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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Comparison of DMR radios

Sharing this? Please link to this page instead of copying because I will be regularly updating this table with new radios and new data.

If you spot any errors or out of date information or if you have more information to add, please leave a comment below or send me an email. Check contact page for details. Anything with a ? in is something I don't know. If you do, then please help by telling me. If I have missed out any Chinese DMR radios please tell me in the comments.

Information in this table is not guaranteed. I have made my best effort to provide correct information but there could be errors. Please check before buying, and if you find a mistake please let me know.


Radio True DMR DMR Vocoder Dual band Available in Waterproof Receiver type Rough price Recommended/comments
TYT MD-380 Yes Yes No VHF or UHF No Superhet 90 Yes. Good quality body and good performance. Promiscuous mode available in unofficial firmware
TYT MD-390 Yes Yes No VHF or UHF Yes Superhet 125 Yes. Same as MD-380 but waterproof.
Baofeng DM-5R No No Yes VHF + UHF No Direct conversion 50 No. Does not talk to other DMR radios.
Baofeng DM-5R Plus No Yes Yes VHF + UHF No Direct conversion 70 No. Does not work on repeaters properly.
Ailunce HD1 Yes Yes Yes VHF + UHF Yes Direct conversion 190 No because firmware is still too buggy at the moment. Looks promising, with a true VFO mode.
TYT MD-2017 /Retevis RT82 Yes Yes Yes VHF + UHF Yes Direct conversion 220 Yes. Mostly free of bugs now. Trackball is disliked by users. May be worth waiting for other dual band DMR radios to improve before choosing one.
Radioddity GD-77 Yes Yes Yes VHF + UHF No Direct conversion 100 No. Cheapest working dual band DMR but users report a lot of bugs.
Radioddity GD-55/ TYT MD-398 No Yes No VHF or UHF Yes Direct conversion - No. Does not work on repeaters properly. No longer sold.
Radioddity GD-55 Plus Yes Yes No UHF Yes Direct conversion 115 No. Users complain that firmware is too buggy. Development seems to have stopped.
Kirisun DP-770 Yes Yes No UHF Yes ? 300 Not for amateurs. Expensive compared to other Chinese radios and no promiscuous mode.
BFDX CS580 Yes Yes No VHF or UHF Splash ? 130 Yes. Gets good reviews. Colour code and timeslot promiscuous mode as well.
AnyTone AT-D868UV Yes Yes Yes VHF + UHF Splash Direct conversion 170 No. Generally favourable reviews but still full of bugs.
Connect systems CS750/CS751 (VHF) Yes Yes No VHF or UHF No ? 240 Monitor feature is good – basically a colour code and timeslot promiscuous mode, but there are newer radios out there with more features and cheaper. Generally good reviews.
Wouxun KG-D901 Yes Yes No VHF or UHF Yes ? 150 No. Reviews complain that the radio only has 32 channels. Not many reviews and there isn't much of a user community. Meant to be more channels with firmware update but Wouxun says you have to send the radio back to be upgraded. Not worth the hassle and cost.


Explanation of columns:
1. True DMR. Whether the radio works as it should do on repeaters and with other DMR radios. I strongly discourage you from buying a radio that is not true DMR. You will not be able to use it on repeaters.

2. DMR vocoder. Whether the radio uses the standard DMR vocoder that other DMR radios use. If it doesn’t then you will not be able to talk to other DMR radios.

3. Dual band. Whether the radio supports two bands in one radio. This will almost always be VHF and UHF.

4. Available in. States which bands the radio is available in. VHF, which is normally 136-174  MHz and UHF which usually starts at 400MHz and goes up to 470, 480 or sometimes even 520 MHz. For amateur use then up to 470MHz is fine because no countries (that I know of) have an amateur band above that (well okay, there are much higher frequency bands but I mean within the operation of these radios).

5. Waterproof. No means not at all. Yes means submersible in water. Splash means not submersible but certified for use in rain.

6. Receiver type. Superheterodyne receiver (shortened to superhet) is better because it rejects adjacent channels better. So if someone is standing next to you talking on another radio, your radio will not become temporarily deaf. Direct conversion is cheaper and takes up less space on circuit boards but is easily desensitised. (that’s what it’s called when the radio cannot hear what you’re listening to because of a strong signal on another frequency). Most Chinese radios use direct conversion which is inferior.

