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How to unlock TYT DMR radios

Locked TYT MD-2017With the recent uncertainty surrounding the FCC and import radios, TYT has made a decision to ship all of their radios locked down to the 150-160 MHz VHF and 450-460 MHz UHF ranges.

They actually made these changes a few months ago, and at first "unlocking" the radios to allow use outside of these limited ranges required special unlock software. With the most recent firmware release, however, TYT has made the unlock process much more simple. All of their models can now be unlocked by holding down a key combination while powering on the radios. In this article, we'll show how to unlock the TYT MD-9600 mobile radio, and the MD-380, MD-390, MD-UV380 and MD-2017 handheld radios.

Is your radio locked?

Radios that are locked will display frequencies outside of the 150-160 MHz and 450-460 MHz range as 150.000 or 450.000 when the radio is in frequency mode. For example, if the channel on a locked radio is programmed for 147.300, the display will show 150.000. Once unlocked, the radio will show the correct frequency. A locked radio that has been programmed to frequencies outside of the locked range does not need to be reprogrammed. After being unlocked, the radio will work properly.

A radio will always remember that it has been unlocked, even if the battery or power supply is removed.

Unlocking the TYT MD-9600

The TYT MD-9600 must be running firmware version 6.09 or higher to unlock using these steps. Prior versions will need special unlock software.

  • Power the radio on.
  • Remove all power to the radio. Note, you must remove vehicle or power supply power - you can't just turn off the radio with the power button.
  • Hold down the P1 and P2 buttons on the front of the radio.
  • Power up the radio while holding these buttons until the power on tone sounds.
  • No notification/confirmation is provided, but the radio is now unlocked.

Unlocking the TYT MD-2017

Unlocking the TYT MD-2017

The TYT MD-2017 must be running firmware version 4.06 or higher to unlock using these steps. Prior versions will need special unlock software.

  • Turn the radio OFF.
  • On the side of the radio, hold down the top (blue) button and the UP arrow key.
  • Turn the radio ON while holding down these buttons.
  • No notification/confirmation is provided, but the radio is now unlocked.

Unlocking the TYT MD-2017

Unlocking the TYT MD-380, MD-390, and MD-UV380

The TYT MD-380 or MD-390 must be running firmware version 14.07 or higher to unlock using these steps. The MD-UV380 requires version 18.03 or higher. Prior versions will need special unlock software.

  • Turn the radio OFF.
  • Hold down side buttons 1 and 2.
  • Turn the radio ON while holding down these buttons.
  • No notification/confirmation is provided, but the radio is now unlocked.

Unlocking the TYT MD-2017

Why did TYT do this?

Great question, and one that we can't get a clear answer to. Based on our understanding of the FCC rules, TYT should be able to ship the radios as long as their supported range is within what is allowed on the grant from the FCC. For the MD-2017, for example, the grant shows 136-174 MHz and 406.1-480 MHz. I can only assume that this has been done out of an overabundance of caution. It would be understandable if they were unsure about how the FCC will be enforcing the rules, and don't want to take any risks at all. In the meantime, unfortunately, customers are confused and left with products that look to be defective, although they are actually operating as designed.

38 thoughts on “How to unlock TYT DMR radios”

  • N8XLJ

    you have the mic pinout for the md-9600?

    Reply
  • Seryi

    This did not work for MD-UV390, fw 18.011/fw 18.016.

    Reply
  • cesaar

    got a tyt md 398 radio need help in unlocking radio power up ok did reset but only rest powerup side not the pc programming side with software

    Reply
    • Rick

      We don't carry this model, so we have no information on it. You may need to contact your dealer or TYT direct for support.

      Reply
  • Alejandro Pereida
    Alejandro Pereida May 16, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    Just bough a MD-UV390 I unlocked it fine no problem it does TX on the hamband but when creating a channel for a repeater (RX 438.025 Mhz and RX 433.025MHZ) CC5, TS2 when I push the PTT after a couple of seconds I get the repeater not found tone, the repeater is right here in my shack. I have an Alinco and an Anytone and no problem with those, what am I missing while creating the channel for the repeater? BTW simplex works fine with the MD-UV390 on a jumbospot the issue seems with repeater channels.
    Thanks in advance

    Alex N2IX/XE2BSS

    Reply
    • Rick

      We carry the MD-390 but not dual band UV390 at this time, so I don't have one here to try to replicate the issue. However, it is possible someone in our Two Way Radio Forum may have one and may be able to help. It doesn't hurt to check in and ask.

      Reply
  • Steve R

    I have the MD UV 380. Tried to change firmware for 100k contacts . Now it is stuck in firmware mode with red green lights flashing

    Help
    Steve R

    Reply
  • joey

    Hi. how to unlock TYT TH-UV88.thanks

    Reply
  • zach jansky

    looking how to unlock my tyt th-9000d

    Reply
    • Rick

      We do not sell the TH-9000D, so we do not have unlock instructions for it. You will need to contact the dealer from whom you purchased it or TYT directly for support.

      Reply
  • Jeff

    I have a new TYT TH-7800. It won't receive any noaa frequencies (e.g 162.400). Mine will not accept anything outside of amateur frequencies (144.000 - 148.000) unlike the product description. help??

    Reply
  • Zach Melzer

    Do you have any way to unlock a Baofeng UV82 similar to this article? CHIRP says the VHX range is 126-176 but my radio is locked and I can only access from 144-148 using the scroll and cannot enter frequencies outside of this range. Any clue how to gain full VHF range access?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Rick

      Sorry, no. These instructions were provided to address a specific accessibility provided by TYT to its DMR radios. As far as we know, Baofeng does not have a similar feature for unlocking the UV-82, if it can be unlocked at all.

      Reply
  • Kris

    Rick, I have a TH-9800. I noticed in the manual that the radio has the “option” of running the 66 - 88 and 220 - 260 MHz frequencies. Is there a way to unlock those frequencies?

    Reply
    • Rick

      Hi Kris, The manual lists the options for those bands and frequency ranges because there are multiple versions of the TH-9800 available for export to various countries that allow the legal use of the radio on those bands and frequencies. Those options are preset by TYT based on the version exported to a specific region or country. The version of the TH-9800 sold in the US is limited to the four bands and frequency ranges allowed by the FCC for legal use by amateur radio operators. 66-88 MHz is primarily used by FM radio and television commercial broadcasting is not authorized for voice transmission by private users, hence that version of the radio is generally unavailable for sale by dealers in the US.

      Reply
  • Charles A. Gilbert
    Charles A. Gilbert November 3, 2019 at 7:43 am

    I had an odd thing happen during an Emergency Communications Exercise last week. I was operating with a VHF analog repeater on the A side of my MD 9600 and a Talk Group set in the B side. We live in very mountainous terrain which requires me to jump around repeaters depending on my physical location. I had a secondary repeater with the same talk group programmed into my radio on the B side so I could jump around. About half way through the exercise, I realized that the settings on both DMR repeaters on the B side had switched to analog. After I returned to my computer I downloaded the radio and found not only had that happened, but the bandwidth had change to wide. Anyone have any ideas why this change would occur during radio use? It is very frustrating as it took me out of the exercise.

    Reply
  • Frankie Deschacht
    Frankie Deschacht November 1, 2019 at 5:35 am

    I have the Retevis RT90.
    I am in the UK, so my radio is unlocked.
    I have set my DMR talkgroups to work via the Heathrow Airport repeater, which is only 4.4 miles (7 km) away from me and operates on RX: 439.45000 and Tx: 430.45000
    The radio is having none of it, when I key up the mic, nothing happens on screen and no signal is sent, and nothing is received from my handie, which is set to the same repeater and works perfectly. When I change the Rx and Tx to be both 430.45000 then the radio sends a signal, and all other frequencies below 439.xxxxx work, I really have no idea what that couls be.
    Any help will be much appreciated.

    Reply
    • Rick

      We are located in the US and do not carry Retevis products, so we are not familiar with that specific model. However, you may find someone in our Two Way Radio Forum who may be able to help. Some members of the forum are from other countries, including the UK, and a few of them use Retevis branded radios. The forum is free to join.

      Reply
  • Shmila

    Hello,
    I bought the tyt th9000d (400-490) i think it call the 440 model.
    I can only enter frequency between 420 and 450.
    How do i unlock it to enter all the range.
    Thanks in advance

    Reply
    • Rick

      If the radio is labeled as a "440" model, it means that it is intended for amateur radio use only, on the amateur radio 70cm band between 420 and 450 MHz. You did not mention what country you are in, so the rules for using an unlocked radio may vary. We are based in the US, so this response is based on the rules in this country. The FCC does not allow the sale or use of a radio transceiver capable of operating outside the frequency range for which it is approved. We do not sell this model, so we do not have an FCC ID for it. However, if it is only type accepted for Part 15B, it can legally be used for amateur radio operation only. If you are in the US and want to unlock this radio for operation outside the ham bands, you will need to contact the dealer from whom you purchased it or TYT for support, and at your own risk.

      Reply
  • Pat Bunsold

    I bought a MD-9600 a few months back from you and went thru a hassle to get a code plug in it. Now I want to work on the code plug and add frequencies, but when I try and read the existing code plug the CPS software asks for a Password. Tried 8 Zeros which is supposed tot be the default. I didn't program in a PW. Now I can't access the code plug. Any idea

    Reply
  • Paolo

    Hi, I have a th8600 tyt, and is islocked in frecuency,how do can unlock please?

    Reply
  • Claud Kassouf
    Claud Kassouf July 12, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    How to unlock TH-UV8000D Thanks a lot

    Reply
    • Rick

      We do not carry or support the TH-UV8000D, so we have not information on it. You may need to contact TYT directly for the instructions and/or software required to unlock this model.

      Reply
  • John Sails

    TYT MD-2017 where to get newest firmware?
    only found 4.05 , need 4.06

    Reply
    • Rick

      The latest firmware should be available from the manufacturer's web site at http://www.tyt888.com/?mod=download .

      Reply
  • Robert A Freeman
    Robert A Freeman May 25, 2019 at 9:39 am

    How do you unlock it tyt md380

    Reply
    • Rick

      Robert, the instructions for unlocking the MD-380 are in the article in the section "Unlocking the TYT MD-380, MD-390, and MD-UV380".

      Reply
  • andre

    Hi,

    To unlock the tyt md2017 you need firmware version 4.06 or higher?? I can find ver 4.05 but not higher!!
    So i ask how can you unlock it if there is no 4.06 or higher??

    Thz, Andre

    Reply
  • Les Hall

    I have searched all over for the method to unlock the TYT-TH9800 and have not found a method either manual or software. can you help? THANKS AND BE WELL

    Reply

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