TYT MD-9600 Review: A Comprehensive Analysis by HamRadar.com

In our comprehensive review of the TYT MD-9600 at HamRadar.com, we delve into the intricacies of this dual-band DMR mobile radio, highlighting its solid performance, affordable pricing, and versatile capabilities in both analog and digital communication. We also address its few drawbacks, including the need for modification to eliminate a popping noise and the limitations of its original firmware, while exploring the potential enhancements offered by upgrading to OpenGD77 firmware.



2/17/20243 min read

a radio - controlled radio with a coiled cord
a radio - controlled radio with a coiled cord

The TYT MD-9600 has stirred the amateur radio community with its launch, offering a blend of digital and analog capabilities wrapped in a competitively priced package. As HamRadar.com delves into this dual-band DMR mobile radio, we aim to provide a thorough review covering its features, performance, and overall value to the ham radio enthusiast.


The TYT MD-9600, with its FCC Part90 Certification ID: 2AJGM-DM1701, marks a significant step forward in the realm of affordable amateur radio equipment. It promises a seamless experience transitioning between analog and digital modes, thanks to its compatibility with both platforms. With dual-band VHF/UHF coverage of 136-174 MHz and 400-470 MHz, the MD-9600 is not just versatile but also powerful, boasting 50 watts of power in both digital and analog modes. This feature alone sets it apart in a market that's becoming increasingly crowded with dual-mode radios.

Specifications and Features

Before diving into the user experience, let's outline the key specifications and features that make the MD-9600 stand out:

  • Digital & Analog Compatible: Supports both digital (DMR) and analog modes, ensuring broad compatibility across different types of communications.

  • Coverage: Offers dual-band coverage with a frequency range of 136-174 MHz (VHF) and 400-470 MHz (UHF).

  • Power: Delivers a solid 50 watts of power on both digital and analog modes, providing ample range for various communication needs.

  • Capacity: Can store up to 3,000 channels, 10,000 digital talk groups, and 120,000 contacts, a capacity that exceeds the needs of most users.

  • Display: Features a 1.77" color TFT display for clear, intuitive navigation and operation.

  • Functionality: Includes a range of functions like scanning, manual programming, DTMF, VFO, SMS, emergency alarm, digital monitor mode, CTCSS/CDCSS, color codes, DMR encryption, and more.

  • Compatibility: Compatible with MOTOTRBO Tier I & II and other DMR radios, enhancing its utility in a variety of settings.

  • Firmware: Supports the OpenGD77 firmware, opening up a new realm of customization and feature enhancements.


Solid Radio with Good Price

The TYT MD-9600 offers a robust set of features at a price point that's hard to beat. It provides excellent value for those looking to step into the world of DMR without breaking the bank.

Analog and Digital (DMR) Compatibility

The ability to switch between analog and digital modes with ease makes the MD-9600 a versatile choice for amateurs who operate in both realms.

Bright Display

The 1.77" color TFT display is bright and easy to read, which enhances the user experience, especially in mobile setups where visibility can be a challenge.

Mostly Great Audio

The audio quality on the MD-9600 is commendable, with clear reception and transmission that meets the expectations for both casual and serious radio operators.

Upgradable to OpenGD77 Firmware

The compatibility with OpenGD77 firmware is a significant advantage, offering users the ability to enhance their radio's functionality and overcome some of the limitations of the original firmware.


Requires Modification to Resolve Popping Noise

Some users have reported a popping noise issue, which can detract from the overall audio experience. However, this can be mitigated with a hardware modification or by installing the OpenGD77 firmware.

Original Firmware Limited to 10k Contacts

While the radio supports a vast number of contacts, the original firmware limits this to 10,000, which may be a constraint for power users or those who need access to extensive contact lists.

User Experience and Performance

Using the TYT MD-9600 is a mostly positive experience. The radio's build quality feels solid and reliable, suitable for both base and mobile operations. Programming the radio, especially with the included programming cable and software, is straightforward for those familiar with DMR radios, though newcomers might face a learning curve.

The audio quality is generally excellent, with clear transmissions and reception. The bright display adds to the user experience, making it easy to operate the radio in various lighting conditions. The extensive customization available through the OpenGD77 firmware is a welcome feature, allowing users to tailor the radio to their specific needs.

The power output of 50 watts ensures that the MD-9600 has ample reach, whether in urban settings or more remote locations. The dual-slot DMO functionality is particularly useful for efficient communication, doubling the capacity of the frequency resources.

Final Thoughts

The TYT MD-9600 stands out as a solid choice for amateur radio operators looking for a versatile, powerful, and affordable dual-band DMR radio. While it has its drawbacks, such as the popping noise issue and the original firmware's contact limit, these are not deal-breakers, especially considering the radio's price point and the available workarounds. The ability to upgrade to OpenGD77 firmware significantly enhances its appeal, offering a level of customization and functionality that is rare in this price range. The current price on Amazon is $289

In summary, the TYT MD-9600 is a commendable radio for both newcomers and seasoned hams, delivering on the promise of a high-performance, dual-mode radio that won't empty your wallet. Whether you're looking to explore the world of digital mobile radio or need a reliable analog companion, the MD-9600 is worth considering.