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).

Recently, 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 much prefer), a large memory capacity (it easily holds the entire worldwide CCS7 ID contact list), and has extra capacity for future feature expansion. It also comes with a decent CPS software package. I think this one is finally a keeper.

AnyTone AT-D878UV DMR HT radio

I got my AnyTone from Powerwerx△, a good source for ham radio-related electronics. They also 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△.

The AnyTone approach to its CPS software is a bit different than others I've tried. There's a video by WoodburyMan that provides a good overview of how all the pieces fit together: Anytone D868 Tutorial△.

AnyTone AT-D868UV/AT-D878UV DMR Users Group△

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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