REVIEW: Connect Systems CS750 DMR portable radio

Connect Systems CS750 CS751 VA3XPR DMR radio ham digital mobile
The Connect Systems CS750 DMR portable radio

The Connect Systems CS750/751 (UHF/VHF) is a budget DMR portable radio targeted toward the ham radio community and is the successor model to the popular Connect Systems CS700/701. While this unit is nearly identical to the CS700, it does have some notable upgrades, including capacity for up to 2,000 channels and 65536 digital contacts, and is fully keypad programmable. This is a great radio for anyone looking to get started with DMR using a portable radio and at the time of this review, the pricing directly from Connect Systems was $239 USD.

Author’s Rating: 4/5

The Good

The Bad

  • Speaker audio clarity

  • Loud audio output

  • Sturdy construction

  • Ham friendly programming software

  • 65,536 digital contacts capability

  • Keypad programmable

  • Price
  • Lack of Bluetooth capability
  • The Connect Systems CS750 comes standard with the following items out of the box:

    • Whip antenna;
    • Rapid charger;
    • Belt clip;
    • Hand strap;
    • 1,700 mAH Li-ion battery;
    • User manual;
    • 1-year manufacturers warranty.

    The Full Review

    The Connect Systems CS750/751 (UHF/VHF) is a budget DMR portable radio targeted toward the ham radio community and the successor model to the popular Connect Systems CS700/701. Given that this radio is nearly identical to the CS700, this review will only focus on the differences between these two models.

    DON’T MISS: REVIEW: Connect Systems CS800 DMR mobile radio

    For anyone that is familiar with the use of the Connect Systems CS700 or the Connect Systems CS800 DMR mobile, you will be happy to know that the menu structure of the CS750 is identical to both of these units. In addition, the CS750 shares the same programming software as the CS800, allowing users to make use of a single codeplug for both models, which will make it very easy to keep both radios up to date. In terms of the programming cable, it can be purchase from Connect Systems for $5 USD. It is important to note that the selling price for the CS750 at the time of this review was $239 USD, which is a slight premium over the initial selling price for the CS700, which debuted at a price point of $180 USD.

    One important feature that Connect Systems addressed with the launch of the CS750 was ability for the user to change the microphone gain. This was one of the well-known shortcomings for the CS700, as the microphone audio for this model was fixed at a level that many hams considered too low. So now users will be able to customize their microphone audio to fit their own operating preference.

    With the rapid growth of DMR around the world, most DMR radios on the market cannot handle the huge number of registered DMR contact names and call signs in their radios, as generally, these are limited to around 1,000 contacts. To deal with this dilemma, Connect Systems will enable the CS750 to store a whopping 65,536 digital contacts with an upcoming firmware releases. At the time of this review, the radio can only handle about 1,000 contacts, but we felt that this feature was worth mentioning, given the benefit for ham DMR users. In addition, the CS750 will allow users to store up to 2,000 channels, which is twice the number of channels available in most other DMR radios, including higher end models.

    Another feature that Connect System expects to release with an upcoming firmware update is the ability to program the radio via the keypad. This feature was not yet available at the time of this review, however once it is available, it will allow users to add DMR channels on the go without the need of the programming software.

    Also, for anyone looking to use the radio while driving in areas where hands-free operation is required by law, it is important to note that the CS750 does not support hands-free operation via Bluetooth. This is typical a feature that is available in higher end DMR radios, such as the Motorola MOTOTRBO XPR7550 DMR portable or the Motorola MOTOTRBO XPR 5550 DMR mobile.

    Jerry Wanger CS750 Connect Systems VA3XPR DMR portable mobile digital
    Jerry Wanger of Connect Systems showing off the new CS750 DMR portable radio at the 2015 Dayton Hamvention.

    Finally, one item worth mentioning that can really help users decide between one DMR radio model and another is the level of support and customer service that is provided by the vendor. While Connect Systems has had their share of hits and misses as it relates to being a pioneer in bringing cost effective DMR radios to the market, we believe that many users will appreciate the level of commitment that Connect Systems has shown toward the ham radio community. For the three Connect Systems radios that we have purchased and reviewed here at VA3XPR, each experience with the Connect Systems team was nothing short of outstanding and we have found them to be very accommodating and friendly to deal with.

    Conclusion

    The Connect Systems CS750 is a great choice for anyone looking for a value priced DMR portable that comes with features tailored for the ham radio user. Since the CS750 has a consistent user experience with the CS700 DMR portable & the CS800 DMR mobile, many hams will find this radio relatively easy to program and use right out of the box.

    Disclosure: Along with the Connect Systems CS750 DMR portable, the author also owns the Connect Systems CS800 DMR mobile and has owned the Connect Systems CS700 DMR portable.

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    About VA3XFT

    VA3XFT
    Don is a 16-year veteran of the telecommunications industry and a licensed Canadian ham radio operator since 1988. He is passionate about VHF/UHF repeater communications, especially using digital modes and he has owned and operated a number of ham radio repeater installations over the years, including ones in both the provinces of Ontario (VE3/VA3) and New Brunswick (VE9). In addition to ham radio, Don enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, biking and astronomy.