Alfonso Faustino: BridgeCom’s AnyTone D868UV and D878UV Plus: Pass!

Recently, I received many emails about AnyTone transceivers — these new HAM operators and existing HAM operators are in the market for a new transceiver, asked me, “what about AnyTone [transceivers]?”

Normally, I don’t talk about AnyTone transceivers; because, I have nothing good to say about AnyTone; however, since AnyTone advertises their transceivers for LEOs, fire-fighters, first-responders, and etc for their mission-critical communications, I’d like to share my thoughts regarding their assertions, as stated, below, in their advertising campaign, which I found on their Amazon site:

BEGIN NOTE: If you’re an inexperienced mission-critical or ICS/FEMA-based volunteer, AnyTone’s advertising campaign, as stated, supra, is something you must investigate before purchasing.

END NOTE.

So, let’s start with the first question… because of the issue I had with the analog quality of AnyTone in my social comms, which was muffled modulation and poor TX and RX range, even with Turbo-mode on, I would not use AnyTone for my social communications.

For me, AnyTone was a Two-Hundred-Dollar-Basket-Of-Problems. It was so terrible, I threw it off CARLA System 5’s tower; because, it wasn’t worth my time and energy to return it back to AnyTone; and, most importantly, I did not want to run the risk of my AnyTone transceiver being recycled back out into the hands of another HAM operator as a new unit. 

Now, that I addressed the first question, let’s get to the second issue, which is my PRIMARY reason for me to address AnyTone in this BLOG.

Many of you, who emailed me, are mission-critical or ICS-based comms volunteers at your local police department, fire department, EMS units, and/or you sheriff’s office. Because of your volunteer work with these agencies, coupled with AnyTone’s advertisement about their transceivers being, ideal for fire, police, EMS, and search & rescue activities, I’m going to introduce my experiences with the fire department in my local areas: San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles.

Photo Credit: Matt: Lost Hills Sheriff’s Office working with LAPD and Lost Hills Fire Department on deployment: Using a Motorola APX to comm with LAPD helo

Have you ever seen or met a LEO, fire-fighter, EMS, Military, Federal Agent or any first-responder in the United States use an AnyTone transceiver? 

Here is my acquaintances’ experiences with their AnyTone transceivers during a mission-critical ICS-based comms exercise with the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD). My acquaintances, who volunteered with me in a mission-critical ICS-based training exercise with SFFD, experienced inter-modulation from frequencies outside of the frequency their AnyTone transceivers were set to; they experienced frequency drifting, and, they also experienced being blocked out from communicating with their team out in the field — they were unable to RX and TX.

My acquaintance were all within 15 feet of other SFFD communications volunteers in or near Mobile Command 1; hence, I instructed all of them to move farther apart, so they can hear my mission-critical directions from my portable base: Mobile Command One.

I was using my Motorola XPR 7550e and Yaesu FT-857D transceivers, of course, without any block-outs, inter-modulation, and frequency drift. My Motorola and Yaesu are Super-Heterodyne and have effective Front-end Filters.

Now, if my acquaintances’ AnyTone transceivers can’t operate in a simple mission-criticial ICS/FEMA-based training comms exercise, which has no fire, no water, no shock-induced situations, how in hells-bells is AnyTone gonna operate in a REAL-Life emergency mission-critical situation when fire-fighters are fighting a fire INSIDE a burning structure with high-temperatures, moist areas, and high-induced shock-prone areas?

Oh…their AnyTone transceivers were NOT on Promiscuous Mode, en re the aforementioned RX and TX issues.   

So, was there a misprint in AnyTone’s advertising campaign about their transceivers built for mission-critical situations?

If you are a fire-fighter, would you use an AnyTone transceiver in the aforementioned circumstances?

Why did my SFFD volunteers experience the aforementioned RX and TX issues during their mission-critical ICS/FEMA-based comms training exercise with SFFD?

I don’t know.

All the high-quality two-way radios (transceivers) gear first-responders use are Super Heterodyne, have effective front-end filters, along with other state-of-the-art technology, to minimize or eliminate the effects of RX and TX Block-outs, Frequency Drifts, and Inter-Modulation.

Here is a list of the agencies, which I do volunteer work, OR first responders I know in the following agencies, that use high-quality high-quality transceivers, such as, Motorola: SFPD, SFFD, AlCo Sheriff’s Office, OPD, LAPD, LAFD, LASO, Beverly Hills PD, Beverly Hills FD, Chicago PD, NYPD, NYFD, and the US Coast Guard. None of them use AnyTone.

Photo Credit: David Lang: 7-December-2020, at 1000 Hours PST: Alfonso Faustino on Search and Acquire tennis court using his Motorola XTS 5000R Model II: “Tennis court acquired — I got new can of tennis balls — get on a Helo and drop your asses down here now before I lose the court!” 😆

All fire-fighters use transceivers that are intrinsically safe and can withstand high temperatures, dust, fumes, and water. Are AnyTone transceivers intrinsically safe?

