Winston Lawrence

KD2WLL - Amateur Radio Notes

RT73 HowTo:  Initial radio setup & configuration.

RT73 Mobile Radio.

Retevis RT73 Configuration and Firmware at the time this was written..

 Name Description
 Model Number DR300UV
 Firmware Version 109E.D4.EARSAB.007
 Version Date Nov 27 2020
 Firmware ID DRS-300UV


Install the latest update! The RT73 transceiver firmware out-of-the-box is almost certainly anywhere from a month or two, to three or more months old so save yourself the aggravation and update to at least the November 27th, 2020 version before doing anything else. The out-of-box-version for mine was:
 Name Description
 Model Number DR300UV
 Firmware Version 109E.D4.EARSAB.005
 Version Date Aug 19 2020
 Firmware ID DRS-300UV

Although I bought the radio directly from Retevis, the latest firmware update and some of the more useful information about the radio came from the Ailunce site. The firmware update I am using as of December 15th, 2020 is shown above.

Retevis RT73 FW_20201127.bin which displays as firmware version 109E.D4.EARSAB.007 was created apparently on 2020-11-27. The file was initially available, not from Retevis support, but as noted, from the Ailunce resource center (click on the RT73 button) and the CPS file which comes with the firmware download is  V2.12.4.

Unfortunately, even with the latest at-the-time updates, I wasted a LOT of time on a radio lockout problem so take note:   In order to avoid a lockout condition, when you update the firmware you MUST, at least as of this writing, re-install the codeplug via the CPS software.   The firmware update apparently wipes out parts of the radio memory configured by the CPS - Retevis neglected to mention this. The radio shuts off at the end of the update which takes a couple of minutes. When you turn the RT73 back on, the radio appears to be okay, except in my case, you can enter (and exit) the menu by pressing the rotary button, but you cannot navigate by rotating the button. The radio is locked.

Reloading the codeplug, either the one you have created or the "sample" one that comes with the CPS software fixes the lockout. Again, as of this writing, Retevis said nothing about the need to do any of this and when it first occurred, I thought my new radio was essentially DOA and actually started the process of contacting Retevis to initiate the return.

The radio lockup initially appeared to occur randomly at times. The apparent cause and the workaround are described under lockout bugs. The immediate sign of a possible lockout was when the radio would begin a random transmission where the radio would start to transmit and would not stop until the timeout value was reached and at the end, the menu button would be locked. If the radio appears to be locked you can ask the CPS to READ from the RT73. Reading apparently resets whatever issue causes the lockup. However, the lockup appears to be triggered by trying to use the radio while having the USB cable connected. When I left the radio running all night without the USB cable connected - "no lockup".

The CPS sometimes is still buggy but what seems to work all of the time is to READ the codeplug from the radio - update or make changes with the CPS and then WRITE the codeplug back to the radio. You can (should) save a copy of the codeplug on your filesystem but always READ and update the codeplug rather than (over)writing a new codeplug each time - seems kind of kludgy? It is. The Retevis CPS software is very poorly written and introduces codeplug bugs just by using it, but, it's kind of the only game in town so you do what you have to do and at some point, you will have the RT73 configured snd working as expected then you can leave the CPS alone for awhile.

One other gotcha to be aware of the RT73 can hold the entire DMRID database in memory (max is 200,000 records) which is great!   Fair warning if you write the DMRID database to the radio then the time to write a codeplug to the radio goes up exponentially from a minute or two to as much as an hour if you're going to store 200,000 records. Personal tip - until you have all of your local DMR and Analog repeaters and hotspots (if any) coded and working to your satisfaction then leave the DMRID database alone unless you really want to wait an hour for the update to complete after making even a small change.

'73 KD2WLL