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Product Review
 
Radtel  RT-33
 
DMR UHF Handheld
TDMA  Tier II
 
 
John 'Miklor'
Apr 2017
 

 
 
 
DMR (General Info)
 
The RT-33 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:
-  1800mAh Li-Ion Battery
-  User Guide
-  Charger base
-  AC adapter
-  Belt clip
-  Side Cover
-  Antenna (UHF) – 4 1/4" (10.5cm)

1000 channels
250 zones 

Enclosure
 
The RT-33 case has a solid commercial feel, weight, and appearance.  It weighs in at 11.1 oz (315g) with the battery and antenna attached. The keypad has the traditional layout.
 

click to enlarge
Transmitter
 
The frequency range of the tested UHF transceiver is UHF 400-480 MHz. Along with DMR, the radio also supports FM, both Wide and Narrowband, as well as full functioning DTMF tones.
  
Audio reports were excellent and power levels were right where the should be.
 
RT-33 446 MHz
High 4.8
Low 1.1
 
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 yellow LCD backlight comes on when programming and when changing channels. To conserve battery, it backlight stays off when transmitting and receiving an incoming signal. The display area is 7/16" x 1 7/16"  (1.1 x  3.8cm) with clear resolution.
 

click to enlarge

Waterproof and Dustproof (IP67)
 
By definition, an IP-67 is the radio is protected from dust ingress, and will withstand being submerged in water up to 3' (1m) in depth.  (IP Rating Chart)
 
When the radio claims IP-67, I feel obligated to find out for myself (and you).  I fear this test the most, as I have had radios claim IP-67 and stop working after being submerged.

For the sake of the review, I submerged the radio into one foot of clear water for approximately 20 minutes.
-  After towel drying, I removed the battery and found no moisture.
-  After a couple of good hardy shakes, I turned up the volume.

The radio never missed a beat. I immediately put it on the air for an audio report and got an immediate thumbs up. If the radio can withstand a twenty minute soaking, I don't believe dust will be a problem either.
 
 
Programming
 
I found the software straight forward and easy to comprehend. If you are familiar with DMR programming basics, you should have no issues with the software.
 
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.
 
 
Programmable Side Buttons
 
There are four programmable buttons, each with dual function, for a total of eight function options. Three on the side and one on top. Options include power Hi/Lo, scanning, squelch, talkaround, VOX, etc.
 
 
Firmware
 
The firmware in the RT-33 is fully 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
 
The programming cable may look familiar as it very closely resembles that of a my Motorola cables.  Although the pin out is the same and the structure is virtually identical, a Motorola cable can be used, but requires a little shaving of the plastic.
 
If you're not handy with a Dremel tool, I would just purchase the proper cable from Radtel.
 
Accessories
 
The accessory jack on the side follows the same rules for compatibility as above. The pin out is the same as a Motorola, but not quite a fit.
 

Battery and Charger
 
A full day plus is standard with average use, and the battery can easily be charged overnight. The charger's indicator is a bright Red when charging, and Green when either fully charged or no radio in the cradle. The wall wart is a traditional 110AC > 12VDC.    
 
 
Transmit Audio

 
The RT-33 has plenty of transmit audio. No need to yell into the microphone. I found speaking across the front of the radio about an inch (2.5cm) from my face gets clean, undistorted sounding audio reports.
 
 
Conclusion
 
The RT-33 is a solidly built amateur radio transceiver, with plenty of options and the feel of a commercial transceiver. The IP-67 certification definitely past the Miklor waterproof test.  The audio and power It is a solid, good performing DMR transceiver which doubles as an FM transceiver on the same band.  The RT33 is a bit pricier than its brother (RT27D) and does not yet have Part 90 certification, but is still a good performing DMR transceiver.
 
 
 

 
Radtel  RT-33


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