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How to update the TYT MD-2017 to store 100,000 contacts

TYT-MD-2017-firmware-update.jpgAs many of you may know, I work tirelessly with TYT directly to provide feedback to them (both my own and that of the end user) to enhance their products. I can honestly say it is an around-the-clock job. I spend many hours outside of normal day working with TYT to make their products the best in the Chinese market. I was the one who had them re-work the programming software for the MD-2017 and MD-9600 so they could be used with your pre-existing code plugs. This has been a game changer as far as I am concerned. So, let me jump off my soap box now..

When the MD-2017 was released, my biggest concern was the lack of storage in the radio for contacts. For most folks, 10,000 contacts is more than enough; however, I am a firm believer in the old saying that bigger is better.

From my feedback, TYT recently released a firmware upgrade for the MD-2017 to allow up to 100,000 contacts! However, in order to accomplish this, the recorder option had to go away. I was not a fan of the recorder anyhow. It was a neat concept on paper, but a useless function on the radio- kind of like a flashlight or a wrist strap.

Want to add up to 100,000 contacts into your TYT MD-2017 dual band DMR digital radio? Here's how to do it.

What you need:

Note: Microsoft Excel is currently required to be installed on the PC for the import of contacts to work.

Step 1: Save the correct firmware version to your desktop. In the case of the early release radios, it is V3.33 bin (non GPS)

Step 2: Double click on the "FirmwareDownloadV3.04_EN.exe" link

Step 3: Under the "User Program" section, click on "Open file upgrade". This is where you will find the file you saved to your desktop.

Step 4: Plug the programming cable in to your radio and the USB in to your computer. With the radio powered off, hold down the PTT and orange button and power the radio on. The screen will remain black but the LED light on top will flash red and green. You are now in firmware update mode.

Step 5: Write the firmware to the radio. To do this, click on the "Download file of upgrade" button. Your radio will now begin to receive the updated firmware. Once the download is complete, power the radio off and unplug the cable from the radio.

Step 6: Open the V1.17 software and plug the cable back into the radio. If you have a current code plug, the contacts that are in that will remain. This is important for your talkgroups.

Step 7: Click on the "Program" dropdown and select "Write contacts". A box will open with available buttons "Read, Write, Export, Import, and Cancel".

Step 8: If you already have a list, you will want to click the "Import" button. After you do this, select the list and import it to the software. The only notification you will get is if it was successful or not. You will not see these in your regular contact list.

Step 9: Once you get the notification that the import was successful, you will now want to power the radio on and hit the "Write button". The process will now begin. Upload times depend on the number of contacts. With the 64,000+ contacts I uploaded, it took about 5 minutes. Be patient and do not power the radio off!

Step 10: Once the download is complete, power the radio off and then back on again. Next is the most important step: You will need to go into your menu for the radio, click > utilities > radio settings > ContactsCSV, and turn it on.

Now your radio should be good to go! I think there are a few little things I would like for TYT to fix, but for the most part this is pretty awesome!! I like the display on it. It has the look of a pretty well-known firmware hack from the MD-380 days.

I installed this on my MD-2017 a few weeks ago and have been using it ever since. I also released my csv file containing over 64,000 contacts.

As always, my sales staff and I appreciate each and every one of our customers. We will continue to support you and the products we sell!


Anthony R.
Sales Manager


Good evening, my self and a few other hams on brandmeister 3100 were discussing this method and kept getting an error that stated "excel error" when trying to import the csv file.
We found that the computer has to have microsoft excel installed for the import to work. Could you please pass along this info to TYT as we'd like to be able to perform this action without excel.

For another bit of info, you can generate the user database via the md380 tools and then edit the stripped.csv file produced to match the formatting desired by the md-2017 for updates.


Thank for working with and providing TYT with valuable input bettering their products! As mentioned on the phone and on a product review, hopefully TYT finds a solution for the interference on RX of 156.000. I've done some testing and it doesn't appear to be "external interference" as the issue persists throughout my area and with/without antenna, PL tones etc. Something internally with the dual band set-up is causing internal interference is my guess. Hopefully you can duplicate it. This is a great radio and one of my primary uses other than amateur is with my local fire department. With our main dispatch channel receiving on 156.000 with a PL of 107.2, this issues is impacting it's use on the fire front since I can't transmit on a "busy channel." If nothing else, maybe a checkbox allowing to override busy channel lockout in the CPS. Thanks for your continued support!

I did the update last night, it works great with CSV contacts. The tricky part is doing the import the right way. Overall it's a big improvement.

You are right, the recorder function isn't that useful.

With the latest changes, it seems like there may be less reasons for wanting custom firmware for the MD2017.

Everything seemed to work fine and the contact info is now being displayed. Looks really nice. One issue, when I key the mic the radio displays ID Unknown. I can make contacts and everything seems to work but I wonder why it says that.

I have followed the instructions but when I try to load the contacts I get a firmware error message. I have the 3.33 non-gps firmware installed. Ideas?

Wonder if this process would work with an md380-no gps.
I know it is a different radio, with different firmware.
Just would like to get the name and callsign thing in my radio.
Everything online I have seen is very involved with unix.
Do you have suggestions.

tnx, Don

Thanks for the update and links. I follow all the steps and have gone though them multiple times to makes sure I'm reading and doing them correctly. Each time I click import contacts in the updated CPS I get the error "Excel fail!" This happens no matter what CSV I select--either the contacts CSV downloadable above or my own contacts CSV. Any ideas?

Hi Vince, You are correct. Microsoft Excel is required in order for the import of contacts to work. Unfortunately there is no work around at this time. We are notifying TYT of the issue.

FYI, I performed the 3.35 firmware update for the MD-2017 over the weekend and lost my contacts list, no biggie. However, when I tried to reload the contacts list I received a "Firmware Error!" as soon as the upload began. Tried several different methods without success. I reloaded the 3.33 software and was able to reload the contacts list again. I notified the company of the problem, but haven't received a response yet. I would hold off doing the 3.35 update at this time unless you don't use a contacts list.

In the process, I discovered how one can download the most up to date WW contacts list and upload it to the radio. The process is pretty easy in case anyone wants the links and directions although the downloaded list has several minor formatting errors. I believe the list will upload to the radio as-is, but it might be better to use a CSV file editor get rid of some of the unused columns so as to unclutter the MD-2017's display.


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