Nonprofit in AZ - need 10 radios ASAP, maybe DTR650?

We are a small nonprofit in AZ and are in need to 10 digital radios. We presently have 8 2-watt analog that just do not have the range needed. I have an opportunity to buy 10 DTR650’s for under $300, but I’m told those are discontinued. Are those still a good radio?

I appreciate any help.


Excellent radios. They take some work understanding the programming, but there are lots of people in here who can help you. If you just want a simple radio with a couple of channels, you can easily revert them to factory defaults right from the keyboard and just go from there. You don’t even need a programming cable and software; you can make some simple programming changes just from the keyboard, or leave them at factory defaults. (Unless you are very close to other DTR or DLR radios on factory default channels, it is unlikely you will hear any interference.)

Because they are high quality business radios, the batteries are good for years. If you are getting very short battery life, you can buy replacement batteries easily. (Our forum hosts at buytwowayradios has the Motorola 53964 batteries in stock.)

If any antennas are bent or broken, replacement Motorola antennas are cheap too.

Be aware that two-way radio range is very dependant on quality of the radio and antenna, and not so much on output power. In my personal tests of the DTR/DLR series, they have about the best range of any UHF radio, but they still cannot refute the laws of physics. In real world conditions, they are good for a mile or two unobstructed. The nature of digital also takes some getting used to. They are 100% clear when in range, and don’t broadcast at all outside of range. (No fuzzy, hard to understand partial transmissions at the very fringes of range like with analog.)

Here is another tip. Train users to push the PTT, wait for the tone and then talk. They will cut off the first half-second of transmission if they push the PTT and immediately start talking.

To reset the DTR to factory defaults without the need for software or cables, enter programming mode by holding down the Home key while pressing PTT 3 times, then push the Right Select key, the Down Scroll key, the Left Select key, and then hold down the Home key while pressing PTT 3 times. Then go to Settings>Advanced>Reset to default.

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To add to what Chickenhawk said, they are solid radios, with great performance for radios in their class and a greater measure of security with communications within an organization because they use Field Hopping Spread Spectrun (FHSS) technology rather than straight voice transmission over the air.

Having said this, there are a couple of things to note. As you pointed out, the DTR650 was discontinued a couple of years ago. The good news is that it was replaced with the Motorola DTR600 and DTR700, with some tweaks that further enhance this series. Both are also compatible with the DTR650. This short video explains the differences between the two models.

The other thing to be aware of is that the DTR and other 900MHz digital radios are limited by the FCC to 1 watt of power. This may seem too low, but on 900Mhz ultra high frequencies, this can get you pretty far, especially when working in buildings. This is also comparable to the transmit power of the average cell phone.

In addition, there is also a “repeater” type device available called the DRX Digital Range Extender to further maximize the range of these radios. While a bit pricey, it seems to work pretty well.