Baofeng DM-5R Buyer Beware

UPDATE: FOR THOSE THAT WILL NOT READ THE COMPLETE POSTING

THIS RADIO IF IT ONLY SUPPORTS TIER 1 DMR CAN ONLY BE USED IN SIMPLEX MODE AND THUS WILL NOT BE USEFUL TO ACCESS DMR-MARC REPEATERS OR THE BRANDMEISTER REPEATER NETWORK

THEY WILL BE USEFUL TO OPERATE AS A FRS OR GMRS RADIO IN DIGITAL DMR MODE ON TIME SLOT ONE

THE BAOFENG SERIES OF RADIOS HAVE BEEN FAITHFUL RADIOS AT A GREAT PRICE POINT OVER THE PAST YEARS AND AN IDEAL GO-KIT, GLOVE BOX, FIRST RADIO, 7TH RADIO, OR YOUR ONLY RADIO

BUT UNTIL Fujian Nanan Baofeng Electronic Co. CAN CONFIRM IF IT SUPPORTS TIER 2 THE PURCHASER OF THIS RADIO MAY NOT BE HAPPY IF THEY PLAN TO USE IT FOR DMR-MARC OR BRANDMEISTER REPEATER USE

THE 16 CHANNEL SELECTOR IS MISSING ON THE RADIO AS WELL

FOR MORE INFO ON THE STANDARDS GO TO http://dmr-marc.net/FAQ.html or http://ham-dmr.nl/?wpfb_dl=236

I have been alerted by several hundred emails about the launch of the new Baofeng DM-5R (I am the President of the Toronto Baofeng users group – TBUG) claiming a $70 us price and dual band capability. Baofeng China is not returning telephone calls or providing several evaluation units. Manuals , accessories or documentation is lacking. I have not found any FCC or IC type acceptance submissions.

If this is a real radio it well set the new standard for FRS and GMRS capabilities supporting the ETSI DMR standard. Interoperability with the DMR-MARC or Brandmeister Radio networks may be severely limited if initial research demonstrates this being a Tier 1 radio.

There is a lot of confusion about DMR and it is important to understand the various Tiers of operation.

Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) is a standard that has been developed by ETSI  – one of the world’s leading standards development organizations. Founded initially to serve European needs, ETSI has grown rapidly to become highly-respected as a producer of technical standards for worldwide use.

The ETSI DMR standard which sets out a digital radio specification for professional, commercial and private radio users. In practice, DMR manufacturers have focussed on building products for the professional and commercial markets for both licensed conventional mode operation (known as DMR Tier II) and licensed trunked mode operation (known as DMR Tier III). DMR is a two slot Time-Division Multiple Access (TDMA) system offering low cost and flexible digital voice and data solutions, and uses a well established 4FSK modulation scheme. The TDMA implementation in DMR offers a spectrum-efficiency of 6.25 kHz per channel whilst also giving the ability to deliver the advanced features that professional users require.

The standards that define DMR consist of four documents:

  • TS 102 361-1: the DMR air interface protocol
  • TS 102 361-2: the DMR voice and generic services and facilities
  • TS 102 361-3: the DMR data protocol
  • TS 102 361-4: the DMR trunking protocol

DMR TDMA also brings low infrastructure costs as one repeater can deliver two communication paths. DMR also offers great power efficiency. The standard is designed to operate within the existing 12.5kHz channel spacing used in licensed land mobile frequency bands around the word so making user migration from analogue to digital seamless.

DMR offers many benefits for a user to transition from analog to digital formats.

The ETSI DMR Standard defines three different tiers of operation

  • Tier I (unlicensed): DMR equipment works in Direct Mode (unit-to-unit) on public frequencies. Tier 1 DMR devices are best for individuals, recreation, small retail, or other situations that do not require wide area coverage. A repeater is not involved and it supports simplex transmissions.
  • Tier II (licensed conventional): This Tier is aimed to be a direct replacement for the analog conventional radio system. These DMR systems operate under individual licenses working in Direct Mode (unit-to-unit) or using a Base Station (BS) for repeating. It has a degree of wide-area coverage and is targeted at users “who need spectral efficiency, advanced voice features and integrated IP data services in licensed bands for high-power communications.”. This is for commercial users and is a typical business repeater system covering a city – wide area.
  • Tier III (licensed trunked): DMR trunking systems operate under individual licenses with a controller function that automatically regulates the communications. It also supports packet data services in a variety of formats, including support for IPv4 and IPv6. It is ideal for organizations looking to migrate from MPT-1327/EADS/LTR (logic trunked radio) systems or who want the full benefits of managed trunking, voice and data solution. This is for enterprise multi-site commercial users providing extended coverage across a provincial or even country boundary. This system has multiple repeaters.