7. Rough price. Given in US dollars. As with most things, you may find it being sold at a much higher or slightly lower price. Please let me know if the average price of a radio changes so I can update the price in the table.

8. Recommended/comments. Whether I recommend the radio or not based on my own experience and my understanding of other user’s comments online. Also gives comments on why I do or do not recommend the radio. Promiscuous mode, which is mentioned in some comments, means that the radio has a mode where it can hear any talkgroup without needing to program it in. Usually you have to program in a talkgroup before you will hear anyone talking on it. Promiscuous mode disables this requirement.

18 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Anytone at-d868uv in stock! Check this link: https://powerwerx.com/anytone-atd868uv-dmr-dual-band-handheld
      73!

      Delete
    2. GD-77 is 87$ usd.
      Add mobile? CS-800, CS-800D, MD-9600, etc?

      Delete
    3. Changed the info for the anytone at-d868uv.

      At the moment this table is for handhelds only. I am thinking of making a separate table for mobiles.

      Delete
    4. Anytone....double time slot monitor (promiscuous), 250 channels per zone. Dual band....NOT dual watch.
      De K0XM

      Delete
  2. TYT MD-2017/Retevis RT-82
    Radioddity GD-55/ TYT MD-398
    Radioddity GD-55 Plus
    all of them with RDA reciver type!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I own 2 Anytone with several friends who own multiple Anytone AT868. Firmware 2.21 with software 1.21 is 199% stable. Radio by far easiest to use. Simple change zones. Zones hold 100+ channel's. No need for 3rd party firmware. Callsign database loaded within Anytone software. There are required updates. Base band 1 time flash. KC7JOE

    ReplyDelete
  4. Replies
    1. Wouxun KG-D901 added. I don't think anyone will consider the Wouxun KG-D900 since it has no screen, so I haven't added that one. Thanks.

      Delete
  5. Excellent blog and YouTube videos. I am new to DMR and learning about the available radios before I take the plunge. I am planning on buying a Dual Bander and considering either the Ailunce MD-1 or the AnyTone AT-D868UV. Are you planning on a full review of the AT-D868UV or maybe even a video face-off between MD-1, AT-D868UV, RT82 and MD-2017? That would be super awesome for someone like me shopping for a Dual Band DMR. Thanks again for all the information you make available.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment. I'm not planning on doing a comparison between the three radios right now. This is purely because of the cost. It would cost a lot to buy all three radios and I wouldn't have any use for them. I don't like any of them at the moment because I believe that they all use direct conversion receivers which are in my opinion, rubbish. Have a look at my latest video where I explain this whole situation.

      My advice right now to everyone wanting to get into DMR is to just buy a MD-380 or MD-390. In most places almost all the DMR repeaters are on UHF only anyway (but check your local repeaters online). The MD-380 and 390 are basically the same internals and the only difference is the housing which is waterproof on the 390. These radios are reasonably priced and work well. They've been out a long time so don't really have any bugs now, unlike the dual band DMR radios which seem to have a lot of bugs.

      When there is no performance downside to getting a dual band radio then sure, go for it, but at the moment there is and it's not worth it unless you actually NEED both bands.

      Delete
  6. Hello, in case you have not heard it yet, Tytera announced a Dual-Band version of the MD-380, called TYT MD-UV380. A couple of website are reporting some (limited) information:
    https://radio-hire.co.uk/shop/radios/sku/tyt-md-uv380
    https://www.buytwowayradios.com/blog/2018/03/announcing_the_tyt_md-uv380_dual_band_dmr_radio.aspx
    Since it is said to be "Built on the popular MD-380" I have high hopes it will have a similar superheterodyne architecture! It would not make sense to me Tytera built another clone of the MD-2017, just to keep the look of the MD-380. We'll see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I saw that, and I hope so too. It would be a waste of time if it turns out to be just an MD-2017 clone although at least then it won't have the trackball.

      Delete
  7. Hi, have you had personally the Ailunce HD-1? Have heard from my friend, radioamateur, too, that the TYT MD-2017 during receiving produces loudly buzzing, maybe from the display changer.. What about practical oppinion with Ailunco? Thanks Steve

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thoughts on the retevis rt82 the price point seems good for dual band with gps

    ReplyDelete

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