DMR, which is short for Digital Mobile Radio, refers to a digital 2-way radio that continues to gain popularity because it serves as a great replacement to the aging and somewhat outdated analog standards.
Many prefer to use the best DMR radio over the other types because of its ability to offer optimized cost, double capacity in terms of channels, and better voice quality. The DMR handheld radio also has the advantage of providing a more reliable and secure way of communication for the majority of professional mobile users.
It is more secure because it has security features, including those that fall under authentication and encryption. Expect better functionality from this type of radio, like its ability to provide information regarding locations.
If you want to start using any of the DMR radio for sale at present then here are some of your top choices:
|Best Overall||Most Modern||Most Budget-Friendly|
|DMR Compatible||Tier 1 & 2||Tier 1 & 2||Tier 1 & 2|
|Channel Capacity||4000 channels||4000 channels||1024 channels|
High ≤ 5W
Low ≤ 1W
|Battery Capacity||2100mAh||2100mA (up to 3100mAh)||2200mAh|
- Best DMR Radio Reviews
- 1. AnyTone AT-D878UV GPS DMR/Analog Radio
- 2. BTECH DMR-6X2 Dual Band Two-Way Radio
- 3. Radioddity GD-77 DMR Two-way Radio
- 4. TYT MD-380 DMR/Moto TRBO Radio
- 5. BridgeCom Systems AnyTone AT-D878UV Radio
- 6. Ailunce HD1 Digital Walkie-Talkie FM DMR Radio
- 7. Baofeng DM-1701 Dual Band DMR/Analog Two-way Radio
- 8. TYT MD-9600 Digital/FM Analog Dual Band DMR Radio
- 9. TYT MD-9600 Dual-band Digital DMR Mobile Radio
- 10. TYT MD-UV380 Dual Band VHF/UHF Handheld Two-way Radio
- What to Look for When Buying a DMR Radio
- Other Important Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best DMR Radio Reviews
1. AnyTone AT-D878UV GPS DMR/Analog Radio
The first product for DMR portable radio that I would like to suggest to all prospective users out there is the AnyTone AT-D878UV GPS DMR/Analog Radio. I found so many striking and endearing qualities in this DMR/analog radio. One is the fact that you can easily program it. Using it is also easy through its keypad.
I am also satisfied with the way the radio is constructed. It is because it is built using high-quality and sturdy materials, making it truly tough to use outdoors regardless of the kind of weather you are facing. This means whether it is super sunny or windy outdoors, you have an assurance that this radio can withstand it.
This dual-band DMR mobile radio is also handy in case you have plans of traveling outdoors through rough terrains or enjoying a hiking trip. The overall structure of the radio is waterproof, too. This makes it useful in the water or whether it is raining heavily.
The toughness of its structure also prevents it from breaking right away in case it accidentally falls on hard materials. Another unique feature of this radio is the internal memory. It can store up to four thousand different channels. You can also use the radio in configuring up to ten thousand talk groups.
Furthermore, it is capable of saving approximately one hundred fifty thousand contacts. I am also impressed with the 1.77-inch color display integrated into this radio. It allows you to adjust or customize the screen’s brightness based on the lighting in the environment. It also automatically switches off the display within a specified period, letting it save power.
- Easy to program and use
- Huge internal memory
- Comes with a great color display with an auto switch-off feature
- Waterproof and sturdy structure
- Allows adjustment on the brightness of the screen depending on the present environment’s lighting
2. BTECH DMR-6X2 Dual Band Two-Way Radio
If you want to invest in the best dual band DMR radio today then one great device that I can suggest is the BTECH DMR-6X2 Dual Band Two-Way Radio. One noticeable fact about this two-way radio is its versatility. You can use it for both commercial and amateur applications using its bright and large 1.77-inch color TFT display.
The full-color screen promotes ease in monitoring the ones you are calling and those who are trying to contact you. The fact that the screen/display is colored is also a big advantage as this lets you toggle from two various modes/settings – the nighttime and daytime settings.
