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RFinder M1 – A review by N8EFJ

Hi I’m N8EFJ Bob from Toledo Ohio,
I work at a commercial 2-way radio shop in Toledo and have been there since 1982 in this profession. I have been a ham since 1995.

This is my review and explaination of the RFinder M1DU analog/DMR 2-way radio and android cell phone as I understand it. I have the 440 to 480 Mhz version.

First of all it is in my opinoin a software defined radio run by the mini computer called a smartphone.
It is currently running android 6.0 and who knows it might be upgraded to 7.0 someday.
I have the (Nova launcher) app launcher overlay with customizeable icons and gestures to fully customize the user interface of the phone.

As a cell phone the RFinder does a pretty good job utilizing the AT&T network in the USA and does run and support the LTE or 4g network connection. Voice quality is as good as many other cell phones.
I also run the Zello PTT app for ptt radio like calls to friends over the network just as many cell phone users can do, talking quality in this mode is great also. The cellular signal quality is as good as many high-end cell phones if not better in many cases for calls and network connectivity.

Now for the meat of the review – the 2-way radio portion.
With the RFinder app up and running and connected to the internet, the repeater list is constantly updated following your current GPS location and displaying all the repeaters in your area as long as they are coordinated and the proper information is listed with the coordinatiog body of the repeater. You can set the distance of the listing from your location in the settings menu and what bands are listed as well.

Much of the information Rfinder gets is also outside of those bodies scouring the web to fill in any missing information to provide the user with the most up to date listings, such as frequencies, “pl” and “dpl” tones, echolink information, system fusion information, DMR color codes and talkgroups, IRLP connections and many more.
This information list is worldwide, so no matter where you go you should have the repeater list for your location.

So just by selecting a repeater in your area and touching the corresponding talkgroup desired, in the case of DMR and then touching send to radio. The software sends the information to the radio module thus programming it for what you selected. You are now ready to start talking on the system selected, it’s just that simple.

The RFinder application is constantly being updated by Bob Greenberg and his engineering staff, They actually listen to their customers and implement some of the changes requested.
If there is a problem, just simply report it to RFinder and they will shortly in many cases have it fixed in the next release of the App. Some releases are 2 in one week.

After all it is a software defined radio! Problems can be easily fixed and new features added. As the movie producers say (we’ll fix it in post).

The radio performance in as good as many other DMR radios I have used. These results were attained from my 2 service monitors – the Aeroflex 2975 for analog testing and the 2017 Aeroflex 8800SX for digital testing.

The results of my particular radio are as follows – – –
Receive sensitivity is .20 microvolts for both analog and DMR. The Transmit deviation on analog is 2.2 khz for narrow, 4.2 khz for wideband. The TX power out is 3.2 watts for high power on analog, 3.9 watts for DMR on high power. Low power is 1.9 watts for analog and 2.0 for DMR. DMR bit error rate was 0 or .1 % at worst.

In high RF environments I do not get much intermod as with cheaper radios, that have not much in the way of front end filtering. After all I do work in the 2-way service environment where often times I’m up at a site with many repeaters on the roof or tower sites where intermod is a known problem with cheaper radios.

I mostly use low power to conserve battery and the local repeater (N8EFJ) is no more than 5 miles away centered in the city roughly.
I did switch to a Motorola XPR6550 whip antenna for the radio as the performance and match is slightly better than the stock antenna.
Speaking of battery life, it comes with a 6200 mah battery thats 6.2 amp-hours, more than enough for a day of use. But if you have the gift to gab and somehow you do run the battery down…. you can buy a second battery and just swap it out. I mean it’s not like many phones that have a permenant battery in it, this one is removable /swapable.

This has been my independant review with the RFinder radio/phone set, and yes I did buy one in May of 2017.
I personally met Bob Greenberg at the FortWayne Indiana hamfest in November 2017, He is a great guy, very helpful and informative.

I hope you find some of this information useful, and if I left something out please add to the review!

73, God Bless

Bob Osborn N8EFJ
Toledo Ohio.

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Release Candidate 6.17.346

THIS REPLACES Ver 344 from earlier!

