Discovering DMR notes

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a) DMR: sites

b) DMR: forums

c) DMR: articles

d) DMR: presentations

e) DMR: books

f) DMR: videos

g) DMR: hardware & software

h) DMR: tools

i) DMR: repeaters

j) DMR: talkgroups & reflectors

k) DMR: nets

What follow is some nets I've come across and enjoyed, but there's no guarantee that they're still active (please let me know if they aren't).

1) Some repeater-based talkgroups

The display names are just what I use.

Rocky Mtn Wide, Lee Hill Rptr (RMHAM Network)
   700  446.9875−  7  1  LEE RCKY MTN 700
Northern CO Region, Lee Hill Rptr (RMHAM Network)
   721  446.9875−  7  2  LEE NO CO 721
Rocky Mtn Wide, Horsetooth Mtn Rptr
   700  446.7500−  7  1  HRS RCKY MTN 700
Northern CO Region, Horsetooth Mtn Rptr
   700  446.7500−  7  2  HRS NO CO 721
Local, Parker Pinery Rptr
     2  445.0750−  1  2  PRA LCL 2
CO STWD, Parker Pinery Rptr
  3108  445.0750−  1  1  PRA CO STWD 3108

2) Some BrandMeister hotspot talkgroups

For hotspot-based setup: These all use the same TX and RX simplex frequency (whatever your hotspot is set up to use), color code 1, and time slot 2. (Repeater-based time slots are shown in parentheses.)

Links are to the BrandMeister Hoseline service, so you can get an idea of the activity on the talkgroup. The display names are just what I use.

World Wide (TS1)
    91  WW 91
North America (TS1)
    93  N AM 93
N AM TAC 310
   310  TAC 310¹
N AM TAC 311
   311  TAC 311¹
N AM TAC 312
   312  TAC 312¹
Worldwide English (Dynamic)
   913  WW EN DYN 913
US Nationwide (TS1)
  3100  US WIDE 3100¹
Colorado Statewide (TS2)
  3108  CO STWD 3108
Parker Radio Association LCL (TS2)
310844  PRA LCL 310844
Calling Area 0: Midwest, incl CO (TS1)
 31090  MIDWST 31090
Calling Areas 7: West (TS1)
 31097  WEST 31097
Eastern Oklahoma
 31402  E OK 31402
Parrot Private (TS1 & TS2)
310997  PARROT 310997
Reg and Loc (APRS) Services (TS1 & TS2)
310999  APRS 310999

[1] Talkgroups 3100, 310, 311, 312 are linked across BrandMeister and DMR-MARC.

3) Some other hotspot talkgroups

For hotspot-based setup: These all use the same TX and RX simplex frequency (whatever your hotspot is set up to use), color code 1, and time slot 2. (Repeater-based time slots are shown in parentheses.)

The display names are just what I use.

DMR-MARC: World Wide (TS1)
     1  WW 1
DMR-MARC: North America (TS1)
     3  N AM 3
DMR-MARC: WW English (TS1)
    13  WW EN 13
   310  TAC 310
   311  TAC 311
   312  TAC 312
DMR-MARC: Northern CO (TS2)
  3171  NO CO 3171
  Note: cross-connected to BrandMeister
DMR-MARC: Mountain Region (TS2)
  3177  MTN RGN 3177

4) All BrandMeister regional talkgroups

The BrandMeister U.S. regional talkgroups mirror the callsign assignment regions shown in this ARRL WAS map (PDF).

Time slots interleaved on the signal

Links are to the BrandMeister Hoseline service, so you can get an idea of the activity on the talkgroups. On repeaters, these talkgroups typically are on time slot 1. The display names are just what I use.

 31090  0 MIDWST 31090
 31091  1 N EAST 31091
 31092  2 NY NJ 31092
 31093  3 MIDATLTC 31093
 31094  4 S EAST 31094
 31095  S CENTRAL 31095
 31096  6 CAL 31096
 31097  7 WEST 31097

5) All BrandMeister state talkgroups

Links are to the BrandMeister Hoseline service, so you can get an idea of the activity on the talkgroups. On repeaters, the home state talkgroup is typically on time slot 2. The display names are just what I use.

