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Author Topic: DMR Applications for EMCOMM?  (Read 21731 times)
KG4EDY
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« on: February 08, 2016, 07:34:34 PM »

Just got a new Tytera MD380 DMR portable at FrostFest. Actively involved in ARES/AUXCOMM. Was wondering if anyone is making use of DMR for emcomm applications? If so, if what capacity? I can see the value of dedicated tac channels and wide coverage zone groups. Thanks for any input.
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K1SJW
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2016, 11:34:30 AM »

In the state of Connecticut ARES on a statewide basis is making use of DMR extensively. Primarily as a communications tool for ARES leadership. However with the number of DMR repeaters that have been set up it can be used by all ARES coordinators. I am the ARES DEC for SKYWARN in Connecticut. We just used DMR in addition to VHF to collect weather information  for NWS during a winter storm last month.

73 DE Steve K1SJW
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KB8VUL
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Posts: 200




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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2016, 07:23:20 PM »

There is a plus and minus to DMR in ANY application.  That is it's DMR.  Every ham has an FM analog radio.
That's the standard.  We had a discussion of running encryption on here a month or three ago and it's the same story.  Running DMR on ham for any purpose outside of standard communications and experimentation is silly.  You keep 80% or better of the licensed operators out of the ability to communicate.  At the point that you feel so compelled to do something like this, just get commercial radios and a commercial license and be done with it.  Do away with the AR in ARES and become full on bonafide holster sniffing wackers and call it a day.  The only reason that you would want to do this is exactly what I said above.  To limit the folks that can join in on your radio party.  Ham radio is not about that, and ARES is even less so. 

Now I approve completely of DMR in ham radio.  I am on DMR-MARC and enjoy it alot.  Linking VHF and UHF repeaters together via the Internet and creating the ability to choose to communicate across town or across the world by simply changing call groups (turning the channel knob) is real neat.  It brings cutting edge technology to ham radio and should be embraced.  But it's use should be for the enjoyment of the hobby, and not to rely upon for disaster communications. 
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K5BBC
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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2016, 07:49:19 AM »

It's another tool in the kit.  Tools are good, more tools are better. Same for learning and horsepower. I refuse to cast aspersions on anyone using or preferring any particular mode.
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KB8VUL
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2016, 07:33:25 PM »

It's another tool in the kit.  Tools are good, more tools are better. Same for learning and horsepower. I refuse to cast aspersions on anyone using or preferring any particular mode.

 I agree with what you are saying.  My only point is that with disaster communications, if you are off on a 'special mode' that only a few have access to then you may be missing out on important traffic.
The other guy made a comment about using DMR for weather nets.  I actually agree with this based solely on personal observation.  Trained weather spotters can feed net control valuable data in real time, if they can get through.  We have A LOT of fair weather reports, bozo's that play off the fact that the machine is in weather mode and all sorts of crap that gets in the way of actual weather spotting.  Having something that limits access in this case is a good thing.  But unless DMR has radios that are more reasonable than D-Star, the price keeps many at bay.  I work in a Motorola shop, so I know those radios and pay little attention to anything else.  Only non-HF radio I have that's not a commercial radio is a Kenwood dual band handheld.  All my other gear is commercial grade including one of my HF rigs (Harris RF350K).  And even being a commercial guy and understanding the benefits to DMR, I still don't care for it in certain situations.  When you get to the point that you need interoperability, you should have it, but I don't believe that it should be a primary choice for communications in those situations.  Just my personal opinion based on observation.
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KD4YSH
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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2016, 08:30:58 AM »

DMR is great and works good as long, as long, as the towers stay up and running during a disaster in an ecom situation. Mesh net that the hams use will work with out and independent of any tower situation.
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K5BBC
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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2016, 11:55:23 AM »

It's another tool in the kit.  Tools are good, more tools are better. Same for learning and horsepower. I refuse to cast aspersions on anyone using or preferring any particular mode.
...... My only point is that with disaster communications, if you are off on a 'special mode' that only a few have access to then you may be missing out on important traffic......


The same could be said if you were on UHF instead of VHF instead of HF instead of GMRS instead of CB instead of MURS, or just another frequency.

In an Assigned Function at a disaster, you won't miss anything. In fact, you won't be distracted by info that may not be pertinate to your specific function. If it is important, and came via another media/mode, the IC will tell you.

