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My review of the Retevis RT10

WPXS472

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First, contrary to popular opinion, these are not vaporware. They actually exist, because I have 2 of them. They came with a programming cable, but not knowing that they would, I bought one off eBay. They feel good "in the hand" so to speak. They seem solid. Before doing any testing, I took one apart to see how they are built. Removing the battery reveals a die cast back. I removed the back and found a single circuit board attached to it by 8 screws, with the antenna connector having two additional ones. The front side of the casting has pockets and ridges which serve as shields. The board has components on both sides, with more on the front side. The components look to be assembled well. No left over flux, or sideways sitting parts. Everything looks as it should. They seem to use a transceiver on a chip philosophy, so popular today. The way the board is fastened to the casting made me believe they will be sturdy in use. With the batteries fully charged, I did some testing. I do not use DMR, and don't know a lot about it, so most of the testing was done in analog mode. I programmed 902, 915, and 928 MHz, with one channel having CTCSS, and the others carrier squelch. The power output is rated as 1 watt, and my two put out 1.2 for one, and just a little less for the other. This measured on a 8924C that hasn't been calibrated since I bought it, so let's just say that they meet spec. Frequency error was 90 Hz low for one, and 230 Hz low for the other. This is a big deal for me because at these frequencies, and with narrow band, errors that seem insignificant at lower frequencies can affect operation here. I consider the error to be acceptable. Receive sensitivity on carrier squelch is right at .18 uV for what my calibrated ears say is 12 dB SINAD. Once open, the squelch stays open down to just below .1 uV. CTCSS makes it a little more tight, opening at just above .2 uV, and closing again at about .15 uV. I didn't test scanning speed, as I only programmed 3 frequencies for test. Changes to the channel produce an announcement in a male voice I found easy to understand. I programmed one channel for DMR, selected a time slot, and color code. I also checked advanced encryption, just to see if it worked. Keying up in DMR mode resulted in a delay between speaking and being heard in the other radio. Speech had a kind of echo effect, probably due to the close proximity. It probably wouldn't do this at a distance. The wide/narrow bandwidth selection just adjusts the transmit deviation because even in narrow mode, the receiver could receive a 5 KHz deviation signal with only slight distortion. This might cause problems under some circumstances. One test I meant to do, but didn't was receiver spurious rejection. I still plan on doing it, and will post results when completed. I also plan on looking at the transmitted spectrum with a spectrum Analyzer when time permits. They can be programmed to operate out of band. I only wanted to see if it was possible. I won't go into how it is done, since there is no real reason to do so. I expect the range in use to be similar to modified commercial radios, or maybe a little less due to less power. I don't know when I will get around to doing an over the air test.
Overall, I am pleased with them. Why Retevis came out with such a radio, only they know. It seems illogical to me. There is a statement in the operator's manual that says it meets FCC part 15 rules. There is also a statement about having to have a license to operate radio equipment, but it seemed somewhat vague to me.
 

AK9R

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There is a statement in the operator's manual that says it meets FCC part 15 rules. There is also a statement about having to have a license to operate radio equipment, but it seemed somewhat vague to me.
Part 15 covers a wide range of electronic devices, including receivers. When a transceiver has Part 15 certification, that usually means that it meets FCC rules as a radio scanner and/or it doesn't inadvertently emit RF. In order to transmit with this radio in a service where the FCC requires certified radios, an FCC certification for that part (Part 80, Part 90, Part 95, etc.) is required.

While the operator's manual may have been vague about the need for a license, FCC rules are not vague on this point. In order to transmit in the Land Mobile Radio Service, General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS), Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS), or Amateur Radio Service, you must have a license issued by the FCC. But, I'm sure you knew that. ;)
 
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WPXS472

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The only service these could be legally used in would be Amateur. The statement regarding part 15 looked like it was for the receiver. I don't see any way the transmitter could be part 15 certified.
 

vagrant

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I am interested if they can perform at 1 mile, either open terrain or mixed inside building etc. I am also curious how well they work with other 900 MHz brand radios via analog simplex and or a repeater. Hmm...that's interesting (bizarre). One must contact them in order to download the manual and or programming software. I expect a reply of "coming soon" may be the answer.
 
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WPXS472

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Range is a difficult thing to predict. I would think they would perform maybe a little less well than a conventional business radio under the same conditions due to the lower power output. They should work well through a repeater. Transmit and receive frequencies are programmed independently, meaning there isn't a fixed offset. They also are capable of using all of the most common PL and DPL codes. I don't really know about DMR operation, since I have never used it. I think they would probably work with other DMR radios. I have other 900 radios, so I can program one up on the same frequency and see how they sound through one of the other radios. I'll have to get back to you on that.
 

alcahuete

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While the operator's manual may have been vague about the need for a license, FCC rules are not vague on this point. In order to transmit in the Land Mobile Radio Service, General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS), Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS), or Amateur Radio Service, you must have a license issued by the FCC. But, I'm sure you knew that. ;)
The only service these could be legally used in would be Amateur. The statement regarding part 15 looked like it was for the receiver. I don't see any way the transmitter could be part 15 certified.
All incorrect. These operate in the US ISM band, and no license is required. The transmitters and receivers are regulated under Part 15. The 33cm band is allocated to amateur radio operators on a secondary basis (ISM is the primary user). I suppose you could use these radios under the provision of your amateur license, but it absolutely 100% not required.

