Motorola DTR 550 Review

Motorola DTR 550 Gen 2 (longer whip antennas)
1W, 900MHz FHSS
VSELP digital voice
90mS hop rate

I took a pair of these along on a cruise aboard the Carnival Sensation and had full ship radio coverage. These radios seem to do really well in difficult environments such as steel buildings, etc. The most I have gotten range wise is about 1.5 Mi., car- house (radio on 2nd story). I have never tried a range test in the open.

The DTR 550 radios come with 5 public groups programmed, you can go into programming mode and enable public talk groups 6-10. If you want more privacy you can buy an additional keyboard programmer and set a private 11-digit I.D so if someone wants to talk to you or hear you they have to have the same 11 digit I.D. This yields a possibility of 11,000,000,000 channels.


  • Durability
  • High degree of privacy due to VSELP digital voice
  • Greater security is possible by setting your own private channel (11-digit I.D)
  • Perform well in buildings

-Price (at least $249 a pop new)

  • Lack of a protective holder
  • Also I wish you could disable the Nextel type beeps

Would I recommend these radios: Absolutely!

If you would like to hear how a Motorola DTR radio sounds being intercepted by a surveillance receiver check out the 'Files" section in the link below. Even though the 90mS hop rate can be tracked, the receiver can’t demodulate the digital voice. After analyzing the audio file I could determine the frequency was hopping about 11 times per second.

I just bought a pair of the DTR-550 radios. Yes, pricey but you get what you pay for. These are not your average FRS radios. Build quality and performance is top notch from Motorola. These beat out any FRS radio but at a price.

Who do I talk to? My wife when we go out to malls, events, Disney world, ect. Traveling with more then one car.

Programming via the optional key pad can be confusing if you don’t understand how digital radio programming works. It took me an entire day to figure out the programming and add a private contact. I’m still not sure how to program public groups 6-10 but I’m not in need of them right now.

The only annoying thing about these radios is the nextel type beep when keying up the radio. The beep sound gets louder the more you increase the volume.

If the price comes down, as it should in time, these will be the next FRS radios for the public. As a ham radio operator, it would be neat to have someone install a repeater for greater coverage and the ability to talk to other ham’s.

Today I got the 1/2 wave 7" antennas for the DTR radios and range has improved substantially. With one radio in a bedroom on a night stand, I drove into town a mile away. Some hills and houses between me and the other radio. No problem reaching the other radio.