Radio Types to Start With

I am thinking of the AnyTone Tri-band 578 Mobile. Any comments or suggestions? I am looking at getting started in Ham Radio and have a few already, but from what I have been hearing my selection may not have been the best to start out with. TYT TH-9800 and Radioddity GS-5B. To get started with my Technician license, ay recommendations for me?

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I have been chatting with @ChuckARC on this for a while now. I’ve come to the conclusion that starting with DMR is like learning to swim by jumping into the deep end. Not that you can’t, but it makes it a lot more difficult.

But let’s take DMR as a mode here. You don’t need to make a DMR contact on your first mic click. It builds as you go along. That radio can do 2M, 220 and 440 FM Simplex and FM Repeaters. If you build your way up from there you will find it more accessible I think.

  • FM Simplex is about getting the right frequency and power levels.
  • FM repeaters add frequency shift offsets, CTCSS tones and potentially other items depending on the repeater.
  • DMR builds on top of all of those things with a complicated code plug that is pretty unforgiving. It needs talk groups, time slots, and color codes. Not all talk groups are on all repeaters, and not all repeaters are even on the same take group network.

So, I come back to focusing less on the radio and more on what you want to do. If you want to do DMR that’s great, I have a DMR radio with a code plug I sweated over too. I’d just suggest get familiar with the easier things on the list before you start there. I wouldn’t trade in the radio, I’d just start in the shallow end when using it.

All of this is my personal $0.02. I’d just hate to see someone get frustrated with a DMR code plug and give up on the whole hobby.

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Hello Jim, thank you for the conversation. I liken learning shortwave radio on your own to learning to drive alone with no one in the passenger seat to give you pointers, suggestions, corrections. I have no one to show me, OK, connect “this” antenna turn on your radio and then here is how you tune to a frequency where you can try to contact someone.
I have been watching YouTube videos, reading books, using the AARL website, and the longer I go without any clear instructions the more frustrated I get. I am a technology driven individual (Ph.D. in IT) but on this one I have come upon some difficult questions and no one to ask.
I’ll keep reading and watching videos and maybe someday it will just click. Yea, frustration is in my path right now and I wish to avoid that :grinning:


@kc3tdx I literally just answered a very similar question for someone on Facebook and I will share those comments here:

DMR is not an entry-level radio for a new ham. Building a code plug for a DMR radio is very difficult unless someone does it for you. Even experienced hams have difficulty with this task. Everything has to line up correctly in the code plugs used to program DMR radios, from the talkgroups to the time slots, etc. One missed item or out of order and it’s very frustrating. Just saying!

DMR radios are built in zones, too, with channels in each zone. That’s because DMR really is a commercial radio adapted by hams. Just being honest here. I have been in DMR for quite a few years, and every once in a while I still am stumped when something I program doesn’t work just right. I use DMR not only for amateur use, but also commercial use, and there is some variability. The frustration level certainly is high starting out with DMR. Keep reading and learning, but don’t dip that toe into the DMR water quite yet. Make sure you understand all the concepts like how two conversations can take place on the same frequency at the same time, etc. It’s a fun mode, but takes considerable time investment unless someone else sets it all up for you!


Well good news, you have a community where you can ask questions now. That’s what the team really envisions here. We want.not make sure people get into the hobby the right way. If you get hung up, please ask questions.