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Motorola DTR700 Portable Digital Radio 900Mhz

n1das

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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.
I doubt there's much left to improve in the receiver. The DTR's receiver sensitivity is spec'd at -125dBm (0.126uV) @ 5% BER.

I will take improved battery life though. The DTR700 is power hungry compared to the legacy DTRs.
 

gman1971

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I doubt there's much left to improve in the receiver. The DTR's receiver sensitivity is spec'd at -125dBm (0.126uV) @ 5% BER.

I will take improved battery life though. The DTR700 is power hungry compared to the legacy DTRs.
The XPR7550e is almost 30 hours standby if you use the large 3000 mAh pack... which is nice... the SL7550e is only about 14 hours with the BT100 battery... 15 hours is not bad, tho, will run for an entire workday which is good.
 

n1das

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I have tried with an external antenna, and got horrendous results. Haven't really figured out why to this day.
Check the SMA connector on the antenna cable at the radio. Study how it mates with the connector in the radio. There are a couple of different flavors of SMAs out there and can cause the center pin in the male SMA in the radio to not contact the center pin the cable's SMA.
 

alcahuete

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What antenna, and how and where was it mounted? What coax type and how long was the coax? Thank you.
I used a Larsen NMO5T900B and PCTEL MUF9035. Larsen is rated 7.2 dBi gain, and the PCTEL is rated 5 dBi. I used Times Microwave LMR-240 (less than 10'), which should have just under 1dB loss. I used a permanent NMO mount center roof, and 2 magnet mounts. All same poor performance.

Check the SMA connector on the antenna cable at the radio. Study how it mates with the connector in the radio. There are a couple of different flavors of SMAs out there and can cause the center pin in the male SMA in the radio to not contact the center pin the cable's SMA.
Yep, did all that. In fact, there was a pretty big thread on it here, and nobody could figure out what the problem might be. To this day, I can't figure it out.
 

Mike_G_D

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Couple of theories concerning the poor performance of these radios using external mobile antennas...

1) Overloading the receivers - these radios were not really designed to be used with an external antenna (one not affixed to the handheld radio itself). There are strong 900 MHz pager transmitters very close to the 902-928 MHz ISM band in metropolitan areas. Maybe the front end of these radios got swamped by these pager signals when connected to a relatively high gain more efficient antenna with a large ground plane causing blocking and subsequent poor effective receiver performance. Maybe try the same test in a very rural area devoid of 900 MHz pager signals? Since these radios have no analog mode which could allow one to listen for such interference (when it is sometimes audible to FM receivers) and with no RSSI meter you couldn't really tell what is happening except a serious drop in usable range.

2) Maybe try simple quarter wave no-gain antennas at both ends - mobile antennas with gain achieve this by lowering the radiation angle and "squeezing" the pattern out to the sides at the expense of the higher elevation response. Should be good for mobile-to-mobile on level ground but if one is much higher than the other the performance might actually be worse than could be achieved with simple no-gain omni 1/4 wave spikes. A little "straw grasping" here, I know, but something to consider. Also, the less gain of the 1/4 wave might additionally help lower the possibility of overwhelming the receiver as stated in #1 above.

If you try this again - try in an area that you have "sniffed" in and around the 902-928 MHz band and you know there are no near band strong interferers to contend with. And maybe give the simple 1/4 wave spikes a try as opposed to the gain biggies.

Also, I would think that if possibility #1 is the culprit, then these would likely suffer in high rise buildings in major metropolitan areas like downtown LA, New York, etc. just using the stock handheld antennas. I have not heard of any issues like this being reported but it might be interesting to try if not yet done and recorded.

-Mike
 

alcahuete

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Couple of theories concerning the poor performance of these radios using external mobile antennas...

1) Overloading the receivers - these radios were not really designed to be used with an external antenna (one not affixed to the handheld radio itself). There are strong 900 MHz pager transmitters very close to the 902-928 MHz ISM band in metropolitan areas. Maybe the front end of these radios got swamped by these pager signals when connected to a relatively high gain more efficient antenna with a large ground plane causing blocking and subsequent poor effective receiver performance. Maybe try the same test in a very rural area devoid of 900 MHz pager signals? Since these radios have no analog mode which could allow one to listen for such interference (when it is sometimes audible to FM receivers) and with no RSSI meter you couldn't really tell what is happening except a serious drop in usable range.
I tried it out here in the Mojave Desert. It isn't completely devoid of the other ISM crap, but there isn't much. Pretty quiet actually. I barely hear a thing on my analog 900 radio.


