Aliasing for radio clones

Version 3 (Dan Smith, 07/01/2016 09:50 am)

1 1 Pavel Milanes
h1. Aliasing for radio clones.
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If you have a question like the following this page has info you need to know about, keep reading:
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<pre>
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My FooBar-300 radio shows itself as China_radio-100 once I opened a saved image of it, it’s that normal?
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</pre> 
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Since June 2016 Chirp support a feature called radio aliasing, and it’s used to represent a clone of a real radio in the user interface for the users convenience. This is more a trick in the guts of Chirp for the developers but it has a quirk the users need to know about.
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h2. The problem.
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Some radio manufacturers – mostly from Asia – are assembling some re-branded radios by request with custom names, at the end this radios are no more than perfect clones of a previous existing radios from the Chirps point of view. The perfect example for this is the Baofeng UV-5R with all the [[Baofeng_UV5R_Variants]].
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This is no problem at all for using the radios in day to day work, but Chirp developers need every radio to have its own and unique identification code or ID to get it clearly identified.
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Before the alias feature implementation you have to know before hand that your Juentai JT-6188 Mini was just a clone of the QYT KT-8900 and so on with other vendors/models. 
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This has brought a lot of confusion and problems on the user side. The bugs and questions on the user mailing list are proof of that, with users asking about support for specific radio models that are no more than just clones of others.
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h2. The fix.
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The first approach was to educate the users by putting comments on the [[Supported_Radios]] page about the clones and the right radio to select, and answering issues on the site and emails on the user list. That proved to be just a partial fix, as newcomers keep asking the same questions all over again (Who reads the manual anyway?)
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Recently we added a new feature that allows developers the option to register the radio clones as what they are: clones. This allows us to show them on the interface as a distinct VENDOR/MODEL for the user's convenience.
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h2. A quirk you will notice and a workaround.
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This alias feature has a issue we can't easily fix in software: when you download an image of a radio that is a clone and save it, that image will be detected as the real radio once opened again in Chirp.  This may be confusing as you opened an image of you radio, but Chirp is suddenly saying it is a different model (i.e. the model your radio is cloned from).
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For example, if you read and save an image of a Juentai JT-6188 Mini, when you re-open it from the file in your hard drive, you will find Chirp telling you that this image is for a QYT KT-8900, not the Juentai JT-6188 Mini. This is completely normal and you are safe using it for your clone radio.
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It’s confusing, we know; but remember that Chirp’s team always encourage to keep a few images for every radio and do not cross use them with other radio models or variants. For that reason we have implemented also a suggested naming schema on the saving of a img file to cope with that.
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Once you want to save a copy of your radio data you will find Chirp is suggesting you to use the {vendor}_{model}_{date}.img schema, for the above example you will receive the suggestion to use this: Juentai_JT-6188 Mini_{date}.img
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So when you look for and old image file of your radio you will always know that this image was for that particular radio vendor & model as it’s stated on the file name, this will help you with the mentioned quirk in the aliasing feature.
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h2. Present and future.
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So far we have just a few clones or aliases listed in Chirp. We hope other developers will use this functionality for the remaining aliases, specially for the Baofeng UV-5R huge family of clones, but it’s a huge task and will take time.
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Some example radio clones at the time of this writing:
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* Juentai_JT-6188 Mini (clone of a QYT KT-8900 variant)
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* Juentai_JT-6188 Plus (clone of Waccom Mini-8900)
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* QYT KT-UV980 (clone of Waccom Mini-8900)
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* Jetstream JT2705M (clone of Waccom Mini-8900)
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* Sainsonic GT-890 (clone of a QYT KT-8900 variant)
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* Luiton LT-588UV (clone of a QYT KT-8900 variant)