You can use its blue theme during the daylight as it can lessen glare, thereby promoting clear vision. You can also set it using the black contrast theme at night to prevent your eyes from getting strained. Just like the previously reviewed DMR radio, this one from BTECH also takes pride in its large internal memory.
Expect it to be able to store four thousand channels, two hundred thousand contacts, and ten thousand talk groups. Apart from that, I am highly impressed with the capacity of this dual-band DMR two-way radio to keep track of every DMR traffic present on the channel. It is portable plus it allows you to choose from two functional batteries.
One of its batteries can last for up to thirty-five hours per charge. The other one can last for up to nineteen hours. I’m sure you will not also feel disappointed over the build quality of this radio. The structure is solid plus its buttons are sturdy enough that they do not feel mushy each time you press them.
It has a superior range, too. Furthermore, the signal clarity of this DMR radio is a lot better compared to any cheap DMR radio out there. It also takes pride in its upgradeable firmware, which prevents the radio from getting obsolete soon.
- Versatile as it can handle amateur and commercial applications
- Colored display/screen with two various modes/settings
- Solid structure and build quality
- Large internal memory
- Boasts of an upgradeable firmware
- Can only execute cross-band repeat if you set it in digital mode, which analog users might find disappointing
3. Radioddity GD-77 DMR Two-way Radio
I am sure you will also love the Radioddity GD-77 Two-way radio, especially if you want your device to work for analog/digital mode and promiscuous mode. With this structure, you can keep track of the DMR community while giving you the chance to keep in touch with everyone in your local analog repeater community.
I think this just shows the versatility and functionality of the radio. When set at promiscuous mode, expect this two-way radio to let you hear all talk groups, instead of just a single one linked to the receiving group. I am super impressed with the two-way radio’s receiver sensitivity as it delivers decent performance for both analog and digital functions.
It has powerful audio, allowing it to produce just the right volume that you can hear the sound even if you are in a noisy location. It boasts of its crystal-clear sound as well as the transmit audio, which is devoid of noise. The sound does not also become distorted even if you increase the volume.
It has a solid and rugged structure, which is compatible with a repeater or hotspot device. It is also compatible with radio-to-radio direct or simplex. I like the solid feel of this two-way radio, too while still having a manageable weight of around 9 ounces including its antenna and battery.
I am totally satisfied with the lightweight portability guaranteed by this DMR two-way radio. It also takes pride in its user-customizable design and high-capacity battery. The customizability of this radio makes it ideal for new and experienced users. Furthermore, the most recent programming firmware and software of the radio can be accessed for free.
This two-way radio also features a dual-color LCD. It lights up brightly each time you press a key or button.
- A versatile structure as it has analog/digital settings and promiscuous mode
- Solid feel and rugged structure
- Lightweight and portable
- Customizable design, making it suitable for new and experienced users
- Delivers crystal-clear sounds and transmit audio free of unwanted noise and distortion
- The LCD lacks brightness level control, making it slightly hard to read when the backlight is turned off
4. TYT MD-380 DMR/Moto TRBO Radio
The next suggestion I have is the TYT MD-380 DMR/Moto TRBO Radio. It refers to a single-band VHF or UHF handheld radio, which also boasts of its dual-mode capacity. This allows you to use it as an FM transceiver, too. Originally, this radio was created for commercial applications, especially because the dual-band setting is not required in business operations.
The radio’s case and enclosure boast of a solid and durable feel. This offers the impression that in case you accidentally dropped the radio, it will not crack nor break down that easily. It is also lightweight and portable even when you attach the battery. It is a versatile radio as it is useful in a variety of applications.
Among these are public security, shopping hall government, hotel, entertainment, group road trip, and restaurant. I also love the decent communication distance that this DMR transceiver radio can handle. This is enough to guarantee crystal-clear calls even if you are in certain environments, like the lake, mountain, and urban area.