  3101  AL STWD 3101
  3102  AK STWD 3102
  3104  AZ STWD 3104
  3105  AR STWD 3105
  3106  CA STWD 3106
  3108  CO STWD 3108
  3109  CT STWD 3109
  3110  DE STWD 3110
  3111  DC STWD 3111
  3112  FL STWD 3112
  3113  GA STWD 3113
  3115  HI STWD 3115
  3116  ID STWD 3116
  3117  IL STWD 3117
  3118  IN STWD 3118
  3119  IA STWD 3119
  3120  KS STWD 3120
  3121  KY STWD 3121
  3122  LA STWD 3122
  3123  ME STWD 3123
  3124  MD STWD 3124
  3125  MA STWD 3125
  3126  MI STWD 3126
  3127  MN STWD 3127
  3128  MS STWD 3128
  3129  MO STWD 3129
  3130  MT STWD 3130
  3131  NE STWD 3131
  3132  NV STWD 3132
  3133  NH STWD 3133
  3134  NJ STWD 3134
  3135  NM STWD 3135
  3136  NY STWD 3136
  3137  NC STWD 3137
  3138  ND STWD 3138
  3139  OH STWD 3139
  3140  OK STWD 3140
  3141  OR STWD 3141
  3142  PA STWD 3142
  3144  RI STWD 3144
  3145  SC STWD 3145
  3146  SD STWD 3146
  3147  TN STWD 3147
  3148  TX STWD 3148¹
  3149  UT STWD 3149
  3150  VT STWD 3150
  3151  VA STWD 3151
  3153  WA STWD 3153
  3154  WV STWD 3154
  3155  WI STWD 3155
  3156  WY STWD 3156

[1] BrandMeister 3148 (TX STWD) is crosslinked to DMR-MARC 9000.

6) All DMR-MARC regional talkgroups

The seven DMR-MARC U.S. regional talkgroups have a different grouping.

Time slots interleaved on the signal

The display names are just what I use.

  3169  RG MIDWST 3169
  3172  RG N EAST 3172
  3173  RG MIDATLTC 3173
  3174  RG S EAST 3174
  3175  RG S PLAINS 3175
  3176  RG S WEST 3176
  3177  RG MOUNTAIN 3177

7) NoCO DMR talkgroups

The Northern Colorado (NoCO) DMR group is a group of Northern Colorado amateur radio operators who operate and maintain an amateur radio DMR repeater network. Usage of the repeater system is open to use by all licensed amateur radio operators with the appropriate privileges.

NoCO DMR talkgroups (BrandMeister). The display names are just what I use.

  3171  NoCO (Northern Colorado)
 31088  CO HD (Hotspot Discussion)
 31083  CO Severe WX
 31084  NoCO MTN (Front Range)

8) Constellations: a big leap for digital voice

There is work being done to include DMR into existing XLX reflectors, and by linking into the XRF/XLX infrastructure.

From the Kings of Digital Notify group: The Constellation reflectors are:

8a) The advantage of a constellation

From the paper, "XLX and XRF Reflectors, DMR, and use with DMRGateway" by John Fields, K6KD, of the D-STAR Round Table Forum:

The advantage for existing DMR users are portals into current XLX/XRF infrastructure (individual reflectors or groups of linked reflectors) either using new DMR only Talk Groups or Talk Groups with transcoding. The advantage for existing D-STAR users is the ability to access the XLX/XRF infrastructure using many high quality, low cost DMR radios.

An example of a constellation net is the D-STAR Round Table Net, which because of this new flexibility is joined by people using D-STAR, DMR, and even System Fusion radios:

D-STAR Round Table is on a constellation of XRF/XLX Reflectors. To participate, you may connect to any one of the linked Reflectors: XRF002A, XRF310A, XRF555A, XLX313A, DMR XLX313/TG 4001 OR connect to a repeater that is linked to one of the reflectors.


