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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Bring Ham Radio into DMR

Jerry Aceto (K6LIE) on October 26, 2017
View comments about this article!

I am probably sticking my neck out on this one because of the popularity of DMR, but just want to see if anyone has the concerns that I do.

I am writing in regard to my concerns regarding the Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) operation that is growing very rapidly in our hobby. My concern is not the mode, but the fact that a commercial system is literally infiltrating our hobby.

DMR is a European commercial standard that was developed to sell commercial communications service to customers to serve their communications needs. If I am not mistaken, the Motorola Amateur Radio club brought this standard to the U.S. and has introduced it to Amateur Radio.

My concern is the fact that this commercial system has infiltrated our hobby and is becoming very popular. It is using commercial jargon to describe its various system names. My problem is the legacy and history of our wonderful hobby. The newer hams appear not to have knowledge of the rich history of the hobby. I would like to see this mode use typical Amateur Radio language, IE "code plug" is actually a set of channels programmed into the radio. "Color Code" is simply a CTCSS tone, etc. Us Amateurs would not allow CB talk on our bands (10-4 good buddy, peddle to the metal, etc). So why is it that this commercial speak is excepted?

Many will say it is a sign of the times, that we need to accept the new technologies. I do accept them. I have been active for 60 years. I have participated in digital, CW, SSB, satellite, IRLP, Echolink, etc to this day. My latest venture is in FT8. My career was in radio, microwave, optical and wire transmission systems for 33 years. I truly feel that commercial and amateur should strictly be kept separate.

I am deeply concerned that the commercial speak that is used in DMR will, at some point, cause the legacy or our wonderful hobby to be damaged.

I know I sound petty. Has anyone else considered this fact? Maybe it is just me.

I would like to see the DMARC folks take steps to educate those using DMR to put ham radio back into this mode. I realize that with new technologies come new definitions and language that may not be able to be expressed in the traditional terms, but at least the hams that have introduced this could call these terms what they actually are and try to incorporate new terms that relate to amateur radio.

I have been told by several folks that the wonderful thing about ham radio is that there is something for everyone and that you can choose to participate in a mode or not. That is true. But my concern is not the mode, but the commercial language that is used. I, for one, hope this does not become the norm in the future. I want to preserve our wonderful history and legacy.

73...Jerry K6LIE

Member Comments:
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Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by G4AON on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
To make matters worse, there isn't a common standard for digital voice on VHF/UHF. Here there are local repeaters using DMR, D-Star, Yaesu Fusion and FM... What a mess.

73 Dave
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by AK4YH on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I have zero concerns about "commercial speak." It means nothing to me. It's called a "code plug," so what? I have one DMR radio, and bought it because it wasn't proprietary like the Icom or Yaesu systems. DMR is popular here in Europe and manufacturers like TYT make good radios at affordable prices. What's negative about that? Semantics? Unless you build your own radio with homemade components you are using a commercial product... DMR is an OPEN standard used in commercial radios, emphasis on "open!"

What does concern me is that an increasing number of operators rely on the Internet for their communications, which isn't radio. I'll probably dump DMR because of that. On a local repeater for local communications, digital isn't that useful. It's a fun gimmick to play with, but you might as well use a chat app on your phone. Our motto is supposed to be "when all else fails." Guess what... That includes the Internet.

This trend was apparent to me with the increased popularity of the "Zello walkie-talkie" app. There is nothing "walkie-talkie" about this app but marketing. It's a simple chat app, nothing more.

We need to do radio, using transceivers and radio waves, and I don't mean over WiFi or the cellular network. We also need to stop thinking that repeaters will work forever under any circumstances.

That is what concerns me, not "commercial speak."

Gil.
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by NA4IT on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I believe ham radio should be ham driven, with a good set of rules (and enforcement), and all software be open source allowing for experimentation and improvement.

There are software authors who have embraced that idea, and it is working. Their creations thrive.

There are software authors who did not embrace that idea, and the software they created is now dead.
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by NY7Q on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Jerry, I agree with you 100 %.
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KD4ACG on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I hope you don't mention PL tones on your analog Motorola repeater. That's one example of commercial "jargon" making its way to the amateur bands. Let's go back further. Weren't SSB and FM in the commercial world, before finding their way into the realm of amateur radio? Didn't the previous generation predict the demise of our hobby, when the first 2m FM repeater went on the air?

Our hobby is one of experimentation. Often, that means adapting modes from other services into our hobby. Analog will always be there. If you're not into the new wave of digital exploration, you are more than welcome to stay where you are. But for those of us exploring new frontiers, there's no need for you (or anyone else) to rain on our parade.
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by K0XM on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
First, yes it IS an INTERNATIONAL standard, that started in EUROPE. I myself do not care if you call a codeplug a pink elephant. One way or another there has to be a way to program the radio. When you get down to it, codeplug is a fancy term for the same thing the Yaesu, Icom, Kenwood, RT Systems software creates. So who cares what it is called. Times have changed. While I have not been licensed 60 yrs, I HAVE been licensed and very active since 1979. We have to adapt, or we come the one with the dust on us. The only thing we ask in Kansas City on our repeater systems, be they Analog or DMR, is talk like a human. Not like you are on channel 19....

