This past year I dove into the use of DMR – Digital Mobile Radio! There are two reasons I enjoy using DMR, alongside conventional analog communications. Those reasons are the computer and radio science involved in the implementation of DMR systems, and the fellowship with other amateur radio operators!

Recently I was speaking with an operator on DMR and he brought up a great point. Currently there is not a website available to indicate when MD380tools has been updated. So, I have taken a moment and I have compiled a way to tell when ‘tools has been updated, and also an easy to follow guide on installing tools.

But before we go any farther I suppose I need to explain exactly what MD380tools is. ‘tools as it’s often called is used on Tytera, a.k.a. TYT, radios which have the model number MD380, MD390, and MD2017. These radios are approved by the F.C.C. for amateur radio use, but they have more “land mobile or business service” traits about them. Some of these traits inhibit the ability to change frequencies, or talk groups via the keypad. What MD380tools does, is allows amateur radio operators the ability to control the radio via the keypad, much as they would use any other amateur radio.

I have furthered my use in DMR by successfully building a Raspberry Pi 20mW DMR repeater, using an OpenSPOT SharkRF, which works great for use around the house and neighborhood. By using the Raspberry Pi for its internet connection, I have created the ability to remotely log into the Pi and the OpenSPOT anywhere I have an internet or cellular connection. But I will touch more on that topic later.

I am going to mainly focus on the links to find the information and files needed, but I recommend reading the PDF file which details the installation of MD380tools. This PDF can be downloaded in its entirety at this link:

Other links regarding MD380tools are below:

Google Group MD380tools:

Facebook Group MD380tools/KD4Z Toolkit Custom Firmware Support Group:

Step 1: Downloading the image file containing the VM (Virtual Machine). I have found the best success for installing ‘tools by downloading from the mirror site, the software titled tyt_kd4z_3.0.ova. Here is the link to mirror site:

Step 2: Download Virtual Box. You must download Virtual Box to run the software titled tyt_kd4z_3.0.ova, which you downloaded in Step 1. Here is the link to Virtual Box:

Step 3: Installing Virtual Box. DO NOT FORGET TO COMPLETE THIS STEP! Once you download Virtual Box you have to install the Extension Pack, which is located on the Virtual Box Downloads page. The link for the download page is in Step 2. You have to click on the link titled “All supported platforms”. The All supported platforms link is here:

Step 4: Reboot Your Workstation. The PDF you downloaded recommends rebooting the workstation to ensure your USB devices integrate with Virtual Box. It is also recommended to connect the radio and USB after rebooting your computer.

Step 5: Import the Virtual Machine File tyt_kd4z_3.0.ova. In Virtual Box, click File > Import Appliance, then select the file tyt_kd4z_3.0.ova from the folder you saved it to.

Step 6: Start the Virtual Machine. Easy as it sounds, just load the software for MD380tools.

Travis Goodspeed, KD0KKV has done a fantastic job building this software, and Warren Merkel, KD4Z has done a great job forking this project, and allowing other ham radio operators the ability to use our Tytera MD380 radios to connect to others all over the world!

These steps are just the simplified basics, and I STRONGLY RECOMMEND reading the entire PDF Installation Guide before, and during installation, to ensure that no steps are missed. The primary purpose of this post is to point you to the links with relative ease. During my installation, I had difficulty locating the links and I wasted valuable time trying to find where I needed to navigate to online.


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