8b) Constellation setup

Follow-up note (Nov 2017) – Following the steps in a document written by Craig Jungers, K7EXJ, "Connecting your DMR radio to the D-STAR constellation", I configured the Pi-Star DMRGateway settings so that I was able to join into the Kings of Digital constellation with my DMR radio, listening to callers on both D-STAR and DMR radios. Sweet, this is progress! To summarize:

  1. I enabled the Pi-Star DMR Configuration with the DMR Master set to DMRGateway, and then set up the XLX section as follows:
    • XLX Master = XLX_313
    • XLX Startup TG = None [Note: This option is no longer available.]
    • XLX Master Enable = On
  2. I added an XLX hotspot zone to my codeplug with the following channels:
    • XLX313 CQCQCQ = TG 6, Group Call
    • XLX Unlink = TG 64000, Private Call
    • XLX313 A Link = TG 64001, Private Call (XLX313 A is persistently linked to the Kings of Digital reflector constellation, which also includes XRF002 A, XRF310 A, XRF555 A, and XLX212 A)
    • XLX313 B Link = TG 64002, Private Call (XLX313 B is persistently linked to XRF757 C and the QuadNet)
    • XLX313 C Link = TG 64003, Private Call (XLX313 C is persistently linked to XRF555 C = good for multimode extended QSOs)
    • XLX313 D Link = TG 64004, Private Call (XLX313 D is persistently linked to XRF310 D = good for multimode extended QSOs)
    • XLX313 E Link = TG 64005, Private Call

Kings of Digital Notify for Constellation reflectors

In early May 2018, the Kings of Digital announced a Notify service "to enable users to notify each other of either planned or ad hoc discussions on the Constellation." For more info, see: Kings of Digital Notify group.

9) BrandMeister static, dynamic, and auto-static talkgroups

Standalone article: BrandMeister static, dynamic, and auto-static talkgroups

These are simple features made a bit more complex by the fact that things behave differently when you connect to a BrandMeister talkgroup via a hotspot than when you connect via a BrandMeister repeater. Additionally, simplex and duplex hotspots behave differently related to auto-static talkgroups.

Here's how I understand BrandMeister static, dynamic, and auto-static talkgroups to be working as of Mar 2019.

9a) Via repeaters

When you're connected via a BrandMeister repeater, talkgroups can be static (always activated) or dynamic (user activated). John, AA7US, wrote a good explanation of this in a post in the old, now closed Pi-Star Users Support Group:

On a regular repeater system there are "static" and "dynamic" talk groups.…

Regular static talk groups are permanently linked to a repeater by an administrator using BrandMeister's SelfCare web dashboard. They can only be disconnected by the repeater administrator.

Dynamic talk groups are only temporarily linked to a repeater system each time someone keys up on a talk group. A dynamic talk group will time out … and automatically disconnect from the repeater. This makes it easy for users to share a repeater with different talk groups.

Network system administrators or repeater administrators determine how their repeaters are configured. Some allow only specific static talkgroups to be used on each time slot; others allow only static talkgroups on time slot 2, and allow dynamic talkgroups on time slot 1. In the latter case, the convention is to use time slot 1 to key up dynamic wide-area talkgroups, while local talkgroups typically are static on time slot 2.

BrandMeister system administrators tend to allow more dynamic talkgroups, while other networks can be more restrictive. The best way to understand how a repeater is configured is by visiting the specific repeater's website or by contacting the repeater operator.

When you activate a dynamic talkgroup on a repeater's time slot by keying up, it remains activated while there are transmissions on it, then drops from the repeater after some preconfigured period of inactivity, most commonly 15 minutes, but it can be some other period of time that the administrator has configured. When you're finished using a dynamic talkgroup, you don't need to manually unlink from that talkgroup; you can just key up another talkgroup or turn off your radio.

Note: Keep in mind that that this article is specifically addressing talkgroups. BrandMeister USA formerly supported linking to reflectors as well, but discontinued allowing that in late 2018. Some other networks still support linking to reflectors.

9b) Via personal hotspots

This section mainly addresses how auto-static talkgroups work with hotspots, but also will address how static talkgroups work with hotspots.

Auto-static talkgroups

The BrandMeister network has an additional talkgroup connection feature called "Auto Static" that applies to simplex hotspots.

Disclaimer: I don't know the background of why the auto-static feature was designed to work as it does. Perhaps it's meant to make things easier for hotspot users, so that we don't need to log into BrandMeister SelfCare in order to make a talkgroup we want to connect to static so that it won't time out. Regardless, that's the way the BrandMeister system administrators have designed things. My personal goal is to try to understand the feature well and use it as best as possible. The good news is that the auto-static feature is currently working better than ever.