De K0XM
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KM6AVH on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
First a Disclaimer. At this time I only have a tech license and I do not do any HF operations. As a lot of people my age I cut my teeth on CB using airwaves like stated. Then I was introduced to Class A CB which is now know as GMRS. With this service I used an old 70CM GE "Commercial" radio out of a cement truck. I became used to "Commercial Equipment." I really like that quality over 11 meter CB. For many years I was out of the radio hobby until 2/16. When I left GMRS a Motorola MT500 was about $600.00. OK back to the topic. I like using a commercial radio. Today I enjoy talking to people all over the world no matter how I contact them. The internet is here to stay and should be an option to be used. For those that like traditional HF, no one is telling you to stop using RF only. For me the whole goal is to get people involved in HAM radio in any format as long as they get involved, pick up the mic and talk. LOL until people start using the 10 code, Then let the games continue. In the end, I believe that DMR will be most popular just due to price and quality of the radios. I believe that P25, C4FM, D-Star will take a far back seat to DMR. Traditional analog AM/FM radio will also continue to grow.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by K6AER on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Repeater modulation (mode) matters little. The biggest problem is no one uses repeaters any more. The cell phone has killed repeater usage.
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KD8TWG on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
You must be new to the hobby. We have been repurposing commercial gear for decades.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by K0XM on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
All the replies so far, you REALLY should state who this is directed to
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by K0UA on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Lets see, back "in my day" when we all pioneered FM and repeaters for amateur radio useage, we ALL used commercial radios retuned to amateur frequencies. We used such commercial jargon as "PL" which was "private line" or Channel Guard, which was GE's name for it, or if you were into using junk radios like RCA, you called it "quiet channel". My key ring had a key for each of the brands of trunk mounted radios on it. I still think I have a 2135 and a BF10A around here somewhere. So NO, I am not concerned in the least about using terms like "code plug". In fact with the rise of DMR, it is a hopeful thing that digital mobile radio standards will unify around a SINGLE standard instead of half a dozen different ones. All that said, I wonder why we need digital repeaters when all of our analog repeaters stand idle most of the time. There are far far too many repeaters on the air now. But time marches on and we will see where this leads.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by N4KC on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!


I was all set to make some wonderfully cogent points, then KD4ACG, K0XM and KD8TWG made them far better than I could have.

By the way, I don't worry about CB jargon on the ham bands. I rarely hear anything in that realm. And if I do, no big deal.

Shoot, we have more than enough jargon of our own already!

73,

Don N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com
Author of THE AMATEUR RADIO DICTIONARY


 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by K3NXU on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
At the risk of being unpopular, I see no issue with dmr.
The same was thought of SSB when it came out (yes I go back that far also). Why would anyone want to sound like Donald Duck?

Then Highway Patrol (21-50 to Headquarters) introduced us to FM on ham radio. Another fad that would surely go away. Repeaters, CTCSS, VHF/UHF, programming radios, etc. Too much technical stuff.

Now, OMG, Digital. Another passing fad.

Don’t be afraid to embrace it.
It’s not that difficult to understand. It’s new technology for ham radio.
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by ON4AA on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
A couple of months ago, the equivalent of the Belgian FCC, called the BIPT, requested for comments on newly proposed amateur radio legislation.

In my comments, I actually proposed a ban on DMR because requiring the use of a proprietary, not-for-free AMBE coding chip is a violation of the Belgian law and regulations concerning amateur radio repeaters. Private amateur radio repeaters are not allowed over here.

Here is more information concerning the AMBE coding chip: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-Band_Excitation

I can assure you that I am much younger than you.

Anyhow, I am already seeing signs that the novelty of DMR is quickly wearing off. Having only two digital channels fitted in the bandwidth of one narrow-band analog FM signal is also no big technical feat.

I am convinced open source efforts like FreeDV will quickly take over. FT8 is open source by the way.
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by K9NYO on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I am just at the beginning of my DMR adventure...dipping my toe into the shallow end of the pool. I think it’s great when I see hams building, exploring and innovating. I think it’s depressing to see hams who are bickering, spouting off about “kids these days” and “not in my yard” and “we had to learn Code.” I learned the code...I passed the test...but I don’t use it. It’s another mode with it’s own slang and jargon...just like the digital modes or ATV or microwave or satellite or whatever. I really don’t think worrying about the jargon is a good use of my time—but I am not judging how you spend your time. I have too many DX contacts to go out and look for to worry about such things...and too many modes to learn and investigate. I want to get a Raspberry Pi and set up an Internet weather station and do more work with Radio Scouting. Life is full of what we should be doing — I am not looking at what people are doing “wrong”—I am just glad they are DOING it.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by K4FMH on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Thank you for the post. It's always good to keep eyes on emerging trends and to discuss them in a healthy way.

The operational concern, beyond purely technical issues of one mode versus the other, is that one transport doesn't converse with another without some conversion. Yet, each one seems to have positives versus another and vice versa.

My two cents is that the key is: bridging them all. The DV4Mini and the RF Shark OpenSpot as well as the analog AllStar (and perhaps others) do this.

A shining example is the Alabama Link project which has done this very, very well. The recent episode of the HamRadio 360 Workbench (#34; http://hamradio360.com/index.php/2017/10/10/ham-radio-workbench-34-digital-mode-roundtable/) does a great job giving overviews of the various issues and the bridging opportunities here.

I use Yaesu System Fusion, DSTAR and DMR along with FM analog. And, I just bought an OpenSpot. I may buy another to have local hotspots for both Fusion and DMR as I have HTs using each mode. Lemonade, folks, lemonade.

73s (one to each of you),

Frank
K4FMH
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by K4FMH on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Thank you for the post. It's always good to keep eyes on emerging trends and to discuss them in a healthy way.

The operational concern, beyond purely technical issues of one mode versus the other, is that one transport doesn't converse with another without some conversion. Yet, each one seems to have positives versus another and vice versa.

