I have recently obtained a new RT82 with GPS capability. The first feelings are very impressive, particularly because of new features I did not have earlier in my other (and rather older) handy radios. Yes, I know that programming a ham radio device by a computer and via USB cable is more an more common today, however it was a valuable new experience for me. It was really nice from Retevis to provide the programming cable as a gift with the radio, so a new user could start playing with RT82 as soon as the package is opened.
At first I noticed RT82’s very specific 13-pin connector for external devices (such as external speaker/headphone combos and programming cables). At the first sight the connector seemed very similar to some connectors in Motorola hand-held stations, but not completely the same. Having the original programming cable in the package, it was not a problem to start with programming operation, but I am in doubt how to attach the radio to one of my packet radio modems for amateur data communications. I tried to locate an appropriate cable-adapter in local electronic shops, but did not find something that would fit.
At first, I was thinking to make an extension adapter to the programming cable sent with the package, but realized that probably the external speaker/microphone cable would not use the same 3 pins in the connector as the programming cable. Then I visited Retevis website and noticed that various external speaker/microphones are offered, so probably some of them are intended to use with RT82. (In fact, I do not need any such speaker/microphone for voice operations, but only the appropriate cable where the connector pins are properly chosen for external speaker (audio out), microphone (audio in), the ground, and PTT lines (push to talk). In my case, the other end of the cable should be rather an ‘open end’ (no speaker/mic needed), so that I could attach the proper wire carries particular signal or voltage to the packet modem. So I will probably order a cheap speaker/microphone from Retevis, and ‘scavenge’ it to get a proper cable for the packet modem.
Let us go back to the radio itself, which seems to be of a very good quality in both features and overall construction. Having in mind that RT82 is a professional-like device, it really has a plenty of various digital opportunities, such as different ‘zones’ i.e. groups of memory channels, group calls with contacts, logging missed calls, call alert operations, emergency calls, and so on. In that manner, RT82 can be also used as a combined amateur-and-professional device in parallel. That means, if a user is a licensed ham, he or she can program some channels (zones) exclusively for the amateur radio frequencies in 2m and 70cm bands (either analog or digital), while the other channels can be left for professional purposes.
So what I did at the very beginning? I visited Retevis website for drivers and programming software, and downloaded two things: (1) USB_universal_Driver.zip and (2) RT82-programming-software.zip where both of them were intended for Microsoft Windows operating systems. Since I had here only some older computers running outdated Windows XP, I installed the driver accordingly to the ‘readme’ documents. However the installed drivers did not offer virtual COM ports or something like that I had expected, but rather reported a "Digital Radio in USB mode" (in the device group of "Other devices") when the programming cable with radio switched on was connected to one of the computer’s USB ports. In order to get a new ‘virtual’ COM port or like, I connected to the Internet and let the computer find another driver. After a while, it installed the driver by vendor "STMicroelectronics" (supposedly the manufacturer of the chip set in RT82.). Then it reported an "STM device in DFU Mode" (in the device group "Universal Serial Bus controllers").
To check the driver’s functionality, I repeatably pulled out / pushed in the RT82’s programming cable from / to the computer (or just switched RT82 off and on), and noticed that "STM device in DFU Mode" disappeared / reappeared in the device list. I supposed that was OK because the user's manual book did not talk much or anything about the programming the radio via computer, and I was a total beginner in that field. In my view, Retevis should consider adding few words to the user manual book about programming the radio.
So far – so good. In the 2nd step I proceeded with installing RT82-programming-software.zip (By the way, the previous step has finished by installing the driver "STMicroelectronics", version 184.108.40.206 dated 11/9/2009. By looking into the folder of RT82 programming software, I found a newly created sub-folder named “USB Drivers” where “version.txt” suggested a slightly updated driver was available, so I tried to upgrade it but it did remain the same version.)
Nevertheless, the installation of the programming software RT-82 version 1.16 has finished without any difficulty, and I tested it immediately. At first, I noticed that there was no help text available with the software, even though there was a "?" help icon (but it was empty, no help inside after clicking on the icon). I suppose that Retevis will add some help text in the future because it might be useful for new users in digital radios and programming. (Probably it might not be so important for people who have been already familiar with programming Retevis devices, and those who had programmed similar radios, but for beginners it would be very useful.)