Photo Credit: Matt: 2020: Lost Hills Fire Personnel on deployment: Using the Motorola XTS 5000R Model III

Moreover, most fire-fighting agencies use hi-viz yellow or hi-viz green, like my Motorola XTS 5000R, shown directly below, for easy visual acquisition. Seldom do fire-fighters and EMS personnel use black transceivers — they could; but,usually fire-fighters prefer hi-viz colors. Do AnyTone transceivers come in hi-viz colors?

One of the other many features fire-fighters look for in a transciever is high-temperature rating. Because of the high temperature environments, like fighting a fire from the inside of a building, their transcievers must withstand the heat…so, like my Motorola APX 8000HXE and my Motorola 500XE RSM, fire-fighters’ transceivers can stand up to 500-degree Farenheit for approximately five minutes.

What is the temperature rating of the AnyTone transceiver?

Another important feature that fire-fighters, LEOs, and other mission-critical personnel look for is noise-cancellation.  Does Anytone have noise-cancellation?  

All the agencies, which I do volunteer work or know personnel in those agencies, use Motorola transceivers, Motorola Solutions, like mine, which is the Motorola APX 8000HXE, pictured, supra, or similar to mine, as shown in the picture, below, Motorola APX 8000XE.

LAFD ordered a bunch of Motorola APX 8000XE transceivers, shown in the picture, supra. Oddly, I did not see any AnyTone transceivers in their manifest nor procurement documents; and, I didn’t see AnyTone mentioned in their RFPs (Request For Proposal).

Sit in the PAPA System DMR Round-table on Monday nights, Talk-group: CA 3106, and you will hear AnyTone operators talk about their problems with their AnyTone transceivers, such as, but not limitied to, “yes, there is a earlier firmware you have to first upgrade to, then, there is a repair patch that you have to install, then after you install those two updates, you have to get the newest firmware to upgrade the firmware to your radio,”  and “My antenna mount/connector broke off,” and “My modulation board got disconnected, but all I did was solder it; and, now, it works again.” 

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

My advice to you is to take the time to invest in quality amatuer equipment: Yaesu (FT3)Kenwood (TH-D74A), and iCom. These models are Super Heterodyne, have functional front-end filters, have other state-of-the-art technolgy, and have execellent build-quality — just like the commercial/professional equipment.  They also have better RX and TX in BOTH analog and their respective digital platforms. You see the names and locations of the operators, which pop up in your screen, but you can talk to them, too — yes, imagine that…you can actually communicate with other operators.

“Oh…Alfonso, those aren’t DMR transceivers,” you say?

Then, buy an openSPOT3 and cross-mode into DMR — believe me, you’re gonna wanna do that as you experience the digital mediums,” I say.

If you still wanna buy a DMR-based hand-held transceiver instead of my recommendation of using Yaesu, Kenwood, or iCom to cross-mode, via openSPOT3, then consider amatuer transceivers that are Super Heterodyne, have effective front-end filters, and other state-of-the-art technology, such as, but not limited to, Alinco, Hytera, and TYT MD-model (the single band model is Super Heterodyne). (Thanks to Leonard, Wayne, Ralph, and Michael (AnyTone Operator) for contributing to the list in this paragraph — their contributions to this list do not express their support, imply nor express, to the contents written beyond this paragraph, herein. Moreover, the individuals mentioned in this paragraph and outside of this paragraph did not contribute to any of the content written in this BLOG. The contents outside and inside of this paragraph are strictly my own opinions derived and based upon my factual experiences.)

Like all products in life, some HAM operators have great experiences with their AnyTones; so, consider their positive inputs, too, when reading my alternate review of AnyTone; and, you might wanna still buy an AnyTone.

When I was eight years old, I ate a kiwi for the first time and threw up…since then, I haven’t knowingly eaten a kiwi.

For me, AnyTone left a bad taste in my mouth, and like the kiwi, I do not have a taste for AnyTone — sometimes in life, as my father said, “you only get one shot — so always do the right thing.”

This past Monday night, 10-August-2020, I sat in on Michael Rickey’s PAPA System DMR Round-table, and l heard operators talk about their problems with the new current-model AnyTone transceiver, the D-878UV and the first model, too. Apparently, new AnyTone D-878UV has firmware issues and a major bug in holding a certain frequency — frequency-drift or some crap like that.

I was sitting in on the WIN System Technical Net, Friday, 21-August-2020, and an AnyTone operator said, “my AnyTone sounds muffled [on] [analog], and the frequency is drifting.” WB6IAG, Ron, said, “okay, that’s normal with lower end transceivers…try resetting it — that might help — it’s like a computer — it gets out of whack, and you have to reset it.”

