Radioddity GD77 DMR & FM Dual Band Handheld transceiver review.
DMR has exploded in popularity recently, one of the main reasons for this is its affordability! The Radioddity GD77 DMR & FM Dual Band Handheld Transceiver is one of the cheapest of all the DMR tier 2 mototrbo compatible radios, you can purchase this radio directly from Radioddity for around £70. I would recommend doing this as if anything goes wrong you have dealt with them directly, more on this a little later.
As you may have seen on my other Ham Radio reviews, I do own quite a few DMR radios and its one of my favourite digital modes, Yaesu System Fusion (C4FM) being my favourite. I have heard a lot of people talking about the GD77, both good and bad but for the price I thought I should definately get one as for the money it’s a no-brainer really. So I visited the Radioddity website and saw that they did a couple of other DMR radios but at the time of writing this review the GD77 is their top of the line radio. I made my purchase and the radio came about a week later.
My first impression of the radio were very positive, the build quality looked and felt fantastic! Really nicely put together, you can tell this by how well the 2200Mah battery fitted into the main body and the volume dial at the top felt very nice also, the keypad feels nice to the touch and has a very positive feel to it, just a very nice first impression.
Let’s take a look at what we get in the box. You get:
1 x Radio
1 x 2200mah Battery
2 x Antennas, 1 short and 1 long
1 x User Manual
1 x Belt Clip
1 x Charger base with USB plug and lead
1 x Programming Cable (nice to see)
1x Software CD
Let’s have a good look around the outside of the radio.
The radio dimensions are 16.5 x 8.5 x 20 cm and weighs in at 662g
The top of the radio has one knob that is used for the volume and on/off only, there is also an orange user defined button and the antenna socket, also located on the top of the radio is an LED that lights up green on receive and red on transmit, lovely and bright too!
On the left hand side of the radio we have a plastic PTT switch and two user definable buttons, one of which is Blue, very nice indeed. On the right side we have a Kenwood style Speaker mic system, nothing special here, there is also a Yellow “owner” label, useful I guess?
The front of the radio looks very nice to be honest and has the Radioddity branding at the top with one of the letters being red, this is a nice touch and makes the radio look more premium. Below this we have the speaker, this is also very nice and sounds well. The display on the radio is quite small but fully functional, take a look at my Hytera PD365 review as the displays are very similar with a beautiful white back-light. The display can also be seen without a back-light, this is also very good. the keypad on the radio is one of the best I’ve seen on a handie, very tactile and responsive, can’t ask for more really.
Let’s have a look at the main menus on the Radioddity GD77:
Contact > Message > Call Logs > Set > Zone
The radio will transmit 5w on high and 1w on low power, nothing new here really. I have tested the output power and it seems to be putting out the advertised power, good to see. I have used the radio several times both at home through my Hotspot and mobile into my local DMR & FM repeaters, I was very impressed with the performance of the radio and was a joy to use really, at this price point you don’t worry as much when it comes to dropping it etc.. The radio is not waterproof neither does it have GPS, but for the money it costs you are getting a Dual Band DMR & FM capable radio. Better than the Tytera MD390 in this respect. You are able to manually dial reflectors in this radio but from what I understand you have to have all your talk groups in a receive group list so dialing reflectors should be OK if you have TG9 in your receive group list. Programming the radio is not that dissimilar than any other DMR radio really, you just have to remember about the receive group list. Radioddity seem to be standing by their product and seem to do regular updates.
If you look on some of the facebook groups you will find a mixed bag of opinions on the GD77, some people swear by them and think that it’s the best radio they have ever owned and some people are reporting serious issues like the radio becoming totally dead, no response from the radio at all, to the screen losing its connection, from what people have said, the ribbon cable inside the radio comes loose and is just a matter of reconnecting it. One of the main worry’s for me was the fact that you have to be very careful about what version of the computer programming software (cps) is used with what firmware version of the radio as this could “brick” the radio rendering it totally useless, this is one of the main reasons I wanted to purchase mine via the Radioddity website for peace of mind.
My first impressions of this radio were very positive as you know, the more I came to read, the more I worried about things going wrong. You have to really keep up to date with the “do’s and don’ts” when it comes to programming, updating or even resetting it! The longevity of this radio is a real worry for me personally and I find myself scared to use it, yes this is partly down to me but the sheer number of people I have read about having serious issues is by far the most negative opinions I have read on any other radio. If you are quite handy poking inside a radio like most Radio Amateurs are then you may feel confident to have a go at fixing it yourself if your warranty ends. This is not something I am personally confident in doing so may be part of my thinking towards the radio. Overall the radio feels really well made, has some good features for the price point and I look forward to more from Radioddity!
Thanks very much for reading my review on the Radioddity GD77 DMR & FM Dual Band Handheld Transceiver, I hope you found it useful and helps you make an informed decision on your next Ham Radio purchase!
Here are some more photo’s of the radio: