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Pacific Northwest DMR
BFDX CS-580 UHF HT Information

 
UPDATE:  New firmware released, excellent if you want additional FPP features.
 

The CS-580 is the recommended UHF Handheld radio for entry level as well as for permanent use on the PNW DMR network. The 580 was first introduced in November of 2016.  It's significant value-to-cost ratio is so good that it merits it's own web to highlight it's benefits to our members.

 

Quick Upside List
  • Competitively priced; approximately $115 to $139 currently including programming cable

  • Superior audio clarity, cleans up poor audio better than MotoTRBO Gen 1 client radios

  • Decent CPS is provided

  • Digital Monitor (AKA: promiscuous mode, timeslot monitor)

    • Monitors both timeslots with priority to the timeslot of the currently selected channel

    • No other radio has dual slot monitor with or without priority

    • Less reliance on Rx groups and Scan; selectively enabled and faster than scanning

  • Full Front Panel Programming with memory saving (new firmware v1.1.0).

  • DMR band segment scan; can save discovered frequency, color code, timeslot and talkgroup

  • Superior battery life, longer use between charges

  • Very small handheld but with large color display

  • Supported by CSI, a California company with sterling customer support history

 
Quick Downside List
  • Limit of 250 contacts (group calls and private calls), not critical but some folks like all 76,000 aliases in their radios

  • Not the least expensive UHF DMR HT

  • Hot mic audio, no soft-pots in CPS, 8"-12" from mouth is suggested

 
PROS

Part 90 certification (claimed)
Better specs: 1.5ppm frequency accuracy vs Tytera MD-380's 2.5ppm
Tighter receiver than the MD-380
Smaller size, close to a pocket radio
CPS is better than the stock Tytera MD-380 but not as good as MotoTRBO; No clip n paste, sorts OK, pick lists are fairly good, hopefully improves in future releases
Large color display; over 1/3 of the size of the 580's face
4 side buttons possibilities for your favorite menu commands
Long lasting battery
Good Programming software is provided, not as good as MotoTRBO but far better than MD-380
Available at Amazon, Lets Get Ready (make a best offer!) and CSI

 
CONS

256 Contacts max; less an issue if you don't care about aliases (MotoTRBO is 1,000, CS-750 is 65,565), others now max out at ~130,000 contacts

1,024 Channel capacity (same as MotoTRBO)
No Accessories except batteries and belt clip currently
No 3rd party Contact Manager support as yet (Chirp, W0GSG, etc), though CPS is fairly robust

 
SPECIFICATIONS

General

Frequency range UHF:400-480MHz
Channel Capacity 1024
Zones 64
Channel Spacing 12.5KHz/25KHz
Operating Voltage DC 7.4V(±20%)
Battery capacity 2100 mAh
Battery Life - (5/5/90) High TX Power:
Digital 16 hrs; Analog 12 hrs
Power Save Mode:
Digital 20 hrs; Analog 16 hrs
Frequency Stability ±1.5ppm
Antenna Impedance 50 ohms
Dimensions (Length-Width-Height) 56(L)* 32(W)* 109(H)mm
Weight 239g (includes battery)

Transmitter

RF Output Power High Power: 4.5W
Low Power: 1.0W
4FSK Modulation 12.5kHz only data  7K60FXD
12.5kHz data and audio 7K60FXE
FM Modulation 12.5 kHz 8K50F3E
25 kHz    16KIF3E
Modulation Limiting +/- 2.5kHz @ 12.5kHz
+/- 5kHz @ 25kHz
FM Noise -40dB
Conducted Emission -36 dBma 1GHz/-30 dBma 1GHz
Adjacent Channel Power -60dB
Audio Response +1/-3 dB
Audio Distortion 3%
Digital Voice coder Type AMBE+2(TM)

Receiver

Receiver Digital Sensitivity 5% BER 0.25 uV
Analog Sensitivity 0.25 uV (12 dB SINAD)
Intermodulation 60dB
Adjacent Channel Selectivity 60 dB
Spurious Response Rejection 60 dB
FM Noise -40dB
Audio Response +1/-3 dB
Audio output power 1.5W
Audio Distortion 3% (Typical)
Conducted Spurious Emission -57dBm

