Retevis Ailunce HD2 DMR Radio is here!

The Retevis Ailunce HD2 is finally here! Here’s a short preview of the highlights.

A few weeks before this post was published, Retevis reached out to ask if I would test an update to the Retevis Ailunce HD1. I ‘ve been using the Retevis Ailunce HD1 since late 2023, and also knew the HD2 was incoming. Both are capable radios! Here’s a video of the Retevis Ailunce HD1 water ingress protection capabilities.

Retevis – Being creators together, not just consumers.

The Retevis Ailunce HD2 has some interesting upgrades the community has demanded since the release of the HD1.

  • Settings, contacts, channels, codeplugs are all backwards compatible with the HD1.
  • Bluetooth for wireless headsets
  • More channel and contact memory
  • Daylight readable display
  • Higher and more adjustable mic gain than the HD1
  • Improved RX vs the HD1
  • USB-C and drop-in dock charging
  • AES-128 and AES-256 encryption (check local laws before use)

The following video show highlights (from my perspective). I’ll followup with more in-depth videos and blog as usual.


Where to buy

Retevis sent over their affiliate links for the HD2. Some of these links will bring commissions to the channel, without any cost to you.

About DMR Radio

DMR radio stands for Digital Mobile Radio, an open digital mobile radio standard defined in the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) Standard TS 102 361 parts 1–4 and used in commercial and amateur radio products around the world. DMR, along with P25, NXDN, and dPMR are some of the main standards for open digital radio transmissions for terrestrial users.

DMR radios are used for a variety of purposes, primarily for business, commercial and public safety communication due to their clear voice quality, robustness in noisy environments, and inherent enhanced privacy. Additionally, they offer extended battery life and improved range over analog radios. Furthermore, DMR radios can support data as well as voice communication, allowing for features like text messaging and GPS location tracking.

Secure DMR

Encryption within DMR radios provides a means to secure communication to prevent unauthorized persons from listening to your conversation. Although possible, encryption is not allowed on amateur radio bands and frequencies. Please check with the local communications authority in your region, to find out how to use these features legally.

The encryption process in DMR works by converting the original plain audio signal into a scrambled form during transmission. This encrypted transmission can only be decrypted and understood by a receiver with the correct key. This “secret” key is shared in advance between the communications group. When discussing DMR encryption, it’s important to note two of the three DMR tiers:

  • Tier 1: This is the basic level of DMR, where encryption is not mandatory. These are typically used for consumer-grade applications.
  • Tier 2: At this level, radios are often used in commercial environments where encryption becomes more relevant, providing enhanced privacy for sensitive communications.

The Retevis Ailunce HD2 supports both Tier 1 and Tier 2, following the MOTOTRBO trunking standard from Motorola. MOTOTRBO uses digital technology with Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) technology offering improved capacity, higher operational efficiency, and enhanced features for professional communication.

Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) is a standard that operates under the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) specification, which ensures a high level of interoperability between different manufacturers’ radios. DMR technology has been widely adopted for business and public safety communications, offering a cost-effective and flexible solution with the ability to carry voice and data transmissions.

AES-256 stands for Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with a key length of 256 bits, one of the most secure encryption methods currently available. AES-256 is acknowledged for its strength and is approved for top-secret information in the United States. When integrated with DMR communication systems, AES-256 encryption provides a robust defense against eavesdropping, ensuring that sensitive voice and data transmitted over the radio networks remain confidential.

Using AES-256 encryption with DMR highlights the emphasis on security within communication systems. The encrypted DMR-compatible radios can offer end-to-end encryption, which means that the voice/data is encrypted before transmission and remains encrypted until it reaches the intended recipient, where it is then decrypted. The inclusion of strong encryption is essential for users who operate in environments that demand the highest level of security, such as military, intelligence, or emergency services operations.

Bluetooth headsets

Although I am uncertain which BT profile the HD2 is using, generally speaking, Bluetooth headsets operate using a standard set of profiles defining how wireless audio is transmitted between a radio, and our headset or earpro.

