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Sunday, 18 August 2013

Range of the Kirisun S780 compared to analog

I've been testing out these S780s a lot recently, and have been finding that the range is probably no better than an analog radio of the same power. Despite the claims by most manufacturers that digital gives better range than analog, this turns out not to be true for the Kirisun S780, or at least for the ones I have.

The digital does not work anywhere near as well as analog when in a moving vehicle due to objects moving in and out of the path causing a kind of fluttering effect on the signal. On analog you would be able to make out some words and miss others when this is happening, but with digital, you just don't decode when this is happening. You will see the green light but the radio just doesn't lock on to the signal. This is because the radio has to lock on to the digital before it can decode, but the analog doesn't, and allows you to hear very short segments if they are there, such as a fluttering signal.

When using the radio from a static location, I have found that analog has a significantly greater range than the Kirirsun. This is down to the fact that the Kirisun has poor filtering and would be desensitized by any other nearby RF, even when on a completely different band. If you're in the middle of nowhere, where there are no strong FM radio stations, or pagers, or mobile phone masts, then the Kirisuns will perform better, but they will still not come close to the performance of analog. Since the majority of us live in cities where there will be a lot of RF around, I say that the Kirisuns are nowhere near as good for range as a normal analog radio of the same price range.

However, even though the range might suffer, I think it is still better using digital in cases where range is not critical. e.g. For use in a shop. There are some features that make digital worth using: The fact that you can status inquire radios means that you can leave a radio somewhere and then take another radio out to see how far you can get without needing someone else to sit there waiting for you to do a range check. In practical use, you can use the status inquire to see if someone is in range, and then if they are not, you can try moving position slightly and trying again before attempting to call them. You couldn't do this on analog.
Another feature that make the digital superior is group and private calling. This is really useful in a group of people where you might want to speak to one person without the others hearing. You can also easily talk to new radios owned by different people without setting it up in the software. You can dial their radio ID directly from the home screen, which private calls them when you press the PTT, or you can add them as a contact if this option has been enabled in the programming.

The other good thing about using digital is that its digital! You get to hear that weird vocoded voice. I mean sure the novelty will wear off after a while but it is very fun at first. Oh and no scanner users can listen in to you, even with encryption turned off.

My overall opinion on the use of these radios is that its worthwhile using them for fun, or for the convenience of the digital functions, but if range is very important to you, you should consider using analog or a better (more expensive) digital set. I wouldn't consider using these for a business where communication reliability is essential, but for private use, they are good fun to play with where communication is not critical.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Got the radio back today (Kirisun S780)

So, today the Kirisun S780 came back from repair. Took 16 days in total including postage both ways. They have actually replaced the radio rather than repaired it. I don't know why they did this, maybe they don't yet know how to repair it, or maybe it was too badly damaged. I could tell it was replaced because there was a screen protector on the screen, and the programming I put in had gone, and been replaced by the default programming.
So, in summary, I want to say I'm happy with the repair service provided by 409shop, which was fast considering it was sent all the way to China, and they even provided a tracking number on the way back to the UK. They didn't offer to pay my postage costs, but I didn't ask them to, since it was only £4.50.

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