My two cents is that the key is: bridging them all. The DV4Mini and the RF Shark OpenSpot as well as the analog AllStar (and perhaps others) do this.

A shining example is the Alabama Link project which has done this very, very well. The recent episode of the HamRadio 360 Workbench (#34; http://hamradio360.com/index.php/2017/10/10/ham-radio-workbench-34-digital-mode-roundtable/) does a great job giving overviews of the various issues and the bridging opportunities here.

I use Yaesu System Fusion, DSTAR and DMR along with FM analog. And, I just bought an OpenSpot. I may buy another to have local hotspots for both Fusion and DMR as I have HTs using each mode. Lemonade, folks, lemonade.

73s (one to each of you),

Frank
K4FMH
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by K4FMH on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Thank you for the post. It's always good to keep eyes on emerging trends and to discuss them in a healthy way.

The operational concern, beyond purely technical issues of one mode versus the other, is that one transport doesn't converse with another without some conversion. Yet, each one seems to have positives versus another and vice versa.

My two cents is that the key is: bridging them all. The DV4Mini and the RF Shark OpenSpot as well as the analog AllStar (and perhaps others) do this.

A shining example is the Alabama Link project which has done this very, very well. The recent episode of the HamRadio 360 Workbench (#34; http://hamradio360.com/index.php/2017/10/10/ham-radio-workbench-34-digital-mode-roundtable/) does a great job giving overviews of the various issues and the bridging opportunities here.

I use Yaesu System Fusion, DSTAR and DMR along with FM analog. And, I just bought an OpenSpot. I may buy another to have local hotspots for both Fusion and DMR as I have HTs using each mode. Lemonade, folks, lemonade.

73s (one to each of you),

Frank
K4FMH
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KE7FD on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Well, if we're going to stick with legacy technology, why not ditch everything except the very mode that introduced Amateur radio to the world? Spark! What, too awkward you say, too dirty, too noisy, too dangerous? OK, well I guess we could upgrade to just bare continuous wave. But if that's allowed, why not AM? Or FM Or SSB? Or dare I say, PSK?

Look, we get it, we're all afraid that one standard will out maneuver another. Boo hoo. There was once something call Beta that was out maneuvered by VHS. But guess what? It was replaced by CD/DVD which is all but gone in favor of Blu-ray, which is being displaced by a few other things. Get used to it. Until the dust settles on what form of digital method becomes an accepted standard in Amateur Radio, there will be angst among those who fret about it. Digital communications isn't a sales pitch, it's cleaner communications, it is in your own words, "...to serve [customers] communications needs." Adoption of a digital standard [eventually] will be a win-win. And along with upgrading to new tech comes the appropriate jargon, like two-tone test was to SSB and "waterfall display" is to PSK.

I was in a computer store many years ago when a guy walked in (not me) and looked around before approaching the store clerk and asked, "Where's all the CPM software?" When informed that CPM had been discontinued in favor of a much faster growing operating system, MS-DOS, the guy flew into tizzy. He had invested in a Kaypro CPM computer and now there was no more software being written for it. OK, so based on that incident, a small company in Redmond, Washington relented and that's why we all still use CPM today.

And Beta.

And Spark.

Glen - KE7FD
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KD8TWG on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
My reply was directed at OP.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by AC5UP on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Which makes a point about the lack of, and subsequent proliferation of, 'standards' in the digital world. Go to any web site offering a news feed and you'll see at least half a dozen variations on instant messaging formats like Twitter. Give it a year or two and there might be an entirely new selection of formats...

So, digital radio? Hell Yes, I'm for it!

Compared to 30 years ago, when following a specific TV show was an exercise in being on the right channel on a specific day and time, today's video on demand is like a wet dream come true for the avid videophile. And a double edged sword, too. There will always be some who cut themselves off from reality with binge TV weekends just as there are those who want to believe everything they read on a Twitter feed.

Then there are the rest of us.

I have serious doubt hordes of teenagers will snap up Tech+ licenses so they can text the local repeater, but I do think it possible there will be repeaters with store & forward messaging capabilities that make today's typical 'in for the count' nets seem absolutely primitive by comparison. Like Beta paved the way for VHS which built a market for DVD's there will issues with backward compatibility and the inevitable club decision on whether to upgrade the digital machine complete with comments like:

"Why spend the money? I never use the damn thing..."

Which is another way of saying that if someone sees no value in a digital service then it has no value for anyone. Think about that. Happens all the time. Then you hear about the instant billionaires who did see the value and say: " Oh, I get it now ".

All I know is what I learned from the evolution of computer operating systems... No matter what you choose to use you will be giving up some options offered elsewhere. But. An open, non-proprietary, community supported standard will most likely cause the least amount of grief in the long run.

Getting to the point of developing a workable standard is the trick. And there will be bumps along the path. If you want to see an example look at Linux... And, if you want a reason why this may not be possible for amateur radio, look at who's a Ham vs who's writing code for Tux.

What's the polite way of saying there are far more keyboard artists who are younger, sharper and motivated to do something useful than there are geezers spending every night on 75m 'fone talking about nothing? And that explains why the best days of the amateur service might be all in the past.

You spends your money and takes your pick.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by AC7CW on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
D-Star and Fusion are commercial systems. Ham Radio is all commercial systems actually. Appliance ops can't build stuff. I think I read about an amateur mode of digital voice but appliance operators probably can't implement it.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by NN2X on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Yep, there is all types of evolving technology, especially in the digital modes! More DX today then ever before (Like FT8 etc..)!

But...I have a slightly different take on it..

I said on many posts, What I had to learn through Ham radio in 1973 paved my career. And provided a handsome living.

Today the technology is zooming by ever expanding and evolving in all aspects, no doubt about it...

However, how the Ham operator is commission, or on boarded to the Ham community is different today..It really does not matter the technology, as this always changes...For me personally, I love to have more Ham operators the better, but the way it is now, it just does a disservice to the Ham operator that might want to take the skills that was required for passing the exam and ably to a career..

When I passed the Ham Ticket (1973), it was respected, (Even more then my BSEE, 9 Commercial FCC licenses), My first employer hired me because I was a HAM operator, he told me that I had to know the basics and well, as I was a Ham operator...

C U all on the bands!

NN2X

Tom



 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KF4HR on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I wouldn't worry too much about this Jerry. Commercial communications equipment has been infiltrating our hobby for many decades. Consider... a good portion of our current FM analog VHF/UHF repeater equipment was built by Motorola or GE. Back in the early 70's many of us old timers used converted commercial FM equipment. And many others have been converting commercial equipment for years.

As for the digital formats, I think we're still in the early stages of finding our digital format footing. Given the current choices I prefer Fusion/Wires-X due to its bandwidth options, easy to use equipment, and multiple connectivity options.



 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by W9YW on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
So long as DMR doesn't crowd something else out, I say have at it. Keep the bands free, keep them open, and dodge contesters.
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KE1L on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Others have already pointed out some of the commercial jargon that has found its way into ham radio. Nobody mentioned Handie-Talkie, which we now usually abbreviate to HT, which is a Motorola trademark.

Also, although color code serves a similar purpose to CTCSS, it is NOT a tone, it is a digital code that is included in the DMR data packets. Technically it's a closer relative to DCS (Digital Code Squelch) but it's transmitted as a different part of the packet rather than as a subaudible data stream.
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by N5LXI on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I'm pretty sure D-star is an open standard. It is now used by both Icom & Kenwood. There is very little traffic on the Dallas / Fort Worth Repeaters. If it is divided between standard analog / D-star and two others, I wonder about usage. . .

A positive note, the DARC W5FC 440 D-Star machine is auto linked into several evening nationwide nets. That's pretty cool, especially when the HF band is dead.

 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KE1L on October 26, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
D-STAR is a standard that was actually created for amateur radio. The development process was funded by a Japanese government agency and administered by the JARL (Japan Amateur Radio League). Until recently, Icom was the only company that manufactured D-STAR equipment. Kenwood recently introduced a D-STAR handheld, and FlexRadio offers a DMR add-on for the Flex 6000 series. There are also hotspots that implement D-STAR, including the SharkRF and MMDVM, and a DV-Dongle that includes an AMBE chip and makes it possible to add D-STAR support to SDR software.

System Fusion is the other digital standard that was developed specifically for amateur radio. It was developed by Yaesu but the standard is published and can be implemented by others. Nobody else has put it into a handheld or mobile radio, but there are some hotspots that support it.

DMR was originally developed for commercial radio. It's notable as being the only common commercial radio standard for which radios specifically intended for amateur radio use are sold - the Connect Systems and Radioditty rigs, and the upcoming Ailunce. (The other Chinese rigs like TYT and Retevis are intended for commercial use but are also very popular with hams.)

None of the digital voice standards that are commonly in use on VHF and UHF amateur radio are true open formats, because all of them depend on a proprietary audio codec from Digital Voice Systems Inc (DVSI). The original version of P25 uses an early version, IMBE. (P25 phase 2 replaces it with AMBE+2.) D-STAR uses its successor, AMBE. DMR uses the most recent version, AMBE+2; so does System Fusion, as well as some commercial standards that haven't seen much ham radio adoption such as dPMR and NXDN. So far as I know, all the ham rigs that use DVSI codecs contain a proprietary codec chip; it's also possible to license a software implementation but DVSI is unlikely to offer a license to a ham radio company because they're designed to allow simple firmware upgrades, and that would expose their codec code to reverse engineering.

There is a comparable digital voice codec that is open source and developed by hams, Codec 2, but it has not been adopted as part of any of the digital voice standards for VHF and UHF. It has seen some use on HF as part of the FreeDV software.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by ON4AA on October 27, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
@KE1L Thank you for that excellent technical overview!
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KD7YVV on October 27, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I remember getting my first DStar handheld, the IC92AD.
What I think bothers me most is you need different
radios for different modes etc. etc.
One radio for DStar, another for DMR, another for Fusion.....
and the list goes on and on. At $500+ a pop for a
handheld, one has to wonder if the brand new mode
you just got into will be around in a year or two.
The incompatibility amongst all the different modes
is also a concern for me. Yes, there may be a DMR
repeater nearby, but your poor little $500 DStar
radio can't use the mode. Maybe I'll just stay on
HF and avoid the digital mess that has evolved on
those bands. I guess I'm just a creature of habit.
Good old trusty Kenwood TS-430. :)
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by W4AMP on October 27, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I just gave up on DMR after a couple years. here are some of the reasons.

1. Constant programming. Constant repeater changes, talk group changes, and slot and/or color code changes. Most of the DMR-MARC pages have outdated data. Reprogramming a DMR repeater is complicated. The frequencies must be entered for each talk group, which takes a lot of time and effort.

2. Use of infrastructure. Huge talk groups that are world wide are tied up by two stations in qso. Not practical at all.

3. Very few stations to work. Due to the design of the talkgroups, few stations to work. And if you do find someone to work, you have to hurry because others cannot use the talkgroup.

