Tytera MD-380 Initial Impressions

DMR is the hot new digital mode that everybody seems to want a piece of, even though it’s been around for several years. The real reason everyone’s been jumping aboard is the rise of inexpensive DMR portables, specifically ones like Tytera’s MD-380.

For $170 US you get a fully functional UHF digital radio that can do both conventional analog 70cm as well as DMR communication. Previously radios like the XPR line from the big M were going for upwards of $500 used, so this is a welcome price drop. It’s not unlike how Baofeng revolutionized entry-level radios a few years ago when they came out with a dual-band HT for $35. Now people with a modest budget will be able to get on DMR repeaters and talk to people all over the world, without a costly HF rig.

I was able to get my hands on one of the 380’s for cheap and have been playing around with it for the past few weeks.

This is not the first TYT radio I’ve owned, however, as my mobile rig for two years was the TH-9000D, a real workhorse of a mobile rig that did everything I ever wanted and still works great to this day, although it’s been replaced with my old new favorite, the Motorola MCS2000 which I’ll talk about in another post. TYT as a brand is really an “in-between” brand, acting as a bridge between those dern bowfungs and the likes of Yaesu, Kenwood, and similar. They’re by no means a bottom of the barrel brand, and their products are much more solid and durable than the cheap HT’s we’ve come to know quite well. Like the 9000D, the MD 380 really impressed me with its feature-set/price ratio. As I mentioned above, DMR radios never used to be this cheap and you were lucky to find a used Motorola for anything even close to the price of this thing.

I’ll be putting a full review up next week if I can, and I’ll be sure to cover all the little quirks and rather interesting bits of information I’ve gathered from using this radio for a few weeks now.

Stay tuned!

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