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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | TYT MD380 Help

Reviews Summary for TYT MD380
TYT MD380 Reviews: 26 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $175
Description: DMR/MotoTrbo Digital Handheld
Product is in production.
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W9JTC Rating: 5/5 Aug 9, 2017 09:36 Send this review to a friend
Very Nice HT  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just purchased the MD-380 and with the help of the local repeater owner I got the code plug and am on DMR. The audio is outstanding for an HT. Will really enjoy using this HT. If you want to try DMR this is the radio to get. Most users are using this radio. The reason is price and features.
N8RAT Rating: 5/5 Jul 18, 2017 07:34 Send this review to a friend
Great Value Ė Good Quality  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
While Iím normally not impressed with many of the products coming out of China, especially amateur radio gear, I have to admit Iím impressed with this little gem. Iíve had the rig about a year and am just amazed with its digital and even analog performance and capabilities.

The DMR transmit audio is very clear with good frequency response. Surprisingly it has a bit better transmit audio reproduction than my Motorola XPR-4550 with more pronounced highs.

Receive audio is loud and clear with minimal distortion even as you approach higher volume levels. While not quite as loud as my Motorola XPR-6550, it does a decent job in filling the room with adequate volume.

On the analog side, the transmit audio response is good and shows deviation levels approaching 4.5 KHz on my H/P service monitor, unlike many other Chinese rigs Iíve tested which barely crack 3 KHz with anemic sounding audio using the wideband settings.

Analog receive seems to do a respectable job in the high RF environments in which I work as a broadcast engineer. While not of the quality of Motorola portables I often use, it appears to be on par with other Amateur gear in handling strong nearby signals. Other Chinese radios I have used in the same locations have failed miserably.

The MD-380 UHF radio is packaged with 2 antennas. While I have used the smaller one in fairly short hops to the local repeater, I suggest using the longer one as it performs noticeably better.

Battery life is quite impressive. A group of us used the MD-380s fairly heavily at Dayton this year in simplex mode and were able to operate all day without swapping battery packs. Mine showed about half-life at the end of the day.

About the only issue I have with the rig is when operating in scan mode. The MD-380 seems to have occasional difficulty in stopping on active talk groups, even when in very strong areas of repeaters.

The supplied programming software is fairly straight forward but does appear to have some occasional bugs. My experience is the factory software seems to occasionally lock up and sometimes require a restart. However it appears to be much more stable under XP as opposed to Win-7 or 10, even when running under XP emulation. I would expect TYT to continue making improvements in this area. There are other sources of software that are showing up and I have been trying various versions that have recently become available with very good results.

Considering the MD-380 is available for under $80, it is truly an amazing value. It is certainly a very cost effective way to explore the digital world, especially when compared to other digital voice modes.

I rate the MD-380 a 5.0 though I think it probably deserves a 4.5. However since that rating is not available here, I will give it the benefit of the doubt in hopes that TYT will perhaps address the minor quirks that I have experienced.
WB8ROL Rating: 5/5 May 3, 2017 20:53 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my MD-380 since November of 2015. I purchased it at the Ft. Wayne, IN hamfest from a reputable ham radio dealer.

I have had ZERO problems with it. It did take me a while to understand how DMR works and how to program the rig properly. However, that is not a reflection on the radio. It's a reflection on me.

I have used it daily on the local UHF repeater which has great coverage. I mostly operate on local talk group but it works well on all talk groups supported by the local 5 repeaters.

Anyone who thinks it is junk must have bought a bad radio or doesn't know how to use it and the software. We have 30-50 local users and most of the users have a TYT MD-380 and the only problem they have had is grasping how DMR and the radio works.

I highly recommend this radio. And buy it from a reputable ham radio business!
W5GIF Rating: 5/5 May 3, 2017 16:04 Send this review to a friend
Great little rig  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
OK, this is my second review.
Long story short, after having my friend do the "hack" and use Travis Goodspeed programming yes this VHF radio does hear MOTOTRBO which as what I wanted in the first place.
AND the UHF model works absolutely great on DMR.
So all is good now.
VE6BGM Rating: 4/5 Apr 18, 2017 20:44 Send this review to a friend
Not too bad  Time owned: more than 12 months
Unlike the previous review, I did not buy from eBay. I have had this radio for over 2 years, have kept it updated, used code plugs from the internet and used programming software with absolutely no problem. I do not know where the previous reviewer got his programming software from but it sounds like this is more of a problem than the radio. One thing I don't like is the beep has no volume control. But other than that, I have no other negative comments.
KD0MVB Rating: 0/5 Apr 18, 2017 10:39 Send this review to a friend
Bought one these on ebay  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Very bad experience, bought 1 on Ebay, total garbage including the software and programming cable.

The software filled my computer with viruses, had to pay $500 to computer shop to get them removed.

Programming cable would not work either, all radio did was flash red and green light, no display, no sound. So I returned it for a full refund.

