A mobile ad hoc network (MANET) comprises mobile nodes that can exchange data without an organized network architecture. Radio propagation models have important role in keeping the mobile nodes connected. Three radio propagation models that include shadowing model, free space model and two ray ground model are evaluated and analyzed as a core contribution. These models are implemented in MANETs environments in the light of changing traffic and mobility parameters. The effects of the different radio propagation models are analyzed over the destination-sequenced distance-vector (DSDV) routing protocol. In DSDV, the sequence numbers are used to maintain routes and new routes overcome the old routes when sequence numbers of the old routes become obsolete. To better understand the behavior of radio propagation models, simulations are conducted using Network Simulator-2. The metrics used in simulations include ratio of packet delivery, throughput, average delay, and packet drop ratio in a relation with the pause time and mobility parameters. The obtained results indicate that the two ray ground model is more suited for the DSDV protocol than the random waypoint model in terms of packet success ratio, data packets sent, throughput, and average network delay. Further, the model has a lower value for packets dropped than the Free Space and Shadowing models at higher pause times.