2) Maybe try simple quarter wave no-gain antennas at both ends - mobile antennas with gain achieve this by lowering the radiation angle and "squeezing" the pattern out to the sides at the expense of the higher elevation response. Should be good for mobile-to-mobile on level ground but if one is much higher than the other the performance might actually be worse than could be achieved with simple no-gain omni 1/4 wave spikes. A little "straw grasping" here, I know, but something to consider. Also, the less gain of the 1/4 wave might additionally help lower the possibility of overwhelming the receiver as stated in #1 above.
Not really needed. Both radios were in the Mojave Desert, flat as can be, 100% line-of-sight, completely level terrain. I was barely able to get 2 miles using an external antenna...slightly less. With the 1/2 waves rubber ducky antennas, I can get over 20 miles in the same scenario.

Could be an overloaded front end. I honestly don't know. I gave up on testing quite some time ago.
 

alcahuete

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LOL! Yeah, looks like those possibilities are pretty shot down at this point! Hmm, oh well...
Yeah...I really wish I could pin this down. It has been frustrating me for at least a couple years! LOL!! I surely can't be the only one who has tried with these radios, but maybe I am?
 

vagrant

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@alcahuete Thank you for the details. Dang, that is weird considering the different antennas, mounts and coax. I would lean more toward the DTR600 if I could get some external antenna action to increase the range at times. Still, the DLR1060 may be a better option for me as I want the smaller antenna form factor more often than an external antenna for increased range when needed.

I also read this thread from 2017 where you and n1das discuss range results with the DLR/DTR as well as your 1/2 wave antenna testing. I think the DLR1060 will work well enough for me. Thanks again.
 

alcahuete

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@alcahuete Thank you for the details. Dang, that is weird considering the different antennas, mounts and coax. I would lean more toward the DTR600 if I could get some external antenna action to increase the range at times. Still, the DLR1060 may be a better option for me as I want the smaller antenna form factor more often than an external antenna for increased range when needed.

I also read this thread from 2017 where you and n1das discuss range results with the DLR/DTR as well as your 1/2 wave antenna testing. I think the DLR1060 will work well enough for me. Thanks again.
Yeah, it's wild. I wish somebody else would try an external, and hopefully I'm just doing something stupid. I just can't get to the bottom of it. I tested and tested and tested some more and just horrible results. This thread is giving me the bug to go out and do some more testing. :D

I haven't used any of the new line of DTRs. I know the 600 comes with a longer antenna. I don't know what kind of connector they use, but if the old 1/4 wave tiny antennas would fit, that might be an option too. I keep the smaller antennas on the 650s and the whole thing is really no bigger than my cell phone. The only time I switch to the longer 1/2 wave antennas is if I know I need extra range, or extra penetration, like on some cruise ships.
 

n1das

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I picked up my DTR700 radios today. I unpacked two of them and the date of manufacture on them is December 20, 2018. It looks like they shipped from the factory in Malaysia right after they were built. They are barely 2 weeks old.

Below are pics of a lineup of radios and closeup pics of the antenna connector. The DTR700 antenna connector is a stud type, not the SMA type used in the older DTRs. The connector scheme reminds me of the antenna connector in my old GP300 and HT1250 radios I owned years ago. Time will tell how rugged and reliable the connector design is. The DTR700 antenna is a half wave type.

View attachment 67316View attachment 67317View attachment 67318

I powered them up and verified that they work. Audio seems identical to the older DTRs. They are insanely easy to set up with a 4 digit Profile ID to secure your channels. The Profile ID is easily set from the keypad.

I just got them out of the box and powered up. I haven't had time to play with them much yet. Initial out of box first impressions are that the DTR700 is a nice replacement for the DTR 410/550/650.
Above is my post from earlier in this thread with pics of the DTR600/700 antenna connector. The antennas for the legacy DTRs will NOT connect to the DTR600/700 models. The DTR600/700 models have a small threaded single stud type connector. It is essentially a smaller version of the large threaded stud connector used on Motorola's older radios from 20+ years ago. The DTR600/700 has the same stud connector the SL300 uses.

Available antennas for the DTR600/700 models are the PMAF4024 1/2 wave whip and the PMAF4025A helical stubby antenna. The PMAF4024 1/2 wave whip is the supplied stock antenna. I have done some careful range testing with both antennas and I can't tell any difference between the two. I have a favorite and carefully controlled spot in an upstairs bedroom window in my house where I place one DTR there and then go for a drive with the other DTR. I used one of my Private talkgroups instead of the default channels so I know that I was connecting only to my radio and not to other radios in the area. The same antenna type was used on both radios used for testing, i.e., stubby to stubby and 1/2 wave to 1/2 wave. The same 2 DTR700 radios were used for all testing. Given that I wasn't able tell any difference in performance when on the fringes of coverage, the average user probably won't notice any difference. If I had a way to connectorize the two antennas, I would sweep them on a network analyzer and measure the return loss (S11) on each antenna. Whichever antenna has the best return loss is the antenna I would go with on the radios.
 
