To add more confusion, the first dual band handhelds were launched with 3 different names – TYT MD-2017, Retevis RT82 and Moonraker HT-500D (which is a rebadged RT82). Prices start around £150 (Non GPS) and £200 (GPS) – always name sure you get a programming lead as not all vendors add one as part of the package.

The hardware between these three radios is the same, they share firmware, CPS and code plugs – the main different is that the MD-2017 has a different case/antenna. The RT82 and HT-500D are exactly the same. To make it better, the code plugs are interchangeable with the dual band mobile radios (TYT MD-9600 and Retevis RT90). The only changes required are to set the buttons under the button definition menu in the CPS.

These radios can hold 3000 channels with each zone being able to take two banks of 64 channels. The banks are known as Member A and Member B or VFO A and VFO B (top line is A and bottom line is B).

They can also hold between 10 000 and 100 000 DMR ID’s dependant on the firmware used. There’s 2 versions for the GPS and Non GPS radios – CSV and REC. If using the REC firmware, you will have access to a record function. Also you add contacts (ID’s and call sign/name up to 16 characters) which get added to the contacts section with your talk groups up to a max of 10 000. If you use the CSV firmware, you don’t add contacts into the contacts section. You can upload a CSV file of contact info via the CPS into the radio (this goes into a different memory). You then need to activate the CSV file via the radio menu’s (see to create a contact CSV file). This file contains the call sign, name and location information.

There is an option with the CPS in regards to zone – basically a single or dual zone. When you change zone you can have VFO A & B on the same zone or be able to change them independently so you can essentially listen to two talk groups or repeaters as the radio will switch back and forth between the two channels – the active one being that with the A or D (analogue or digital) next to it. If you wish to stop the monitoring function, press the back button to temporarily disable the function.

The MD-2017 seemed to suffer a few issues – one was the PTT button coming off and second was the antenna connector breaking – this is partially due to the strange antenna and users tightening them beyond “finger tight”.

Now the main downside of these radios is the trackball. Later firmware has a function where the trackball can be locked. Programmable buttons can be used instead – P1 for left, P2 for right and bottom side for up/down. They also have a Motorola style accessory port.

These radios are available from £100 – £200 from Moonraker, Nevada and ML&S.