I hear the same argument from some local hams who claim we don't have all of the info and can't properly act, (act on what, and by who's directive?) because we can't monitor the encrypted LE freqs at an event.  Huh??  Either one is properly operating a given function on given equipment, or is just a scanner operator trying to know everything on every mode on every freq , and to what end?
 
Let LE (or whomever) do their job with their comms. If needed, a liaison will interface with other functions in an organized fashion, vs the self-deploy, self-appoint, I'll take charge method so many in ham are fond of.

Example: We used analog to support a BikeMS function. The management/back channel was on digital. Being off on that "special mode" can have it's uses. The field guys didn't need to know or hear (couldn't hear) the event management comms. Event management didn't need or want to hear all of the field comms. For either to hear the other, would or could distract from their primary function.

I have, many times, seen the volunteer in the field go off of the plan, or self deploy for a situation, then justify it by saying he "heard over on the TAC/Other/LE/Whatever channel that......."

NIMS/ICS is a great scheme.

$0.02
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ONAIR
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Posts: 3571




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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2016, 05:58:37 PM »

There is a plus and minus to DMR in ANY application.  That is it's DMR.  Every ham has an FM analog radio.
That's the standard.  We had a discussion of running encryption on here a month or three ago and it's the same story.  Running DMR on ham for any purpose outside of standard communications and experimentation is silly.  You keep 80% or better of the licensed operators out of the ability to communicate.  At the point that you feel so compelled to do something like this, just get commercial radios and a commercial license and be done with it.  Do away with the AR in ARES and become full on bonafide holster sniffing wackers and call it a day.  The only reason that you would want to do this is exactly what I said above.  To limit the folks that can join in on your radio party.  Ham radio is not about that, and ARES is even less so. 

Now I approve completely of DMR in ham radio.  I am on DMR-MARC and enjoy it alot.  Linking VHF and UHF repeaters together via the Internet and creating the ability to choose to communicate across town or across the world by simply changing call groups (turning the channel knob) is real neat.  It brings cutting edge technology to ham radio and should be embraced.  But it's use should be for the enjoyment of the hobby, and not to rely upon for disaster communications. 
    Good point, but eventually almost all Hams will have DMR capability, especially if the Chinese start putting out those units for under a hundred bucks!!!
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N8EKT
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Posts: 617




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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2016, 04:15:15 PM »

P25 is used amost EXCLUSIVELY by law enforcement and first responders so it is the only digital mode I would consider

Otherwise, it is far wiser to simply use CONVENTIONAL fm analog radios as they will work with ALL other conventional radios

There are still FAR too many digital formats and none are compatible with the others and only ONE will eventually survive
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ONAIR
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Posts: 3571




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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2016, 05:38:59 PM »

P25 is used amost EXCLUSIVELY by law enforcement and first responders so it is the only digital mode I would consider

Otherwise, it is far wiser to simply use CONVENTIONAL fm analog radios as they will work with ALL other conventional radios

There are still FAR too many digital formats and none are compatible with the others and only ONE will eventually survive
   Reminds me of VHS vs. Betamax!
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K5BBC
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Posts: 100




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« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2016, 07:45:27 PM »

P25 is used amost EXCLUSIVELY by law enforcement and first responders so it is the only digital mode I would consider

Why would you only consider a digital mode that is only used by LE and first responders?

I'll ALMOST give you the "amost EXCLUSIVELY", but am aware of NXDN and DMR being used as well. The price and govenment budgets drove it. Still a lot of them using analog, and EDACS will be around for a few more years.
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KB8VUL
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Posts: 200




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« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2016, 07:18:12 PM »



Example: We used analog to support a BikeMS function. The management/back channel was on digital. Being off on that "special mode" can have it's uses. The field guys didn't need to know or hear (couldn't hear) the event management comms. Event management didn't need or want to hear all of the field comms. For either to hear the other, would or could distract from their primary function.

