Interested in getting started with Digital Mobile Radio (DMR)? There are many options on the market that can get you on the air. DMR has exploded in popularity the past decade. Much of its popularity is thanks to cheap digital radios now available from Chinese manufacturers. Once upon a time you needed a $1200 radio and proprietary programming software to even play with digital radio. Now, you can get on the air for just a couple hundred bucks with the AnyTone 878.
Is The AnyTone 878 a good ham radio?
The AnyTone 878 has been on the market for years. You hear a lot of them on the air — there is reason for that. It’s a quality radio packed with features at a fraction of the cost when compared with Motorola. The AnyTone 878 has some key features that have made it a favorite among ham radio operators.
- Dual band radio that allows you two bands at the same time (V+V, U+U & V+U).
- APRS/GPS capability.
- 200,000 contacts available allowing you to load the entire DMR database. This means you’ll get the call sign, full name and location of every DMR users throughout the world.
- The ability to program the radio from the keypad without the need for computer software
- Superior build quality compared to other Chinese radios on the market
AnyTone 878 Dual band capability
Most handheld radios these days are dual-band. Many areas have both VHF and UHF repeaters that are active, and you want to be able to monitor both when you’re on the go. The AnyTone gives you true V+V, U+U & V+U dual-band capability so you can monitor two repeaters, even on different bands, at the same time.
APRS/GPS built-in to the radio
The radio features a built-in APRS/GPS module that allows for DMR-APRS and analog APRS operation. The GPS is also used for an auto roaming feature that will select the best repeater for your area based on GPS location.
200,000 digital contacts to store the entire DMR contact database
One of the advantages of DMR is the ability to see the call sign, name and location of the person you’re talking to on your radio screen. This is possible thanks to what’s known as a contact in your radio. Radios can only store so many contacts. The AnyTone 878 is one of the best on the market with the ability to store 200,000 unique contacts. This means you can load the entire database for every digital ham radio operator in the world. Not all DMR radios on the market can do this — and it’s a huge plus.
You can program the AnyTone 878 on the fly
Digital radios are often knocked because you need to use difficult ‘codeplugs’ to program the radio. While the AnyTone 878 has a codeplug, you can edit it from the keypad without a computer. This means if you want to program in a new repeater, or simplex frequency (analog or digital), this radio will let you do it with ease.
AnyTone 878 has superior build quality
I’ve used over ten different DMR radios in the past eight years, and none of them feel as good in the hand as my AnyTone. Many manufacturers out there feel cheap and similar to a $50 FRS radio you find at a sporting goods store. The AnyTone 878 feels like a solid, professional two-way radio. Does it have Motorola quality In terms of drop performance? No. That’s not a reasonable expectation at this price point, but it feels quality.
What is the frequency range of the AnyTone 878?
The AnyTone 878 covers 136-174 MHz and 400-480 MHz TX/RX. This means you can program all your favorite amateur radio frequencies, in addition to MURS, FRS, GMRS and business band frequencies you might want to have for work.
FCC 47CFR90.203 requires the keypad locked in the shipping configuration. Software keypad unlocking and re-programming are available with the included USB Programming Cable.