Discovering DMR – 2

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2) Choosing a way forward

Since I wasn't clear what I was getting into with DMR, initially the operative words for me when choosing my DMR hardware were "inexpensive" and as "easy to use" as possible.

2a) Choosing a DMR radio

Since I already had a nice D-STAR radio for all-around, multi-mode use, I decided to just barely stick my toe in the DMR soup to begin with. So initially to get up and running with DMR, I chose a cheap, single-mode radio, the CS580 UHF.

After I had explored DMR for a while, I decided I wanted a bit higher quality radio. I tried a couple different radios over the course of the next couple of years, the Connect Systems CS760 (a good concept, but ultimately a bust, soon discontinued), and the Hytera AR-685 (a quite nice radio, but unfortunately with a dead-end development path).

Then, I picked up an AnyTone AT-D878UV. It's a nice, solid unit with a good screen (a black screen like my Kenwood TH-D74A, which I prefer), a large memory capacity (it easily holds the entire worldwide CCS7 ID contact list), and extra capacity for future feature expansion. It also comes with a decent CPS software package. This one is a keeper.

AnyTone AT-D878UV DMR HT radio

AnyTone 878 availability

I got my AnyTone from Powerwerx, a great source for ham radio-related electronics with a first-rate team. They have links to the PDF user manuals (for both the 878 and 868), a PDF programming manual (so far only for the 868, but good enough to get you started with the 878), as well as the latest contact list, CPS, and firmware versions.

More info about the 878/868

Some good videos about the 878/868

The AnyTone approach to its CPS software is a bit different than others I've tried. Here are some good videos that provide an overview of how all the pieces fit together; while there is some overlap, I learned different things from each of them:

A good video about the digital monitor feature: Anytone 868 878 dig monitor features by Chris, 2E0UKH.

2b) Choosing a hotspot

For the first year that I played around with DMR, I used the openSPOT v1, which I quite liked, though I did wish it had built-in WiFi. As of late 2017, a ZUMspot running Pi-Star became my default hotspot.

ZUMspot + RPi 3B+

For more info about the ZUMspot and other hotspots, see: Hanging out with hotspots. For more info about Pi-Star, see Playing with Pi-Star.

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