This is no different than how the Motorola DTR/DLR radios operate. Where things get messy, is that Part 15 operations in the ISM band require frequency hopping or digital transmissions. If you use this radio for non-frequency hopping analog transmissions, you would need to operate using an amateur radio license, as you are not covered under Part 15.
 

vagrant

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I found a different Retevis website that had links to the software, manual etc. (see below). I found the software straight forward and obviously channelized requiring a codeplug. No FPP here folks. The software is mostly pre populated with digital channels, with only four using analog and two of those either used CTCSS or DCS. The analog bandwidth setting allowed for 12.5 or 25k. Whether the radio actually can do both I don't know, but it is there in the software.

Power
You can use any power level you want, as long as it is High.

Encryption
Only available on digital mode channels.
Normal encryption is pre populated with four numeric key values
Enhanced encryption is pre populated with 32 numeric key values and one had alphanumeric.
I presume either Norm/Enha could be alphanumeric key values and I it appeared I could modify the keys directly. Whether it will save and the radio accept it is unknown.

Programmable buttons
It does have two buttons on the side that provide four options when using either a short, or long press on each one. These can be changed by the user such as VOX, Zone selection, Scan, etc.

Scan
Each channel can be set to scan, but I have a feeling when scan is enabled it will only scan through the channels selected in zone the radio is set to.

Frequencies
The highest frequency pre programmed is 927.025, leaving the 927.5 MHz call freq. more than likely free from Billy-Bob getting on there.

I just purchased a pair as I can use the digital mode with friends that don't have an amateur license, as well as see how well the encryption works, or not. Of course with my amateur license I can enjoy the analog side simplex or via a repeater. Now I just need a 100W amplifier and my 33cm Yagi to cook some hot dogs, as long as I ID every 10 minutes. :p

I was going to purchase some Motorola FHSS, but these radios cost much less as well as allowing me to use them for amateur as well. Still, we shall see what's what after they arrive in a week or so.

 
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WPXS472

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All incorrect. These operate in the US ISM band, and no license is required. The transmitters and receivers are regulated under Part 15. The 33cm band is allocated to amateur radio operators on a secondary basis (ISM is the primary user). I suppose you could use these radios under the provision of your amateur license, but it absolutely 100% not required.

This is no different than how the Motorola DTR/DLR radios operate. Where things get messy, is that Part 15 operations in the ISM band require frequency hopping or digital transmissions. If you use this radio for non-frequency hopping analog transmissions, you would need to operate using an amateur radio license, as you are not covered under Part 15.
I find your post a bit confusing. First, you state that my saying the only legal way to use these is with an Amateur license, is incorrect, then, at the end, you state that non frequency hopping mode would require an Amateur license. These are not spread spectrum radios, so I stand by my original statement. If you know of a section of Part 15 that allows license free use of THESE radios, please, please post it. I would be most interested in reading it.
 

alcahuete

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I find your post a bit confusing. First, you state that my saying the only legal way to use these is with an Amateur license, is incorrect, then, at the end, you state that non frequency hopping mode would require an Amateur license. These are not spread spectrum radios, so I stand by my original statement. If you know of a section of Part 15 that allows license free use of THESE radios, please, please post it. I would be most interested in reading it.
It is not confusing at all. Operating in the ISM band requires:

1) Frequency Hopping

or

2) Digital Transmission

Not both. You certainly can use both simultaneously, as Motorola does, but only one is required. If you use digital on these radios, you are covered under Part 15. If you use analog you need an amateur radio license. Pretty simple.
 

WPXS472

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Look, don't take my word for it. Look up CFR47, part 15 and read for yourself. It is spelled out pretty plainly what is allowed. If it isn't listed as allowed, it isn't. Oh, by the way, I checked the transmit on a spectrum analyzer, and no spurs within 50 MHz of the carrier. Equipment limitations prevented looking further out. Receiver spurious rejection is coming as soon as I can get the extra signal generator going.
 