Environmental

Operating Temperature -20C - +60
Storage Temperature -30C - +85C
Humidity MIL-STD-810C/D/E/F Standard
Vibration & Shock MIL-STD-810C/D/E/F Standard
Dustproof & waterproof IP54

 
CSI's Webpage blurb

The CS580 is one of our most exciting new products that we have designed in the past 30 years. This DMR radio is designed specifically for the amateur radio operators and offers the best value in the DMR market. The radio includes a number of unique and advanced features and is easy to operate.

Connect to any DMR network without the use of a computer. Experienced Hams who prefer to use a computer can program up to 1,024 fixed channels.

Strong, durable and tough. Meets MIL-STD-810C/D/E/F for humidity, vibration and shock and is dustproof and waterproof to IP54.

Frequency of the repeater can be entered from an easy to use screen on the radio in conjunction with a built in keypad. By pressing a single key, you can enter into monitor mode. You can join a conversation by simply pressing the lock key.

Advanced Hams can enter the frequency, slot number, color code, Tx contact number and type of call from a single easy to use screen. Just press the lock key and you are ready to initiate a call on any DMR network, including the Brandmeister and DMR-MARC.

Find the frequency of local repeaters in a new city by placing the radio into scan mode. Then let the radio automatically find the frequency for you.

In a similar manner, communications on an analog channel is possible without a computer.

Stores up to 1024 analog and digital channels in 64 zones with up to 250 contacts. The CPS software for making the code plug is free and available for download from our website www.connectsystems.com

Optional programming cable available for $10.

 

 
BFDX CS-580 Product Review by John Miklor, K3NXU, 11-2016

CS-580 DMR UHF Handheld
MotoTRBO Tier II compatible

John 'Miklor', K3NXU, November 2016

 

CS-580
The Connect Systems CS-580 is a feature packed band UHF DMR handheld with dual mode (FM) capability. Currently, there is only a UHF version, used for this evaluation. There is a VHF version also in the works, but will be a few month out from the time of this review.


In the Box
Included with the radio are the:
- 7.4V 2100mAh Li-Ion Battery
- Charger base & AC adapter
- Antenna (UHF) – 5 3/4" (14.5cm)
- Belt clip
- Hand Strap

User and Software Guides can be found at the
Connect Systems website


General Description
- UHF
- DMR Tier II
- FM capable
- 1W / 4W transmit
- 1024 channels
- 256 contacts
- 6 line Color LCD
- Enhanced Monitor Modes
- Digital Squelch


Certification
The CS-580 is US FCC Part 90 certified, so if you want to put it to use in commercial service, it's ready to go.


Enclosure
The CS-580 case has a solid feel and weight that fits my large hand perfectly. The backlit keypad buttons are large and require little pressure to make a positive contact. There are two programmable side buttons that can be assigned to any four available possibilities. Mine are set to Power, Zone, Scan, and Enhanced Monitor, but you have your choice of 28 options.


Transmitter
The frequency range is UHF 400-480 MHz. Along with Tier II DMR, the radio also supports both Wide and Narrowband FM. My OTA audio reports have been excellent, with absolutely not need to shout into the microphone. In fact, my best audio reports were talking in a normal voice approximately 2" from the microphone. As for the transmitter power, it was right where it should be.

CS-580 446 MHz
FM High 4.2
FM Low 1.1

Receiver
The receiver sensitivity is excellent, and the audio quality is loud, clear and undistorted. There is no squelch, but the Talk Permit indicator emits a soft tone that lets you know when the channel is clear. There are several receive mode options for both scanning and site monitoring that are extremely useful, especially if you are on the road.


Receive Options
There are several very impressive enhanced receive options available with the CS-580.