That statement by its self is the very thing I am talking about.  You are using digital as encryption on ham radio which isn't allowed.  The regulations don't say encryption is illegal it says obscuring the meaning by any means is.  If you are doing this on commercial bands, then you are fine.  If you are doing it on ham it's a no no.  And it drives my point home.  Using any form of non-standard modulation method keeps a large percentage of your operators out of the conversation.  If you have reason to do that, then you need to be using other methods of communications besides the ham radio band.  I understand that there are times that you want to not have to deal with others hearing your conversations.  I too have wanted to flip the encryption switch on the radio and have a conversation with 3 or 4 buddies and not have to worry about some over zealous and poorly informed ham operator jump in the middle of a conversation I am having tossing in his thoughts ant typically being in 100% uninformed of the truth of the conversation.  Happens all the time.  So we got a commercial repeater pair, put up a P-25 repeater and turn the knob and are encrypted digital.  And YES we have had people show up on the licensed frequency and commenting about their digital scanner not being able to hear what we are talking about.  We politely explain that it's coded and their scanner has no option to be key loaded and they have no business on the frequency.  We have had one or two try transmitting in analog and one showed up with a digital radio without a proper key in his radio.  That got crazy real quick.  Once he understood it wasn't ham, he wasn't authorized and we WOULD call the FCC and turn him in for interfering with licend communications it stopped.  But you know they still listen
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K5BBC
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Posts: 100




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« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2016, 07:34:51 PM »



Example: We used analog to support a BikeMS function. The management/back channel was on digital. Being off on that "special mode" can have it's uses. The field guys didn't need to know or hear (couldn't hear) the event management comms. Event management didn't need or want to hear all of the field comms. For either to hear the other, would or could distract from their primary function.

That statement by its self is the very thing I am talking about.  You are using digital as encryption on ham radio which isn't allowed.  The regulations don't say encryption is illegal it says obscuring the meaning by any means is. 

BS. We weren't using ANY kind of encryption. That's an inaccurate  assumtion on your part. Why the sensitivity?

The digital mode we used is F.C.C. approved in Part 97.  Obscuring? How so? Any Amateur who wants to go digital can buy the equipment. Your comment is the same as saying we obscurred by using HF SSB instead of the repeater.
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K5BBC
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« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2016, 07:49:26 PM »



Example: We used analog to support a BikeMS function. The management/back channel was on digital. Being off on that "special mode" can have it's uses. The field guys didn't need to know or hear (couldn't hear) the event management comms. Event management didn't need or want to hear all of the field comms. For either to hear the other, would or could distract from their primary function.

And it drives my point home.  Using any form of non-standard modulation method keeps a large percentage of your operators out of the conversation. 

"non-standard" ?? I guess I missed the RF Standardization portion of the exam. Please enlighten me as to which of the modes has been declared Standard, and by what regulatory body.

Non of our operators were kept "out of the conversation". They were conversing just fine where they were, and conversing with whom they were supposed to be.

I don't own equipment capable all of the digital modes, and I don't feel left out. If I go to serve an event, I'll show up with the equipment to accomplish what the event leaders want me to do. What's going on on the other modes, freqs, or channels is irrelevant to me, and what I'm there to do.

There is no standard or best mode. They all have their pluses and minuses. HF SSB and FM Analog are probably more prevalent than others, but the preface still applies.

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KB8VUL
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Posts: 200




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« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2016, 07:17:54 PM »



Example: We used analog to support a BikeMS function. The management/back channel was on digital. Being off on that "special mode" can have it's uses. The field guys didn't need to know or hear (couldn't hear) the event management comms. Event management didn't need or want to hear all of the field comms. For either to hear the other, would or could distract from their primary function.

That statement by its self is the very thing I am talking about.  You are using digital as encryption on ham radio which isn't allowed.  The regulations don't say encryption is illegal it says obscuring the meaning by any means is. 

BS. We weren't using ANY kind of encryption. That's an inaccurate  assumtion on your part. Why the sensitivity?

The digital mode we used is F.C.C. approved in Part 97.  Obscuring? How so? Any Amateur who wants to go digital can buy the equipment. Your comment is the same as saying we obscurred by using HF SSB instead of the repeater.

Actually by your own admission you are.  the statement where you said that you were running digital on the management channel, if on the ham bands, is a form of encryption due to the intent of others NOT hearing your communications.  This is obscuring the meaning of the communication by means of altered modulation technique.  I am not saying that operating digital is encryption.  That in it self isn't.  Using digital format to obscure (they cant hear you on purpose) is obscuring the transmission and is no different than using an encrypted analog signal, code words of cryptic verbal communication to obscure the meaning of the transmission.  As far as being sensitive, I could care less.  I am just stating the obvious.  Call the FCC tomorrow or the league and ask them if you run certain communications on digital during an operation so that only certain people can hear it is or is not obscuring your transmission and therefore illegal.  Or just keep doing it.  Some Official Observer will catch wind of it at some point and serve you notice and if the FCC field office is bored and decides to come have a look they will explain it to you when they are fining you and taking your license.  Dont effect me one way or the other.  So sensitive to it, not really.
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