Having spent a considerable amount of time researching which radios to purchase, I thought i’d share what i’ve learned so far with others who are looking at purchasing their own gear to join in.
Where can I find TETRA equipment for sale?
Your best bet is eBay. TETRA equipment is quite hard to find here in Australia, as it isn’t highly used (most public services here run on P25, and most businesses that require 2-way radio these days use DMR). If you’re searching eBay, be sure to expand your search world wide.
Which radio should I buy?
That’s up to you, however I’d strongly recommend Motorola or Sepura over other gear – but that’s because all of my radio gear here (DMR, P25, Analogue and TETRA) is Motorola and Sepura. I know how the programming software works, and I can easily obtain, or build programming cables for each radio.
The radios I’ve listed below are tried and tested, and known to work. There are newer radios available, but these are more expensive and are generally speaking only available to purchase brand new.
Radio’s i’d consider buying:
Note: If you’re in Australia, don’t buy any motorola equipment starting with PT711 as this model number signifies an 800Mhz radio which you legally cannot use.
- Motorola MTH800 1 watt (model: PT511FR – 440-470Mhz or PT911FR – 380-430Mhz)
- Motorola MTP850 1 watt (model: PT911B – 380-430Mhz)
- Motorola CEP400 1 watt (model: PT911CF – 380-430Mhz)
- Sepura STP 9040 1 watt (407-473 Mhz)
- Sepura STP9140/STP9240 1.8 watts (407-473 Mhz)
- STP8X040/STP8X140 1 watt (407-473Mhz)
- Motorola MTM800e – 3 watts (model: MT512M – 410-450/470Mhz)
- Motorola MTM5400 – 10 watts (model: MT953C – 380-430Mhz)
- Seupra SRG3900 (10 watts)
You MUST ensure that the radio you purchase is not an 800Mhz radio (at least for use here in Australia) as Amateurs are not permitted to use the 800Mhz band here. You CANNOT convert an 800Mhz radio to transmit/receive on 439Mhz.
DMO vs TMO
For amateur use in Australia, any TETRA gear you buy must have been licensed for DMO (direct mode operation). This means that Motorola sold the radio with DMO enabled at the time of purchase.
There are no TMO (trunked mode operation) amateur radio networks within Australia. If the radio you’re buying does not have DMO licensed, don’t buy it.
How do I know if the radio is licensed with DMO?
Ask the seller for a photo of the radio menu. You should see “Direct Mode” listed under the Options menu.
Better yet, ask the seller to select Direct Mode and ensure the radio can enter it. There are ways to enable this feature on the radio, but only if it is licensed for it.
Without connecting the radio to a PC running the TETRA CPS, there’s no way to confirm if the radio is licensed for DMO by simply looking at it.
What about other brands?
I have zero experience with anything other than Motorola and Sepura TETRA radios, and therefore am not able to offer any advice.
Some of the radios you’ve recommended are 430Mhz .. but your gateway runs on 439Mhz?
With a little manipulation, it is entirely possible to expand the frequency range by 5-10Mhz on Motorola Tetra Radios (but not Sepura!) without causing any issues to the radio. I can help you with this if the radio you’ve bought needs to be expanded.
I’d strongly advise against attempting to push things beyond 10Mhz though, as there’s a good chance damage may occur over time.
What about increasing the power of those 1 watt portables, or 3 watt mobiles?
Increasing the power output of a mobile radio is as simple as connecting the antenna connector on the back of the radio to an RF AMP, and then the output from the RF AMP to your antenna.
Increasing the power of a portable is much harder. As of yet, I haven’t found a suitable way of achieving this.
Do you sell radios?
Sometimes i’ll have surplus mobile or portable radios in stock here. If you’re interested in purchasing a TETRA radio from me pre-programmed for use with the gateway, get in touch: Contact Me