Anyway, I tested the newly installed programming software, at first by "reading" the factory-set data from the radio to the computer. Then I changed one of the programmed channels from digital to analog mode and set the frequency to the local amateur radio APRS activity (144.800 MHz). After saving the new configuration as a file, I commanded the new configuration to "write" back to the radio. During the “read” and “write” operations, the RT82’s color screen was changed and communication operations were suspended until the reading/writing were successfully performed. So after some 20-30 seconds, RT82 had the newly programmed channel properly working, so I could hear loudly & clearly the signal of the APRS activity in my neighborhood! That proved that RT82 programming was proper & efficient!
Among the most interesting features of RT82 I found its 'trackball' or it can be said a rudimentary joystick. At first, I did not recognized that it was a trackball and instead I thought that it was a multi-functional flip-flop "up-down-left-right" key, so I though that I should press the key on its edges where it was labeled with signs "<", ">", etc. Of course that did not work until I realized that I should only touch the small white 'ball' in the middle of the button. Then it worked OK. I found the 'ball' as very sensitive on the direction it activates, so if a user has large & nervous fingers (like myself), they can incidentally move the ball into a wrong direction, such as up or down instead of left or right. But it is all part of fun with the exciting RT82!
I have also tried to locate information about GPS 'fix', by trying to read my GPS position because I have been in a process of working on a book chapter related to positioning systems. I was in a hurry so I did not find latitude & longitude data yet (if they can be shown on RT82’s color screen at all, I do not know).
The large colorful screen is also interesting by itself. It includes a clock (date & time) and various information about the channels’ activity. I have probably missed to find a section in the user manual describing features on the screen.
All in all, Retevis RT82 seems to be constructed as a very sturdy and reliable device that will, for sure, satisfy more than basic requirements of an average radio communicator. I expect many years of exciting usage of it in my daily ham radio activities. In general, I can recommend it to hams who like technical challenges and novel features.
The radio is great, it delivers excellent sound quality when talking at a normal level and when you are extremely quiet. The radio is able to take a beating from the fast paced scene changes that we do and the radio is easy to use for anyone. The only down side to this is that the mic ear pieces that come with the radio is destroyed easily by having the ability to rip the cable to the extension mic out of the casing easily.
Se trata de un juego de Walkie Talkies diseñados para uso infantil, en mi opinión nada tienen que envidiarle a los walkies que por ejemplo usan en las tiendas o algunos vigilantes de seguridad.
Estos Walkies tienen un diseño basado en la forma de un robot, y la verdad que están muy chulos, en uno de los lados tenemos un brazo que si lo movemos deja ver el puerto micro USB de carga (El pack incluye un cargador y un cable con 2 terminales micro USB).
En el otro lado tenemos 2 botones, uno de ellos es el que activa la llamada y el otro más pequeño es el que activa la función linterna (Cada walkie tiene un led en una de las patas del robot que hace las funciones de linterna).
En la parte central tenemos la pantalla y los botones de ON/Off, Menú, subir y bajar.
Para encenderlo hay que dejar pulsado el botón ON hasta que se encienda la pantalla donde podremos ver en un primer momento el nivel de volumen (Podremos subirlo y bajarlo con los botones de las flechas), también se ve el nivel de carga de la batería, el canal (podemos elegir entre 8 canales) y además podremos elegir también de qué color queremos que se ilumine la pantalla (de entre 7 colores).
En lo que a alcance y funcionamiento se refiere solo puedo decir que impecable, en campo abierto tiene un alcance de unos 2000 metros y con paredes de por medio de unos 500 metros y si hablamos de la calidad del sonido solo puedo decir que claro, nítido y genial, estoy muy contento con los walkie, son el regalo perfecto para una comunión o un cumpleaños.
Using this for a marine handheld. Had to do some research as to the frequencies, and buy a programming cable, but the process was easy, if tedious.
Works great! As good or better than the $200+ ones I have used. Parts are less expensive too.
The perfect radio for children! I tried very well these radios, they are wonderful.
They are two way radio, 8channel digital coded squelch (european version), they are well build and accessoriated, in the box there is:
- Two Robot Like radios
- Six AAA rechargeble batteries
- Battery Charger and usb charging cable
The radios have a simple nice menù: you can select the channel with the locked digital squelch code, they have the free hand VOX function, they have the call tone function with many selectable tones.
To talk you have to push the PTT button (push to talk), and at the end of the trasmission the radio makes the roger-beep tone.
Under the PTT button there is the flash light button, becouse the radios also have a little flashlight! Children will love it!
The Audio of the radio is very CLEAR, and the rechargeble battery included are fantastic.
We tried a distance test and we covered at least 500 meters with a perfect signal, incredible!
The children are very happy of this present I gave them!