4. No one on simplex. Multiple talkgroup codes used for simplex, which adds to the lack of contacts.
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KE8BG on October 27, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I'm still fairly new to dmr. It's obviously had some growing pains. Thus far it's been very enjoyable. Learning about codeplugs has been a bit of a learning curve but luckily there are some downloadable ones that you can modify to get your radio on the air. I'm just barely in range for the local repeater, so I bought a hotspot. (My shop is completely out of range.) The analog repeaters nearby are mostly silent. There are a couple that have some activity. No where near as much as when I was first licensed in the early 80s. I've already heard of several around the country repurposing dead inactive repeaters into dmr. Dmr is waking up some repeaters. I've bought several analog hts over the years that barely get used. In the last month I've bought 2 hts a new dual band 2m/440 vertical and raspberry pi /dvmega combo. All for less than one dstar ht. The md380 is the most affordable and it's a good radio. Several are modifying the firmware to give it some added features. Oh a good note, for the most part unidentified kerchunking a repeater is a thing of the past as your radio identifies itself with your id that is tied you your callsign and actually pops up with your registered address on the screen of these hts.
There are more and more dmr hts coming out. My next purchase will be a dmr mobile.

If you like your analog repeater, you can keep your analog repeater. But you better wake it up.

See you on 3100 or TAC310

73 de KE8BG
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KC5HWB on October 27, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
There isn't a common standard for HF digital modes either, and none are compatible with one-another. JT65, RTTY, PSK31, JT9, this new FT-8. All are popular, yet none can cross-talk to another mode. Who cares? There is room for all.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KC5HWB on October 27, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with N4KC, KD4ACG, K0XM and KD8TWG.

This is nothing new. FM repeaters weren't used until we re-purposed them from commercial users and put them on Ham Frequencies back in the 60s.

The current 900MHz band - NO Amateur Radios are produced for this band at all. ALL radios are commercial ones that we re-use, and sometimes have to hex-edit, in order to get into our segment of the band. Yet 902-927 is open to all Amateur Operators with a Technician or higher class.

DMR (or any other digital mode) isn't a replacement for FM repeaters, analog, HF, or any other mode we can use. Yes, it does rely on internet, if you want to connect to an existing network - but it shouldn't be viewed as a standard for Emergency Comms or whatnot. I know some groups are using it for backup Emcomm/RACES means, and I think that is great, but there needs to be another option available that doesn't rely on internet. However, if the internet is up and working, why not go ahead and use it?

Like it or not, DMR is here to stay. It is growing rapidly and enjoyed by many Hams. I daresay it won't be the last digital mode we encounter, either.

Jason - KC5HWB
www.LiveFromTheHamshack.tv
www.DMRTexas.net
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by N2RJ on October 27, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I am a dyed in the wool HF operator, contester, DXer, special event, pileup chaser etc.

I do like DMR and DSTAR because I can use them to talk to friends.

I don't mind "commercial speak."

What bothers me is that people are relying upon code plugs programmed by others when they should be learning how to enter the frequencies and talk groups into their radio.

Yes, appliance operation is the rule rather than the exception now. Are we now going to kill off the skills of actually selecting a frequency to talk on? That's the real danger.

I try to educate people on how to make their own code plugs. I always program my own. That's what we should be doing. Know what frequency your radio is on and what it is transmitting...
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by K7CB on October 27, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I think some people here have strayed away or missed the point of the author's post. He wasn't complaining about the use of commercial equipment or the mode itself. His post was about the terms used by the manufacturers of DMR equipment being used on the amateur bands (i.e. code plugs). While I understand his concern, I don't see the terminology being an issue and, if anything, is probably a good thing. When I see someone make a post asking for information on code plugs, for instance, I know they're seeking help with DMR.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KE8BG on October 27, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Couldnt agree more. I love working pileups on HF but most of the time its a quick 59 thanks and done. Its refreshing to have some conversation with some of these guys on DMR. Right now a couple of talkgroups seem to be the most active. I think we will see an great expansion of special interest groups. Kinda of like the different reflectors on Echolink. Maybe think of it of an audio version of Facebook groups. Either way I keep updating the database of users in the HTs weekly to keep up with the growth in users.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KM6AVH on October 27, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I just gave up on DMR after a couple years. here are some of the reasons.

1. Constant programming. Constant repeater changes, talk group changes, and slot and/or color code changes. Most of the DMR-MARC pages have outdated data. Reprogramming a DMR repeater is complicated. The frequencies must be entered for each talk group, which takes a lot of time and effort.

Reply: I do change my code plug often as needed. As far as DMR-MARC it is an antiquated system compared to Brandmeister. I would try again and discover Bradmeister servers. The biggest time consumer is creating the "Contact List" with talk groups. Consider that as a "Library" As you add "Channel Information" all the hard work is already done in the "Contact List" Creating radio channels all you have to do is copy and past the information from the first channel and then rename and change the talk group 16 times for 16 channels. Also keep in mind that you can mix in different repeaters, hot spots, analog repeaters in the 16 channels in a Zone. You can create multiple zones for either a hot spot or repeater increasing the number of talk groups in the radio. There are many other features to be explored like "Private Call" between you and another user no matter what talk group the other person is on.

2. Use of infrastructure. Huge talk groups that are world wide are tied up by two stations in qso. Not practical at all.

Reply: OK so this is how it works. You establish a QSO on 3100 or 91 and then take it to TAC 310 thru 319 or make up your own talk group and go to that.