- Enhanced Monitor - Simply put, I enter the repeaters frequency and the radio monitors everything that comes across, regardless of Time Slot. If I hear a station I like, I press the Lock button, and I'm ready to transmit. The DMR ID, CC, Slot, Type, Contact #, Tx and Rx frequencies are displayed on the LCD.

- Group Receive - This function allows you to load up to 16 contacts into a single receive group. If any one of those channels becomes active, that's what comes through the receiver. When transmitting, the pre-assigned transmit contact for that channel is the one selected.

- Enhanced Scanning - This allows you to select a scanning range between 400-480MHz, repeater offset, and channel spacing. When a repeater signal is detected, the scanning stops, and there is an option to Lock onto the frequency. When keying the transmitter, the offset will automatically shift the frequency to the desired shift.

- Standard Scanning - This is when you add channels to a scan group. If you are listening to a TG or channel that is part of the group and select Scan, the radio will now scan all other TG or channels within that group.

- Enhanced Parameters - This is field programming made easy. It allowed me to program everything via the keypad. In the DMR mode, I entered the CC, Slot, Type, Contact #, Tx Freq, and Rx Freq. A quick press of the Lock key, and I was on the air.
In the FM mode, I entered the CTCSS Decode and Encode, Tx and Rx Freq. Once again, press the Lock key and it was on the air.


Audio
If you are new to DMR, the first thing you will immediately notice is there are no noisy signals. If a signal has enough strength to be heard by the receiver, it is digitally processed where all noise is eliminated and what would be a noisy signal on FM now sounds as though the person is standing right next to you, with no robotic R2D2 sound found in some other digital modes.


Antenna
The supplied antenna is 5 3/4" long and cut specifically for the UHF band and performs well. It is terminated with an SMA-M connector, so if an antenna upgrade is desired, any UHF antenna with an SMA-F connector is interchangeable.


Display
I found the 6 line multicolor display easy to read with all pertinent information displayed at one time. The LCD measures 1.2" x 1.4" with excellent resolution. The large power level, signal strength and battery level icons were clearly visible.


Programming and Software
If you are entering the world of DMR for the first time, be aware that programming a digital radio is a bit different from a standard FM transceiver. Although the FM side is standard, with Freq, Offset, CTCSS, the digital side requires a bit more in depth knowledge. I would personally recommend that you find someone in your area or radio club that can assist with a basic understanding of how it all comes together. Here is an excellent DMR Guide to also help you get started. Once you understand the basics, everything will fall into place nicely.


Firmware
The CS-580 was introduced in November 2016, and the firmware is fully upgradable. When changes and upgrades are introduced, the firmware can be upgraded with a standard Windows based PC. You will always have availability to the latest version via the Connect Systems website.


Programming Cable
The programming cable resembles that used by Motorola style radios but a bit smaller. The business side of the cable is approximately 1". Once placed in position and screwed down, the connection is 100% positive, eliminating the possibility of a bad connection. The programming UART chip is in the radio, not the cable, and the proper drivers load automatically making the cable virtually Plug and Play. When the connector is attached to the radio and plugged into the PC, a distinct icon is displayed on the LCD showing the USB cable is connected and ready to go.


Battery and Charger
I easily get a full day of use plus from the 2100mAh in the digital mode. The battery slides on securely which I'm sure contributes to the moisture proofing of the radio. The charge indicator is a definite red when plugged in and a bright green when charged. The 9V 1Ah wall charger takes a depleted battery to full charge over night with no problem. While the radio is in use, one of the side key options is Battery Power which very clearly displays the battery level.


Accessories
Al this time, the available accessories are 2500mAh Batteries, Spkr/Micr, and Programming Cables (a must have).


Conclusion
I've had the opportunity to use this radio for the past few weeks and have had absolutely zero issues with it. The six line readout is clear and sharp, and every audio report has been excellent.
It's a commercial grade DMR radio designed around a Tier II platform. You may pay a few dollars more, but at $130 you definitely won't be disappointed.

Jerry has hit the nail on the head with this one. For the price, it's an excellent choice.

Available from: Amazon

 

 Revised: 11/12/2017 08:43

 

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