What can I cay, I have always liked Alinco products going back to my first ever HT, the credit card sized Alinco DJ-C1T.
Much has happened in the world of amateur radio since and Alinco continues to do interesting things via its latest DMR handheld offering, the DJ-MD5XTG.
This article details from the inside out, what makes this model different than its predecessor.
Alinco had different DJ-MD5 radios?
Let me first start out and dispel a rumor I created that the latest Alinco DJ-MD5XTG would support the 220 MHz band. It does not or at least officially, which makes the band coverage on par with the popular Anytone AT-D878UV, available from vendors such as Bridgecom.
At the time of this article, the second generation Alinco DMR DJ-MD5XTG is available in the United States by DX Engineering.
When purchasing an Alinco DJ-MD5 series radio, there are now three versions that have been created and the most basic DJ-MD5T is discontinued. The major difference between it and the Alinco DJ-MD5TGP is the inclusion of GPS functionality.
If you are looking to sell your original DJ-MD5 series radio to offset the cost in buying the new radio or are looking for a deal, please think about some of the following based on the teardown of the new DJ-MD5XTG.
The major differences
I did the hard work so you do not have to by doing a basic tear down of the DJ-MD5XTG and comparing it to the DJ-MD5TGP, which I also tore down back in November 2018. The below non-RF major component table will help guide us along.
Both versions main PCB interestingly both show that they are both considered revision 2.0, but with different date of manufacture codes.
1st Point: You get a faster MCU with more memory
Really the only major difference is that the Alinco DJ-MD5XTG upgrades to a 1024k flash and 96k SRAM memory configuration which is identical to that of the Anytone AT-D878UV.
The older Alinco DJ-MD5TGP and DJ-MD5T (Without GPS) has the 512K flash and 64K SRAM memory configuration. The GD32F3030 (VGT6) is what is found inside the latest Alinco DMR radio.
The extra memory, like in the competing Anytone radio, allows for Alinco to support a few new features in the software which we will talk about later such as roaming and analog transmission of AX.25 based APRS. There is also a GPS/Baidou toggle, weather alert and few other changes.
If you have really good eyesight, you may notice what appears to be sloppy soldering on the MCU, but this is intentional.
Alinco has bridged the shown pins on purpose, just like as found in the earlier Alinco DJ-MD5 radio as well as the Anytone AT-D878UV and the earlier AT-868UV.
I just want to point this out that there is no bad workmanship inside this radio, especially since many find it easy to question construction capabilities of radios made today to save costs because of frugal or entry level customers.
The Alinco DJ-MD5TGP is indeed a high quality product and assembled/manufactured in Japan and not China like most, not all Alinco communications equipment.
However, the absolutely useless instruction manual which is little more than an instruction guide on how to attach the belt clip, connect the battery, screw in the antenna and turn on the radio along with some basic operation instructions is indeed printed in China, so take that for whatever value you want to place on that.
For what the manual is, it is rather well made and laid out, but just lacks any major value.
2nd Point: Newer versions of other major components
Beyond the MCU (Micro Controller Unit), the baseband vocoder which helps your radio become a DMR radio, has a new production code and but is identical to the 2018 version of the SCT3258TD.
Everything else is the same too and the only other differences which have not yet been thoroughly tested on the the main PCB are some slight changes in the RF front end and filtering compared to the older radio. The below photo shows the main PCB along with the two RF shields removed on the DJ-MD5XTG.
- What is roaming and do you really need it?
- Analog APRS: This is the original, not the new APRS or D-APRS
- GPS: How do you set it up and actually use it
- Proof is in the programming: Basic US Alinco DJ-MD5XTG code plug
- Talking about the band options in the Alinco DJ-MD5XTG