Radioddity released a new version of the GD-77 firmware yesterday (31st Jan 2019)
Please note. I have added an update at the bottom of the post now that I have tested the firmware on my GD-77
This appears to be a firmware only change, and the CPS does not appear to be updated, and I expect the Community CPS will probably work OK with this firmware version.
However… There are only 2 changes listed in the “Update diary”
1. Lock frequency range to meet FCC rules
2. Solved GD-77 (INVERTED DISPLAY VERSION) screen flashing when turned on
And apart from those of you with a Inverted Display version of the GD-77 which has a black background with white text, there are no bug fixes in this release.
In fact this version removes some functionality (frequency range limiting) in order to comply with USA FCC certification.
I don’t have details of what limits have been placed on the operational frequencies, – I’m sure someone will be able to comment on this.
But since this version does not contain any bug fixes or enhancements for my GD-77, as its a normal non-inverted screen, I will not be installing it.
What is quite amusing, is that although this change has been made to comply with FCC regulations for hardware entering the USA, the Update Diary lists 2 methods to unlock the frequency range
Note: Two ways to unlock frequency range
I. Press “SK1” + “7” key to turn on the radio – Press “Menu” to select frequency range (after the selection, the radio will automatically restart)
II. Downgrade to old firmware version
However early reports that I have receive, seem to indicate there is a bug in the SK1 + 7 key method to unlock the frequency range, and that people had to downgrade back to 3.1.8 to reinstate the original operation.
I wonder whether by providing a way for users to immediately change their hardware to no longer comply with FCC regulations, will be judged by the FCC.
I remember reading the FCC directive ,when it was originally published, and I vaguely recall some language in the directive that seemed to indicate that that the radios should be designed in some way, that would make it impossible to transmit outside the authorised frequency range.
However this has always struck me as unworkable in practice, since radios like the MD-380 already have unlocked modified firmware which can be downloaded from the web, which let you do anything you like with the radio, and I have modified other radios (UV-82) and replaced the internal microprocessor with a different chip (STM32) which I can then load my own custom firmware, allowing full control of the RF hardware.
For anyone who wants to try the new firmware its available from Radioddity’s downloads page, and I have also archived into onto github
Update 2019/02/04 (4th Feb)
Following several comments about the frequency range not being limited by this firmware release, I’ve tested it on my non-inverted GD-77 and as far as I can tell, the frequency range has not been limited either when using the VFO or when using channels.
Its possible that the range limit somehow only applies to the inverted screen version – as commenters have noted that it does limit the frequency range on that model.
Or… I would not be at all surprised, if Radioddity had just screwed up, and this firmware was intended to limit the frequency range of all GD-77 models, but something in the codeplug may be confusing the firmware into not limiting the frequency range.
If its possible to permanently re-enable the full frequency range, by pressing some keys down while powering on the radio, this would imply the firmware must store the setting somewhere in the Flash memory, which is used by the codeplug and other things e.g. the display bitmap font and the Chinese language menus etc.
So its conceivable that whatever location they intended to use in the Flash memory, already contains data which the firmware things is the code to enable the full range. Because they may simply be testing for a non zero value at a specific memory address in Flash.
Anyway. As it stands, non-inverted display GD-77’s to not appear to be effected by this firmware.