So, my TYT MD-UV390 handheld arrived quickly from China. Now I am into DMR. Open the box. Blank stare ensues. What do I do now?
Well, for starters, I am not going to do another unboxing video. You can watch this one if you are interested. Instead, I will describe my first few puzzling hours with my new DMR radio.
My TYT MD-UV390 handheld came by FedEx from China direct. It cost me US$126 plus $25 shipping. Everything was in the box, including radio, battery, charger, cradle, belt clip, two antennas and programming cable. So far, so good. Since you cannot actually do anything with a DMR radio until you program it, I thought I should start by reading the manual.
Without doubt, I found the enclosed English manual to be totally useless, and I mean totally. I doubt it even made sense in the original Chinese. Sigh. Most commercial users of these radios get them pre-programmed from their technical support folks, so I doubt anyone actually every sees or uses this manual, which is appropriate. Leave it in the box.
Fortunately, there is tons of information online about this radio, which is also quite similar to the original MD390 single band version. So, you can actually get started quite quickly. Here is a very good introductory video.
Attaching the battery and belt clip is straightforward. Inserting either the stubby or longer whip antenna, and doing an initial charge works fine. You can then install the enclosed CPS (customer programming software) on your Windows PC. Then, I got stuck.
TYT MD-UV390 Handheld Setup Challenges
First, the enclosed programming cable refused to work. At one end you plug this into the two-prong microphone jack on the radio, and the other end into USB on your computer. No response. After some puzzling, I discovered that the USB plug was loose in its plastic holder and did not seat properly into the USB jack on the PC. Holding the plug with some needle nose pliers, I was able to get a connection. You may have faced this problem with other USB dongles.
Second, still nothing. Windows Device Manager indicated it could not find a proper driver and there was none provided with the radio. Fortunately, I found the USB Driver for Digital Radio on the TYT web site and installed it. This is a STMicroelectronics Virtual COM Port operating in DFU mode. Device Firmware Upgrade is a vendor- and device-independent mechanism for upgrading the firmware of USB devices. Now, we are in business.
Third, and the first thing you should do next, is use CPS to download the original Codeplug from the radio and save it safely, in case you need to restore it later. That done, I took a break.