Baofeng Tech’s DMR-6X2 made waves a few years back as a high end offering into the Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) market at a highly competitive price. Previously it was either prohibitively expensive to do so or not worth the effort in terms of equipment limitations. With that said, DMR offers some advantages to the inter-team / inter-squad communications capabilities built in, with a few caveats. In addition, it is a very similar radio to another on the market, the Anytone 878, with a serious advantage over its cousin.
Why would you want to add DMR to your equipment arsenal? What it does, it does well, having a native SMS text message capability and the ability to load encryption keys via the software. Its also backwards compatible with the standard Kenwood two prong K1 connection port, meaning all of the standard accessories (including the K1 data cable) work. The radio can operate in either analog or its DMR digital protocol and the bulk of its features are indexable from the front panel and menus. This leads to obviously a stronger layer of communications security (COMSEC) at the tactical level.
In comparison to the Anytone 878, the DMR-6X2 is completely unlocked, meaning in short, there’s no special setting the user has to enter in order to operate outside the standard Amateur Radio (Ham) frequency ranges. This was one of the leading reasons I chose this model over the Anytone, even though they share the same radio casing and build quality, and I consider it a critical requirement for any radio in my arsenal to operate within its full frequency range.
We’d be remiss to overlook potential drawbacks – DMR itself is a unique signal pattern, and absent any consideration to the amount of time transmitting against an adversary with any monitoring and direction finding (DF) capability, you 100% will become a target. In addition, DMR by its nature transmits metadata in the form of a radio identifier, color code and time slot of the signal as part of the packet whether that’s voice or SMS messages. Finally, its important to point out that the SMS messages are never encrypted if that’s enabled – only the transmitted voice messages. So with that said the same guiding principles behind tactical communications as explained in the Guerrilla’s Guide to the Baofeng Radio are applicable to DMR. Its best to understand it as another digital mode, nothing more, nothing less. If you intend on using this radio in a tactical role do not enter in Personally Identifiable Information (PII) into the code plug, or radio program image.
The DMR-6X2 is a hell of a nice tool in an IP54 water-resistant case. I have yet to break mine and have been very happy with them. Its a different tool from the other equipment we offer, with its own unique mission profile. I’m proud to offer it and I think you’ll like it too.