Which DMR Radio (ideally around US$100) for scanning?

Gadgeteer2000

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Hello all, I am thinking about getting a DMR Radio to be used (also) as scanner.

There are many radios on Amazon for around $100 and the features are not very easy to compare.

What radio would you recommend?

I am in the process of getting my HAM ticket - so I would want to use the radio for transmitting too, but scanning would be a key aspect. I will also set up a hotspot so that will make sure that I have network access (not sure yet how the local repeaters are reachable from my home - but the hotspot will solve that challenge).

Thank you for your recommendations!
 

Hit_Factor

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Anytone 878UVii plus.

None of the other radios come even close to the feature set. VHF and UHF, 4000 channel memory, 500,000 contact list, APRS send and receive, DMR, Conventional, drop in charger, all day battery, bluetooth. Really wide transmit and receive.

Yep, it's more than double your budget.

The cheap DMR radios have limited memory, fail to decode DMR frequently and you just hear the hammering of raw DMR signal. Save your money, instead of wasting 100 bucks, get something you can use, especially once you get your ticket.

Be careful with the model numbers, Anytone has several similar models out there.

 

wa8pyr

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Anytone 878UVii plus.

None of the other radios come even close to the feature set. VHF and UHF, 4000 channel memory, 500,000 contact list, APRS send and receive, DMR, Conventional, drop in charger, all day battery, bluetooth. Really wide transmit and receive.
Second. The 878UViii+ is the most economical option available when you consider all the possibilities such as feature set, etc.
 

jaspence

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Around $100, the GD-77 is decent. The Btech 6x2 and Anytone radios are high end of hobby grade. Both built on the same chassis with different firmware options but also more than double the price and more complex to program. I have both and grading them on just the regular DMR functions for local repeater use don't see a lot of difference. For the best receive, you need a radio with a superhet receiver, which is not found in most ham grade DMR radios.
 

N4KVE

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On the forums it’s discussed many times how these new radios are poor scanners as they scan VERY SLOWLY. I remember years ago having an Icom W-32 which scanned so fast, the freq’s literally flew by & you couldn’t read them on the screen. Today’s CCR radios do not display the channels as they scan, & many owners regret their decision to buy them as scanners. The Anytone seems to be a decent radio for DMR ham use, but not good as a scanner unless the tortoise slow speed doesn’t matter to you.
 

tweiss3

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Does Anytone offers 878UViii+ features but in a mobile higher power version?
Thanks
Yes, the AT-D578UVIII PLUS, which is actually a tri-band (2m, 220MHz, 70cm)
 

n9upc

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While it seems that you want to keep cost down I must make the suggest of using a scanner. Now, this is not because I am wanting to act like the scanner police but I have personally found that a scanner performs better in two areas.
#1 - Scan rate and abilities
#2 - The ability to monitor some systems

As an example I was looking at monitoring a DMR Tier 3 system and using an Anytone and even a few others I could not monitor the system. After upgrading my 436HP and now adding a SDS-100 into the mix I find that I can monitor systems with great ease, determine LCN's, etc. Granted if you are planning to listen to a simple Tier II system then this will work.

If you are planning to use it for more than an amateur radio then go with a scanner. If using it for amateur purposes then I suggest the Anytone AT-D878UVII Plus. I am currently using two as a demo on my system and they seem to be working great for roaming, on dual band systems, and feature set for seasonal customers.
 

brownalan

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I made my first venture into DMR in mid-June when MTCRadio put the Tyt MD-UV380 on sale for $59. It may have been a closeout, since they no longer seem to have any in stock.

My story sounds a lot like yours, as I was able to get into one local repeater. But there is very little traffic. So, I found a hotspot on sale on the HRO site and got it up and running. Love it.

Just this week I figured out how to program the local 911 repeater which dispatches fire and ems in the parish (county). I am only listening to that one public service DMR system, so technically I am not “scanning”, but for $59 new, I am happy with the Tyt.
 

BabaDude77

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Is it possible to monitor a DMR site or network(RX or listen only) without having your radio ID registered to the network(such as DMR Marc)? My understanding is the site can stun or kill your radio if it tries to connect to the site without your radio ID being registered with the network. I am asking as I too don’t have my ham license yet but would still like to listen and learn.
 

