Hands on with the DV4mobile at the 2016 Dayton Hamvention

DV4mobile, Wireless Holdings
The DV4mobile tri-band, all-mode digital radio that is to be manufactured by Wireless Holdings.

At the 2016 Dayton Hamvention this week, we got to see the DV4mobile – the upcoming tri-band, all-mode digital radio that was announced by Wireless Holdings, maker of the DV4mini digital adapter. The radio was on display at the Wireless Holdings booth and we got to talk with Kurt, OE1KBC and Torsten, DG1HT to learn more about this impressive little mobile.

DON’T MISS: DV4mobile details appear, promising to be the Holy Grail for digitally driven hams

To recap, the radio will operate on the 2m (144 – 148 MHz), 1.25m (222 – 225 MHz) and 70cm (430 – 450 MHz) bands and will initially supporting DMR, D-STAR and C4FM (System Fusion) digital voice modes when it is released in Q4 2016. With subsequent software updates 2017, the radio will also support P25, dPMR, NXDN and NEXEDGE. Since the radio is essentially a Software Defined Radio (SDR), it can easily be programmed to support any new digital voice modes that hams might want to use.

The idea creating a multi-band, all-mode digital mobile radio was initially conceived by Kurt and Torsen in early 2015 and the first prototypes of the radio were received in March 2016. Both Kurt, who is the administrator for the DMR+ network in Austria and Torsen, an Assistance Professor in the area of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Hamburg in Germany, collaborated on the initial design of the radio, known then as “NEW RADIO”, however it was Wireless Holdings that took the step of having the radio manufactured and ultimately made available to the ham community. DV4mobile is the brainchild of this combined effort and will undoubtedly become the next big “must have” radio for digitally driven operators within the ham radio community.

bottom view DV4mobile
The bottom view of the DV4mobile
rear view DV4mobile
The rear view of the DV4mobile.
LTE, DV4mobile, ham radio, digital
The LTE module for the DV4mobile digital radio.

Of the many impressive features proposed for the DV4mobile, one of the more intriguing features of this radio is its support for LTE. Coined as “DV4LTE”, it will enable the radio to operate as a network connected device anywhere in the world using the T-Mobile global LTE network. With the help of DV4LTE, the DV4mobile will be able to support:

  • the ability to download repeater information for DMR and DMR+ repeaters worldwide based upon the GPS location of the radio
  • remote programming capability via a web interface where all configuration changes or software updates will be pushed to the radio from the cloud via LTE. It will also support similar functionality using WiFi (2.4 and 5.0 GHz) or via Ethernet via the RJ-45 connector should an LTE network not be available
  • Remote control operation using an iPhone and Android app (also supported by Bluetooth and WiFi for local operation)
  • SMS, both sending and receiving
  • the ability to send and receive Facebook Messenger messages and Twitter tweets
  • EchoLink operation using FM operation

When users purchase the radio, it will include DV4LTE service for one year. Pricing for DV4LTE service thereafter was still being worked on by Wireless Holdings, however they felt that it would be a very affordable price that most hams would find quite reasonable. Also, users will not need to purchase a SIM card to use DV4LTE, as the LTE card inside of the DV4mobile will employ a virtual SIM card.

Under the hood, the DV4mobile will feature a 1800 MHz CPU, 16 GB of memory and will be based upon a mobile version of Linux. Another very intriguing feature of the radio is that it will support tri-band, all-mode operation such that any mode can be used on nay band, plus cross-band operation – even supporting transmitting on two bands simultaneously, each with 20W of power output. Due to the compact size of the radio, higher power output levels are not available at this time. In addition, the radio will also support a colour display (not touchscreen) , HDMI, USB, DB9 and a RJ-45 Ethernet port. The components for the DV4mobile are manufactured in a variety of locations, such as the radio case is made in China, the motherboards will be manufactured in the U.S. and Germany and the entire radio package will be assembled in the U.S, thereby enabling the Wireless Holdings team to ensure the highest quality for each DV4mobile radio manufactured. When the radio is available for sale, the package will include:

  • DTMF microphone
  • Mobile mounting bracket
  • 13.8V DC power cable
  • USB and Ethernet cables
  • An adapter enabling HDMI, USB and serial DB-9 connections

For anyone wanting to mount the DV4mobile in their vehicle, it is important to note that the radio does not feature a detachable front display as is standard for many newer digital radios. Saying this, users can however mount the radio in their trunk or under the seat og their vehicle and they will be able to remotely control the radio using the upcoming iPhone and Android apps via Bluetooth, so an option for remote mounting will be available after launch.

DV4mobile, Uli Altvader, AG0X, Torsten Schultze, DG1HT, Wireless Holdings, Kurt Baumann, OE1KBC.
The Wireless Holdings team demonstrating the DV4mobile at the 2016 Dayton Hamvention. From the left, Uli Altvader, AG0X, President of Wireless Holdings, Torsten Schultze, DG1HT, the Chief Architect and developer at Wireless Holdings and Kurt Baumann, OE1KBC.

So now for the big question – what will such an awesome radio cost? At the time of this article, the Wireless Holding team was reluctant to provide pricing information, as they had not finalized pricing details. So users will have to stay tuned for these details in late 2016. It is important to note that Wireless Holdings expects that an optional feature to be made available at the time of launch that would enable the radio to also operate on the HF bands, thereby making the radio compact SDR choice for anyone looking to use HF in their vehicle.

About Don Trynor, VA3XFT

Don is a 16-year veteran of the telecommunications industry and a licensed Canadian ham radio operator since 1988. He is passionate about VHF/UHF repeater communications, especially using digital modes and he has owned and operated a number of ham radio repeater installations over the years, including ones in both the provinces of Ontario (VE3/VA3) and New Brunswick (VE9). In addition to ham radio, Don enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, biking and astronomy.