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Motorola DTR700 Portable Digital Radio 900Mhz

N4KVE

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During the test where I got 2 miles, the dropouts were noticeable but got better once I left my truck and the audio sounded pretty much the same.

I was actually quite surprised that they reached that far and was using the DTR410's during that specific test and those also have the stubby, non-removeable antennas. Keep in mind these radios were designed for indoor business use, but they never fail to exceed my expectations!
My only experience with them is the cops using them at the local gun show. They provide security for the venue, but they’re used indoors, and nobody is more than 100 yards away from each other, max. I think you’d get better range using a 6380/6580 with the full length 900 antenna, for less $.
 

Binger511

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I think you’d get better range using a 6380/6580 with the full length 900 antenna, for less $.
While that probably is true for the radios, unless all of the users have their ham ticket they would have to have a business license and correct me if I'm wrong but there isn't any itinerant frequencies in the 8/900 MHz range, so there's more than likely going to have to be some sort of frequency coordination. All in all that could cost a lot of dough and time.
 

N4KVE

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While that probably is true for the radios, unless all of the users have their ham ticket they would have to have a business license and correct me if I'm wrong but there isn't any itinerant frequencies in the 8/900 MHz range, so there's more than likely going to have to be some sort of frequency coordination. All in all that could cost a lot of dough and time.
Mine are used on simplex freq’s. Here are some itinerant freq’s.
 

gman1971

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While that probably is true for the radios, unless all of the users have their ham ticket they would have to have a business license and correct me if I'm wrong but there isn't any itinerant frequencies in the 8/900 MHz range, so there's more than likely going to have to be some sort of frequency coordination. All in all that could cost a lot of dough and time.
That is a good point, for the DTR, that is. It seems there might be some Itinerants on the 900 mhz bands after all. Regardless, I think I am just gonna pick a pair of those, just for kicks, wanna see how well they work, after all what works for one doesn't work for another...

To me, the scanner-resist FHSS certainly is a good lure, the fact you can't be heard, or even hinted there is an ongoing transmission is another big plus. Now, even though some three letter deterrent options for the TRBO radios, it is sill better to not alert anyone of your presence. (at least not somoene without some serious dough on RF detection equipment)...

Me wonders how hard it is in practice to crack the FHSS sequence, b/c 32 bits these days is hardly secure, given the insane amount of GPU power available....

G.
 

alcahuete

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Thanks, so it is safe to assume the DTR range will be comparable? Do you know a guesstimate of the distance?
Range? I love doing extreme range testing with my radios, and these DTRs were one of my favorite, because they just kick so much ass. Here in the Mojave Desert, with flat land and relatively few obstructions, I have had a pair of DTR650s out to over 20 miles. I ran out of road before I ran out of range. Of course there were a few deadspots here and there. I had one radio in my car (and had to get out or stick the radio through the sunroof for coverage, and the 2nd radio was on my balcony about 15' up. DFW airport? Coverage of entire terminals, and even between two terminals. Cruise ships will get full ship coverage on darn near any ship out there.

The DTR radios outperform every single handheld radio I own. That said, I haven't compared them to XPR 900 MHz or 900 MHz P25. I don't own any of that gear anymore. Keep in mind that none of these ranges will be typical, and your mileage may vary. But I love mine. Those are my go-to radios for just about everything.
 

n1das

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Range? I love doing extreme range testing with my radios, and these DTRs were one of my favorite, because they just kick so much ass. Here in the Mojave Desert, with flat land and relatively few obstructions, I have had a pair of DTR650s out to over 20 miles. I ran out of road before I ran out of range. Of course there were a few deadspots here and there. I had one radio in my car (and had to get out or stick the radio through the sunroof for coverage, and the 2nd radio was on my balcony about 15' up. DFW airport? Coverage of entire terminals, and even between two terminals. Cruise ships will get full ship coverage on darn near any ship out there.