3. Very few stations to work. Due to the design of the talkgroups, few stations to work. And if you do find someone to work, you have to hurry because others cannot use the talkgroup.

Reply: If you go to Brandmeister Hoseline you will see all the active talk groups and even listen to the conversations. If you have MD380 tools, you can direct enter that talk group and join the QSO.

4. No one on simplex. Multiple talkgroup codes used for simplex, which adds to the lack of contacts.

Replay: Agreed, DMR simplex is rare unless pre arranged. However you can still use the DMR radio on Analog FM for Simplex. No need to use another radio. One draw back is because most radios are "Commercial Radios" there is not a VFO feature. I just created a Zone with preprogramed Simplex frequencies for Simplex QSOs. You can create as many zones with 16 channels of analog simplex as you want.

I would revisit DMR and I think you will find a much different experience.

RJ
KM6AVH
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by K0RGR on October 27, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I think it's actually a good thing that some of the commercial jargon is being used, because it exposes hams to what is going on in the commercial world, which doesn't look like the FM world we all know anymore. If you are familiar with talk groups and Zones, you won't be totally dumbfounded if someone hands you a commercial radio.

Here in Minnesota, there is a statewide public service radio network, and hams working on public service events and drills are often tasked with operating these radios on different talk groups. Some training is always required, but someone who has been using DMR knows most of what they need already.

The use of 'ham jargon' is also discouraged in disaster comms. 'Plain English' is the order of the day. Sure, some of us still say 'QSL' '73', etc..

Yes, it would be nice if there was one digital voice standard for hams. But I think the reality will be some form of co-existence and interoperability. One company was touting a system that would allow you to interconnect all the different DV modes and analog, and I hope we see more of that.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KC5HWB on October 27, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
@KM6AVH


Reply: I do change my code plug often as needed. As far as DMR-MARC it is an antiquated system compared to Brandmeister. I would try again and discover Bradmeister servers. The biggest time consumer is creating the "Contact List" with talk groups. Consider that as a "Library" As you add "Channel Information" all the hard work is already done in the "Contact List" Creating radio channels all you have to do is copy and past the information from the first channel and then rename and change the talk group 16 times for 16 channels. Also keep in mind that you can mix in different repeaters, hot spots, analog repeaters in the 16 channels in a Zone. You can create multiple zones for either a hot spot or repeater increasing the number of talk groups in the radio. There are many other features to be explored like "Private Call" between you and another user no matter what talk group the other person is on.

---Reply: He is complaining about the DMR-MARC website, not the network. And he is correct that the website is severely out of date. But the DMR-MARC network isn't antiquated, it is actually a much better network than Brandmeister because it is made up of commercial-grade repeaters, many times on commercial ISP connections - Brandmeister has lots of hotspots tied to the network, which makes it more accessible, but also degrades the quality (a $2000 motorola repeater compared to a $200 Openspot, for example)



Reply: OK so this is how it works. You establish a QSO on 3100 or 91 and then take it to TAC 310 thru 319 or make up your own talk group and go to that.

---Reply: Brandmeister has ceased allowing the creation of new Talkgroups. There is now a designated list of allowable TGs (quite large, actually), and they ask you don't create your own. They're threatened to block users who do not comply.
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KB9ZB on October 27, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I for one do not necessarily have a problem using commercial terms on ham bands. The reality today is vastly different from just a few years ago, when was the last time you saw anyone building their own 2-meter gear? The biggest issue is that the days of your own equipment is long gone, everything is commercial. Once you buy it you have to use commercial terms just to run it !! that goes from everything down the line, heck even your HF rig has a menu to navigate through. Yes Menu is a commercial term, for the most part we use “commercial terms” all the time without thinking about it. Sad to say but it’s here to stay and will be more complicated then lust yesterday, soon you will need to know all about IP addresses just to talk to the guy across the street, and yes even over the air. Its technology moving forward.
Ron
KB9ZB
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KB2SMS on October 27, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Agreed. I'll add "sounds like crap a lot" as well. Robotic and or distorted. If it floats your boat fine but I'm not impressed with it.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KB2SMS on October 27, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I was replying/agreeing to W4AMP.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by K9MHZ on October 27, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
>>>>By KD8TWG on October 26, 2017 You must be new to the hobby. We have been repurposing commercial gear for decades.<<<<

^^^ This. 33cm is almost exclusively repurposed commercial gear, programmed by the manufacturer's proprietary software. Too, lots of Kenwood FM gear repurposed for 6 meters.

This is such a non-issue.







 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by K3FHP on October 27, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
While it may not be ham radio, it is communications and besides from being hams many of us are communications. If the fad has legs, more mfg. Will make radios more like traditional HR and give us more direct control, which is not legal for commercial systems. More stuff to learn and keep3p the brain working but the main problems as I see them are STILL lack of use(more people on fewer machines equals more activity) and the lack of even willingness to learn how to work your rig(can you set this up for me......a month later..can you set it up again....next month.....). Some of us don't have as many neurons as we used to but........
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by N8EKT on October 27, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
The main reason for DMR popularity is lack of
education, internet hype and propaganda.



 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by G3RZP on October 28, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
What is the minimum BER required by DMR? When signals are weak, I presume that like all digital modes, it drops out. FM, on the other hand gets noisy, but you can still get messages over at even a 6dB SINAD. So, other than it is digital and gives either a very good SINAD or practically nothing, what is the advantage?