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alcahuete

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Above is my post from earlier in this thread with pics of the DTR600/700 antenna connector. The antennas for the legacy DTRs will NOT connect to the DTR600/700 models. The DTR600/700 models have a small threaded single stud type connector. It is essentially a smaller version of the large threaded stud connector used on Motorola's older radios from 20+ years ago. The DTR600/700 has the same stud connector the SL300 uses.

Available antennas for the DTR600/700 models are the PMAF4024 1/2 wave whip and the PMAF4025A helical stubby antenna. The PMAF4024 1/2 wave whip is the supplied stock antenna. I have done some careful range testing with both antennas and I can't tell any difference between the two. I have a favorite and carefully controlled spot in an upstairs bedroom window in my house where I place one DTR there and then go for a drive with the other DTR. I used one of my Private talkgroups instead of the default channels so I know that I was connecting only to my radio and not to other radios in the area. The same antenna type was used on both radios used for testing, i.e., stubby to stubby and 1/2 wave to 1/2 wave. The same 2 DTR700 radios were used for all testing. Given that I wasn't able tell any difference in performance when on the fringes of coverage, the average user probably won't notice any difference. If I had a way to connectorize the two antennas, I would sweep them on a network analyzer and measure the return loss (S11) on each antenna. Whichever antenna has the best return loss is the antenna I would go with on the radios.
Interesting that they use yet more proprietary connectors. I see the pics now. Interesting.
 

gman1971

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I am sure these radios have some sort of Hiroshe connector hidden on the backs for testing. Worth mentioning is that, on another forum, someone modified one of those XPR7550e radios to use an SMA female with a snap-on connector to the main RF board, and desoldering the stud bolt... so, perhaps something like that could be done to these DTR radios? To be fair, I don't think these DTR radios have anything to envy the best XPR7550e on 1W, sure 5W VHF will get you very far, but then again, the XPR7550e VHF requires a license, and a paid CPS... etc.

As for interference affecting these DTR radios, I seriously doubt it. Those Motorola radios are nothing like the CCR garbage out there.... they have tough as nails front ends, resistant to IM, band noise, RFI, etc etc. I don't have a DTR700, yet, but I am pretty certain those DTR radios have a similar receiver to the Rodinia 2.3 used on the XPR series of radios. If that is the case, the Rodinia receivers are, arguably, the best you can buy today in direct RF sampling/conversion at this price point.

G.
 

gman1971

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Does anyone know if the SL300 battery will work on the DTR700? And the SL7550 battery? These all look the same.

Thanks.
 

N4KVE

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Worth mentioning is that, on another forum, someone modified one of those XPR7550e radios to use an SMA female with a snap-on connector to the main RF board, and desoldering the stud bolt.
The one guy [Mars] who was able to do that harvested the properly fitting connector from a scanner he wasn’t using any more. It seems that connecter was not found anywhere from the usual electronic supply houses. Too bad, because I’d have bought a few.
 

gman1971

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The one guy [Mars] who was able to do that harvested the properly fitting connector from a scanner he wasn’t using any more. It seems that connecter was not found anywhere from the usual electronic supply houses. Too bad, because I’d have bought a few.
True, but the DTR700 looks like it uses a completely different housing, so potentially something else could work...

G.
 

Chickenhawk56

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As one of the earliest adopters of the DTR (and now DLR series) I can weigh in on the mobile antenna issue. I have tried several, all tuned to the 900MHz band, and NONE of them have worked well. I did some range tests with several DTRs in a vehicle inside a garage; one with a mobile antenna on the roof; one with a long stubby and one with the short stubby. The factory stubby antennas always beat the mobile one by a substantial amount.

At the time, I speculated that at those frequencies, the loss from the cable exceeded the gain from a ground-plane antenna outside the vehicle.

It's easy to do back-to-back tests like this because you can set several radios to different hopsets and then try calling them using the PTT. You don't need to record the response or have a friend at the other end; you can tell as soon as you push the PTT if the other radio is in range or not.

Incidentally, the short stubby and the long stubby were almost identical in range, and the DLR series with the fixed antenna was not much shorter.