If you have a Tier 1 radio, then the benefit to the user is digital format in a unit to unit direct mode environment. i.e. Simplex. This type of radio will not support Mototrbo offered by DMR-MARC or BRandmesster or standalone repeaters.

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24 comments

  1. Pingback: Baofeng DM-5R Buyer Beware by VE3IPS – YD4IRS
  2. Pingback: Baofeng DM-5R Buyer Beware by VE3IPS | Etere Blog
  3. Joseph Lederer · September 16, 2016

    Beware?

    Why?

    Maybe you can provide a link to some other source that can answer your screaming headline.

    Josh see the update that will clarify the specs for DMR and how the different tiers apply. This radio is not Tier 2 and will not work with the DMR-MARC or Brandmeister repeaters. If you need a DMR radio for simplex at the shopping mail then this radio is ideal. I plan on getting 2 for experimental purposes

    as per josh i have added links for further tech info

    this will be discussed at this sundays DMR TRansCanada Net http://dmrnet.blogspot.ca/

    Like

    • ve3ips · September 16, 2016

      Josh see the update that will clarify the specs for DMR and how the different tiers apply. This radio is not Tier 2 and will not work with the DMR-MARC or Brandmeister repeaters. If you need a DMR radio for simplex at the shopping mail then this radio is ideal. I plan on getting 2 for experimental purposes

      as per josh i have added links for further tech info

      this will be discussed at this sundays DMR TRansCanada Net http://dmrnet.blogspot.ca/

      Like

  4. Pingback: Baofeng DM-5R Buyer Beware by VE3IPS - iz4wnp - Italian Radio Station
  5. Pingback: DMR wird billiger… › HAMSPIRIT.DE
  6. Digital Ham · September 17, 2016

    Can you explain why we can’t use a Tier-1 on MARC or BrandMeister; by matching the TX/RX frequencies of a local repeater? Is there something in the DMR standard that makes the transmissions over-the-air for Radio->Radio, different than Radio->Repeater->Radio ? Thanks!

    The radio only supports Tier 1 which allows simplex transmissions. You need a radio that supports Tier 2. I use the Md-380 by Tytera, Vertex evx-539 and Motorola 6550

    Like

    • N9UPC · September 19, 2016

      DMR Tier I was designed for simplex and uses a FDMA scheme. When DMR portables came out they did not have the ability to do simplex in a Teir II fashion due to time sync issues using TDMA. Since that time simplex in Teir II, Tier II is what DMR-MARC and Brandmeister use, has been instituted.

      Like

  7. N9UPC · September 19, 2016

    Actually based on the info while it is DMR Tier I it transmits in FDMA which is almost similar to dPMR. I am not saying it is dPMR compatible.

    DMR Tier I is simplex but can also do duplex, which is what is claims that this radio can do, so the idea that because is says DMR does not mean it is TDMA two slot. Add the fact that DMR Tier II does simplex, but on 2 slot TDMA, is even more confusing.

    If someone buys this it would be interesting to see if it is compatible with dPMR or technology along the lines of NXDN or iDas. They use FDMA in a 12.5 Khz and 6.25 Khz spacing. I am going to venture it is like the other cheap chinese dPMR’s out there. DMR is only a buzz word with this radio and confusing.