Personally, I have no interest in any digital modes except Morse - because from 1989 until retirement in 2014, I worked on systems engineering and standards for digital radio systems. Including for pacemakers where we needed a BER of 1 in 1000 million, achieved by using FEC and ARQ on a raw BER in 1 in 100 for a 30% overhead. As a result, I have 'burned out' on digital modes....

Incidentally, the committee at the European Telecommunications Standards Institute that produced the DMR standard is chaired by G4VVZ.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by W4KVU on October 28, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
No key jack??
Extra Class CB....
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KE6ZRP on October 28, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Our club just upgraded our repeater with a Motorola multi mode repeater that will do both analog and DMR digital. It is an experiment to see it the members like it. If they do, then we will connect to the Brandmeister system. If not, we will dissable the DMR side of it. However, we have been using DMR for a while with another club and find that the audio portion is much better than analog when we are working with members that are mobile and we have a net going. Net control hears the same tone audio, the same volume level, and never a weak signal %40 white noise. So communications are much easier. It has it's benefits. And also drawbacks. That is why we are taking a look at it. Keep in mind that equipment cost to use DMR like HT's is significantely less than Icon, Kenwood, Yaesu, etc. Is it harder to use? No, only different. Does it make it easier for new hams to enjoy some of the features that long time hams have enjoyed? Yes. Is easier better? Maybe, that is why we are experimenting ( is that a novel idea for hams?) As a famous person has said "a rose by any other name smells just as sweet"
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by N9AMI on October 28, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with most of what is being said. However my biggest beef is there are so many appliance operators the hobby is watered down big time. People can't solder, can't build a dipole and have no idea how to just talk normal and have a conversation on the air. Its been going on for years with the repeater ratts ie oh honey bring can you pick me up a gallon of milk etc etc. DMR has added more to the hobby as in technologies letting people not able to get on HF talk to some folks around the world. But, you were able to do this on echolink. And honestly I don't see much "learning a skill" anymore. Just buy it and plug it in. Also, I do not think the audio quality is worth a dam on any digital voice mode D star, dmr, fusion they all sound un-natural. It seems like newbies are more into networking a router to work DMR in a car (if they can figure it out) than actually putting together a HF station. They get stuck on 2/440 and never move to worldwide communications by airwaves not the internet.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by W6EM on October 29, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
There will always be those who enter our hobby for one purpose or another. Almost 60 years ago, I knew of a couple of high school guys who got Technician licenses so they could use their "private" 2M FM surplus mobile radios while the rest of the world was then on AM. One waited 40 years until a no code license showed up to upgrade. The other one dropped out.

Happened then, and it's still happening.

Sequestering does bother me, at least in the sense that it makes emergency operation, should it become necessary, that much more difficult.

Here's a test...... Could someone in need of help, without a cell phone (or in range to use one) access one of your DMR, P25, DSTAR, MOTOTRBO, or whatever repeaters on analog FM and be heard? Or, even on 146.52 in a large metro area, for that matter.

The recent story of two women who spent 5 months (supposedly) adrift in the south Pacific in a disabled sailboat couldn't reach anyone on their VHF FM marine radio. Why they didn't have a EPIRB beacon transmitter is another story. But, not having an HF USB marine radio nearly cost them their lives.

Think compatibility. Think being able to reach any port in a storm. To the extent we grow more esoteric in our modulation techniques has an effect. It can wall out some who might otherwise participate. Sort of like ARRL's insistence on pushing Pactors III and IV, for emergency message traffic, since that is only possible through use of very expensive single source modems. Not the right direction, folks. Then again, ARRL might have a pecuniary interest.....

Jargon's alright. There's even an IEEE Standard Dictionary of Electrical and Electronic Terms which was written to help decipher acronyms and abbreviations. Not sure that all of our stuff is in there, though. We've long had a tendency to come up with terms to shorten what would otherwise be a mouthful... and we will forever. If I had to say what NASA stands for all the time, my tongue would have worn out 30 years ago.

73.

Lee



 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by G3RZP on October 29, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
KE6ZRP said

>>>Net control hears the same tone audio, the same volume level, and never a weak signal %40 white noise. So communications are much easier. It has it's benefits. And also drawbacks.<<<

That's the problem - once a signal is weak enough that the BER starts to fall, it 'falls over the cliff' very rapidly.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by N9AOP on October 29, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Those women who were adrift for 5 months were very lucky in that they will be well compensated when Hollywood makes a movie about their adventure.

DMR is very popular because it is cheap. When is the last time you saw a D-Star HT for $90 NIB.
Art
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by N9MB on October 29, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Sad that we've diversified to the point that large portions of the amateur population aren't even aware of the basic building blocks (modes) of the hobby. Never forget that cw was the original digital format, only two states, off or on (1 or 0). Me, I'm just an old analog, internal combustion kind of guy who loves the basics.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by VE7MXL on October 30, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
KD4ACG wrote

> Weren't SSB and FM in the commercial world, before finding their way into the realm of amateur radio?

As I understand the history of radio, both SSB and FM were invented by amateur radio operators.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by G3RZP on October 31, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
J.R. Carson filed a patent application for suppressed carrier single sideband in 1915, although it was not granted until 1923 (US 1,449,382.)SSB for long distance wired telephony started in about 1918: it was advocated for radio by several papers in the Proceedings of the Institution of Radio Engineers (now the IEEE) in 1922 and 23 and a paper on producing a transmitter for Trans Atlantic telephony was published in the Proc. IRE in 1925. Experimental transmissions form Rocky Point, NY, to London started in 1923. A two way Transatlantic telephone circuit was opened in 1927 using 55kHz eastbound and around 77kHz westbound. The costs was around $76 a minute - and those dollars would buy a lot more than today's dollar!

