My home base is Roanoke, Virginia. Grid square FM07
Retevis RT84 Review
A solid built, low cost dual-band DMR/Analog handheld transceiver that would be a good entry-level radio.
It has a hefty feel and slightly larger size than the TYT MD-380 or Anytone D868. Yet still thinner than the Ailunce HD1 or commercial Motorola rigs. The on/off/volume and channel selector knobs have a solid click and expected resistance when turned. The channel selector does not have the 16-position dial like some older models. Thus, there is not an artificial 16 channel limit to a Zone (most all of the new dual-band DMR radios also have this feature).
The radio software has a very familiar look, somewhat like the TYT MD-2017 or MD-UV380 models. However, I was not able to import a code plug from any other DMR radio that I had on hand. As an alternative, I was able to export a Channel and Contact CSV file from my MD-UV380 code plug and used those to import
into the RT84 CPS software. This made creating a new code plug for this radio a little bit easier. There is no functionality to import the DMR ID Database in the RT84 CPS and no other software options were available for this model.
- Lower entry level cost - under $95
- Memory can hold 3,000 Channels and 10,000 Group/Private Contacts
- Color Display
- Larger, hefty case (may be better suited for larger hands)
- Large, back-lit keys
- Three programmable side buttons plus user programmable P1 and P2 keys
- No DMR User Database functionality
- Slightly smaller 2,000 mAh Li-Ion battery
- Included antenna is rigid and less efficient (a better option would be a Nagoya NA-701)
|BTech DMR 6X2
Fast becoming my favorite handheld radio, the DMR 6X2 is the
Digital Contacts (enough for the entire DMR ID Database), 10,000 Group Contacts, 250 Zones
with 250 Channels per Zone. The radio has four power level settings with VHF output
7/5/2.5/1 watts and UHF output of 6/5/2.5/1 watts. My recommendation is to leave the
radio on High (5 watts) and then have the "Turbo" setting for when you really need
an extra boost to get to a remote repeater.
Other extras with this model is the Digital "Store and Forward" cross-band repeater
Overall, a great DMR rig for someone wanting to step-up or a first-time DMR radio for just
DMR Radio on a Budget
Looking to get your first DMR radio?
The Radioddity GD-77 is one of my favorites for a starter radio. It is dual-band VHF/UHF, analog and digital. So, it can be your one daily carry radio for all-around use.
Pro-tip: when you first get the radio, download the factory default code plug and save it with an easy to remember file name and location. With this as a back-up, you can easily get the radio back to the original state (if you should accidently corrupt the code-plug).
HF is Dead - Long Live Digital
Ok, so the title of this post is a little bit of humor, but it does seem to apply this month. I setup on HF this weekend with the Ten-Tec Scout 555 and tried 15 and 20 meters. Of course, it's a bit of work getting the Buddipole tuned up on each band, but that's half the fun. Called CQ for about 30 minutes with no contacts. I did hear (faintly) another QSO on 20 meters, but it sounded like two stations having a bit of an argument. I just stayed out of that, obviously.
The next day I'm on Yaesu Wire-X in the AmercaLink room and I'm having a QSO with someone in Switzerland. Also hearing three stations from the UK and one in Australia. Since the current solar cycle is the smallest since 1906, we're probably not looking at much propagation in the near future.
Talk Around the World with DMR
This is a normal paragraph. During the SouthEast LinuxFest 2018 in June, I gave a presentation on DMR with an emphasis on setting up the code plug for your radio. Also featured using a hot spot to get on DMR if you're not in a region with a DMR repeater. The slides are available here (PDF).
Next presentation will be "How to Program Your DMR Radio" with examples from several major brands/models at the Shelby HamFest coming up in September.
|Quansheng UV-R50 Rechargeable Dual Band Two-way Radio|
Adding an "Ad-Hoc" channel with the AnyTone D868
One thing I like to do is join a talk group on my DMR hot spot, but not necessarily one already in the code plug. Since the D868 allows programming via the keyboard, I was exploring exactly how to accomplish that.
One way was to jump into VFO mode (P2 key), and key in the simplex frequency for the hot spot (press the # key to enter).
Then get the VFO channel configured for Digital:
1) Menu > Settings > Chan Set > Channel Type > D-Digital
2) Menu > Settings > Chan Set > Band Width > Narrow
3) Menu > Settings > Chan Set > Color Code for the hot spot
4) Menu > Settings > Chan Set > Time Slot for the hot spot
5) Menu > Settings > Chan Set > TX Allow > Always
Next, add the new Contact for the Talk Group you want to be on:
1) Menu > Contacts > New Contact > Input ID. Press the # key for Group Contact, enter the new Talk Group number.
2) Menu > Contacts > New Contact > Input Name. Type in the name for the Talk Group.
3) Menu > Contacts > New Contact > Save (I seem to always forget this step).
Finally, select this new Contact you just entered from the list:
1) Menu > Contracts > Contact List
2) Scroll through the list to highlight the one you want, then press the Green key.
3) Option > Select Contact
You're now configured in VFO mode for activating the TG by pressing the PTT button. Easy, right?
DMR Radio of the Month
Things I like about the AnyTone AT-D868 so far:
loading any drivers. Windows 10 will most likely work automatically.
I'll be on the road this summer doing several talks on Digital Mobile Radio (DMR):
June 9, 2018
Talk Around the World with DMR
August 4, 2018
Roanoke HamFest - https://roanokehamfest.info
Demo: DMR Hotspot with a Raspberry Pi
August 31, September 1 & 2, 2018
Shelby HamFest - http://www.shelbyhamfest.com/
DMR 101 - Programming Your First Code Plug
Hope to see y'all at one of these events!
Ok, long gap between posts. Very little activity in 2016 and none at all in 2017 due to major heart surgery. What's new? DMR!
In the past couple of years, Digital Mobile Radio has really gained popularity and offers a completely different experience, especially for new Hams. Check out the Facebook group that I maintain on the topic.
|Member of the American Radio Rely League|
Email: darrell at KI4LLA dot us