Baofeng DM-5R to support DMR Tier II operation with upgrade: Radioddity

baofeng dm 5R dual band VHF UHF DMR radio
Radioddity clarifies DMR Tier II support for the Baofeng DM-5R, a dual band VHF & UHF DMR radio.

Much controversy has surrounded the recent announcement by Radioddity of the upcoming launch of the Baofeng DM-5R, a dual band VHF & UHF DMR HT that is to be made available at the price point of $69.99 USD. In the list of specifications published on the Radioddity website, the Baofeng DM-5R will only support DMR Tier I operation, which will render it incompatible for ham DMR repeater operation, using the most popular ham DMR repeater networks, including the DMR-MARC, BrandMeister and DMR Plus networks, which only support DMR Tier II operation.

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To get to the bottom of this question regarding the version of DMR that the Baofeng DM-5R would support, we reached out to Radioddity to clarification. In its response, Radioddity stated that the radio would initially only support DMR Tier I operation, however a software upgrade would be made available by Baofeng via their website in the future for around $10 USD that would enable the radio to be upgraded to support DMR Tier II operation as well. The full text of this is made available below:

“Hi there,

Thanks for your message and glad to answer your question here.

This is the very concern of our users.
But pls don’t worry, DM-5R support DMR repeater function (DMR Tier I; support Tier II if upgraded with less than $10).

Upgrading software has to be purchased from Baofeng official website, which is under constructed these days.
We’ll offer it as soon as it’s available.

Your kind understanding and cooperation would be much appreciated.^^

Have a good day.
Yako”

While this may shed some light on the controversy for some, we recommend that potential buyers hold off purchasing one of these units until such time as the radio can be verified to support DMR Tier II operation. From our experience with DMR thus far, there has been many promises of DMR “wonder” radios and even worse, misrepresentation of the technical specifications for DMR radios from some Chinese two-way radio manufacturers. Given this, ham DMR users who are not technically adept should exercise caution when confiding purchasing one of the many Chinese brands, as you may end-up with a lemon.

About Don Trynor, VA3XFT

Don Trynor, VA3XFT
Don Trynor is a 16-year veteran of the telecommunications industry and a licensed Canadian ham radio operator since 1988. He is passionate about VHF/UHF repeater communications, especially using digital modes and he has owned and operated a number of ham radio repeater installations over the years, including ones in both the provinces of Ontario (VE3/VA3) and New Brunswick (VE9). Currently, he maintains three UHF DMR repeaters - two in Toronto, ON (VA3XPR-1 & VE3YYZ DMR) and one in Niagara Falls, ON (VA3XPR-2), plus one Yaesu System Fusion repeater in Toronto, ON (VA3XPS) that operates in digital-only mode. In addition to ham radio, Don enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, biking and astronomy.