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Alinco DJ-G7 Review

Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,034
1,335
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I spent some time programming a few frequencies into the radio. I've seen the comments on eham about it being a difficult radio to progam, but I'm not sure what they're talking about. I just followed the instructions in the manual and had it done in no time. It's actually almost simple enough to figure out for yourself. You can delete memories and even move memories from one bank to another. Even the Yaesu VX-8 can't do that. The radio is capable of storing 1000 memories organized in up to 99 standard banks and several other special banks. The special banks are as follows:

-Progam Scan
-Dual: The main and sub band are coupled togehter and registered in one memory
-Priority
-Call channels
-Pass: A bank for memories you want to skip while scanning
-Transmitter Search - If you're into T-Hunting, program your often used frequencies here

The radio also has a "Quick Memory" function which is very similar to speed dial on cell phone. It even programs like a cell phone: After you've stored the memory, recall it and just hold down one of the numeric keys (1-90) to associate the memory with that key. To recall at any time, you just hit the number, followed by the V/P/M key. It really works well, and I wish more HT's had this function!! (y)

One other special bank of memories that are used for "bug detecting". I guess this is the James Bond function of the radio: It will scan frequencies often used by bugging devices as well as any additional you select so you can determine if SPECTRE has recruited your neighbor to spy on you. If someone will send me some bugging devices, I will test this function out, otherwise I really have no clue as to why I would use this. It did get a good chuckle out of me when I saw it, though.
 

Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,034
1,335
283
Here are some quick tips for using the set menus. This isn't the easiest part of the manual to follow, but setting the various parameters aren't real hard.

To enter "Set Mode", hit FUNC, then press down on one of the top knobs. A portion of the screen will display a menu item from one of the main categories like, "<SCREEN DISPLAY>" or "<SOUND>" and so on. To change from one menu group to the next, just rotate the top dial. To dive into one of these setup groups to change individual settings, press down on the dial again. If you want to get back to change menu groups again, hit the MONI button on the side. After you dive into a particular menu group, the display changes to the individual settings. For example, if I press down on the dial while looking at the <SOUND> menu group, the first setting displayed is "Beep sound Lv." To adjust the setting, just rotate the lower dial above. If you're finished making the adjustments you want, hitting PTT takes you all the way out of the Set menus, or hitting MONI on the side takes you back to the Menu group selections. It's pretty simple.

There is one menu setting that I found that is not discussed in the manual: Under the <SCREEN DISPLAY> group, there is a setup entry called "Opening String". This item lets you replace the standard DJ-G7 opening screen at boot-up with whatever you want...in English or Japanese. If you stumble across this menu item, it works completely different than all of the other setup menus: Once you have rotated the top dial so this item is showing, rotating the top dial again starts to adjust the first character of the opening string. If you hit any button on the keypad it moves to the next character. When you hit the CLR button, it goes backwards to the previous position. If you hit the SUB button, it clears all of your entries so you can start over. Pressing the MONI button is the only way I found to escape from this menu item once you have completed your changes. This menu item is undocumented at the time of this writing and is a little frustrating. I hope this helps someone.
 

Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,034
1,335
283
While looking to see if there was a status update on Alinco's website for the release of their software for the radio (there isn't yet), I decided to pop over to the Japanse version of the site to see if there was any news on that front. Of course, I can't actaully read Japanese, but google has this neat translator (www.google.com/translate) that will let you punch in a website and then browse it while it translates for you. It's almost scary how well it works.

Interstingly enough, the programming software HAS been released to the Japanese market. Of course I had to download it to see if I could get it to work with my radio ;). Both the installation program and the actual applicaion are partly in Japanse and partly in English, so you can fairly easily figure out what to do. Unfortunately, I couldn't get it to talk to my radio, though. I think it knows that mine is the U.S. version and it just rejects the connection. Well, I can't say I didn't try! :p

So, I'll just anxiously await the actual U.S. release.

BTW, still no response from Alinco tech support on my question.
 

Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,034
1,335
283
Well, immediately after I finished writing that last update I decided to see if there were any updates on Alinco's website from last night and I found that the U.S. clone utility version is released! Installing now to report back...
 

Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,034
1,335
283
While downloading the clone utility software, I noticed that there is another firmware update out (4.11). This is the second firmware update released since I've owned the radio. Alinco has an abbreviated log of the major updates, so I won't repeat them here. It is nice to know that Alinco is on top of the bug fixes, although I'm still looking for the one that fixes the WFM only mode in the upper 70cm band.
 

Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,034
1,335
283
I forgot to mention that I finally got a call & email back from tech support on the MARS mod and some answers to other questions. The standard MARS mod is already published on mods.dk, although I'll take a few better "how-to" pictures and post them.

I asked about a post on eham stating that this radio is capable of continuous coverage from 100Mhz to 1.5Ghz. Tech support said that the radio IS technically capable of doing this but they had no information out of Japan on how to do it, other than if you are capable of writing assembler code, you could do your own firmware update enable it. They also said that there was some danger in doing this as they felt that some of the components may not be capable of handling TX for very long on certain frequency ranges. Interesting.
 

Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,034
1,335
283
I just spent the last two hours trying to get the new beta cloning software to work on my radio. No luck. It installs OK, but a simple attempt to read the settings on my current radio fails every time. I tried on both a Windows Vista PC using various compatibility & security settings and also a Windows XP machine. The software starts to read the radio but after a while it crashes with no opportunity to continue. The website says that they have not attempted running the application on a non-Japanese OS which is obvious. It doesn't work yet.
 

tonisoft

Member
Aug 11, 2009
1
0
11
I forgot to mention that I finally got a call & email back from tech support on the MARS mod and some answers to other questions. The standard MARS mod is already published on mods.dk, although I'll take a few better "how-to" pictures and post them.

I asked about a post on eham stating that this radio is capable of continuous coverage from 100Mhz to 1.5Ghz. Tech support said that the radio IS technically capable of doing this but they had no information out of Japan on how to do it, other than if you are capable of writing assembler code, you could do your own firmware update enable it. They also said that there was some danger in doing this as they felt that some of the components may not be capable of handling TX for very long on certain frequency ranges. Interesting.

What is a way to get continuos coverage from 100MHz to 1,5GHz , i read this is no hardware mod as usual , in this new radio this is a software mod , modified firmware or maybe just set in eeprom to free band mod .Thanks and have a nice day !
 

Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,034
1,335
283
Yes, you have to create your own firmware to enable it. I don't know how to do it.

Last night I did some further testing with the beta Cloning utility (version 1.1). On my Windows Vista machine, I could not save a small frequency file that I built - the application would just crash. However, I was able to punch in a few frequencies and the software did actually write them to the radio's memory! I forgot to check the radio settings tabs so it also changed all of the radio settings back to default. This morning I tried saving a small file using a Windows 7 PC, and it did work. So this evening I'm going to attempt a full read & write using the Windows 7 PC and see if that works any better.
 

Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,034
1,335
283
Further testing on the cloning utility

It does work on Windows Vista and Windows 7! There are a lot of bugs with this software, though.

First off, don't even bother attempting to read the entire radio using the "Communication, Read All Data" menu items. That is what I tried first which causes the application to crash every single time. What does work is to go to each tab and hit the "Memory Read" (or equivalent) button to read the radio settings. You can also use the "Memory Write" (or equivalent) button on each tab to write changes back to the radio.

I've also been trying to import a CSV file with frequencies from an RT Systems file, but it's clear that the file will take some massaging to work. At least I can program the radio from a regular keyboard now.
 

Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,034
1,335
283
One quick note about using the cables to either update the firmware or using the clone utility:

The documentation says to attach the cables between the PC and radio, then turn on the radio, and finally enter clone mode by pressing MONI while hitting PTT three times. If you do it this way, the radio will hang and it won't ever enter clone mode.

The way you connect the radio to the PC is to plug in the EDS-10 adapter into the radio, power on the radio, press MONI and hit PTT three times, and lastly plug in the USB or Serial cable (that should already be attached to the PC ) into the EDS-10. If you do it in this order, the firmware update or sync process will work and the radio won't hang.
 

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