Another great advantage of this radio is that you can operate it in both analog and digital settings. It also supports migration from analog to digital with ease. The battery life is amazing as you can use it for around nine to twelve hours in normal applications. When on standby, expect the battery to last for up to fifty-two hours.
The radio also features a max of a thousand channels. Furthermore, it has other cool and nice features, including power-on protection, voice prompt, and the priority scan.
- Boasts of dual-mode capacity
- Solid and durable feel guaranteed by its case and enclosure
- Versatile as it is ideal for various applications
- Guarantees crystal-clear calls
- Operates in both analog and digital settings
- Lacks adjustment for the radio
5. BridgeCom Systems AnyTone AT-D878UV Radio
Another fantastic choice of any potential DMR radio users is the BridgeCom Systems AnyTone AT-D878UV with Bluetooth and GPS. This radio takes pride in its new feature, which comes in the form of its Bluetooth connectivity. With this feature around, you can connect this radio to devices enabled by Bluetooth close to it, like speakers and laptops.
I am delighted with the way this dual-band radio is constructed since it is noticeably sturdy and waterproof. It is also created in such a way that it lets you set up or create multiple DMR IDs. With this, at least one person will get the chance to utilize the radio device. You are even allowed to create a different ID each for personal and professional use.
This allows you to save money since you no longer have to invest in multiple radio devices for different purposes. Another remarkable feature I am so happy about in this device is the color TFT screen or display. I like it so much because it supports daylight and nighttime operation. It even takes pride in its font colors and display that are changeable as the user wishes.
This radio also boasts of its new roaming function. With this function around, the walkie-talkie can effortlessly switch into a predetermined relay in one list automatically once it is roaming. You can trigger this specific roaming function based on two options – manually or with the aid of the timer.
You can choose which one between the two will let the radio switch or change into the loudest relay. I am also glad of the capacity of this DMR radio option to store numerous contacts and software.
- Boasts of its Bluetooth connectivity feature
- Sturdy and waterproof structure
- Allows the set-up and use of multiple DMR IDs
- Features a color TFT screen or display that supports daylight and nighttime operation
- Equipped with a new roaming function
6. Ailunce HD1 Digital Walkie-Talkie FM DMR Radio
The next product I wish to recommend is the Ailunce HD1 Digital Walkie-Talkie FM DMR Radio. I am glad to say that this dual-band DMR radio is specifically designed for radio hams. It covers all functions that the radio ham presently uses. I also like its ability to accomplish all its functions via its keyboard, promoting ease of use.
I can also say that the versatility of this DMR radio is super amazing. It is versatile enough that it works well with the famous MOTO TRBO series, particularly the Tier I and Tier II of the series, with the help of standard encryption. It is also compatible with a wide range of models and makes of radios supported by DMR.
This radio also works along with any of the analog two-way radios that are currently exiting and known for supporting VHF and UHF frequencies. With this, expect to have an easier time migrating it to digital technology. I am also pleased to say that this radio supports and provides clear signals coming from other radios each time you listen to them.
The 3200mAh battery of this radio is also amazing. It is because it supports the normal use of over fifteen hours. It can also last for over 160 hours when it is on standby. You will find it useful in a wide range of outdoor activities, like hiking, skiing, and hunting.
Furthermore, it has a GPS feature, which is highly accurate in keeping track of locations.
- Can fulfill its promised functions using its keyboard, making it easier to use
- Versatile as it works in a wide range of radios
- Can easily migrate to digital technology
- Great battery life
- Perfect for outdoor activities
- Not that readable display
7. Baofeng DM-1701 Dual Band DMR/Analog Two-way Radio
The DM-1701 Dual Band DMR/Analog Two-way Radio from Baofeng is also one of those radio devices that caught my interest because of the way it performs and functions. I am specifically in love with the multifunctional nature of this two-way radio.