Bluetooth Headset Profile (HSP & HFP)

HSP is one of the oldest Bluetooth profiles and is designed for basic telephony use. It allows for two-way mono audio while providing for necessary controls for PTT, answering calls, volume adjustment, and microphone muting. On the other hand, the HFP (Hands-Free Profile) is geared towards speakerphone use and provides additional features. It supports voice dialing, redialing, call waiting, and call transferring. HFP is commonly used in car systems and high-end headphones. Again, I am uncertain which profile (or combination of profiles) the HD2 uses, but the BT profile integrated seamlessly with my BT headsets.

The addition of Bluetooth capabilities to the HD2 is a game changer. Now we can utilize any BT enabled headset or earpro we like, while remaining totally wireless.

I am using the HD2 along with my Sordin Supreme Pro-X earpro and AUX BT dungle. Getting rid of the wires is extremely convenient!

Low microphone gain of HD1

The HD1 suffered from low mic gain. This meant a soft-spoken operator using the HD1, would often be difficult to hear. The HD2 mic gain and mic gain controls are on another level! My radio came preset on level +1. The settings go from 0 to+10 or 0 to -10. The amount of increased gain is completely overkill (in a good way) compared to the HD1. This is certainly a welcomed update, for long-time users of the Retevis AIlunce HD1.

Final thoughts

The Retevis Ailunce HD2 tested in this blog was the GPS version. The only modification made was importing my settings from the HD1 GPS radios.

There is so much more I could cover with the Retevis Ailunce HD2 so I’ll stop here for now. Although the radio is a major update of the HD1, there were a couple of issues with my pre-release version. I’ll outline them below:

  • When transmitting on 2 meters, the radio generates noise on 70 centimeters. The noise is not bad, but it is something to be aware of when monitoring both bands.
  • When the radio is placed in the charging dock, spurious emissions from the charger will interfere with broadcast FM frequencies. There is no interference when charging the radio through its USB-C port.
  • When the radio is being charged in the charging dock, receiver performance on 2 meters and 70 centimeters is reduced. I was told the radio is not designed to be charged from the dock while in operation. This is not a problem when charging the radio from its USB-C port.

All in all, the radio is a massive upgrade from the HD1. I’m especially happy with the backwards compatibility between the radios, since creating new codeplugs from scratch would be a bummer.

The Bluetooth capabilities are next level. Far too often these radios suffer from quality headset and/or earpro options. With the addition of integrated Bluetooth headset profile, I’ll go ahead and pull the trigger on a Bluetooth Sordin earpro This will enable a more streamlined setup, with fewer cables, and much more simple to deploy.

Is DMR on VHF/UHF a replacement for HF communications? Absolutely not! As I have said all along, VHF/UHF comms is used once your team is in close proximity to one another. HF is used when coordinating the powwow, before your team is within handheld VHF/UHF range. It isn’t one or the other, it’s using the right tool, at the right time!

In an upcoming video, we’ll test the analogue data capabilities of the radio. I’ll also try to get a temporary license to test the encryption capabilities of this excellent new radio.

Let me know what you think.

73
Julian oh8stn
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@oh8stn
Rumble: https://rumble.com/c/OH8STN
Blog: https://www.oh8stn.org

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9 Comments

    • So don’t believe it! 🤣👍
      “Chanfelog
      Firmware V2.0
      Add the AES128, and AES256 encryption.
      Software V1.05
      Fix the problem when opening the CPS the language is Chinese”.

      Radio was released yesterday. AES128/AES256 firmware released a few days ago. They are playing catch-up.

  1. (1). Is this radio Part 90? I think the HD1 is considered commercial PART 90

    (2). It looks like this radio is locked from transmitting on commercial, FRS/GMRS/MURS frequencies like the HD1 out of the box. Is this true it’s locked for only HAM radio transmit? If so can this radio easily be UNLOCKED so it transmits fully like the HD1 from 136-174 MHz & 400-480 MHz?

    Dion
    1-435-599-9000

  2. Bought two, both fail the spurious emissions test of 40db attenuation on the harmonics, 2nd only about 33db, 3rd only 10db. I really wanted to like this radio, but if they can’t fix that (hopefully via firmware), it’s a no go for me.

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