Baofeng DM-5R warning.

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Posts: 98
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:23 am
Call Sign: G4EML

Baofeng DM-5R warning.

Postby g4eml » Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:51 pm

This is a warning to anyone that has been excited by the recent announcements for the Baofeng DM-5R dual band radio with DMR.

This radio currently only supports DMR Tier 1 operation.

Dmr Tier 1 is a basic implementation of the DMR protocol that uses constant carrier transmissions and does not pulse on and off as is required to support the two slot Tier 2 TDMA system used by repeaters.

Tier 1 was designed to allow cheap radios to be used in simplex mode only. As such the DM-5R would be fine as a PMR446 replacement offering digital speech but will not be usable on any of the amateur repeater networks. In fact trying to use it on such a network would cause significant interference to both timeslots and would almost certainly result in the user being blocked from the network.

There is a rumor that an upgrade may be available for an extra charge to convert the radio to tier 2 operation. However the one report I have seen from someone who claims to have done the upgrade said that all it does is upgrade the vocoder to allow simplex communication with tier 2 radios. It does not turn the radio into a TDMA radio.

I suspect the hardware design of the radio may not be able to support the necessary fast transmit/receive switching needed for tier 2.

So, until someone can confirm that the radio does actually support true tier 2 operation I would advise you not to order one unless you are happy with simplex only operation.

Colin G4EML

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Call Sign: m6oaf

Re: Baofeng DM-5R warning.

Postby Novice » Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:13 am

Weirdly enough I was discussing these at the weekend, and after some initial excitement of a dual DMR band radio for £60-70, I too found out this that this is currently a Tier-1 radio.

As you correctly state to be compatible with DMR Network the radio needs to be Tier-2, although some sellers are not mentioning this. Also for people hoping to buy then waiting for enhanced firmware to follow, some sellers are claiming that it should be available soon via a website for a small fee of around $10. Please see here ... i-upgrade/

Until the firmware is available and tested I would strongly suggest people hold off purchasing the DM-5R, there are other radios close to this price point that are known to work correctly, even if not dual band.


Posts: 98
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:23 am
Call Sign: G4EML

Re: Baofeng DM-5R warning.

Postby g4eml » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:18 am

The so called tier 2 update has been tested by several people now and confirmed that it does not work. All it does is add the AMBE vocoder. The radio remains a tier 1 radio but it can then communicate on simplex only with tier 2 radios. It does not work with TDMA tier 2 repeaters as used by all the amateur networks.

A tier 1 radio is much easier and cheaper to design than a tier 2. The RF stages can be identical to a normal FM radio as they do not need to meet the very strict switching times and performance required for TDMA operation. I suspect that this is the reason Beofung have gone down this route, they have just added the DMR baseband chip to the existing FM radio design. If this is the case then no firmware update is going to be able to make the hardware do something it is not capable of.

Posts: 98
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:23 am
Call Sign: G4EML

Re: Baofeng DM-5R warning.

Postby g4eml » Sat Dec 31, 2016 11:00 am

I have now heard a station using the DM-5R on the Phoenix network. I can confirm that although the radio appeared to work (apart from having very low audio) it was actually occupying both timeslots on the originating repeater. This confirms that even though the so-called Tier 2 update had been done it was still working as a Tier 1 radio.

Using these radios on any repeater is definitely not recommended. Doing so effectively make that repeater unusable on the second Timeslot, totally defeating one of the main advantages of DMR. It is up to the repeater keeper how such misuse is handled.

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Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2016 5:10 pm
Call Sign: G1MZW

Re: Baofeng DM-5R warning.

Postby g1mzw » Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:55 pm

I can confirm that the Baofeng DM-5R Plus is definitely not suitable for use on the DMR repeater network.

I bought one and programmed it up for GB7AV and GB7CT and monitored my first calls on the DMR Live monitor and it definitely transmits on both timeslots.

Although I am a bit disappointed with this issue it does mean that I can now monitor GB7CT without having being tied to a PC running DSD.

I just want to make sure that as many people as possible are aware of this issue with these radios. Please spread the word.

Ian (G1MZW)

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Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:23 am
Location: FN03iq
Call Sign: VA3KRS

Re: Baofeng DM-5R warning.

Postby VA3KRS » Sun Jan 01, 2017 3:00 pm

Colin G4EML:

Noticed your Baofeng DM-5R warning, hopefully some other buyers took note.

Several friends here in Toronto were going to buy one on eBay and asked me to research the radio for them beforehand and right away I noticed it did not support Tier II operation. Contacted Baofeng Support and got a slightly blank answer. Moral of the story is to research the Radio (or any) thoroughly before you purchase one. More than likely this DM-5R Model is a radio meant for local Commercial communications only and not really Ham use, until they upgrade the whole radio.

Anyways, one friend purchased the Connect Systems CS-580 Model instead which comes with their own Connect Systems enhanced software. He is going to loan it to me later for testing purposes and I will put together a review for one and all. By the way it is really a BFDX-503 Model in disguise, even the BFDX name shows on its photo on the CS website. Well built too. Not too sure about the 30 minutes under water test though... has imported a few Zastone D900 DMR HTs quite reasonable here and a few firends bought them, still awaiting reviews from them. Great radio and specs, although no GPS feature. Not a bad entry-level radio to consider, the programming software is reasonable to figure out.

Personally, I will buy the Radioddity GD-55 with GPS which seems to be the best radio other than a high-end Motorola (Radio of Gods). :mrgreen:

Kenneth Strom VA3KRS
Kenneth Strom VA3KRS

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