Among those functions that it can efficiently perform are manual programming, SMS, VFO, digital monitoring, emergency alarm, DMR encryption, and color-coding. You can find all these functions in its 1.77-inch color TFT display. You can quickly access and adjust these features using the five customized keys.
This two-way radio is also compatible with both analog and digital modes. It has a wide coverage. The storage capacity of this DMR radio is also impressive. It can even store ten thousand digital talk groups, one hundred twenty thousand contacts, and three thousand valuable channels.
I am also delighted with this radio device’s direct mode communication with dual slots. It is capable of achieving two groups of a call based on a certain frequency point simultaneously. This is beneficial in doubling communication efficiency and saving frequency resources. I can also prove the ability of this radio to deliver crystal-clear audio quality.
It also takes pride in its lightweight and portable structure, customizable design, and high-capacity battery.
- Large storage capacity guaranteed
- Can deliver a crystal-clear audio quality
- Powerful and reliable, thanks to its rugged structure and a high-capacity battery
- Boasts of a customizable design
- Portable and lightweight
- The volume knob is prone to sticking
8. TYT MD-9600 Digital/FM Analog Dual Band DMR Radio
The MD-9600 Digital/FM Analog Dual Band DMR Radio from TYT is also a nice addition to your choices if you truly want to own a reliable DMR radio device. One thing I would like to emphasize is that this unit is a solid, stable, and well-built radio. It boasts of a dual-band function.
It also features a light blue display, which, I think, is well-designed as its characters are large enough and easy to read when used normally. The rugged and stable structure of this DMR radio from TYT also enhances its ability to withstand even the harshest conditions, especially the ones where dust and vibration are always present.
I am also glad to announce that this dual-band DMR radio is equipped with a 5-watt receive audio amplifier. I discovered that this amp is powerful enough that it can efficiently drive the internal speaker. This is a big help in delivering decent audio quality. In terms of transmission, you can expect the audio quality and strength to be excellent, too.
The storage capacity is also good enough. It can store a max of three thousand channels and ten thousand contacts. I also find it user-friendly since the unit is programmable and customizable via the keypad. Another fantastic benefit of this DMR radio is its flexibility as it can support several DMR IDs.
- Powerful in the sense that it can drive the internal speaker efficiently
- Produces excellent audio quality and strength, especially when it comes to transmission
- Impressive storage capacity
- Easy to program and customize with the aid of the keypad
- Built to withstand even heavy and harsh use
- Poorly written manual
9. TYT MD-9600 Dual-band Digital DMR Mobile Radio
Lastly, I suggest picking the TYT MD-9600 Dual-band Digital DMR Mobile Radio because this radio device is one that you can honestly depend on. I am happy that it offers dual-band support. It can operate on VHF and UHF frequencies at 45 watts and 50 watts respectively. The storage capacity of this mobile radio is also awesome.
It is amazing how it can store a max of ten thousand contacts and three thousand channels, proving how huge its storage is. I am also delighted with the ability of this DMR radio to supply two hundred fifty zones with each one having sixty-four channels. You will also be able to access these channels with ease due to the radio’s built-in features.
These include the channel and priority scans, encryption, and the remote stun and activated function. Another favorable advantage carried by this radio is its nice color LCD. I find it impressive because of its ability to supply sharp and crisp text. This promotes ease in reading anything on the display from the console and dashboard.
The console also has programmable function keys that you can easily use. This radio is created in a way that you will receive complete access to its powerful analog and digital features. I am also pleased to say that this DMR radio supports communication crossing groups, making it possible to do free calls without worrying about group limitations/restrictions.
- Capable of operating on both VHF and UHF frequencies
- Equipped with easy-to-use programmable function keys
- Allows free calls without causing you to worry about group limitations
- The nice color LCD that supplies sharp and crisp text
- Can store thousands of channels
- Slightly difficult to turn control knob for the volume
10. TYT MD-UV380 Dual Band VHF/UHF Handheld Two-way Radio
You can also choose this reliable Chinese DMR radio, the TYT MD-UV380 Dual Band VHF/UHF Handheld Two-way Radio. This is the most recent offering of TYT, which is a famous Chinese manufacturer of affordable yet high-quality DMR radios.