Replying to a question about auto-static behavior related to simplex and duplex hotspots, Andrew, M1DNS, posted a good answer in the Pi-Star User Forum:

Simplex (hotspots) stay connected, the connection doesn't drop. Duplex hotspot / Repeater installation: the link is dynamic and will drop after X mins of no local use, unless you set a static [connection] with BrandMeister SelfCare.

So the behavior of a duplex hotspot is similar to a repeater, but the behavior of a simplex hotspot is different.

When you key up a BrandMeister talkgroup via your simplex hotspot, it automatically becomes static, in other words, it becomes auto-static. You can view this behavior via BrandMeister's SelfCare:

  1. Register for a BrandMeister SelfCare account:
    BrandMeister SelfCare Registration link
  2. After logging into your BrandMeister SelfCare account, key up a BrandMeister talkgroup via your hotspot, and then find the My hotspots option in the BrandMeister menu:
    • In a wide browser window, it's the open left panel.
    • On a mobile device or in a narrower browser window, it can be opened by clicking the top left Menu button (looks like three lines stacked on each other, and is commonly called the "hamburger" button).
      BrandMeister Menu link
  3. Click My hotspots to open a list of your hotspots, and then click the CCS7 ID associated with the hotspot you want to look at.
    BrandMeister My hotspots
  4. In the hotspot Settings window that opens, scroll down to the Static Talkgroups section to see which talkgroups are static or autostatic.
    BrandMeister Static Talkgroups
    Note: It can take a minute or so for an auto-static talkgroup to show up in the Static Talkgroups list (sometimes you must refresh to see the change).
  5. In a desktop browser window, if you point your mouse cursor at a listed auto-static talkgroup, you'll see a tooltip identifying it as "Auto Static."
    BrandMeister Auto-Static Talkgroups
    Note: The rest of the tooltip hasn't been updated to accurately reflect how the auto-static feature is working as of Mar 2019. Per my testing, the tooltip should read: "This talkgroup was set automatically as auto-static due to it being the last talkgroup keyed up."

Per my testing—again, as of Mar 2019—there are a couple ways to disconnect from an auto-static talkgroup:

Note: During my testing, when I keyed up a talkgroup on my duplex hotspot (the MMDVM_HS_Dual_Hat by Florian, DF2ET, Mathis, DB9MAT, and Andreas, DO7EN), it was listed in the Pi-Star Admin Dashboard's Active BrandMeister Connections module as a Dynamic Talkgroup. After 15 minutes of inactivity, it was cleared off that list; however, it didn't get cleared from being displayed as the linked talkgroup in the DMR Repeater module (on the left side of the Admin dashboard). Turns out that this is due to the fact that the dynamic listing is dropped server side, but that doesn't trigger any action in the local dashboard. The Active BrandMeister Connections module is reporting actions on the server side, while the the DMR Repeater module is reporting local dashboard status.

Static talkgroups

When you're using a hotspot, simplex or duplex, it's also possible to create one or more static talkgroups:

  1. Log into BrandMeister SelfCare.
  2. Make sure you have your hotspot turned on and the DMR mode enabled so that your hotspot is connected to a DMR server.
  3. In the BrandMeister Menu, click My hotspots to open the list of your hotspots, and then click the CCS7 ID of the hotspot you want to configure.
  4. In the hotspot Settings window, scroll down to the Static Talkgroups section.
  5. Type the number of the talkgroup that you want to make static in the left field (or, on a mobile device or in a narrower browser window, the top field), and then click the Right-Arrow button to move it to the right (or bottom) field and make it static.
    BrandMeister Static Talkgroups section
    Note: TAC channels should not be used as primary calling channels. In the U.S., the TAC channels (talkgroups 310 - 319) can't be added as static talkgroups, and also won't become auto-static. If you want a primary calling channel, try something like the U.S. Wide talkgroup, 3100. For more information, see the BrandMeister U.S. Wiki.

Advanced BrandMeister API use

See the article Using the BrandMeister API by Vladimir, AC2F

10) AnyTone firmware updates

The AnyTone firmware update process is different from other radios I've used, and I find it a bit convoluted, so much so that I end up having to hunt down and open the instructions every time I do it, so I'm going to record the steps here to make them easier for me to find!

