N2ZZ DMR Repeater


James F. Boehner, MD
 

To the CSRA Amateur Radio Community

Re: N2ZZ DMR Aiken Repeater 443.4625 /448.4625 MHz

 

To all,

The N2ZZ DMR repeater is a Motorola SLR-5700 with a high gain antenna at the 400-foot elevation on a tower a few blocks from downtown Aiken.  There have been recent changes and should allow more widespread use of DMR in our community.

First, this repeater is not connected with the SCHEART Digital/NCPRN system.  Second, this is not meant to take the place of D-Star or any other digital mode.  This is simply another way to communicate via Amateur Radio.

DMR has undergone many changes over the last few years.  Historically, a repeater had to connect to what was called a C-Bridge via the internet to become part of the system.  The C-Bridge owner assigned TalkGroups (communication paths) to that repeater, and the repeater users were limited to those TalkGroups.  This is the model of the NCPRN/SCHEART digital system as well as multiple other DMR systems in the world.

The N2ZZ DMR repeater was first associated with DMR-MARC, and then later DCI.  The latter system moved from a national/global perspective to primarily serving the Pacific Northwest.  As this would no longer serve our needs, my decision was made to move to the Brandmeister system as of 3/28/21.  My thanks to Kevin Kingery KJ4IVJ on his help with the repeater shack router.

I must thank Kent Hufford KQ4KK for introducing me to the term “Phenomenologist”.  I am currently learning the Brandmeister system but doubt I will ever be an expert.  I can be a phenomenologist. I want to share what I know so far.

I have been in DMR for some time.  What originally attracted me was the technical knowledge and the great “Elmering” that I saw for what was relatively a new mode.  However, whenever there is an infrastructure, there are politics.  Things became increasingly more political, and my interest in DMR dropped significantly.

However, my observations on the Brandmeister system have been incredibly positive.  Connecting to a C-Bridge is not required.  The N2ZZ repeater directly connects to the Brandmeister server.  The advantage to this is that ALL talkgroups are available to each user.  It just depends on what is programmed in their radio.  For example, I am originally from Upstate New York.  If I want to talk with that area, I program in the corresponding talkgroup, key up, and I am connected.  Each state has its own statewide talkgroup, and each region (0-9) has a talkgroup.  Similarly, many countries have their own talkgroups as well.  Brandmeister also has WorldWide (TG 9) and USA Nationwide (TG 3100)

There is a bit of a learning curve with DMR, and I will be providing some reference material in my dropbox to teach the basics.  A DMR repeater can carry on two independent conversations at one time, as there are two timeslots that are available.  There is a good introduction on DMR by John W2XAB which is a bit dated, but the basics of DMR are clearly illustrated.  There is a newer DMR reference by Bridgecom, and I will provide the link as well.

 

Well, that was the history.  Now how to get started:

In order to use the system, you must first get a DMR ID from radioid.net:  https://www.radioid.net/#!

Second, you will need a DMR radio.  I have several, but my recommendation is the Anytone AT-878UV Plus.  In the dropbox, I have some vendor suggestions, but feel free to Google and find the best price.

Third, you will need a codeplug (programming file) and a windows computer to load the programming software.  The programming software (downloadable) and the cable are included with the AT-878UV.

Fourth, as soon as you have the codeplug loaded in your computer software, you will need to change the radio id to the number you received from radioid.net.  Digital>RadioID List> and change the default to your number and your call. 

You then upload the modified codeplug to your radio, and you are ready to go.

**** There might be one potential problem.  There are multiple firmware and software versions out there.  The most current is v. 1.23.  It may require updating firmware of your radio.  Instructions are included in the firmware/software ZIP file. ****

 

Or you could phone (e-mail/text) a friend to help!

 

If there are any errors in the file, please let me know.  I received the recent SCHEART Digital/NCPRN codeplug from a ham in Florence and added the N2ZZ repeater and CSRA conventional frequencies as well as updated other items.  If you travel to other areas of the state, please let me know your experiences.

 

Here is the Dropbox link:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/e8pu9jfeacseb1n/AADsnWqKNL4p6TiSmkoQD_Cja?dl=0

 

A few things to remember.  When you transmit, what your radio sends with your voice is your DMR ID. The other station must have a contact list in their radio with your information.  If the other’s station codeplug is up to date with a contact list in their radio, it will display your name, call and location.  Otherwise, they only see your ID.  The codeplug that I will include in the dropbox has a contact list up to date as of 4/18/21.

This codeplug does not just have the N2ZZ Brandmeister system.  This is a codeplug that also has local conventional FM repeaters within the CSRA, and the SCHEART Digital/NCPRN system, including Beech Island.  I was also told that it covers repeaters up I-95 to DC.

Second, the repeater is dormant until you key the repeater on the talkgroup you wish to use.  If there is no further activity, the talkgroup “times out” in 5 minutes, and you will have to rekey the repeater if you desire to monitor.  I recommend going to BM Worldwide (91), key up and see if it is active. 

So, all this deals with the N2ZZ repeater.  Then, there is the HOTSPOT.  I do not want to cover that here, but I do have a folder within the Dropbox folder that deals with the OPEN SPOT 3 that I also use.  That is a topic for another time.

Enjoy, All!

 

’73 de JIM N2ZZ
n2zz@...

 

 

 

 

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