This specific radio continues to gain great reviews and positive feedback, mainly because of its portability and performance. It functions as a handheld dual-band radio and is teeming with plenty of nice features. The dual-band function of this handheld radio makes it incredibly flexible as it runs on VHF and UHF DMR systems at the same time.
I would like to specifically highlight its tough and strong construction. It is so solid and stable that I can guarantee most users that it withstands long periods of heavy use. I am also delighted that it features a multi-colored LCD. This is bright enough and easy to use and program even if you are on the move.
The entire structure is also easy to program. It comes with a front panel programming, which you can set up or program using a keypad. With that, you can adjust or change some settings even if you do not have a PC. Another advantage is that it offers support to more than one DMR radio ID.
Furthermore, it can store up to three thousand channels and one hundred thousand DMR contacts without affecting its overall performance.
- Reasonably priced without sacrificing quality
- Can run on both VHF and UHF DMR systems
- Tough and strong construction that can withstand heavy use
- Features a multi-colored LCD
- Stores numerous channels and DMR contacts
- Somewhat complicated programming software operations for beginners
What to Look for When Buying a DMR Radio
If you are in the market for the best DMR radio, you need to at least be familiar with the features and characteristics of this type of radio. If you are a beginner and you have no idea what to get, then you might get the wrong kind of radio handset.
To avoid wasting money on the wrong kind of radio, here are some of the things that you need to identify to ensure that you get the right one at the right price:
VHF, UHF or 900MHz – The most common band, which DMR users in the United States and the entire world use, is the UHF. However, because it interferes with the military radars in some military bases and the many different UHF public service frequencies in Canada, you can only use VHF repeaters in some areas.
On the other hand, in most other areas, you can find DMR activity on both UHF and VHF frequencies. If you will be buying UHF equipment, double-check if it can cover the amateur band (420-450 MHz) without any modification.
As of writing, there are no companies that build exclusively DMR radios. It is mainly because the demand for it is not that big to warrant exclusive production.
Programming Software – Some radio manufacturers provide the programming software for their radios free of charge. However, others, like Motorola, charge customers for a three-year subscription for their software, patches, and periodic updates. Because DMR radios are for professional use, keyboard programming is usually not allowed.
This means that if you bought a DMR radio and the vendor charges you a separate fee for programming software, do not ask another ham radio operator for a bootleg disk. If you have a legitimate copy of the programming software then you are allowed to program other people’s DMRs. However, you are not allowed to distribute copies – that is just plain software piracy.
Number of Channels – Some radios only have 16 channels to work with while others can have as many as 1,000. For DMRs, you will need one channel for each frequency you will be monitoring and for every color code and talk group that you have.
Just to give you a heads up. You can easily use up 3 to 10 channels for each DMR repeater you have programmed on your radio. Think about how you will be using your radio then consider that when you are out shopping.
Display or Non-Display – Some radio models only have a channel selector knob on top. Others, on the other hand, have screen displays upfront (either monochrome or colored LCD) that shows the Talk Group, ID information, and other pertinent information. Some just have a rudimentary screen that shows the channel number you are in.
If you are fascinated with the frequency numbers and other data then get the radio with the biggest front-facing display as you can.
GPS – Some DMR radios have GPS but know that they do not have support for APRS (Amateur Packet Reporting System). Furthermore, in professional networks, a timeslot is allocated for location reporting and is connected to server-based dispatch apps. Also, keep in mind that when you have your GPS function turned on, it will drain your battery quite fast.
Bluetooth – Some high-end models of DMR radio feature Bluetooth connectivity. This allows you to connect the radio to a wireless headset so you can listen to transmissions without bothering those around you.
You can even find handsets with Bluetooth connectivity that allows data transfer and the programming of the set via a wireless connection. In some brands, Bluetooth is an optional feature.
