good amber and black display. The only negative is I wear prescription sunglasses to drive. The covering of the LCD is slightly stressed at the edges causing polarity changes and obscuring the view. Its still light years ahead of the IC5100 series radios.

Programming Channels/Zones - It is a commercial radio. It programs like one. It takes getting used to but I actually get into a rhythm and crank along.

Display Buttons/Knobs - You can program these the way you want and that is great. The only odd thing that gets old is the knob only goes one way regardless of how you turn it when in the menu screen or choosing a zone.

Programming Firmware - I have had some issues here due to my use of a tablet. Not sure what I am doing wrong but I can't get it to work.

Customer Service - WOW! You want to learn about customer service then meet the folks at Connect Systems. I wish some other vendors were as attentive and polite and patient. Great job!
AH6DX Rating: 2018-12-05
GREAT RADIO! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I originally purchased a CS800 (UHF only) last year and really liked it. Sold it to buy dual band DMR/Analog and after trying the TYT9600, I decided NOT to buy another radio from China. I purchased 2 of the CS800D's, one with the CS-BFD 7" display/controller. They are very good build and have great Tx & Rx audio, easy code plugs and easy FW updates. Connect Systems has a 1-year USA warranty and
their customer service is awesome! A BIG deal for me is that the CS-800D has a remote mount removable control head/display. Review written by Tommy KH6TA
AD4C2006 Rating: 2018-07-02
Very good DMR radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I owned in the past a CS800 single band and never had an issue with it.
In spite of the negative review about poor sensitivity on VHF I moved ahead and purchased mine at Connect Systems for less than $290, very afordable radio for been dual bander with 45W on VHF and 40W on UHF, at least that is what mine makes.
first thing I did was to check weather the negative comment about low sensitivity on VHF was true.
Oh well maybe mine is an exception, maybe the complainer had a bad unit but using a Motorola R2670 digital service monitor that I have in my shop, RX opens the squelch with just 0.1 microvolts (-126.8 dbm) and the 12db sinad is at 0.25 microvolts (-118.8 dbm). This test was done only on FM because my monitor has no DMR feature but at least we know that it meets the standards of Motorola or any other good radio in the market, same test was done on UHF on FM and same results happened.
Freq error of TX was just 30 Hz which is very good too.Selectivity was standard around 40 db isolation with another strong station at just 25 Khz off freq of receiving signal.
The received audio is very loud and very clear even with the small front panel speaker although I recomend using an external one for better quality as I am doing with a 5 inches square speaker from MFJ.
My Tx audio is great acording all the stations I have talked with either FM or DMR.
They have fixed an issue that I had before with the CS800 that was after I finished to program the radio, it started with the maximun volumen almost braking the speaker, this time it will be low acording the setting you had in the volumen.
I only has have one issue with this radio and I don't blame it, when I tried to install it in my truck with the front panel separated from the radio using a CAT5 cable of seven feet long that I purchased at Office depot, it work but every few minutes started to beep and locked the channel but when I put it back as it came, front panel attached to radio, it has not failed anymore and i found a nice place in my truck to install it.
One thing I can say is that the display light is not strong enough and sometimes during the day I don't see much because of sunlight, the software has no provision to change the light level.
Its not a dual watch radio certainly, you won't be able to hear both VHF and UHF at once like my MD9600 from Tytera has but not a biggy anyway, what I did was I made a zone with mixed channels, some in VHF FM and some in UHF DMR and then made a scan list with all of them to hear what is happening in my normal channels saving me having to move zones up and down.
Thanks for reading.

AD4C
Florida
Other than that, I love this radio
KG9H Rating: 2018-06-08
Excellent Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Had mine for a while now, had one issue, they jumped on it, fixed it, updated the firmware - absolutely excellent support. A few days ago, I added a second 800D to my DMR collection. Can't go wrong with Connect Systems!
KI8A Rating: 2018-05-04
Great Radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Had this radio for about 2 weeks now and absolutely love it. Yes, it has a couple of shortcomings. None that are impediments for me. The radio itself is mounted in the trunk of my car and remote head in the passenger compartment connected with a 12ft Cat5 cable. I really like the fact the microphone connects to the remote head and does not need a separate connection to the remote radio. I have heard others say the receive sensitivity was not that good. On both Analog FM and DMR I find it on par with 3 of my Kenwood and one Icom analog radios I have. No complaints here. Also very, very easy to program with their CPS software. I am going to buy a second one for my home QTH as I like it that much.
KJ7TY Rating: 2018-02-07
Great idea, poor sensitivity Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The concept of a dual band DMR/analog mobile transceiver is exciting. The experience I had with this recently purchased radio was discouraging.

Pros:

Seems to be structurally sound with a good heat sink.
Seller provided fast shipping.
Price is affordable.
Programming software is user friendly.

Cons:

Receive sensitivity is below average, bordering on poor.
Display is lacking, but not a deal breaker.
Internal speaker is below average in audio quality.
Radio periodically locks up, requiring it to be powered off and on in order to free it.
Scanning is not the best.
Very difficult to work simplex on analog due to poor receive sensitivity. Does better though on open squelch...

Conclusion: My ht receives better on a rubber duck than this radio on a mobile antenna, and yes, the cs800d was set on wideband, squelch level 1, on a diamond mobile antenna with a 1:1.2 swr. Personal opinion after my experience with this radio is that I would not have purchased it knowing what I do now. After reaching out to seller, I decided to sell the radio to a ham for $150.00, as he works local repeaters.

I also ran a comparison of this radio with my old Alinco Dr635 on the same freqs and antenna. The Alinco outperformed the cs800d hands down.

If the radio I received is not a lemon, and other units are coming off the assembly line in the same condition, hopefully the manufacture will be able to fix the bugs and bring the performance up to industry standards.

Note: Yes, the software and firmware are up to date.

73s,

Mike
VE6DO Rating: 2018-01-31
Overall a great radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have been using the CS800D for a few weeks now and find it to be very much like the CS800 I have in my vehicle. I am using it at home and find that it works just fine. I have not had any issues with it, but I do find that scanning has still a lot to be desired. I know that scanning is still one of those things that Connect Systems is working on for a future firmware update. My CS800D is the latest version (hardware version 3) and it works well. I have not experienced any rebooting issues or any unusual issues. I used a code plug very similar to my CS800 and have found it to be reliable in my DMR and analog channels. The customer service provided by Connect Systems is top notch and one of the reasons I bought the radios that I have.
KK4GOI Rating: 2018-01-28
Excellent, NOT perfect (yet) Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Have been hard exercising my new CS800D. My prior experience with DMR has been with Motorola XPR's, Hytera and TYT radios and CPS tools. The CS800D compares favorably, especially in quality of the CPS tool. I am not pleased with the scanning hang time parameters, otherwise I would score the radio an easy 5. The maximum programmable hang time appears to be 10 seconds (10,000 ms). With that parameter programmed in my radio, it is hit or miss with hang on scan for 1 or a few more seconds. Is this a bug, or am I doing something wrong? To be fair I am not sure, but am leaning toward buggy scan. Even if it hung reliably for 10 seconds, I suggest this is not enough option and that the radio should have the option of permanent scan hang as long as there is incoming traffic on a frequency within the scan list, only reverting to scan after traffic ceases or upon incoming traffic on priority channel. This is the existing functionality in Motorola, Hytera and TYT DMR/analog radios and all Yaesu, Icom and Kenwood analog and digital voice radios. Hoping CS gets this functionality in a firmware update. If this is done I will amend my review to a 5 score.