Gadgeteer2000

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Is it possible to monitor a DMR site or network(RX or listen only) without having your radio ID registered to the network(such as DMR Marc)? My understanding is the site can stun or kill your radio if it tries to connect to the site without your radio ID being registered with the network. I am asking as I too don’t have my ham license yet but would still like to listen and learn.
I am in the same boat (would like to listen but no HAM license yet - working on getting license now...): my understanding is that in order to use a (proper) DMR radio you need a code plug, and for the code plug you need your proper ID (which you can get only if you have a HAM call sign).
However using a radio scanner one CAN listen to DMR traffic, and on a scanner you do not need any radio id. I am not sure if this "pure scanner" experience can be replicated on a DMR radio for someone who does not have a proper ID (and related HAM call sign) - so far I think it cannot.
Killing the radio - do not think so. This is a feature (as far as I know) YOU need to enable on your radio and then a third party can kill it. But if you do not enable it, then it cannot be killed from outside. (I think the idea here is for corporate radios - if they get stolen / lost the corporate admin can kill them, so for those radios it is part of the setup protocol to enable this feature; while for the hobby user this feature most likely would not be enabled)
 

BabaDude77

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I am in the same boat (would like to listen but no HAM license yet - working on getting license now...): my understanding is that in order to use a (proper) DMR radio you need a code plug, and for the code plug you need your proper ID (which you can get only if you have a HAM call sign).
However using a radio scanner one CAN listen to DMR traffic, and on a scanner you do not need any radio id. I am not sure if this "pure scanner" experience can be replicated on a DMR radio for someone who does not have a proper ID (and related HAM call sign) - so far I think it cannot.
Killing the radio - do not think so. This is a feature (as far as I know) YOU need to enable on your radio and then a third party can kill it. But if you do not enable it, then it cannot be killed from outside. (I think the idea here is for corporate radios - if they get stolen / lost the corporate admin can kill them, so for those radios it is part of the setup protocol to enable this feature; while for the hobby user this feature most likely would not be enabled)

I can create the code plug using the provided cps software from the manufacture ( I’m currently looking at a tyt md-uv 380) and have already started creating a CP with just analog FD and ems freq’s in my area. But not sure if the DMR sites can be accessed without the registered ID. I believe the site freq’s color codes and time slots and tgids are common knowledge from DMR sites just don’t know if they can be heard without a registered radio. Guess I can always try and see what happens ?
 

Gadgeteer2000

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I can create the code plug using the provided cps software from the manufacture ( I’m currently looking at a tyt md-uv 380) and have already started creating a CP with just analog FD and ems freq’s in my area. But not sure if the DMR sites can be accessed without the registered ID. I believe the site freq’s color codes and time slots and tgids are common knowledge from DMR sites just don’t know if they can be heard without a registered radio. Guess I can always try and see what happens ?
A few thoughts:
- You do not need a registered radio to just listen - as it is done easily done with Uniden / Whistler etc. digital scanners.
- A DMR radio as long as it has a promiscuous or monitoring mode (not all do) can listen to any traffic (without knowing time slots and similar) - but you have to be ON the network to listen. However in order to get on, your radio has to be activated (associated) with the network via its id. Or at least that is my understanding.
And on a related note: one can also use the DroidStar android app to listen in the same way - but that app does not even start without you entering a valid ID (and it does check the validity of the ID before anything)
 

N4KVE

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A few thoughts:
- You do not need a registered radio to just listen - as it is done easily done with Uniden / Whistler etc. digital scanners.
- A DMR radio as long as it has a promiscuous or monitoring mode (not all do) can listen to any traffic (without knowing time slots and similar) - but you have to be ON the network to listen. However in order to get on, your radio has to be activated (associated) with the network via its id. Or at least that is my understanding.
And on a related note: one can also use the DroidStar android app to listen in the same way - but that app does not even start without you entering a valid ID (and it does check the validity of the ID before anything)
That all depends on the settings the repeater owner uses. The local repeater is usually locked down so only registered users can access the repeater. But when the Orlando Ham Fest comes to town, he opens it to anybody. And as for promiscuous mode, just because you hear activity on a strange TG doesn’t mean you can use it. The 2 repeater owners have a private TG they use when testing their repeater. They don’t want to disturb the other users. So one guy has a CCR, & using that “hear everything” feature hears the owners talking on their private TG. He then decides to use that TG to talk to his friends. The repeater owner straightened them out.
 
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