CSI CS800D

www.ConnectSystems.com

The reason why I bought the CS800D is that in my newest car (Mercedes-Benz GLK350 SUV) space is at premium and I did not want to clutter it with a bunch of radios. I normally prefer commercial rigs like Hytera and Motorola, but this radio was intriguing.

I bought the CS800D because;

  • Dual Band DMR/Analog
  • Remote Control-Head
  • According to website not restricted to Ham Frequencies – although not specifically advertised as Part 90 approved yet either. Optimistic for an approval. I have need for ’90 frequencies.
  • Price is OK.

Here is what I like so far:

  • Dual Band Mobile DMR/Analog
  • Remote Control-Head
  • Price
  • Remote head cable is CAT 5 ethernet. Easy to customize.
  • Memories
  • Call book size

Here is what i don’t like:

  • Not (yet) Part 90 – staying optimistic.
  • Display is small and absolutely minimalistic. Typically not ham, but ok for biz use.
  • Controls feels cheap, but it is a ham radio (have to remind myself).
  • DMR audio is not balanced with analog audio – even after adjusting setup.
  • DMR ID is for the radio, not for the channel. In most cases OK, but not for special events.
  • Audio from a channel in scan list is different than when channel selected.
  • No roaming.
  • Zone limited to 16 channels. Same problem with my other biz-band radios.
  • Audio is “tinny” from a small speaker. Little or no acoustic finesse in design.
  • CSI Websites is borderline misleading.
  • No MAC programming software.

Programming:

All programming takes place through the typical computer program we have seen for so many of the DMR radios. It is functional, but lacks a few convenience items. I program frequencies and the radio itself via the CPS. I use Contact Manager for all the DMR Contacts. I keep the basic file small while I work on the basic setup. Then I add contacts (100k+ callsigns) and upload to radio. Editing the completed file with contacts is to slow on my computer.

Conclusion:

For my use (always optimistic) I still hope this will be the low-cost “swiss army-knife” of a radio that will cover 90%+ needs for ham, town volunteer services and my biz band frequencies, but not yet.

Would I buy it again? With a part 90 certification, hands down. Until that time??