Features to test:
– goes out of promiscuous mode consistently when a new station is tuned from anywhere
– promiscuous mode toggle button properly reflects state and also hides itself in FM mode 
– screen wake on receive in promiscuous mode
– rounding error in memories fixed
– crash bug in locales with comma decimals fixed
– phone call turns off module, module comes back on properly with settings after call
-While in Promiscuous mode, the TX stays on the previously programmed F, TS, TG, CC…you can TX but you will recieve on all…

NOTE: should ask for a new permission on install, monitor outgoing calls (that and reading phone state are necessary for the radio to work with the phone…

Still open…Volume knob…
PTT cancel promiscuous mode seems technically unfeasible without a change to the RF module firmware.

Download here

RFinder6-17-346_test.apk.zip

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What is DMR Promiscuous Mode?

The Promiscuous mode is a game changer in DMR operation. It lets you listen to all talk groups on any time slot on any color code. When you receive a signal and you want to switch to that time slot – talk group combination, you just press a button on the RFinder M1 and the radio changes to it. So, basically, you can monitor a repeater for all communications. How about that?

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RFinder M1 Android/DMR/LTE

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Original article by Jeff | VA2SS. Visit his great hamradio blog here.

Hi every one! I recently added in my gears the *no code plug needed* UHF DMR transceiver RFinder M1. Previously announced during Hamvention 2017, my first feeling, when I seen it at that time, I was impressed, curious… but I was not conviced to make the jump and break the bank to buy it. But a month ago, after reading good comments ont it, I changed my mind! When I received it a month ago, and now let me tell you that I am very conviced! 🙂

rfinder-m1-original.pngFirst of all, the M1 is running under a customized Android OS version 6.0… not the latest release of Android OS, but a very stable one, and no bloatware are installed; only the essential and needed software. All users will be able to later install every sofware they need… so this is a good news! The LTE modem is also compatible with mostly all today’s LTE bands, at least here in North America, especially in Canada; I’m using Rogers Wireless service and it is working flawlessly so far.

Physically, the Rfinder M1 is built like a tank… and I mean it! I already dropped it by accident, and nothing happened, not a scratch or dent… Nothing at all!! 🙂 Plenty of physical buttons, PTT for DMR radio, PTT for apps like Zello, another PTT for future add-on feature and a red button located atop for future feature add-on also.

rfinder-m1.jpg

The M1 also has a nano SIM slot and a micro SD slot for storage up to 32 GB. Both slots are protected by a waterproof cover. The 6,200 mA battery is also removable and protected by a waterproof battery door also, and offers plenty of power to work all day long on a single charge; spare battery can also be purchased at a later time.

The M1 is capable to deliver 1W at low power and 4W at high power and can be easily compared to any standard UHF handheld.

I will not go through all softwares features offered by the M1 for now. There are also plenty of reviews and videos on the Internet showing all the details of the great device!

It is very important to mention that all users or futur users must understand, the M1 is a well mature product ready to be purchased and ready to use, but it is also a great work in progress. The technical support is excellent, outstanding! And developpers are also listening the ham community for suggestions. This is very important to understand, because the M1 is getting better and better every week or so.

Developpers are very active and pro active to offer to all M1 owners the best experience with their device. The Facebook group is also active, and provide quickly the first support level : RFinder M1 Facebook Group links. I strongly invite every one to join the group!

The shipping is also extremely fast…. Ordered mine from http://rfinder.shop/. Shipped from China, it took only 3 days to my house in Canada!

So far now, I stronly recommend the RFinder M1 to all fellow hams who would like to have a versatile DMR transceiver and an Android phone into 1 device….. and also to avoid essentially dealing with DMR code plug that change very often.

I will post more information on the RFinder M1 in my blog soon…. I’m still digging into it everyday…. a great DMR handheld so far!

Meanwhile, do not forget to follow me on Twitter @VA2SS, and subscribe to my blog and my YouTube channel as well.

Have fun and stay tuned!

73

de Jeff | VA2SS

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RFinder M1 Earphone pinout

OK…here are the pinouts for the speaker/mic on the Magnetic connector…it appears from translating the Chinese inset (Google Translator App) you attach a 680 ohm resistor from the mic pin to ground to switch mode of the connector…Again I have tested nothing but you can make an easy cable to interface from the wired headset…you cannot run USB and Spkr/Mic together, of course.