Retevis RT90 Review
I am excited to show you this beautiful Retevis RT90 Dual Band FM & DMR Mobile radio! I have had my eye on this for quite some time now and finally managed to get one about 2 weeks ago, I have had some great contacts on this radio both on FM and DMR via my local repeaters and also Simplex. DMR is becoming more and more popular and this radio will transmit up to 50w of power! This will be a huge benefit when trying to use those distant repeaters and gateways.
The first thing that I noticed when I received my radio was how heavy it was! It reminded me very much of my Yaesu FTM100D! Feels really solid and very well put together. This was quite a surprise for me as I really wasn’t expecting it to quite so good! But it is! The microphone also feels really nice in the hand and allows nearly all the radios functions to be controlled with it. The microphone also has a really nice weight to it and I have had some fantastic reports on my audio, it is also backlit and is easy to read at night.
One question I have had quite a lot is about the radios face plate and if it is detachable or not. Unfortunately it is not but the radio is not too large so with a little bit of clever planning could still be tucked away nicely in a vehicle or caravan without too much issue.
This radio has four power levels, I am unsure on what these levels are as according to the retevis website it only has two, 50w high setting and 25w low setting. I will take the radio to my father-in-laws soon and measure the power output, what I do know is that this radio will do 50w on its highest setting! This would be really useful mobile to get those distant QSOs.
The radio I have has built in GPS and from what I can see works well, seems to lock on to the satellites quickly and seems very accurate. The backlight on the radio can be turned on all the time and has different levels of brightness that can be selected. The radio also can hold a maximum of 100,000 DMR contacts within its memory, this is slightly disappointing as the current database is around 130,000 so you have to be selective on what countries you import, maybe this is something that Retevis could change in a future firmware update. Having said that I found that I easily managed to get the contacts for the countries that I wanted and importing them is really straightforward using the free programming software.
I have found the radio to be like most other DMR radios when it comes to its menu system, really easy to navigate and I did not find I needed to refer to the manual at all, the manual is also very well written and well laid out. If you are familiar with DMR radios generally then you will feel right at home with this one.
One thing I have noticed whilst using the Radio on FM is the squelch seems to be too tight even on its lowest setting. If I am listening to a distant station I can hear a popping sound, this only happens to distant stations and I get around this by using the monitor function that I programmed into one of the P keys on the front of the radio, this is a little annoying but I think that it is something they can iron out with future firmware updates. This is not an issue at all when using the radio in digital mode.
Talking about the P keys, the front of the radio has four P keys on the front that can be programmed to be used for functions like Scan, monitor and changing the zone for example. This is all very easy to set within the programming software and is like a lot of other DMR radios.
I have found that the radio performs really well when using DMR and is a joy to use, I use it on the lowest power setting and can work repeaters quite a fair distance away without any issues at all. The volume knob on the radio is also very nice, you can fine tune the volume to get it sounding just right. A lot of other radios use a menu driven volume controls and I much prefer this way of doing it as you can find the perfect volume setting and I find it very sensitive, really happy with it. The knob on the right hand side is used to adjust the channels, this radio does not seem to have a VFO mode as such, I have just programmed in the simplex frequencies as channels and used a zone to group them together. I find this a great way as I have a zone called simplex that I can easily select and then use the channel knob to navigate through the frequencies, a good work around and I find works well for me.
We also have an up and down arrow buttons either side of the ENT button and an ESC/BAND button below those. these are the buttons you use when navigating the menus, I must say that the buttons on the front of this radio and really nice to press and very responsive, really impressed.
One thing I am having some issue with is the scan function, even though I have made scan lists in the programming software I am not able to get them to work, this could be operator error or something they may iron out with future updates. I will keep trying different things in the software and with a bit of luck it may right itself, I am sure that Retevis will be keeping the radio up to date with firmware updates as they do with their other radios.
Overall I am very impressed with this radio, the build quality seems fantastic and reminds me very much of radios from the likes of Kenwood, Yaesu and Icom, I really do think it will stand the test of time and last me many years to come! If you are thinking of buying this Retevis RT90 then I highly recommend buying directly from Retevis as they offer great support and warranty. I have taken quite a few pictures of the radio and added then below for you to see, I have also done a YouTube video on this radio that you may want to check out.
thanks very much for reading my review on this Retevis RT90 Dual band Mobile Radio that will do FM and DMR! Amazing!
You can purchase the radio by clicking the Retevis logo below.
Here is the Programming Guide for the Retevis RT90