DMR radios are available from many manufacturers, with features ranging from simple to comprehensive.
Motorola are a major manufacturer of DMR equipment, producing a range of mobiles, portables and repeaters under the brand name Mototrbo.
Motorola recently upgraded their SL4000 series compact DMR portable to the new e version.
The SL4010e is a small portable DMR radio, with styling very similar to a modern mobile phone.
SL4010e with 50c piece for comparison
It looks quite different to a traditional clunky portable two way radio, and is much thinner.
SL4010e and DP4801 portables
The radio is intended for an office environment or for those needing a low profile solution for security or management.
Like all new Mototrbo e series radios, the 4010 provides enhanced receive and transmit audio, with receive performance at high volume being particularly improved.
The SL4010e also offers 3W high and 1W low power, along with Bluetooth 4.0, integrated Wi-Fi, over the air software update, GPS receiver for position broadcast and integrated accelerometer for man down activation – the radio can be programmed to send an emergency message if the operator falls over.
It operates in DMR mode only.
A smart carry bracket is supplied with the radio – this allows the 4010e to be clipped to a belt with the display facing either in (for protection) or out.
It is charged via a mini-USB socket or a standard drop in unit.
The radio is very slim and light. It fits easily in a pocket, or it can be carried in the bracket on your belt.
It uses the standard Mototrbo family interface buttons and display icons – users of the 4600 mobiles and 4800 portables will find the 4010e simple to use.
The display is bright and sharp like a modern mobile phone. Various backgrounds can be selected and the time out (to save the battery) is fully adjustable.
The radio has three programmable buttons; one on the side, and two on the front. Like all Mototrbo radios, each button has two possible functions available through either a long or short press.
Unlike other portables, there is no channel knob, as such – Zones (groups of channels) and individual channels are scrolled through using the central 4 way button.
The radio can store 1000 channels.
Channels being selected
The small speaker produces surprisingly good audio. Motorola’s intelligent audio feature automatically adjusts receive audio volume depending on the ambient noise level. It is very effective, but it can be turned off if you are operating in a quiet environment.
The frequency response of the received audio can also be adjusted to boost low, mid or high frequencies.
Transmit audio reports were uniformly good. The radio is normally operated with tx audio AGC on. This works well on DMR networks. Like most digital radio systems, background noise on transmit is suppressed – you hear only the operator’s voice.
Two sockets on bottom RH edge allow USB programming/charging and audio accessories to be connected. Motorola has a large range of audio accessories, including “low profile” units if you want to talk into your wrist like a US Secret Service agent…..
RF performance is surprisingly good for the small antenna.
The PTT button is a bit stiff.
The battery (capacity 2200 mAh) lasts about 10-12 hours.
This is a commercial radio – it doesn’t have a VFO knob. Channels are programmed using special software on a Windows PC. You can use either a USB to mini-USB cable or Bluetooth to connect the radio to the PC.
It is programmed like any other DMR radio – after you have “read” the radio with the software, you can drag and drop channels and contacts from other Mototrbo programming files (or “code plugs”) to save time, or you can just type the required channel information in.
The SL4010e can be set to scan channels as required and also provides roaming like other high end commercial radios.
Roaming allows the radio to automatically select the best repeater based on signal strength. This feature works particularly well in Sydney and Melbourne with their multiple linked repeaters.
Like most DMR radios, the 4010e has a contact list that allows you to program DMR user ID numbers such that the other station’s name and callsign are displayed on the screen. A great aide memoire…
Talk group info at top and other station’s details below
The SL4010e is a quality product – it looks slick, is very convenient to carry and works very well. The only downside is price. It is a high end radio and has a price tag to match.