External Antenna on Portable – Not all portable radio handsets support the use of an external antenna unless it is just for testing and alignment. If you use an adapter to connect an external antenna to the portable radio, it will place a lot of stress on the antenna connector, which might result in premature part failure and expensive repairs.
Portable or Mobile? – You can find portable DMR radios that range in power from 2-5 watts. On the other hand, it is also possible to access mobiles that range from 10-45 watts in power. Unless you live pretty far out in the rural areas and almost out of range of your local DMR repeater, you should choose a portable DMR radio.
However, if you spend a lot of time on the road, then a mobile DMR radio will be a good choice. You can also use mobile DMR radios as a base station. You just need to add an external power supply and external antenna.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What is a DMR radio?
Digital mobile radio (DMR) is a digital mobile radio standard defined by the European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI) that was supposed to be for commercial use around the world initially.
The main goal of the DMR standard is to provide a digital system that is not overly complex, is inexpensive, and has interoperability across different brands of radios. This means that users are not locked into a single proprietary hardware brand or model (at least that was the plan).
In practice, because the DMR standard has such a limited scope, many vendors introduced proprietary features in their brand models that make interoperability with other brands almost impossible.
DMR has three tiers. Tiers I and II that were the conventional versions were published way back in 2005, while DMR III, which is the trunked version, was published much later in 2012. Manufacturers of radios began pumping out products within a few years of publication of the three tiers.
Who is this for?
The most popular reason why people use DMR or any sort of radio for that matter is so they will have an easy connection to emergency services whenever they need to. This is especially useful for people who are avid mountain trekkers or hikers or those who just like being outdoors. It is easier to find radio signals in the mountains compared to cellphone signals.
You can also find those who use these radios to keep events organized. They will give each of the organizers and marshals with a handset and have them set on a particular frequency. If there are any trouble or things that need their attention, they will be able to communicate immediately with each other.
Then some just want to scan through the channels looking for someone to chat with. Some also use the radio as their primary form of communication, especially when they live in a remote place where standard cellular signals do not reach.
How Does the DMR Radio Work?
On the surface, the DMR radio works just like an analog radio, only with better audio quality and less lag in transmission. However, the differences run deeper than just that. For instance, if you have a bunch of DMR handsets and you are using them in a commercial setting, you can create Talk Groups for your teams.
This means, one group of radio can be assigned to the security personnel, another group can be given to the inventory people, and a group for managers, and so on. If you want to call just the security team, you can press a number and it will turn on only the security team’s radios and not the others.
What are the Different Types of DMR Radios?
There are two types of DMR radios. This is quite the same with other two-way radio models. You can access portable radios and mobile radios.
Portable radios – These are the handheld types or the ones that you usually see police officers, security personnel, and others have hanging on their belts. These kinds of radios do not have the same kind of power that mobile radios have. However, they carry the advantage of being small and lightweight and easy to carry anywhere.
This is why this is the preferred choice of police officers, firefighters, and other first-responders. They will need a reliable form of communication in case they get into perilous situations where coordination with the other rescue workers is of the utmost importance.
Mobile radios – Mobile radios, on the other hand, are those that can be installed in the dashboard of cars and trucks. You can install them where your car’s stereo head unit is currently installed. You can also mount them on your desk at home. The thing about this type of DMR is that it has more power and range than your average portable radio.
This is why you can see this type is installed in the vehicles of first responders. They can use their vehicles as the main station for all involved in the operation. This can also just be used by amateur radio operators at their homes.
Furthermore, this can be used as the primary form of communication. You just need to provide an external power source and install a powerful external antenna in your property.
Why Do You Need a DMR radio?
If you are on the fence about switching over from analog radio to digital radio, then the following benefits of DMR might just get you to make the switch:
It is an open standard – This means that DMR is not proprietary to a single brand manufacturer. The DMR standard specifies that their equipment should be compatible with each other.