  1. Download the updates from your vendor. This step always means downloading the firmware update and the matching Customer Programming Software (CPS) upgrade, because the AnyTone requires both to be on the same version. In addition, it is sometimes necessary to also download a USB driver update. Some vendors package them altogether; others list them separately. Extract any files that are zipped.
  2. Optional: Download the latest digital contact list. I figure if I'm going to go through the hassle of updating the CPS and firmware, I might as well bring my digital contact list up to date at the same time, especially given how quickly DMR registrations are growing.
  3. Important! Connect the radio to the computer, turn it on, open the previous CPS, set the COM port (on my computer, I have to set it every session), and then read the radio's codeplug. If a new digital contact list has been downloaded, don't bother reading the contact list, just the other data.
    Note: If you have trouble with the USB driver (COM port not found), it might be due to Windows third-party signature verification. For a workaround, see the Driver signature enforcement note below.
  4. Save the read data, and then close the previous CPS, turn off the radio, and disconnect it.
  5. Install the new CPS and, if needed, the new USB driver (I install the X64 version for my 64-bit system; a 34-bit system should use the X86 version).
  6. Open the updated CPS and then open the radio's read data that was just saved.
  7. If a new digital contact list has been downloaded, import it (Tool > Import > Digital Contact List), and then save the codeplug with a new name.
  8. Connect the radio to the computer, turn it on, and then in the new CPS, set the COM port. Turn off and disconnect the radio.
  9. In the CPS, open the Firmware Update tool (Tool > Firmware Update) and prepare for the update:
    1. While holding down both the radio's PTT key and Alarm button (the blue or orange button on top), turn the radio on, and then plug it into the computer. The LED Status Indicator will blink red.
    2. In the Firmware Update tool, opn the firmware update file that was previously downloaded (it will have an .spi extension).
    3. If necessary, choose the COM port, select Duplex, set the COM speed to the highest setting, and then click Write. The LED Status Indicator will glow steady red while the firmware is being updated.
    4. A message is displayed in the CPS when the update is finished. Turn the radio off, and disconnect it.
  10. Initialize the radio (formerly: Reset the radio's Main Control Unit/MCU):
    1. While holding the radio's PTT key and PF1 button (the button with one bar just below the PTT key), turn the radio on. It should display: "Are you sure you want to Initialize radio?" (Formerly: MCU Reset.) Press Confirm. Do NOT turn the radio off while this is displayed. This process will wipe all the data stored in the radio.
    2. When the initialization/MCU reset process is finished, set the time zone, date, and time. Use the P1 button to move through the date and time fields.
    3. When finished, turn off and disconnect the radio.
  11. Connect the radio to the computer and turn it on. In the CPS, set the COM port, and then Write to Radio. Write both the Digital Contact List and the Other Data.
  12. When the write is finished, turn off and disconnect the radio. Should be good to go!

AnyTone AT-D878UV icon update

One oddity of the AnyTone firmware update process is that icon updates—which are released along with some but not all firmware updates—must be run separately. After performing a firmware update, here's the process for updating the icons:

  1. You'll find the icon update files in the same zip file as the firmware update.
  2. While pressing and holding both the PTT key and PF2 key (the second key beneath the PTT key) side key), turn on the radio. The screen will display: UPDATE MODE.
  3. Connect the radio to a USB port on the computer.
  4. On the computer, open the CPS:
    1. Select the COM port: In the Set menu, select Set COM, and then select the correct COM port to use.
      Note: During this process, if the CPS has any trouble using the COM port, first try exiting and then reopening the CPS. If that doesn't work, see the note: Driver signature enforcement.
    2. In the Tool menu, select Firmware Upgrade.
    3. Click Open Update File´╝îselect the appropriate Icon file (use the one with "Anytone" in the filename),
    4. Select Duplex and set COM speed to 921600.
    5. Click Write to update the radio with the new icons.
  5. When the write is finished, turn the radio off, and then back on.

11) DMR simplex frequencies

Thanks to a robust discussion on the Colorado Digital Multiprotocol Telegram group: Colorado Digital Multiprotocol, here's a list of commonly used North America DMR simplex frequencies:

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