While results will vary depending on a lot of location factors and one can't extrapolate results from my own tests, it was quasi-scientific because I tested them back-to-back. I was in a neighborhood with a lot of mature trees and old buildings, where GMRS and Part 90 radios would give me about 4 blocks maximum, the DTRs with the long stubby gave me about 8 blocks; the short stubby was about 7 1/2 blocks, and the DLR about 7 blocks. That is amazing coverage.

With the mobile antennas on the receiving radio, I was lucky to be able to get 2 blocks away before it lost the signal.

I also found out that the body is a great absorber of RF signals as we all know, but the DTRs seemed to be just as good on my belt no matter which way I faced, but the Part 90 (450-460 MHz band) would drop the signal suddenly, simply by placing my body between the receiving antenna and the transmitting antenna. But the 900MHz radios don't refute the laws of physics and must still be within line-of-sight, so if I didn't get a return signal when on my waist at the fringes of my range tests, simply raising the radio above my head would add another 1/4 block.

Lots of fun. Sadly, they no longer fit my needs, and I am going to miss their quality, clarity, battery life and range
 

n1das

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Here's an update with my DTR700 fleet.

At 2.5 years old, I know it's getting close to time to re-battery my DTR700 fleet but I still haven't done it yet. Battery life is still OK with them, even with the Battery Saver feature disabled in the CPS. The cost to re-battery my fleet of 6 DTR700 radios is close to the cost of another DTR700.

It's been well over a year since I discovered that disabling the battery saver in the CPS prevents the strange lockup behavior that people have run into. I have had no more lockups since disabling the battery save feature in the CPS. Motorola is aware of the behavior. I have done 2 firmware updates to my fleet and it did not correct the lockup behavior. I don't know if Motorola has a fix for it or not but disabling the battery save feature in the CPS is effective as a workaround.

I have my DTR700 well loaded with programming to give maximum flexibility. The default programming is 18 channels with Profile IDs 1-18. Profile IDs 19 and 20 are labeled Page All Available and Call All Available and these are all-call features that started with the DLRs and use the Profile ID Number (PIN) feature. Profile ID mode group IDs are Public Group IDs when the PIN is at the 0000 default (OFF).

I expanded my DTR700 programming as follows:
---------------------------------------------------
I set the Profile ID Number (PIN) to XXX1. The last digits of the PIN affects the hopset used by the whole radio, unless the Profile ID Number Lock is disabled. It is recommended to leave the lock enabled (default) if all channels will use the same hopset. Choose a PIN carefully to use the hopset you want to use. I recommend setting the PIN to a non-zero value, even if you are not going to use any Profile ID mode channels. This will prevent your radios from getting trolled by the Call All Available and Page All Available features and allows public group IDs to start at ID=1 identical to the legacy DTRs.

Channels 1-18: Profile ID groups 1-18. Profile ID groups use the 4-digit PIN feature.

Channels 19-20: Profile ID Page All Available (ID=19) and Call All Available (ID=20). I labeled these channels Profile PAGE and Profile CALL. (PIN used)

Channels 21-38: Public group IDs 1-18. Public groups do not use the PIN feature and function identical to the legacy DTRs. Public group IDs start at ID=1 identical to the legacy DTRs when the PIN is set to a non-zero value.

Channels 39-40: Public group IDs 19 and 20. I labeled these channels Public PAGE and Public CALL. These public group IDs will trigger Page All Available and Call All available in defaulted DLRs and defaulted DTR600/700 radios. Legacy DTR410/550/650 radios don't have the PIN feature and these IDs are normal public groups. A legacy DTR will trigger Call All Available and Page All Available in defaulted DLRs and DTR600/700 radios by using public group IDs 19 and 20. You can easily troll for defaulted DLRs and DTR600/700 radios this way.

Channels 41-45: Private Groups 1-5. Private groups do not use the PIN feature and program and operate identical to private groups in the legacy DTR410/550/650 radios.

Scan List: Scans Public Group IDs 1-10 and my Private Groups on hopset 1.


Notes:
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Public groups and Private groups do not use the PIN feature but will respond to Call All Available and Page All Available received from another radio. I recommend setting a PIN to a non-zero value even if you are not going to use any Profile ID mode channels to prevent your radios from getting trolled by these features. The correct PIN is required to trigger Call All Available and Page All Available in your radios when the PIN is set to a non-zero value.

The Profile ID Number (PIN) feature added some nice features but exposes some vulnerabilities that users should be aware of. The bottom line recommendation is set the PIN to a non-zero value, even if you are not going to use any Profile ID mode channels. Choose a PIN carefully so the last digits match the hopset you want to use. This is the only way to program the DLRs and DTR600/700 radios when you have mix of Profile ID, Public Group, and Private Group channels.
 
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