Opted for the Connect Systems CS-580 instead, which offers tier 1 & 2, glad I found it. I wouldn't recommend the TYT to anyone is is a cheap piece of junk. The Connect Systems offers repeater scanning works right out of the box for a few dollars more than the TYT and more features.
KY4TS Rating: 5/5 Jan 10, 2017 12:15 Send this review to a friend
Great entry level choice!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Bought this on sale at Dayton in 2016. It was my entry into DMR, of which I knew little to nothing. After waiting for my ID to appear in the database and a day of reading the manual and checking out a few Youtube videos, I had the radio programmed and working just fine. It has good audio in and out, very good battery life, if you program your receive groups properly, and is built very solid. Other than the typical Chinese to English user manual, I can't think of anything I would want different on this radio. Except a USB computer interface, but at less than a $100, that isn't a deal breaker.
SM3WEO Rating: 5/5 Dec 10, 2016 17:44 Send this review to a friend
Amazing radio.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
For the price, what you get is nothing less than amazing. A rock solid radio with realy good audio. Why this HT doesn't cost three times as much baffles me because it is realy well built and put togeather. The software is also realy good and easy to understand. If you have prior experience with programming Motorola MotoTRBO, you will see where they got their influences from. All the way down to the sound the radio makes when you turn it on. It's the mototrbo sound, minus one note. Sneaky bastards. ;) The only thing i realy have to complain about, if anything, is that the charger is the slowest charger known to man. It takes forever. It's an over-night charger with nothinf "rapid" what so ever about it. BUT it gets the job done..eventually, so while you sleep, let it do it's thing. And if you want to enhance your experience, buy a bendable rubber antenna because the one that comes with the unit is made of hard plastic. All and all, you'll love it.
KJ6VTP Rating: 4/5 Nov 8, 2016 10:20 Send this review to a friend
Great radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Several in our local group decided to give DMR a try. We did not want to get to far down the rabbit hole cost wise and decided on the MD-380 from TYT. At about $110 online, the MD-380 was a good entry level radio. The radio arrived in short order and my initial reaction was that it is a solid radio. It fits well in the hand. The display is easy to read. The MD-380 is a UHF only radio. Most DMR repeaters are UHF. The radio came with a drop-in charger, belt clip, 2000mAh battery, programming cable, and 2 antennas. 1 stubby UHF about 4" long, and a second one about 14" long. Audio is very good. And the radio can get quite loud. It does distort a bit once you go to about 3/4 volume.

DMR is a very different animal than the regular analog world. You have to create, or download a "code plug" that sets up the radio with the needed configuration to work with repeaters. There is no programing from the keypad. The included programing cable looks just like any other Chinese radio programming cable - but it is not. The USB end of the cable is actually empty, i.e. passthrough. The radio itself is the USB interface. So if you try to use your Baoefeng/Wouxun/TYT, etc cable, you will get nowhere.

I am not going to go to far into DMR as that could get quite long, quite fast. You will be doing a lot of reading, applying for your DMR ID, etc. And you probably already know some of this if you are considering this radio. I will say the MD-380 worked very well on the predominantly Brandmeister systems we have here in the Bay Area. Audio is clear (for DMR), the range of the radio is very good, even with the stubby antenna, and battery life has been excellent. I should also mention the MD-380 will work with analog UHF repeaters and I am happy to say, it is one of the better sounding analog HT's I have heard. It works very well on analog. And with 1000 channels, you have plenty of room for your DMR and analog repeaters. There is an active MD-380 community for help, code plugs, and firmware updates.

So what are the gotcha's? For one, I have used dual receive HT's for a while now. DMR radios can scan, but I prefer dual receive (not dual watch). Also, the first MD-380 I received would not take a code plug. I was instructed to do a firmware update, but that left the radio in a looping reboot. The first hint was, of course, that uploading to the radio was failing out of the box. But since it was an Amazon purchase, it went right back in the box. The second radio I received has worked perfectly. I was able to take the existing code plug I had been working on, that wouldn't upload, and uploaded it straight away to the replacement radio. And just like that I was on DMR. Any other "gotchas" are DMR or code plug related, and can be resolved with some community help and a lot of reading.

Overall I think this is a great radio to begin your journey into the world of DMR.
KK4MHI Rating: 5/5 Sep 4, 2016 21:28 Send this review to a friend
Excellent DMR radio  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The MD-380 was my first DMR radio. Didn't want to dump a lot of money into a trial product.
I must say, this thing blows me away with it's excellent audio quality (receive & send) as well as it's expanded functionality provided one "hacks" it to load up the latest experimental firmware on it.
With the very latest d13.020 experimental firmware (that's right, Goodspeed & Co. have moved on from the older firmware to the new vocoder firmware) you can load the ENTIRE - yes, the ENTIRE - DMR ID database on it so it shows you not only the callsign of the person transmitting but their location as well, all taken from the latest DMR MARC ID database. Very easy to update as well via the md380tools open-source software. Of course, one does need to know how to operate Linux at the command-line level and be familiar with make and git tools but for me those things are simple to learn - I've been using them for years now.
I now also have an MD-390 (no GPS) which is basically the MD-380 guts stuffed into a waterproof case, and that's the unit that gets taken out of the house. The original MD-380 stays at home for use with my DVMega in a DVAP case and external Nextion screen. Don't worry about what some Motorola users may say, the MD-380 is an excellent value-buy.
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