Manager - NA4M
Manager Notes

Reviews For: Connect Systems CS 800D

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

eMail Subscription

Registered users are allowed to subscribe to specific review topics and receive eMail notifications when new reviews are posted.
Review Summary For : Connect Systems CS 800D
Reviews: 20MSRP: 299
Connect Systems Inc. Dual Band DMR Radio
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
N2NOW Rating: 2022-05-21
Quirky radio, unstable... Time Owned: more than 12 months.
the good:
nice looking radio with a removable head...

the bad:
*a quirky unstable radio.
*Almost monthly FW updates to fix one thing and screw up something else.
*At times when radio finished booting up and i go to TX, it would indicate it was transmitting but it wasn't - had to reboot radio and then all working. Not every time i turned the radio on but still a 50/50 shot if it did or didn't!!! Solution:leave it on LOL!
*RX audio sounds muddy better to use external speaker but even then not much improvement to sound quality...
*Features that are NOT in the radio. At time of purchase radio ad was showing GPS (oh, that will be added later was the response i was given when i asked the CSI people) - then you should NOT be boasting such a feature that the radio does not have!
*Plastic covers on the radio!
*Programming cables not included with a NEW purchase.
*the newer style mic that came with the radio had no letters on the numbers - so if i wanted to send an SMS text - haha good luck... Also, TX audio from that mic was very bassy/muddy, ending up buying $23 mic off Amazon that worked out much better and clearer.
*this is a (well as it is referred to as) commerical radio! Is there a commerical business out there that would put there faith in this unstable radio?
Anyway, got tired of the 800D and parted ways...
Would I reccomend this radio, probably not but I would warn b4... Shop around period!
But don't have to believe me - check out the facebook group for the 800D and there is another group also with lots of threads about all the issues that others have experienced as well.
K7NG Rating: 2021-07-28
Good, not great DMR radio Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I have been a VHF/UHF voice radio user for some time now. I started with D-star and with P25, and later added DMR via a handheld radio. I decided DMR was here to stay and went looking around for a DMR mobile radio to add to the stack of radios already installed.
I chose the CS800D because I could at least ask questions using my native language (English) when the need arose, and due to reviews here.
The radio is a very solid, well put-together item. It met all the specs I could test, and the heatsink is adequate for heavy use at full power (I measured temp rise). I have issues, however with the tiny display so for better or worse I got a CSI-BFD. Performance-wise I haven't run into any issues, neither in analog mode nor DMR.
There doesn't seem to be a DMR radio on earth that is 'easy' to program, and the 800D is no exception. Complaints about the quirky programming are IN MY OPINION going to be noted with any DMR radio. I found that using N0GSG's 'Contact Manager' to build a codeplug and then using the CSI software to load it to the radio was a big help as far as getting something working in a short time. It's still a tedious affair, especially in advance of a very long road trip. That isn't the radios' fault.
Recent price reductions of this radio makes it even more attractive - but I do strongly recommend the BFD, even though the way it works takes some getting used to...
N0GV Rating: 2021-03-01
A very good Unit - Pro quality Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
This radio is quite good. It has several strong points:

1. Separate VHF and UHF power stages.
2. Detachable faceplate (ONLY DMR with this)
3. Ability to use MUCH larger multi-function display (BFD)
4. Good to great tech support - Jerry is quite helpful.


Nome apparent, this is NOT a dual band "simultaneous" receiver you want that, then get the Anytone AT-D578U/V.

Fun stuff. Initially they sent me a CS-800 -- needless to say it didn't program at all well and ignored all my attempts to update the firmware. I had to send it back to Jerry and he quickly called me up and we shared a laugh over the simple stuff that can, and does, go wrong. The replacement, an 800D, has not given me any trouble whatsoever thus far. No issues with intermod, no issues with paging/other systems (we have one nasty one that hits the UHF on it's 3rd harmonic here in Miami).

I highly recommend the unit! If you want the functionality, get the BFD with it. Be warned that the BFD is BIG, about 6.5" X 8" X 1" -- not for mounting in a Prius, Porsche, Ferrari or much of anything smaller than a Mack truck! I'm finding it difficult to get into a full size Tundra.... ;)

K2DNR Rating: 2020-12-22
Worst Radio I Ever Bought Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I Purchased a CS800D in October and it's been a nightmare since. The latest issue is that the radio doesn't transmit at all, I can only receive VHF and it sounds off frequency. Jerry refuses to send me a new radio, he will only look at it and repair it. This is the second time sending it back to him. I wrote a blank blank codeplug to the radio to reset it and it did nothing. I can't even flash the firmware to it. It's a paperweight. It doesn't transmit full power on UHF or VHF. When I get my money back I'm getting a Motorola XPR550. Whoever says Connect Systems has great support doesn't know what they're talking about.
N8NQH Rating: 2020-12-15
good radio; BFD could use some refinement. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've had my 800d with BFD for about 10 days now. The radio itself seems to be high quality, though the operation of the BFD seems to be slighty unrefined.

there is not separate areas in the CPS for groups and digital contact list; it's all lumped together.

I placed some hints about the 800D on my web page (and a diagram on how to make your own program cable):

note: the above is my personal web site; there's no advertising there.

NT9M Rating: 2020-11-22
For my money, the best. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've owned and currently use a total of three radios from Connect Systems, a CS700 (the original) handheld, a CS 800, and a CS 800D. I also own a MotoTurbo XPR5550.

Of the four, only the original 800 and the Moto have had issues. Connect Systems took care of the CS 800 problem and I experienced great service. No Motorola dealer in the region would touch the XPR5550 and I had to figure it out myself (power cord connection on the rear of the radio).

For my money Connect Systems is the best value by a mile. The thing you have to remember about all these radios is they are only as good as the programming. You can screw any of them up if you don't understand what you are doing. Fortunately there is an active user group for Connect Systems and help is available. Learn to do it for yourself and don't rely on the code plug of someone else.
W5GNB Rating: 2020-11-21
Junk !!! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This thing has been nothing but trouble since Day One !! It is quirky to program, the display locks up, support from the company is iffy at best... Finally the thing now boots up asking for some UNKNOWN Password...... If the radio was any bigger, I would simply use it for a door stop but as it is, it will be living in my junk box and finally end up in the trash bin ~~~~
KB8LKH Rating: 2020-10-08
AWESOME DMR MOBILE Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Awesome DMR mobile

Disclaimer: This is radio is designed to function and program like a commercial radio. Also please be sure to have the latest firmware loaded into the radio. Also make sure you are using the latest CPS. It is great to see the hardware version III is Part 90 compliant. Mine is only a hardware version II.

I write an ALL Ohio code plug for the Ohio Section, ARRL, for this radio and two others. I have had extensive opportunity to be very critical of this radio.

I see many people on the Connect Systems page expressing all kinds of problems with their CS800Ds. I have not had any major issues with mine.

What people may not realize, is the following: There are multiple variants of this radio. Jerry the owner of Connect Systems has worked out a deal with "CoVal", the maker of this radio, to be able to have custom firmware. This being the case, Jerry probably pays a fee to them.

Please be patient. We (CS800D owners), are being afforded hardware and firmware updates that the other variants are not provided. If you will, Connect Systems only firmware.

In some respects, the CS800D models some Kenwood VHF/UHF radios. Same mics, same power connector etc.

73 to all!
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.