Armstrong of FM and superegen receiver fame was an amateur, but I don't know his callsign. He was one of the group at 1BCG (Greenwich Ct)who, with Amy, Burghard, Cronkhite, Grinan, Inman and King, sent the first short wave signals across the Atlantic in December 1921. The receiver was at Ardrossan in Scotland: the operator was Paul Godley, 2ZE, sent over by the ARRL. On his way over in the S.S. Aquitania, he met Beverage, 2BML, of RCA who told him about the Beverage antenna, which helped Godley receive the signals from the US.

 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by W9JTC on November 1, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I had to chime in on this subject. DMR is active in my area. Analog FM on 2m/70cm is pretty much dead except for 2 nets. I bought a UHF DMR (TYT) just to get my feet wet. More people are moving to DMR for the inexpensive price to try and you can talk farther than you ever could on analog. Sure it uses the internet and that is going to continue to grow. We still have the traditional repeaters for the immediate future. HF is still very active and I enjoy HF every day.
I have an analog 2m mobile in the car and am considering taking it out. Never use it anymore as no one is on. Will keep the radio for emergencies but will probably get a DMR mobile when I get the money. Can use analog and DMR in the same radio. Change can be scary but it is inevitable.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KB2SMS on November 1, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I'm not a fan of using the internet for QSOs/contacts. To me it's supposed to be antenna to antenna. Not antenna to internet to antenna. I don't get the attraction.

If it floats your boat that's fine but I see it as "cheating".

Just my humble opinion.

73,
Tom
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by SM0AOM on November 1, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
>As I understand the history of radio, both SSB and FM were invented by amateur radio operators.

As Peter/G3RZP explained, SSB has been around since the mid-1910's.

Carson's work on FM was in also the early 1920's, but as the "improvement factor" over AM of the narrow-band FM modulation that he considered was so small, he dismissed practical applications of FM.

Armstrong exploited the full noise-suppression and S/N improvement that wide-band FM could provide.


 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KC5JPZ on November 3, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Color code, code plug... More stupid jargon. CW is stupid jargon as well. It is illegal to transmit a continuous wave signal. Telegraph is legal but CW is not. Continuous wave is continuous and is not modulated in any way. CW can not carry any information because it would not be CW if it did. Let's get rid of the "good buddy" mentality and call telegraphy what it is and not by a wrong term like CW. Now about "AM"...

James
AJ5AE
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KD7YVV on November 4, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Jason, check my recent post above.
I think that having all these modes, with them being
incompatible with each other without having devices
that can convert from one to the other to the third
etc. is just making things more complicated in the
long run. I'm up by Icom here in WA, and the Kirkland
area has a D-Star repeater. It works, so it's used.
I have 2 DStar radios, so I should now go out and
spend more money on a mode I may not even use?
With all due respect, yes the modes may be fun to
play with, but there are a lot of analog repeaters
that aren't being used often that are still in service.
It boils down to this: if I can talk to my YL, and
she can hear me, and vice versa, that's what count.
I don't need talkgroups, fancy programming etc. for that.
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KC3NG on November 4, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I a two mtr and a 440 mhz set of Motorola DMR hts I've had them about a year and I have yet to see a change that prevented repeater access.
Renee KC3NG
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by G3RZP on November 5, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
>>> It is illegal to transmit a continuous wave signal<<<

Many commercial satellites do it with a very long time between ID: it's called a tracking beacon.
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by W1RC on November 8, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
My Collins KWM-2 does not use a codeplug.
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by KG7CSS on November 9, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Thank you for giving your opinion.

Let me say your opinion is the problem with ham radio, instead looking forward you appeal to tradition fallacy; that is why technology has passed ham radio.
I got a news flash for you; the first radio technology was not invented with ham radio in mind:

First radio station? Nope
AM, FM, Morse code? nope

In fact ham radio has always followed and built on the coattails of commercial application, so why not DMR and ham radio broadband.
 
Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by WD9IDV on November 11, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
"My concern is the fact that this commercial system has infiltrated our hobby".

I would be more concerned with the Chinese or North Koreans infiltrating the USA.

On a more serious note, I would not worry about it.
10-4....Over and out "good buddy".
 
RE: Bring Ham Radio into DMR Reply
by K6LIE on November 12, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Rain on your parade? Not interested in exploring new frontiers?

I have been on the air for 60 years. As far as DMR goes, it is a form of T-cxr (Time Division Multiple Access-TDMA) that I maintained working for the phone company for 33 years. It is nothing new, except we us 24 time slots instead of 2. Not interested in exploring new modes? How about OSCAR 10 and 13 (remember those?), Voip before it became popular (Original Internet phone software), SSTV, JT65, PSK31, FT8,, SSB, CW, VHF/UHF. Have you built a repeater from scratch? Mine has been on the air for 31 years on the 1 1/4 meter band. You want a real experience in experimenting? Try building your very own 220 Mhz duplexer. That was a real trip. Oh, I don't want to forget working with my club to work the International Space Station for the kids of the Albuquerque Public Schools last year. Afraid of checking out new modes including digital? I think not.

My professional work was in microwave, fiber optics and cable transmission systems for program audio and video, including digital systems, for broadcast remotes.

I was simply expressing my concerns because DMR seems to be all commercial speak. I was not bad mouthing the mode. If you really read my concerns, you will see that.
Jerry K6LIE
 
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