PUXING PX-888 (UHF or VHF)

Some people find configuring their radios quite confusing. The guys at Airsoft Canada created this nifty guide to help out. As well as a Motorola conversion chart I included below.

A. Initial Setup
B. Program Frequencies
C. Dual Channel Mode

The PX-888 comes in UHF and VHF versions. The operation is identical when programming.

When I write “turn knob” I am referring to the knob in the top middle of the radio, which changes channels when they are programmed.

NOTE: You can NOT program a channel name until you have stored the frequency into a numbered channel (like channel 50). Until you do, MENU options 23 and 24 will not show up.
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A. Initial Setup

1) Beep – Turn off the keypad beep
MENU-turn knob to 9-ENTER-turn knob to OFF-ENTER-ESC/M

2) Time out Timer – This stops your transmission after a period of time which helps in the event of a stuck microphone. I like a 45 second timeout but the choices are increments of 30 seconds on the PX-888
MENU-turn knob to 12-ENTER-turn knob to select the number of seconds-ENTER-ESC/M

3) Set the radio voice to English or turn it off – I like the voice to be on because when I wear a headset I can just turn the channel knob and hear what channel I am on.
MENU-turn knob to 14-ENTER-turn knob to select ON-ENTER-ESC/M

4) Roger – This makes a beep after you stop transmitting and lets people know you purposefully ended the transmission (helps to tell if you got cut off)
MENU-turn knob to 22-ENTER-turn knob to select ON-ENTER-ESC/M

5) Select your frequency step – Some frequencies require a different step, like 12.5 KHz.
MENU-turn knob to 20-ENTER-turn knob to select the step-ENTER-ESC/M

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B. Program Frequencies

1) Go into Frequency mode
Press ESC/M until you see two frequencies on the display with NO channel number on the left side (for example you will not see “M” over the number “45” for channel 45

2) Enter your frequency
Enter your frequency using the keypad

3) * Set the transmit power (low=.5watt, hi=5 watts VHF and 4 watts UHF)
MENU-turn knob to 4-ENTER-turn knob to select L or H-ENTER-ESC/M
* NOTE: When you change the transmit power, it will remain that way for all newly entered frequencies unless you change it, so if all of your frequencies are the same power you only have to set it once!

4) **Set wide or narrow band – Unless you are talking with old radios, you will use narrow band. If you do not set narrow band then you will sound garbled to those who do have it set.
MENU-turn knob to 21-ENTER-turn knob to select N-ENTER-ESC/M
** NOTE: When you change the bandwidth, it will remain that way for all newly entered frequencies unless you change it, so if all of your frequencies are the same bandwidth you only have to set it once!

5) Set your CTCSS code (sub-channels). You should never use sub channels, but if you really have to you will have to refer to a CTCSS/PL tone chart like the one here:
http://www.athensarc.org/GMRS.asp

For BOTH transmit and receive as the same:
MENU-turn knob to 16-ENTER-turn knob to select the CTCSS tone code (like 67.0)-ENTER-ESC/M

For DIFFERENT transmit and receive:
MENU-turn knob to 17-ENTER-turn knob to select the RECEIVE CTCSS tone code (like 67.0)-ENTER-ESC/M

MENU-turn knob to 18-ENTER-turn knob to select the TRANSMIT CTCSS tone code (like 71.9)-ENTER-ESC/M

6) Store the channel – Stores your frequency in one of the 128 channel banks:
MENU-ESC/M-either turn the knob to select channel or type it on the keypad using a leading zero for numbers 1-20-ESC/M-ESC/M (that is the escape key twice)

7) Name the channel
MENU-turn knob to 24-ENTER-
– Turn knob to select a letter
– Use the pound key # to move to the next character to the right
– Use the ESC/M key to erase your character
-Press ENTER to store

Use the ESC/M key to change the frequency display – you can set it to the channel name and channel number or channel name and frequency for example.
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C. Dual Channel Mode

All PX-888 radios have the dual frequency function. They can receive two channels and transmit on one. Note that the transmit channel is not a primary channel, so if the secondary channel is receiving and someone transmits on the primary channel, you will NOT hear the primary transmission.

