Dual Band DMR Handheld
TDMA Tier I / II
VHF / UHF
The TYT MD-2017 is a true Dual Band band (UHF / VHF) DMR handheld with dual mode capability that can be used as either an FM analog transceiver or Tier II DMR digital.
Dual Band Operation
When programming the zones for this radio, there are two sets of 64 channels for each zone. 64 channels for the upper display, and 64 for the lower. My configuration is for DMR UHF on one display, and the local VHF analog on the other.
OTA audio reports are excellent and power levels on analog were respectable. Rated at 5W, the radios put out closer to 4W into a calibrated Bird Termaline wattmeter.
The receiver sensitivity is very good on both digital and analog. I found the audio quality is clear, loud, and undistorted. The radio has the characteristic tone option that will let you know the signal has dropped.
The MD-2017 case has a solid feel, weight, and durability that gives the impression that if the radio is dropped, the concrete would crack before the case would. It weighs in at a hefty 10.2 oz (289g) with the battery attached. The battery removal design makes battery replacement quick and easy. A slight pull on the Open tab releases the latch on the bottom and the battery slides off very smoothly.
I do have a concern about the durability of the hinged clip. If the radio is dropped and the clip fractures, the case has no way of holding the battery in place.
I also found the PTT switch required noticeably more pressure as compared to other radios I have. The MD380, TD9800, and XPR7550 for example require a much lighter press to key the transmitter.
The included dual band antenna is 6″ which is a fairly common size for a handheld. The wider base helps with the waterproofing properties of the radio.
Although the standard antenna seemed to do a respectable job, using the RSSI reading from a UHF repeater 15 miles up the road, I found that there was a very noticeable improvement by using an upgraded antenna. If you are close enough to your local repeater, I would use the stock antenna, but if you’re on the fringe, you may want an upgrade.
Be cautious, however, if using a replacement antenna. The connector on the radio is a bit longer than most and a different antenna may not screw all the way to the base. This could fracture the connector if the replacement antenna meets with a heavy impact. If the new antenna does not screw down to the base, a grommet or spacer is recommended.
If you are entering the world of DMR for the first time, be aware that programming a digital radio is a lot different than an FM transceiver. Although the FM side is similar, the digital side requires a bit more in depth knowledge. I recommend that you find someone in your area that can help by supplying an initial template to start you on the right path. I’ve done code plugs for several radios over the past years and although the software may vary, the basic code plug procedure is the same for most.
This radio can be programmed via the front panel, but this is not for the faint of heart. The factory software is fairly straight forward, but again, contains terminology that may require a bit of research. A little intimidating at first, but call it a basic learning experience.
Battery and Charger
2200mAh battery / 180mAh standby = 12.2 hours.
The 2017 draws 1.6A when transmitting analog and 900mAh DMR which will reduce battery life additionally. My recommendation is to run low power and purchase a spare battery to take you through the entire day.
The charger base itself requires a standard 12vdc wall wart (included). The LED bar on the front of the charger is unmistakable. Red when charging, and Green when either fully charged or no radio in the cradle.
– True Tier II DMR
My personal concerns are the:
The MD-2017 is solidly built with plenty of options, geared more for hams than commercial use. It performs well and makes a nice addition to the ham shack.