WPXS472

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It is not confusing at all. Operating in the ISM band requires:

1) Frequency Hopping

or

2) Digital Transmission

Not both. You certainly can use both simultaneously, as Motorola does, but only one is required. If you use digital on these radios, you are covered under Part 15. If you use analog you need an amateur radio license. Pretty simple.
From 47CFGR part 15 Quote:

(2) Systems using digital modulation techniques may operate in the 902-928 MHz, 2400-2483.5 MHz, and 5725-5850 MHz bands. The minimum 6 dB bandwidth shall be at least 500 kHz.
 

vagrant

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@WPXS472 - Can you post a photograph of your antenna and or convey its length? I have observed two different antennas for that radio. I'm going to sweep mine when it arrives.

I ordered a pair of these radios via Amazon for $140 shipped with an additional $15 off coupon from that price. Anyways, the antenna on there is different from the Retevis website in all but one photo. We shall also see if it comes with a programming cable or not. At under $65 each, I will find out how well they work. I might be able to get it to 1.5W with a 6dBi antenna and a short run of coax for a vehicle mount. Ruling the airwaves with that extra half watt!! At least I will get that RF out of my face and out of the vehicle.
 

alcahuete

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Look, don't take my word for it. Look up CFR47, part 15 and read for yourself. It is spelled out pretty plainly what is allowed. If it isn't listed as allowed, it isn't. Oh, by the way, I checked the transmit on a spectrum analyzer, and no spurs within 50 MHz of the carrier. Equipment limitations prevented looking further out. Receiver spurious rejection is coming as soon as I can get the extra signal generator going.
Yes, you really need to read Part 15. It will tell you exactly what I listed above.
 

WPXS472

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@WPXS472 - Can you post a photograph of your antenna and or convey its length? I have observed two different antennas for that radio. I'm going to sweep mine when it arrives.

I ordered a pair of these radios via Amazon for $140 shipped with an additional $15 off coupon from that price. Anyways, the antenna on there is different from the Retevis website in all but one photo. We shall also see if it comes with a programming cable or not. At under $65 each, I will find out how well they work. I might be able to get it to 1.5W with a 6dBi antenna and a short run of coax for a vehicle mount. Ruling the airwaves with that extra half watt!! At least I will get that RF out of my face and out of the vehicle.
That's a better price than what I paid direct from Retevis. I think I checked Amazon and didn't see them. Good catch. The antennas on mine are about 9 inches long, and look a lot like the ones on my Motorola radios of the same band. I want to check the return loss with my nano vna, and compare to the Motorola antennas. I remember seeing one picture on the Retevis website where they had a short antenna. I had planned to change them out, but now, I don't think I will.
 

WPXS472

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Which is not where I'd expect to find whole-number harmonics of the fundamental.
I agree. I can't check for harmonics because of equipment limitations. The reason I checked where I did was because I have often heard that Chinese made radios emit a lot of spurs. These don't seem to.
 

WPXS472

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Yes, you really need to read Part 15. It will tell you exactly what I listed above.
Yes, I did, and it supports what I posted.
I regret even saying anything regarding the legality of these. What was meant to be a review of a new radio devolved into hair splitting about the interpretation of FCC rules. In the greater scheme of things, It hardly matters if they are legal or not. I can't see anyone getting in trouble for using them, legal, or not.
 

vagrant

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The radio does not come up in a search on Amazon. I searched using Google and it linked to Amazon, but the language was Spanish in the link details and on the Amazon page. I had to reset my language settings back to English on Amazon after viewing the link. Anyways, the antennas on Amazon appear to be shorter. I received tracking info for ground shipping (label created) yesterday, so I may have them next week.

 

WPXS472

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The radio does not come up in a search on Amazon. I searched using Google and it linked to Amazon, but the language was Spanish in the link details and on the Amazon page. I had to reset my language settings back to English on Amazon after viewing the link. Anyways, the antennas on Amazon appear to be shorter. I received tracking info for ground shipping (label created) yesterday, so I may have them next week.

Did you opt for expedited shipping? It costs more, but I got mine in 8 days, including a weekend. I think they listed regular shipping at somewhere between 20 and 30 days. But, if you ordered through Amazon, then that's a different thing. Good luck with them. I think they are pretty well made. If you aren't used to 900, you may get a few surprises. Sometimes, you can be pretty disappointed, and others pretty amazed at how well it works.
 

vagrant

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Advised delivery time of July 28 - August 4. I did not option for faster delivery as I am not in a rush. It does not show shipped yet, but it is shipping via UPS.

As to 900 MHz I have used the Motorola DTR700 handhelds with FHSS, as well as a regular Moto handheld with 900 that was loaned for testing. I use two Motorola 900 mobiles as well. One is an old GTX and the other is a Spectra. If the Retevis perform as expected, I know several other amateurs around here will purchase pairs for themselves as well. We had two 900 repeaters, but one burned in a nearby fire last year. I am unsure if the owner will replace it. Hmm...now that I think about it, a club I am with was looking to put up a 900 repeater as well and link it in. I guess I should get that going as I am the one who would configure and install it. ha!
 
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