Sunday, November 23, 2014

Kirisun S780 | dPMR/Analogue 2 Way Radio (400-470MHz Version)

The Kirisun S780 is a low cost UHF band digital transceiver following the dPMR protocol. There are numerous pro's and cons to this radio but they are good for the price contain many features which I'll run through in this short review. I'll touch briefly on programming but I'll do a full walkthrough when I get my head round it 100% as digital is relatively new to me.



Features:

  • 1.8" LCD display.
  • Both digital and analogue support.
  • Digital voice encryption.
  • All call, group call, single call feature.
  • SMS message capability.
  • Stun and activate.
  • Working status query.
  • Power saving mode.
  • Call history.
  • Power and signal display.
  • Address book function.
  • Manual dialing.
  • Supports firmware programming/updates.
  • High and low power select.
  • Channel lock function.
  • Keypad lock function.
  • Whisper function.
  • CTCSS DCS tone capability.
  • Scan function.
  • Time out timer.
  • Repeater shift function.
  • Calculator.
  • Voice enhance.
  • Full function keypad.
  • Alert tone.
  • Emergency alarm.


Specifications:

  • Frequcency: 400-470MHz.
  • Channels: 16.
  • Channel Spacing: 12.5KHz.
  • Battery: Lithium DC 7.5v 1500 mAh.
  • Weight: 240g (With battery and antenna).
  • Volume: 116mm x 54mm x 30mm.
  • RF Power: 1w low / 4w high.


The Kirisun 780 sells on eBay new from around £75 to £95. I'd heard mixed reviews on the radio and was hesitant to spend that much on a pair. I came across someone on eBay selling a pair in almost new condition with little wear for £130. I messaged him and managed to haggle him down to £100 for the pair delivered so at £50 per radio with a programming cable I took his hand off and bit the bullet.

The radios came in their original boxes, without manuals but with charging dock, antennas, belt clips, UK 3 pin plug converters and in very good condition with minor light scuffs on the plastic screen. The seller threw in the programming cable with them which was obviously welcome as these radios have to be programmed by computer. There is no other way around this.
I charged the radios and turned them on to have a flick through. The menu and keypad are very simple to use and rather like older mobile phones. The radios themselves seem extremely robust and well made. They are a good weight and seem pretty solid. The PTT switch is large and again quite solid which is always helpful when it is the most used part of the radio. The screen is bright and clear and the keys are also backlit.

The antenna is the standard rubber duck type with an SMA female connector so it is compatible with other antennas that go with most of the popular Chinese handhelds currently available. The charging dock is also well built with an LED indicator showing charge progress. These radios support the 2 pin Kenwood style microphones.


Programming:

My radios came programmed to 6 analog frequencies so I plugged the radio in and had a go at programming them to my own frequencies. The software is called CPSc V1.27 which is available through Google search.

Once the radio is plugged in and the software is loaded, you can read the data in the radio. This will then download all the information stored in the radio. I will do a programming walkthrough when I get chance but I'll show you now in brief how simple it is to set these radios up.




As you can see from the screen grab above, the software isn't too complicated to use. In the column on the left you can review the radio settings such as squelch, time out timer, back light display, alerts and sounds.

I have yet to get my head fully around the dPMR side of the programming but I have managed to figure out the basic set up and do use the radios for digital transmissions. Please be aware that these radios are not compatible with other digital standards such as DMR, Tetra and MOTOTRBO unfortunately!



In the channel info section you can well, set the channel info! You can select the zone alias for the group of radios that are being used together. Below is the option to choose between digital and analogue mode.

You can name the channel anything you like and obviously set the frequency. I programmed mine to the digital PMR frequencies in accordance with my business license.  As said above, these radios only have 12.5KHz steps so programming of the regular analogue PMR frequencies is not possible.

The radios will support repeater operation which is handy for my local 70cm repeaters in analogue mode with the option to set CTCSS/CDCSS tones and TX/RX shifts. Finally group lists and contacts can be selected for communication between certain radios.



Once everything was set and I was happy with the frequencies I had chosen I selected write data. When doing this, the correct com port needs to be selected in order for the computer to see the radio. The data is written to the radio in seconds and once complete can be disconnected. I just programmed the same data to both radios until I get my head round the entire programming process. The radios talk to eachother and repeater operation works so it'll do for now. Despite what the screen grab shows, I did programme 16 channels.

dPMR service is for programming the digital settings such as contacts, groups, quick texts and manual dial etc but as I said, I am not educated enough yet to review this properly. Programming overall is a very simple task to do and does not take long.

Testing:

I have not managed to test these radios properly yet but I'll share my experience so far using them. In all honesty, the digital mode is very appealing and for the price of these radios, seems too good to be true. And it is. The digital mode is handy for communications within a building or building site but the range is terrible. 
I struggled to get 1/2 a mile in a moderately built up area when testing with a friend before I lost him completely. In the same area I achieved over a mile on a Baofeng UV-5R. The test area is free from any tall buildings over 30ft and is a mix of countryside and housing.

The audio in digital mode is quite good and is much better than analogue. The range on analogue is quite good and similar to my Baofeng UV-5R's. I did a range test yesterday and managed over a mile in a heavily built up area before I returned home. I do not doubt this radio would do 2 miles in a built up area in analogue mode. I can reach a local 70cm repeater in analogue mode in a build up area from around 12 miles away.

In Conclusion:

Overall these radios are very good and pack a lot of features in one small handheld. For someone wanting to get into digital modes and have a play with digital then they are a great starting point in my opinion. They look great and are very easy to use. I'm happy with what I got for £50 each but however I'm not sure I'd pay £75 upwards each for one. 
With dPMR not being popular in my area yet, it is likely that my pair of radios will only ever really talk to each other in digital mode especially when the range is awful. In analogue mode as a 70cm radio and for monitoring UHF frequencies of interest then they are a really nice addition to anyones kit.

Of course it is down to you to make your mind up on these radios, the review above is my opinion and others may have different results. If you own an S780 and would like to share your feedback then please contact me.

Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.
Manchester, UK.