This means one radio can work on any base station and/or network, thus improving the availability of different brands and models. Most importantly, they are all priced competitively.
Audio sounds cleaner and louder – DMR provides users with crisper and louder audio quality. It does this by converting the analog signals into digital signals that have no background white noise. In newer models, there is a feature called “Intelligent Audio”, which automatically adjusts the radio’s volume to fit the environment.
For instance, the radio will automatically raise its volume when you are walking through a particularly noisy part of the job site then gradually lowers it when you walk away from the source of the noise.
However, what good is loud audio if it is full of white noise and distortion? This is why DMR radios have signal processing algorithms that help minimize or even eliminate distortion and static. Once the signal is processed and cleaned up, it becomes easier to effectively transmit. All of these things happen in less time it takes you to bat your eyes.
DMR has double the capacity – DMR doubles the capacity of an existing 12.5 kHz using Time Division Multiple Access, or TDMA. For instance, the 12.5 kHz can effectively be split into two channels.
Thanks to the TDMA, it gives momentary access to one speaking channel and then after a millisecond, it goes back. This switching on and off continuously happens.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most trusted DMR radio brands?
Are you interested in owning a reliable DMR radio? Then make sure to shop for one from any of the trusted brands of this product, including AnyTone, BTECH, Radioddity, TYT, BridgeCom Systems, Ailunce, and Baofeng.
How to set up and use?
It is very easy to get started with DMR, it just takes four steps:
Step 1 – Check for coverage. There’s no point in starting with DMR if your property is not within the coverage area of a DMR repeater.
Step 2 – Subscribe and get a new ID. Each radio and/or HAM needs to have a Subscriber ID that is unique to them. You will need to have a subscriber ID before you can even start programming your radio to operate on DMR frequencies.
Step 3 – Purchase your radio. Buy your new DMR radio, a copy of the programming software, and a cable to attach the radio to your laptop for programming.
Step 4 – Program your first radio. Make sure that the handset is fully charged then connect it to your computer via the USB cable that came in the package. Put the programming software into the DVD tray of your computer and then run it.
You will get a DMR repeater map showing all the repeaters in your locality. You can then proceed to use the specifications found on the map of the nearby repeaters and your subscriber ID to program your handset.
How to take care of and maintain your DMR radio?
To ensure that your DMR radio remains at its best performance for many years to come, here are some care and maintenance tips that you can follow.
- Avoid getting the radio scratched or punctured by sharp objects. For instance, do not keep your radio in the same pocket where you keep your keys.
- Do not keep your radio in the same storage space where you keep corrosive materials. These include places like the kitchen cupboard where you keep your cleaning aids, garage cabinet where you keep your paint thinners, acetone, paint strippers, and others.
- Do not hold your radio by the antenna. This will loosen the connection between the antenna and the body of the radio and cause irreparable damage.
- Put back the accessory jack cover when you are not using any accessories on your radio. This will prevent dirt and dust from getting inside the radio.
- Use a soft microfiber towel to regularly clean and wipe off smudges on your radio. Pay close attention to the charging pole pieces. Clean them carefully using a lint-free fabric or a soft toothbrush.
- If the radio has gotten particularly dirty, you will need to use a bit of mild detergent and a microfiber towel. Remove the battery from the radio. Dip the cleaning towel in some water and detergent, wring the towel until it is just barely wet.
- Wipe off all the dirt and grime on the radio, particularly in between the buttons and knobs. Wipe off any trace of water on the radio using a dry towel. Do not use the radio until it is completely dried.
- Turn off your radio in places that are potentially flammable or even explosive. One example is when you are pumping gas into your car.
- Do not intentionally immerse the radio or its battery in water. In case of accidents, allow the radio and battery to dry completely before you try to use them. If there is corrosion in the battery or the radio, particularly the battery contacts, you may need to replace the battery and have the radio repaired.
- Only use certified genuine batteries, chargers, adapters, and other accessories with your radio to prevent unintentional damage.