My Motorola CP200 Radius has been sitting in storage for over 10 years. I pulled it out, charged up the battery, turned it on, twist the channel knob to CARLA System 5, and made a clean clear connection — no need to reset anything.

Is AnyTone a transceiver made for LEOs, fire-fighters, and other first-responders as AnyTone currently advertises?

I don’t know.

Take my experiences, within the four-corners of this BLOG, and compare it to your own research, and you will be able to answer this question. I think you might be able to infer my answer to this question.

All I can tell you is this: If you’re considering the purchase of an AnyTone transceiver for any mission-critical or ICS-based volunteer work you wanna do with your local police, fire, and other first responder agencies, contact AnyTone and verify their transceivers won’t desensitize nor inter-modulate withing 15 feet of other operators.

If Anytone answers in the affirmative, and you purchase it, don’t take their word…instead, save the receipt, and test the transceiver before doing a mission-critical ICS/FEMA-based comms training exercise or a real-life ICS/FEMA-based mission-critical comms ops, to ensure the AnyTone transceiver won’t drift its frequency, desensitize, nor inter-modulate within 15 feet of other operators doing comms operations.

I guess that’s the reason BridgeCom named their transceivers, AnyTone…their transceivers will literally pick up any tone except the one that is set in the channel selector. surprise

I do not know a single agency that has heard of AnyTone nor use AnyTone for their comms ops; I talked to my acquaintances at SFFD and LAFD, and I asked them if they heard of AnyTone.  

They replied while they were holding their hi-viz green Motorola APX 7000XE and Motorola APX 8000XE transceivers: 

Any-what!?”

I replied, “AnyTone — like this kick-ass fire-fighter is using in this picture?” Then, I showed my real fire-fighters acquaintances this dullard-picture, below:

They laughed and said to me: “Get da f*** outta here — what is dat — who da hell is dat?!”

Here is a general landscape of the LE agencies’ comms tools that I know from my experiences in dealing with them as a volunteer or personnel that I know on a social level:

– There is only a handful of US law enforcement agencies that use DMR for their digital platform; and, all those agencies use the Motorola XPR 7550e transceivers. I know this first-hand; because, I sold them my BNC Female Antenna Adapters for their Motorola XPR 75XX(e) transceivers. The band they operate is UHF R2.

– Most of the other US law enforcement agencies are using Motorola XTS and APX transceivers on analog UHF R2 or 700/800 mHZ with or without trunking.  If they are using trunking, the majority is using SmartZone Type II.  Other agencies are using UHF R2 or 700/800 mHZ on P25 Phase I or Phase II with or without trunking — if they use trunking on their P25 digital networks, the trunking system is usually SmartZone Type II. The remaining agencies are using Harris or EF Johnson transceivers, with the same set-up as the Motorola operators, mentioned, herein, this paragraph.  I know this first-hand; because, I do volunteer work for these agencies.

– The remaining law enforcement agencies, such as, but not limited to, DCPD parts of LAPD, parts of LAFD, parts of NYPD, and parts of NYFD, use T-band (UHF R2) strictly on analog, without trunking nor digital mediums (P25 or DMR).  I AnyTone has UHF R2, they might fit into this category; but, I seriously doubt it; because, these LEOs and firefighters use ONLY Motorolas.  I know this first-hand; because, I have close acquaintances that work for these agencies; and, do you really think these guys and gals, in mission-critical situations, would give up their Motorolas for an AnyTone?  

Parts of these aforementioned landscapes, supra, also apply to fire-fighting agencies. 

Check out this video clip and decide for yourself.

Below, is a pic of a police department working with the National Guards on setting up their transceivers for inter-ops communications at the height of the 2020 riots…do you think these guys and gals are using AnyTone transceivers?

Can AnyTone transceivers do inter-ops comms with different agencies (e.g., police, fire, EMS, and military)?  

If your answer is, “Yes, Alfonso…AnyTone can inter-op between agencies by getting all the police, fire, EMS, and military agencies on GMRS, via AnyTone transceivers,” I’m gonna discharge my mace in your face.

Alfonso, I read Motorola having problems with several agencies in the Bay Area and other states; so, you see, Motorola ain’t perfect.”

Those problems you read about dealt with the agencies’ digital network — nothing to do with Motorola’s design of their transceivers. 

Also, I never mentioned that Motorola was perfect; however, in my experiences, my Motorolas have not failed; hence, in my experiences, my Motorolas have a perfect track-record during my wanna-be Jason Bourne life-style.  

Okay, enough about AnyTone…just consider purchasing high-quality, durable, and reliable amateur equipment and verifiable commercial/professional-grade equipment that can be used for social and mission-critical operations.

Check 6!

/s/ Alfonso Faustino (K6ASF)