UPDATE: 16-May-2018: I got FPP for my Motorola.
For my HAM operations and my volunteer ICS-based emergency comms crisis work with the the fire, police, and sheriff’s departments, I know the reason that the police, military, fire, EMT, government, and other commercial and professional operators use Motorola…it works!
For me, I KNOW my Motorola will get me the best transmission experience whenever I turn it on, and I hit the button…it is reliable and solid; and, its reliability instills confidence for any operator using it.
I haven’t had the interest in purchasing anything other than a Motorola until one day…while doing my ICS-based emergency communications training with the San Francisco Fire Department, I realized a vulnerability in my communications ops plan…Motorola lacks Front Panel Programming.
I spoke to Motorola, and I fully understand and agree with their argument that their transceivers are professional and commercial use only. In other words, the operators that use them should not tinker with the transceivers by programming them or making adjustments; because, these types of adjustments and programming are complicated and should only be done by a professional programmer trained by Motorola; and, the operators out in the field should only have to be concerned with their field tasks at hand — saving lives and making a situation safe — they should not have to worry about programming a frequency into their transceivers. Getting to the frequency they need should be as easy as rotating a knob or pushing a button on the transceiver.
So, I get Motorola’s logic — they are a professional and commercial outfit — nothing in their mission is about amateur use.
Crap…I gotta get going… I will finish this BLOG when I get back.
So, I checked out several dual-band transceiver and purchased one — Anytone D868UV; and, miserably failed my expectations; hence, I was pretty much resolved to the fact that I would have to make sure I carried a functional laptop with me each time I go for my ICS-based emergency comm drills or get deployed in the event that a catastrophe hits San Francisco.
UPDATE: I got FPP for my Motorolas…click here.
While I was surfing the net, I came across the Ailunce HD1 Dual Band FPP (Front Panel Programming) transceiver. I was hesitant in making the purchase because it’s an oriental product — I prefer European or American-made products — I don’t like oriental things except for food and jade.
Anyway, I’m adventurous, and it only would cost me $200; so, if it didn’t work, I would just chalk it up to experience and treat the $200-loss as a lesson to not purchase oriental transceivers — no big deal. So, I pulled the trigger, and I paid for one.
It was one of the best purchases I made for 2018…in fact, after I purchased my first HD1 and tested it for 2.5 weeks, I purchased the HD1GPS model; and, I just really dig this oriental transceiver; however, a cold splash of reality hit me during my ICS-based emergency comms drill with SFPD. My HD1GPS kept cutting out (blanking out) during the receiving of critical information from ACS SFFD Mobile Command 1. Whenever they gave me instructions, the HD1GPS would silence.
I realized other ICS-based emergency comm operators were within 15 feet of me; and, each time they transmitted, it would block out and silence my HD1GPS — this was NOT GOOD!
I found out the HD1GPS, unlike my Motorola, is not Super Heterodyne and doesn’t have an effective front-end filter — I don’t even know if it has one; hence, the Ailunce HD1 will not be part of my emergency comm equipment. I will NEVER use it for my emergency ICS-based comms drills with SFFD, SFPD, Sheriff’s Department, nor the USCG.
I will use the HD1GPS for social operations; and, it is capable for your own personal emergency communications tool as part of your bug-out pack or EDC pack — not for ICS-based emergency comm drills. To find out more details about this issue: click here.
So, for the scope of this discussion, I am going to restrict the scope of this BLOG to the HD1GPS as a social comms transceiver, which includes you using it for your owner PERSONAL emergency use — not ICS-based emergency comm use.
Also, for the sake of simplicity, the words, HD1 GPS model, hereinafter, will be referred to as, HD1GPS, and it will include the HD1 model.The two models are the same, except the HD1GPS has the GPS feature.
So, let’s get to the GPS…it is an oriental transceiver, and the GPS is spot-on accurate. All the stuff you hear about the oriental GPS doesn’t work with America’s GPS; because of this that or the other is all, as President Trump says, “Fake News!”
This oriental transceiver’s GPS works in America — why? Because, we all use the same satellites regardless of the origin of the transceivers.
Here is my test result, as of 13-Febraury-2018; you can punch in the coordinates shown in the pictures, below, and you will get my exact location, accurate to the parking space of my car. The reason one picture shows different coordinates from the other picture is because I moved my car around in the parking lot.
Here’s the map, provided by HAM Operator Brian Whelan. Do you see that little red dot in the map? That little red dot is I; and, I am in my car at that red-dot’s location in the car — balls-on accurate. I’m very pleased with the results of the HD1GPS.
The HD1GPS also resolve the issue of the sticker covering up the pressure vent. Ailunce put a little hole in the sticker for air pressure changes. When the HD1 first came out, several units did not have the hole in the sticker — when we brought it up to Ailunce’s attention, they immediately rectified the sticker vent issue.