    Like

    • ve3ips · September 19, 2016

      I understand its going to be pDMR support and NOT the DMR Tier 2 Support we expect so a great radio for FRS use at the mall. Hopefully, the chinese variants for Tetra start popping up so experiments with that mode can begin. I was very impressed with Tetra at the Pan Am Games and the Rio Olympics

      Like

  8. Pingback: Baofeng DM-5R update on specs – Ham Radio Reviews
  9. Andy Colla · September 21, 2016

    Hi. According to a seller (QualityEx) in Ali Express, it “supports DMR repeater function (DMR Tier I , supports Tier II if upgraded with less than $10)” (sic).
    I am not affiliated with them, by the way.
    Andy / PY1VHF

    Like

    • Bill Leaming · May 17

      @Andy Colla: No matter how Ali Express tries to spin this, the fact remains that even with the so-called Tier II upgrade is remains incompatible with Tier II systems. It transmits on BOTH timeslots simultaneously, and has been totally BANNED from use on any of the ham DMR networks, including Brandmeister, who are generally very liberal.

      Like

  10. Pingback: Baofeng DM-5R update on specs [UPDATED 21 Sep. 2016] – Ham Radio Reviews
  11. Bill Leaming · October 24

    For goodness sakes, the DM-5 is a TDMA DMR radio. As delivered it supports only Tier I. Tier II is a $10 firmware upgrade. On the other hand, according to at least one owner who’s received his with the Tier II upgrade, it transmits on both time slots simultaneously, which of course is a big NO-NO when using a repeater. I ordered one mainly because of the dual-band capability since I now have both UHF and VHF DMR repeaters in my part of NW Indiana. I haven’t received it yet, but if what my friend reported today is true, I will be demanding a refund (or PayPal charge back if necessary).

    Like

  12. elfnet · October 25

    This radio is cheap Chinese trash.. Baofeng is known to shit all over the RF spectrum. IDK what weirdness you people do in the EU with radios, but here in the states these radios would never be use “Professionally” bu any respected radio operator..
    Also these are not legal on FRS or GMRS in the US by any means.

    Like

  13. John · November 15

    Here it is, mid November, and still no Tier 2, even with their supposed upgrade and new upgraded models shipping. Its a dog and everyone got ripped off. I totally expected that when I read the initial specs…2 months ago. Yet, people still buy them :😃

    Like

  14. Chaplain Dave Sparks · December 20

    There’s an eBay listing for a DM-5R *PLUS* which reads:

    “Item Description
    Baofeng’s first digital radio with upgraded version is designed for most people to meet the new demand that own a great digital radio while not abandoning analog one. Upgraded DMR Chip. Meanwhile,DM-5R Plus can support DMR repeater function.Therefore, it is naturally compatible with Motorola radios with it’s Repeater Mode Time slot I, not requiring updating.”

    This sounds like the model with the FACTORY firmware update, which had been promised.

    Thats wonderful and Thanks for the update to the DMR community. I am happy with my Vertex and Motorola 4550. Hopefully a user/owner can chime in with an update when they open up their Christmas gift

    Like

  15. Leif · December 22

    I’ve the DM-5R Plus, It’s working Tier 1 / Tier 2 on receive but transmitting on both TS at the same time. In Scandinavia ALL DM-5R banned in Hamradio net (DMR and Brandmeister) So don’t buy this radio before Baofeng fix this to a real Tier2 mode !!!! If Not my DM-5R Plus will go to recycle station 😦
    Leif – OH0KCE

    Like

    • Bill Leaming · December 22

      It took over 3 months and an elevated PayPal dispute against SAIN3 (the seller’s account) before I finally received a refund on this defective piece of sketi… DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY!!!

      Like

  16. ve3ips · December 23

    Thanks Bill for the feedback on your purchase. I would really look to a radio proven to work like the trusty md-380 or the Connect Systems version

    Like

  17. Dave · 16 Days Ago

    Enter the GD-77 from Radioditty. Works as it should on Tier 2, slot 2. for about the same price as a single band MD-380. Also, can anybody determine if it’s LEGAL to take a couple of these DM-5R Plus (or equivalent) radios and put a repeater controller between them? Would be for LOCAL only, unless somebody comes up with a network interface that converts to Tier2, slot2 format. Then the multitude of us who have this radio would get them in full service.

    Editor Note: This is a new radio it seems and now we have a lot more selections to choose from to enjoy the DMR hobby. No wonder many are attracted to DMR by its low cost radios and dont need to spend $500 on a Kenwood or icom to get into digital modes

    Like

  18. Dave · 15 Days Ago

    Forgot to mention – it’s a dual band radio, 2 m./70 cm.

    Like

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