Hams hack $110 DMR radio to allow support for D-STAR, P25 and System Fusion

The Tytera TYT MD-380, a Chinese made DMR portable radio.

One of the great things about hams is their ability to find solutions to almost any communications related problem. This has been proven once again with a recent announcement that some resourceful hams, which included Patrick, W7PCH and Christiane, DD4CR, have reverse engineered or “hacked” one of the most popular DMR radios on the market today – the Chinese made Tytera TYT MD-380, allowing for a fully open source firmware to be uploaded into the radio.

DON’T MISS: Tytera TYT MD-380 DMR portable radio review

By having the ability to add an open source firmware to the radio, hams would be able to completely redesign the operation of the radio, allowing for an improved user experience, support for multiple digital modes, such as D-STAR, P25, System Fusion, the ability to turn it into a multi-mode digital scanner, plus much more. Since the big name ham radio manufacturers, including Yaesu, ICOM, Kenwood and Alinco have been unwilling to standardize on a single digital mode or even offer a multi-mode digital radio to the ham radio community, hams have been forced to purchase separate radios for each digital mode, leaving them yearning for a single radio that would support all digital modes. In March 2014, Jerry Wanger of Connect System announced the CS7000, a multi-mode digital radio for the ham community, which was supposed to initially support DMR and D-STAR, however due to complications, the radio never made it to market. With this recent announcement, it is likely that the ham radio community will make the radio the ham radio manufacturers were unable or unwilling deliver upon, making the Tytera TYT MD-380 radio even more popular going forward.

For anyone looking to pick-up a Tytera TYT MD-380 with the anticipation of being able to convert it into a multi-mode digital radio, Connect Systems is currently offering the radio on its website for $110 USD.

About Don Trynor, VA3XFT

Don 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). In addition to ham radio, Don enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, biking and astronomy.