What is the warranty?
Electronics like two-way radios typically come with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty but other manufacturers have longer warranty periods just because they have so much faith in their products. If you like the brand and manufacturer and you have not experienced anything negative about them, you can avail of an extended warranty plan.
This essentially extends the warranty period by one or two years. In case your radio does give out after a year, you can expect the company to repair or replace it for you with a brand new unit.
Where to buy a DMR radio?
If you are lucky enough to live in a town where there is an electronics store that carries two-way radios and other communication devices, then you might find a couple of brands and models. However, if you want a lot more choices, you can go shopping online in retail sites such as Amazon or eBay.
In retail websites, you will find dozens upon dozens of different brands and models of radios and quite a lot of DMR radio units to choose from. It is best to shop online because not only do you have a lot of options, you also get the cheapest prices.
Do you need a license to operate a DMR radio?
You do not need a license to operate a DMR handset. However, you do need to register so you can get a user ID. This is important because you will need this to program your DMR handset. Although it is possible to program a DMR set by successfully guessing a user ID, it is not recommended as doing so will muddle the user base.
It will not take that long to register and you do not have to pay a cent, so you should at least take the time to do it. However, you have to pay for the programming application, which would run you up a couple of bucks if you buy it separately from the radio unit.
On the other hand, if you know someone who owns a DMR programming application, you can ask if he can program your radio for you. Never ask for a copy of the program because that is digital piracy and you could get you and your friend into trouble if you do so.
What is the usual life expectancy of radios?
As an example, commercial grade 2-way radios can exceed military specs, specifically their batteries, the last 4 years at most. If you take good care of your radio, its life expectancy can be indefinite.
It is not that rare to see two-way radios that are more than five years old. Some have even gone beyond ten years and are still working like they are just a couple of months old.
What is the difference between walkie-talkies and 2-way radios?
Nothing, as they are often the same. The name “walkie-talkie” is just a variation of the brand name Handie-Talkie. The terms two-way radios, walkie-talkies, and other forms have several similarities.
However, no one, aside from children, uses the term walkie-talkie anymore. If you mention that term to the passionate radio hobbyist crowd, they will even find it kind of offensive.
What is the difference between analog and digital radio signals?
They differ in how they send and receive signals. In analog radios, frequency modulation is used to send the signal. It encodes the signal inside a carrier wave, which is a continuous radio wave with a smooth oscillation. As the voice modulates, it changes the frequency of the radio wave.
The receiving radio then demodulates the frequency to recreate the voice that was sent. This makes an actual representation or “analogy” of the sound and this is where the term “analog” came from. A simple way to find out if a radio is analog is to listen to the message as it goes out of range.
If the voice gets considerably weaker and garbled until it fades into white noise then the signal is analog. Digital radios, on the other hand, is entirely different from the way signals are sent and received up to its quality.
Instead of using a carrier wave, the sound information is translated into binary code (made of zeroes and ones) with each bit representing two distinct amplitudes. Unlike analog, digital signals are not sent in one smooth continuous wave but exact chunks of date. Because nothing is lost during transmission, digital radios have better voice quality.
Meanwhile, analog radio signals will fade into white noise when you are getting out of range, It will still retain its high-quality signal throughout the range, and will just suddenly drop off when the signal is too weak or out of range.
It is just a shame that there are not that many users of DMR radios right now. It is mainly because it is still a relatively new technology and not that many adopted it yet. Regardless if you want superior voice quality, larger range, and ease of use, you should get digital radios.
Another advantage of using the best DMR radio is that you do not need to get a license for it. However, you do need to register so you can be given a User ID, which you will use to program the radio and transmit signal.
Richard Pennington is the one to consult when you need professional insight into electronics. With over a decade of experience in the field of electronics and communication engineering, he now serves as our chief content editor.
He is an advisor for multiple articles and videos with topics revolving around ham radios, electronics devices, and communication.