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-D878UVOpen in new tab regular. 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. Most importantly, the AnyTone AT-D878UV, like the AT-D868UV before it, is designed to accommodate amateur radio use well (most DMR radios are designed primarily for commercial use). For me, this one's a keeper.

AnyTone AT-D878UV DMR HT radio

AnyTone is proving itself to be a leader in DMR radios for the amateur radio community. Their AT-D878UV catapulted them to the front of the pack. Their mobile unit, the AnyTone AT-D578UVOpen in new tab regular, which they released late 2019, shows that they are taking the lead in both listening to hams and innovating; there's nothing else quite like it in the mobile space (especially with its cross-band and cross-mode flexibility).

AnyTone AT-D878UV DMR HT radio

Hint: A good source for AnyTone radios is Lets Get Ready, which has an online store on eBay and provides good, friendly support: Lets Get ReadyOpen in new tab regular.

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 featuresOpen in new tab regular by Chris, 2E0UKH.

2b) Choosing a hotspot

SharkRF openSPOT 3 hotspot Over the past few years I've used a bunch of different hotspots, each of which has its own strengths, and new ones are released regularly.

This is such a big topic that I've spun off an entire article describing how hotspots work and discussing various available choices: Hanging out with hotspotsOpen in new tab regular.

Have fun choosing!

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