Motorola R765

I wanted to give an update to anybody here that likes using good quality two way radios at a reasonable price. Just to give a little bit of history on me. I an a licensed amateur radio operator, amateur extra class, have a General Radiotelephone Operator License (GROL) and a General Mobile Radio License (GMRS). I have been using two way devices all of my adult life. I had a pair of Motorola DTR550s in the past and they were great devices. I was also a Nextel end user years ago and was happy when they added off-network simplex, which they referred to as Direct Talk. It has also been known by other names from various providers.

I sold my Motorola DTR550s earlier this year because I didn’t use them all that much. They cost me very little to use because I bought them used and sold them for nearly as much as I bought them for. One of my disappointments was that although they use the same technology as the legacy Nextel devices, they could not communicate with them. I still have a few Nextels around in my basement. One of my other disappointments with the DTR550s is that they don’t/didn’t have Bluetooth.

More recently we have had the DLR series devices. There are both the DLR1020 and DLR1060. Neither one has Bluetooth. Each are available new for a bit of $200.00 They are a great choice for simplex communications.

There is also the newer DTR600 and DTR700. They are both in the $300 range and are more feature rich than the DLR series radios. They, too, are a great choice for legal, license free simplex communications.

I decided to go a slightly different route. When I was still a Nextel end user, I recall that Motorola had released two, rugged iDen devices. They are the R765 and the R765IS. At the time they were released, I wanted one, but was unwilling to pay the new price on them.

Fast forward to now, and somewhere I read that R765s were showing up on Ebay and other places at a pretty reasonable price. Some of them are a result of Southern Linc disbanding their iDen network. I found some on Ebay that were the 1 watt version (not the lower powered IS version) and bought three of them for $180. I figured $60 per radios wasn’t too bad for a device that will probably work better than the typical bubblee pack FRS/GMRS radios.

When they arrived, they came with drop in chargers and holsters with a rotating belt clip. I found out pretty quickly that the batteries on two of the three units needed to be replaced. This is sort of the “gotcha” of these devices. Both the PMNN4087A PMNN4086A are over $100 at many dealers. I was lucky to find some new ones for $78.71 from Radio Parts. Motorola PMNN4087A Li-Ion Battery - OEM Batteries - Batteries - Accessories - Two-Way Radio Equipment - Radioparts.

The other accessory that I was considering was the remote speaker microphone. The RMN5115A is the genuine Armadillo Remote Speaker Microphone meant for the R765. With an MSRP of $150, I was reluctant to buy these. However, someone on another forum mentioned that the Waris series portable accessories work, too. They have the same side connector. They don’t have an emergency button or remote volume control, but hat wasn’t a concern of mine in this case.

After doing some more research, I found that there are several different remote speaker microphones that work with the various Waris radios. I just had to narrow down which might work best for my purposes. I decided that the Motorola PMMN4027A IP57 Submersible Remote Speaker Microphone would be a suitable choice because my wife and I like top go ATVing. The R765 radios themselves are MilSpec 810F for dust, shock, vibration, high and low temperature, pressure, humidity, salt fog, blowing rain, and solar radiation. It just seemed reasonable to get remote speaker microphones that stand up to water, too.

Anyway, my cost for three of these was $180, plus almost $240 for brand new batteries. I now have three speaker microphones that were a bit over $10 each. That puts each one of these at about $150 each. Yes, more expensive than bubble pack radios, but these should last longer and work much better. I still haven’t bought a Bluetooth remote speaker microphone for these yet, but I will post an update when I do. I should also add that these will work with the legacy Nextel devices on Direct Talk. I have tried it and they work great.

That’s very interesting, Jim!

Is there software to allow you to program the radios?
How do they compare in quality and range to the DTR?
Any features that these have (other than bluetooth and iDEN compatibility) that set them apart from the DTR?

Range and performance in Direct Talk (DT) mode on the R765 should be identical to the DTRs. The DT feature is the same FHSS digital platform that the DTRs were derived from. With DT mode in the R765 or any other iDEN phone with the feature, you take a step backward from the DTRs in terms of features. They are based on the MOTOtalk platform and the DT feature appears to be an early implementation of MOTOtalk. The modern implementation of MOTOtalk is today’s DTRs and the DLRs. The DTRs (and DLRs) use the exact same FHSS system (MOTOtalk) but were coded differently from the DT feature in NEXTEL phones. The DT feature had to be kept simple for phone users. Its closest relative is the DTR410 in terms of features. I suspect the DTRs became incompatible with DT mode when public and private group features and text messages were added to the DTRs. The MOTOtalk name is referenced in the certification filings with the FCC for the DTR410 (FCC ID: AZ489FT5842) and the DTR550/650 (FCC ID: AZ489FT5852). I also recall seeing correspondence with the FCC documenting the name change from MOTOtalk to DTR.

MOTOtalk article on Wikipedia:

One gotcha to be aware of is in order to use the DT feature, an iDEN phone such as the R765 or an i355 needs to have a SIM card installed that was previously activated on an iDEN network (NEXTEL, Southern Linc Wireless, etc.). This is because the phone number that was put into the SIM card when the phone was activated is used to form the 11 digit Private ID for the DT feature, consisting of 1 plus the area code and phone number. The DTRs (and DLRs) have their 11 digit Private ID assigned to them at the factory and follow a 1 plus an area code (717) and 7 digit phone number format. The MOTOtalk platform is an ID based system and requires each device to have its own 11 digit Private ID in order to work.