Having had my MD-9600 for a few days I decided to write a few reports on my impression so far.
This post is concentrating on my first impressions of the radio from a users point of view. See my other posts on the CPS and the RF performance.
Overall after playing with the radio for a few days my feeling is that I am quite disappointed with the current offering. Despite having updated to the latest firmware there are still some significant issues outstanding. Despite the delays in production it appears the radio is still not quite finished. (where have we heard that before?)
A minor issue that seems to plague other similar radios is that when receiving a signal it is impossible to select the menu.
There is a very loud click from the speaker every time the squelch closes on FM and at the end of each transmission on DMR. This is not controllable with the volume control and becomes really annoying very quickly. It sounds like the power is being removed from the audio amplifier whenever the radio needs to be silent. I am not sure if this can be fixed with a firmware update or if it will need a hardware modification.
Apart from the above the FM mode seems to perform well. However the same cant be said for DMR mode.
Quite often the screen will display the ID and Talkgroup of a station but no audio will be received. Listening on another DMR radio shows that they are actually talking. Sometimes the audio will appear after a fraction of a second, sometimes after a few seconds, sometimes not until the next transmission. Removing and reconnecting the antenna whilst receiving a signal will often cause the audio to disappear again. This tends to point to some issue with the 'Late Entry' decoding of the audio which is supposed to handle this situation.
Interestingly the problem appears to be worse on some stations than others even through the same repeater. This is odd in a digital system where all signals should appear to be identical. Maybe this points to a decoding error somewhere that is affected by the data differences caused by the different ID number.
Sometimes the radio will fail to access a DMR repeater from cold. This occurs even with a strong signal from an external antenna so it is not a signal level issue. The Downlink activate burst is sent and the repeater does respond to this by keying up and sending idle frames but the radio does not appear to receive these and the connection fails. Re- attempting the access immediately while the repeater is still up always works. This points to the radio not receiving the repeater during the wake-up sequence.
Maybe the two problems are related in that the radio has problems synchronising with the received signal.
I would be interested to hear from someone else who has one of these radios so we can do some comparisons. It is always possible that mine has a fault. However I suspect it may all be down to the firmware and they are all the same.
Potentially if these things can be fixed the radio could be good. Hopefully TYT can fix the firmware. At the moment I feel the radio is not really usable with any feeling of comfort, I am always thinking what will go wrong next!
73 Colin G4EML