To enter or exit dual frequency mode:
1) Turn the radio off
2) Hold ENTER and turn the radio on

To change which frequency is primary (the primary will be either A or B)
1) Hold down the MENU key and press the TRANSMIT key on the side of the radio.

NOTE: Whichever channel is primary you will see that letter in front of the active channel and the other letter will not be displayed at all.

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Below is the frequency table for Motorola’s talk-about series of FRS and GMRS radios, as they relate to programmable frequencies for UHF radios. I though that given the increasing use of high-end radios, this might be useful:

Motorola Talkabout Channels

Ch Service Frequency

1 GMRS/FRS 462.5625
2 GMRS/FRS 462.5875
3 GMRS/FRS 462.6125
4 GMRS/FRS 462.6375
5 GMRS/FRS 462.6625
6 GMRS/FRS 462.6875
7 GMRS/FRS 462.7125
8 FRS 467.5625
9 FRS 467.5875
10 FRS 467.6125
11 FRS 467.6375
12 FRS 467.6625
13 FRS 467.6875
14 FRS 467.7125
15 GMRS 462.5500
16 A GMRS 462.5750
17 GMRS 462.6000
18 B GMRS 462.6250
19 GMRS 462.6500
20 C GMRS 462.6750
21 GMRS 462.7000
22 GMRS 462.7250

About “Sub Channels”

CTCSS (Continuous Tone Controlled Squelch System) is an advanced sub-coding system that allows segmentation of a main channel. When you transmit using CTCSS you are transmitting on one of the main FRS or GMRS channels but you are transmitting an inaudible tone that controls the squelch. To understand how this works think of squelch as a gate that opens only under certain conditions. When it is opened your radio allows the signal to be received and you hear the transmission. Normally, squelch is a gate that is activated by signal strength – the signal must be strong enough or the gate (squelch) won’t open. In CTCSS squelch is controlled by an inaudible sub-tone – without the proper sub tone the gate (squelch) won’t open regardless of signal strength.

An FRS or GMRS radio equipped with CTCSS allows it’s squelch to be broken (allows an incoming signal to be heard) only when it receives a special low frequency tone transmitted by another FRS on the same subchannel. To use CTCSS sub-channels you would set two FRS radio’s, equipped with CTCSS, to the same channel and same sub-channel. This way both radios would be transmitting the same low frequency tone when transmitting and looking for the same low frequency tone when receiving.

CTCSS is a useful feature when you only want to hear from a certain radio or group of radios and not everyone else since your radio’s squelch will only open when it receives the sub-frequency assigned to the sub-channel you are on. This will stop you from hearing other transmissions on the same channel and/or same channel with different sub-channel.

It is important to note that CTCSS does not provide you with privacy – all it does is eliminate the number of signals your radio will allow you to hear! Your transmission can be received/overheard by any other FRS radios on the same channel – Once your signal is on the air, the signal is fair game to be received by other FRS radios, GMRS radios or scanners. Additionaly, any UHF radio tuned to the “parent” frequency, and not subscribing to the CTCSS, will overhear any transmission sent on that channel. The UHF set’s transmissions will be ignored by the recieving FRS or GMRS radio however, unless the corresponding CTCSS code is activated on the UHF set.

Amateur radios operating in the GMRS or FRS frequency range can be configured to use CTCSS “Sub Channels” by configuring the CTCSS tone frequency.

The following is a list of sub-channel CTCSS frequencies:

Code Freq (Hz)
1 67.0
2 71.9
3 74.4
4 77.0
5 79.7
6 82.5
7 85.4
8 88.5
9 91.5
10 94.8
11 97.4
12 100.0
13 103.5
14 107.2
15 110.9
16 114.8
17 118.8
18 123.0
19 127.3
20 131.8
21 136.5
22 141.3
23 146.2
24 151.4
25 156.7
26 162.2
27 167.9
28 173.8
29 179.9
30 186.2
31 192.8
32 203.5
33 210.7
34 218.1
35 225.7
36 233.6
37 241.8
38 250.3

Putting it all together

So, if you are using a UHF radio configured to access the 462-468Mhz band for FRS / GMRS access, and you’ve been directed to use FRS channel 14-21, you would set your transeiver to 467.7125 with CTCSS tone 136.5.

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