The DTR radios outperform every single handheld radio I own. That said, I haven't compared them to XPR 900 MHz or 900 MHz P25. I don't own any of that gear anymore. Keep in mind that none of these ranges will be typical, and your mileage may vary. But I love mine. Those are my go-to radios for just about everything.
What alcahuete said. The DTRs and DLRs are amazing radios and people keep underestimating them.

I never got my DTR fleet to set any range records but my range record stands at 12 miles along the Florida space coast. As I have posted before, the DTRs are my professional quality digital replacement for GMRS/FRS for local on-site simplex type use with family and friends. A coworker once asked me "Why not just use FRS?" My answer was that I have already been doing that since FRS was first created in 1996 and longer than that as a GMRS licensee since 1992 and using good quality Part 90/95 commercial gear. I want an all digital solution that is higher quality and more professional than FRS. The fact that the DTRs and DLRs are completely scanner proof and can be made reasonably secure with Private groups and private 1 to 1 calling comes as a bonus. Not having to worry about FCC licensing is another bonus. I still have GMRS/FRS and MURS as backups and for interoperability but they are no longer my go-to radios for local simplex type use. My wife even much prefers to use the DTRs over any FRS radio when we are out shopping or doing whatever. The DTRs totally blow FRS away.
 
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KN4EHX

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I got about 3 miles range with me driving and a friend sitting inside a brick building. East Tennessee, so up and down hills between some late 1800’s buildings. We also used analog Motorola GTX mobiles around 15 watts and 5/8 wave antennas. The DTRs smoked the mobiles hands down in quality and range. I have no clue what kind of mojo Motorola put into those things, but it would be hard to beat. When it comes to communications security I’m sure there is devices out there capable of listening to the DTR series, but I’m unaware of any that are readily available.
 

gman1971

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Well, not sure what to make out of all these range claims. Both the space coast in FL and the Mojave desert are flat, and the ocean also helps with propagation quite a bit, too. I wonder how those would perform in the Madison WI area, where there is not an inch of flat terrain. I guess only one way to find out... right?

Do these have the RSSI meter like the XPR radios do?

Thanks.

G.
 

KN4EHX

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Well, not sure what to make out of all these range claims. Both the space coast in FL and the Mojave desert are flat, and the ocean also helps with propagation quite a bit, too. I wonder how those would perform in the Madison WI area, where there is not an inch of flat terrain. I guess only one way to find out... right?
Well you won’t be upset about it. I can verify 3 miles in East Tennessee in very not ideal areas for simplex - also sitting inside a moving car with the other individual sitting inside a building.

Just don’t expect to talk around the world or anything out of reason and you will be pleased. I suspect the terrain and environment here to be more difficult than WI, but I can also bet we have less 900 noise than you. I’d still expect excellent results.
 

Binger511

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Do these have the RSSI meter like the XPR radios do?
Negative on an RSSI meter nor an indicator light. The LCD Color display does light up for a pre-determined time (Off, 5, 10, 20, 30, and finally 60 seconds.), which I find to be a very attractive in a radio, however it would still have been nice to have an RSSI meter or at least an indicator light.
 

gman1971

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Negative on an RSSI meter nor an indicator light. The LCD Color display does light up for a pre-determined time (Off, 5, 10, 20, 30, and finally 60 seconds.), which I find to be a very attractive in a radio, however it would still have been nice to have an RSSI meter or at least an indicator light.
Dang, that sucks, still good reception is more important than having an LED, really, on the XPR you can make the radio RX calls not light up the screen, which helps with battery. How is the battery endurance on those?

Thanks.

G.
 

Binger511

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Dang, that sucks, still good reception is more important than having an LED, really, on the XPR you can make the radio RX calls not light up the screen, which helps with battery. How is the battery endurance on those?

Thanks.

