The Boxchip 700 series plays nice with the main Network Radios apps such as Zello, Echolink,Peanut,and IRN. Another treat in store for the S700A is RFinder. The author is in the process of making this neat app compatible with operating the internal radio for automatic tuning and repeater setup of nearby repeater and programming the S700A internal memory. This may be complete by the time you read this. Apparently there is a another project going on to create a custom ROM for the S700A to make RFinder part of the operating system. We shall see how that all shakes out.
As mentioned earlier, Boxchip has been very responsive to answering questions about their hardware and responding to technical questions. Right now this is probably the only Network Radio company that offers this level of support in a very timely fashion. Boxchip can be reached on their website or via their Facebook page. Boxchip does send out new firmware updates for the device itself as well as updates to the programing software and the PTT APP as needed to squash bugs and add improvements. So you should check the Boxchip website every now and then for these updates. Again you won’t see updates like these from other Network Radio vendors.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
The Boxchip S700 series are excellent Network Radios. They have a very good build quality, a decent phone system built in, fast WiFi, excellent audio quality, super long battery life, the operating system is fast, and the large bright and sharp screen makes it a breeze to use. Anyone looking for a good solid Network Radio experience should consider getting one of the Boxchip S700 series radios. The Boxchip S700A brings DMR and analogue VHF or UHF to the table for those Amatuer radio operators using Hotspots or repeaters. If you are interested in purely network radio then the Boxchip 700B is a great choice. The S700A retails for $699 USD and the Boxchip 700B retails at $399 USD. However you can often find these radios on sale for around $559 for the S700A and $349 for the 700B from some Boxchip dealers. Boxchip themselves will occasionally put these radios on sale for the around these same prices. If you are looking to spend around $200 or more on a Network Radio you might want to seriously consider paying a little more for the premium experience of the S700B as well as better support. The form factor and quality of the Boxchip S700 Series Network Radios are excellent and the S700A been a pleasure to use on DMR and Network Radio.
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After spending a couple of weeks using the Boxchip S700A, it became clear that we are lookin at the future of Amateur Radio technology. Amateur Radio operators are slowly beginning to realize the value of network interconnected portable radios. Especially Network radios that contain a built in VHF or UHF radios. These hybrid radios give the user the choice of communicating over interconnected systems as well as RF acces to local repeaters when needed. Radios like the Boxchip S700A are the portable SDR radios we have been waiting on since it’s radio operation is software driven. The Boxchip S700A has a built in AMBE encoder / decoder in the radio that could possibly be leveraged to used on D-Star, Fusion, P25, etc by third party developers. It probably won’t be that long that future Amateur Radio HTs will adopt a form factor similar to the Boxchip S700A featuring a wideband radio with a spectrum display and a VHF and or UHF radio(s) built in along with a LTE radio for internet connectivity. These radios could feature multimode analogue and digital modes. Since the radio would be primarily menu driven it would eliminate most of the annoying little buttons that can often make some HTs difficult to do the simplest things. The Yaseu AR-DV10 is a step in this direction, but is primarily a portable multimode analogue and digital receiver. At the end of the day, Network Radios can do a lot of the things the Yaesu AR-DV10 does plus more by using internet connected apps. When the early SDR radios for HF operations were first released a lot of Amateur Radio operators dismissed the technology out of hand as not being useful. Fast forward to the present, SDR in HF radios are now some of the best and most technology advanced radios for HF operation. It appears that Network Radios and Hybrid Network Radios are going down the same path with the early adopters.