Now, I know it’s not proper to compare a $1100 Motorola transceiver XPR 7550e to a $200 Ailunce HD1GPS, but I don’t care — I’m gonna do it anyway.
GPS Acquisition: Motorola XPR 7550e and Ailunce HD1GPS
So, with regards to GPS acquisition…the Ailunce’s HD1GPS acquires the GPS signal within a minute or two before my Motorola XPR 7550e or a minute or two after my Motorola XPR 7550e — the bottom line is that both transceivers make the acquisition, and the issue of which one is first or second is really hit or mis or a flip of the coin, but they both perform at the same rate — a minute behind or ahead of each other.
Audio Quality: Motorola XPR 7550e and Ailunce HD1GPS
I posted some audio clips for the Ailunce HD1; and, the HD1GPS sounds the same as the HD1.
How does it compare to my Motorola XPR 7550e?
Well, my Motorola XPR 7550e has more balance of RX treble and bass whereas the HD1GPS has more treble — higher pitch, but it’s nothing offensive; and, it is still pleasant to the ears — the amazing thing is that is comes in real clear for DMR RX; and, it does a real good job on analog RX, too.
The HD1GPS speaker on the RX is also very loud — so, if you have competing background noises in your environment while using the HD1GPS, don’t worry, the HD1GPS has more than enough power to punch through any competing background noise.
So, with respect the RX, it is right up there with my Motorola XPR 7550e.
Reception: Motorola XPR 7550e and Ailunce HD1GPS
The reception of the HD1GPS is hit and miss. My Motorola XPR 7550e can pick up weaker signals better and faster than my HD1GPS; but, weak signals are just that…weak — both transceivers require the operator to move to a better location in order to get a stronger signal.
Transmission: Motorola XPR 7550e and Ailunce HD1GPS
In all my conversations on DMR and analog, every single operator complimented my audio transmission on the HD1GPS, as they did with my Motorola XPR 7550e.
Build Quality: Motorola XPR 7550e and Ailunce HD1GPS
Well, the build quality on the HD1GPS is right up there with my Motorola XPR 7550; the only thing I don’t like about the HD1GPS is the screen colors and screen fonts.
The HD1GPS is hefty and has a good look and feel — on par with my Motorola XPR 7550.
The MAJOR FACTOR that cripples the HD1GPS is it uses Direct Conversion and doesn’t have an effective front-end filter; hence, in emergency comms operations in an area that has high comms traffic and operators within 15 feet of each other receiving and transmitting information, the HD1GPS will experience desensitizing and intermodulation — major NO-NO in emergency communications — this is the reason Nothing Beats A Motorola holds true.
Battery Life & Capacity: Motorola XPR 7550e and Ailunce HD1GPS
HD1GPS has excellent battery life — right out there with my Motorola XPR 7550e; but, the HD1GPS fails in capacity — it’s ability to keep a consistent charge as the battery power diminishes.
For example, at 5% battery power on both transceivers, XPR 7550e and HD1GPS, I get a low voltage message; however, the XPRS 7550e can still RX and TX as if it was on 100% power; the HD1GPS’s performance is diminished to the point that the TX quality reduces my modulation to sounds like Donald Duck drop-outs my words and sentences.
Features: Motorola XPR 7550e and Ailunce HD1GPS
Hands down goes to my Motorola XPR 7550e — it is has high quality features — the HD1GPS doesn’t have all the stuff my Motorola XPR 7550e has, such as, but not limited to, voice enhancement against competing background noise, audio enhancement against competing background noise, transceiver calls to mobile phone or landlines, PTT warning beeps, MDC, and so on.
Like I mentioned, the Motorola XPR 7550e is a commercial and professional transceiver — the operators demand these types of features; so, that’s the defense of the HD1GPS in this area of discussion.
Customer Support: Motorola XPR 7550e and Ailunce HD1GPS
Well, when I told Ailunce/Retevis that I was having a problem with my B-band DMR and analog RX, the next day, they created a firmware that addressed my problem; and, they asked me to try it out and give them feedback — hell, customer support doesn’t get any better than that.
Motorola’s support wouldn’t give me a blink of an eye if I had that experience with my Motorola XPR 7550e.
If you want a dual-band analog and digital transceiver with FBB that has good quality RX and TX capabilities for SOCIAL and NON EMERGENCY COMM OPERATIONS, well…the HD1GPS is the answer.
Once again, I DO NOT recommend the use of the HD1GPS for emergency comms operations: click here for my reasons.
Of course, you can use the Ailunce HD1GPS as an emergency comms device if you are alone and away from other operators. When I mentioned I would not use it for emergency comms operations, I mean I would not use it for ICS-based emergency comm drills and trainings with the SFFD, SFPD, Sheriff’s Department, and USCG.
I hope Ailunce will transition to Super Heterodyne and using effective front-end filters — if they do that, I will consider the Ailunce HD1GPS as part of my emergency comms equipment.
/s/ Alfonso Faustino (K6ASF)