G.
Battery life seems to be excellent, as far as I can tell. I don't use them really enough to truly rate/review the battery. However I do use them a few hours a week and charge them about once a month. YMMV, and if anyone else who uses these radios daily has any input, I'm sure that would be much more helpful.
 

footage

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I echo other comments on these radios' range. My only disappointment with these is in mountainous California country. Once you lose line of sight and drop below the lip of a ridge, you're out of luck, at least in wooded country where the trees absorb RF. In open country you've got a shot with reflections off the hillside.

These would be great radios for community organizations and families in relatively flat areas. No licensing, easy to operate, and the possibility of programming all-call and private talkgroups.
 

n1das

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Battery life seems to be excellent, as far as I can tell. I don't use them really enough to truly rate/review the battery. However I do use them a few hours a week and charge them about once a month. YMMV, and if anyone else who uses these radios daily has any input, I'm sure that would be much more helpful.
The legacy DTR410/550/650 models have the best battery life on a charge and they accomplish that with an 1800mAh battery. The DTR600/700 models have a shorter battery life and they have a 2500mAh battery. The DTR600/700 models definitely use more juice than the legacy DTRs. The standby time is noticeably shorter than the legacy DTRs.

I am running my DTR700 fleet with the battery saver disabled in the CPS. This is a workaround for the random lockup bug that the DTR700 has and the DTR600 probably has too, even with the latest firmware installed. So far no more lockups since disabling the battery save feature more than a year ago. The CPS warns that disabling the battery saver will reduce battery life on a charge by about 20%. This matches my experience with them after disabling the battery saver in the CPS. Battery life on a charge is still at least 15 hours according to a 5/5/90 ratio. Even with a shorter battery life, it is still long enough for most uses.

My DTR700 fleet is 2.5 years old (November 2018 build date) and I will soon need to re-battery them. The batteries start to get "stale" after about 2 years of heavy duty use, similar to a smartphone battery. With my small fleet of 6 DTR700 radios, the cost to re-battery them is close to the cost of another DTR700 radio.
 
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vagrant

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As to range testing in an urban area with the DTR700, I was in my home and a friend was mobile in his truck. Zero problems around a half mile (1km). At two km it was not the best, but worked. Past that it was no good. With the range others obtained, I wonder if we tested at low power. They were not my radios and I was unfamiliar with them.
 

n1das

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As to range testing in an urban area with the DTR700, I was in my home and a friend was mobile in his truck. Zero problems around a half mile (1km). At two km it was not the best, but worked. Past that it was no good. With the range others obtained, I wonder if we tested at low power. They were not my radios and I was unfamiliar with them.
The Tx power is not adjustable.

From the FCC grants:
  • Legacy DTR410/550/650: +29.5dBm (890mW)
  • DLR1020/1060: +29.4dBm (880mW)
  • DTR600/700: +29.2dBm (830mW)

The Tx power numbers on the FCC grants are from the individual test sample measured at the lab during cert testing. The few tenths of a dB under the +30.0dBm (1W) legal limit is to account for measurement uncertainty and unit to unit variation and stay under the legal limit.
 

gman1971

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Wonder if they will ever make a DTR700e, like the XPR7550e, which improved on the receiver performance and the battery life...

G.
 

vagrant

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@n1das - Thank you for that. Your post reminded me that my friend told me and I had forgot. I should have realized because of the frequency. That's what I get for posting at 3AM.

By the way, have you tested with a magnet mount, or some other external 900 MHz antenna? With the low power at the frequency range I'm figuring a very short coax for a mobile antenna is about as long as can be and remain practical. Also, have you tried a smaller stubby antenna on the handheld and how was the performance?
 

alcahuete

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By the way, have you tested with a magnet mount, or some other external 900 MHz antenna? With the low power at the frequency range I'm figuring a very short coax for a mobile antenna is about as long as can be and remain practical. Also, have you tried a smaller stubby antenna on the handheld and how was the performance?
I have tried with an external antenna, and got horrendous results. Haven't really figured out why to this day.
 
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