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Product Review
 
Radtel  RT-27D
 
DMR UHF Handheld
TDMA  Tier II
 
 
John 'Miklor'
Feb 2017
 

 
 
 
DMR (General Info)
 
The RT-27D is tested and confirmed as DMR Tier II.

There are several digital standards used in ham radio. These include:
-  DMR (widely used by Motorola MotoTRBO)
-  D-Star (used by Icom)
-  C4FM Fusion (developed by Yaesu). 
Other standards include P25, dPMR, NXDN, etc.

Even though the above radios are all 'digital', they will not compatible as their formats differ. Before purchasing this radio, be sure to confirm the digital standard required.
 
 

In the Box

Included with the radio are the:
-  1600mAh Li-Ion Battery
-  25 Page User Guide – English
-  Charger base
-  AC adapter
-  Belt clip
-  Antenna (UHF) – 4 1/4" (10.5cm)

1000 channels
250 zones
 
Enclosure
 
The RT-27D case has a solid feel, weight, and appears very durable.  It weighs in at 9.5 oz (270g) with the battery and antenna attached. The keypad has the traditional layout.
 

click to enlarge
Transmitter
 
The frequency range can be either VHF 136-174 or UHF 400-480 MHz. The one chosen for this review was the UHF model. Along with DMR, the radio also supports FM, both Wide and Narrowband, as well as full functioning DTMF tones.
 
Radio is FCC Part 90 certified - AUJPXDZ800U002
 
OTA audio reports are excellent and power levels were right where the should be.
 
RT-27D 446 MHz
High 4.6
Low 0.6
 
Receiver
 
The receiver sensitivity is excellent, and the audio quality is clear, loud, and undistorted with good frequency response. There is a clear channel alert that lets you know that the incoming signal has dropped. Since there is no squelch tail with digital, this is a convenient option to have.
  
 
Antenna
 
The UHF antenna is 4 1/4" (10.5cm) long.
If a higher gain antenna is desired, an antenna with a standard SMA-F connector can replace the existing one, although the included antenna performs quite well.
 
 
Display
 
The radio has an LCD (shown below). The yellow backlight comes on when programming and changing channels. To conserve battery, it stays off when there is an incoming signal or when transmitting. Display area is 7/16" x 1 7/16"  (1.1 x  3.8cm) with clear resolution.
 

click to enlarge
Programming
 
If you are entering the world of DMR for the first time, be aware that programming a digital radio is a bit different from a standard FM transceiver. Although the FM side is similar, the digital side requires a bit more in depth knowledge.
 
You will learn to be familiar with the word 'Codeplug'. This contains the information necessary to access you local DMR repeater, and connect you to the worldwide network.
 
Note: Although the code plugs are not interchangeable, G6AMU's MD380 Code Plug Editor v0.0.65 can be used to make changes. This indicates that there are similarities between the two pieces of hardware.
 
 
Software
 
The factory software is fairly straight forward, but again, contains terminology that may require a bit of research. Once you are familiar with the terminology, everything will fall into place.     
 
 
Programmable Side Buttons
 
There are four programmable buttons, each with dual function, for a total of eight function options. Three on the side, one on the top. Options include power Hi/Lo, scanning, squelch, talkaround, VOX, etc.
 
Firmware
 
The firmware in the RT-27D is upgradable. As changes and upgrades are available, the firmware can be updated with a standard Windows PC, so you'll always have access to the latest model version.
 
 
Programming Cable
 
This the most user friendly programming cable I've seen yet. Below the Spkr/Micr connection is a micro-USB port. This is the programming cable connection. The UART programming chip is in the radio, not the cable. A standard USB to micro-USB cable gets the job done.  That will save you a few dollars right of the top.
 
Accessories
 
The accessory jack on the side requires a HYT style plug. This is not the same as the familiar Kenwood K-1 as the two input holes are more closely spaced. Kenwood accessories will not work on this radio. 
 
Battery and Charger
 
I can easily get a full day out of the radio if it's fully charged. An exhausted battery will easily reach full charge over night. The indicator is a bright Red when charging, and Green when either fully charged or no radio in the cradle. The wall wart is the traditional 110v > 9VDC.    
 
 
Transmit Audio

 
The transmit audio on the RT-27D tends to run a bit on the plus side. The radio does not have an audio adjustment, so remember, loud audio does not equal to good audio.
When I speak directly into the microphone with the radio resting on my cheek, the audio tends to muffle. Holding the radio approximately an inch (2.5cm) away talking across the front produces full, clear, and undistorted audio.
 
A 'Parrot' test is one way to monitor audio, as well as an over-the-air contact.
Another way is listening to your audio using Hoseline. This is a BrandMeister PC DMR scanning program that allows you to listen to your signal live.  There is an audio and spectrum indicator on the display. If your audio exceeds 4 on the VU meter, or bouncing into the caution zone of the spectrum indicator, you may need too back away just a bit.
 
 
Conclusion
 
The RT-27D is a solidly built amateur radio transceiver, with plenty of options.  It is a solid, well performing UHF DMR transceiver wit h a commercial Part 90 certification that doubles as an FM transceiver.  Another good option for getting started in the world of DMR.
 
 
 
Available from:  Amazon
 
 

 
Radtel  RT-27D


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