Runbo E81, Android phone + DMR radio.

So I purchased a Runbo E81 after being led to believe that it would work with Rfinder. BIG MISTAKE!!!!!!!

The Runbo E81 isn’t terrible, but it really isn’t great either. It’s full of bugs and if you are an amateur radio DMR user these bugs make it very hard to use.

At the time of writing the RFinder app crashes whenever you try to use it, so I can’t even use the basic app to look up repeaters etc. It loads briefly then crashes.

The DMR radio is crude at best. You can programme up to 16 channels at a time and select the 16 channels via a knob on the top of the radio. BUT and it is a really big BUT…. every time you want to adjust a channel memory you have to first modify the channel memory, at which point it appears to be modified, but it isn’t! Then to actually change the channel settings you have to use the “Program PTT parameters” setting to actually upload your changes to the radio. This takes around 30 seconds. So there is no VFO type operation and simply changing a frequency is a long and convoluted process.

OK, so this isn’t perhaps a big deal, it just takes time. But with a 16 channel limit this is highly restrictive. The channels are shown on the phones screen as 16 boxes, numbered 1-16. Blue for analog and green for DMR. There is no way to get the frequency or a channel name displayed (without going into the programming function), so you have to memorize what you put into each channel.

You do have the ability to export your 16 channels as an XML file and you can then re-import the XML file. You can even rename the XML files so in principle at least these can act as zones that can be recalled. But this doesn’t work properly either. When you import an XML file, again you have a two step process. First import the XML file, then use the “Program PTT Parameters” function to update the radios settings. However even after you have done all of that there is still a problem. At the time of writing the stored talkgroups don’t get updated correctly. The channel will indicate for example that you are using say TG9, but the radio in fact transmits on TG1, no matter what TG is indicated in the channel. This bug makes the ability to save and import XML channel lists a complete waste of time. So in effect you are limited to 16 channels no matter what.

On top of that there is no way to manual dial a TG or Private Call. So for us radio hams the DMR radio is next to useless.

There are some small glimmers of hope in that as well as you channels, your DMR ID and TG’s are stored in the XML file, so the data is there, it’s just that the radio doesn’t read the file and update the settings correctly.

Unless Runbo can sort out all the bugs, vastly improve the ability to save channels or add a way to quickly set at Talkgroup or dial a private call I would suggest to stay clear of the Runbo E81. You will be paying a lot of money for something that has so many bugs in it’s essential functions.

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