Monday, September 11, 2017

Digital Radio

DMR Radio

With the availability of cheap handheld transceivers manufactured by the Chinese, DMR Radio has become popular amongst the amateur radio fraternity. There are a number of handhelds to chose from, ranging from Tytera, and clones such as Retevis, and Zastone.

The Zastone became a big hit when it was offered as a pack of two handheld transceivers for £108.00. This was a UHF handheld which could be easily programmed with Tytera Code Plug software. It was in fact a clone of the MD-380. The pack contained two chargers, a programming lead and a "Matrix" style earpiece/microphone. In a short period of time, the sale was over as the stock diminished overnight. At the time the Tytera was selling for £80 - £90 on other outlets such as Amazon. Most were UHF but VHF transceivers were also available but not as popular.

A new kid on the block is the Radioddity GD-77 which is a dual band VHF/UHF handheld transceiver.

Things have moved forward to the point where the Radioddity GD-77 was released at 66 Euro. There was a sale announced and the stock were sold out within 3 days. Even at a higher price of 80 Euro on Amazon, the stocks were cleared overnight.

This radio is well supported by the manufacturers via a Facebook Page. Feedback from customers and their wish lists were taken into account and and appropriate Firmware upgrades follow. Not only are all of these DMR radios capable of operating in Digital Mode, but, they can also be programed for Analogue channels. At current prices, they can easily compete with Wouxun and Baofeng handhelds.

For sometime there were no mobile DMR transceivers apart from the expensive Motorola versions which sell for £365 upwards. Either VHF or UHF versions can be purchased with or without the Keypad microphone which retails for £85.00. Pictured below is a Motorola DM4600. 

These DMR sets are for Commercial use and have many additional features not normally used by radio amateurs. They are not easy to program but one one has the ability to program a more basic set, it follows the same pattern. 

It was not too long before a dual band mobile radio was marketed by TyTera in the form of the MD-9600. This operates on VHF and UHF and it is possible to program both VHF and UHF channels into this radio. It has great prospects and will be backed by regular updates by the manufacturer.

This Transceiver is almost as easy to program as the Tytera range of handhelds.

There is a little effort required to program a DMR radio but once one has the grasp of programming  a code plug, life does become easier.

Link to Basic DMR Programming Tutorial >> here

A Brandmeister network has been established in Ireland and has three Talk Groups:

1) Ireland Call Channel - Talk Group 2722 -  needs to be programmed as a channel in the code plug

2) Ireland Chat Channel - Talk Group 2723 -                 -- As above --

3) YSF Ireland Channel  - Talk Group 2724                   -- As above --

The YSF Ireland Talk Group bridges DMR to Yaesu Fusion (re-transmits the audio from DMR onto Yaesu Fusion and vice versa. If one is operating DMR on this Bridge they may have QSOs with Fusion operators and vice versa.

Yaesu Fusion (C4FM)

Yaesu Fusion is probably the easiest way to get on air with a Digital Mode. The Transceiver may be taken straight out of the box an, after programming the call sign without having to read the manual. It is, however, necessary to read the manual to derive the benefits of the fusion mode. Some examples of Yaesu Fusion equipment are sown below

Yaesu have developed the Digital Wires-X Network accessible by pressing the DX button on the front of the transceiver. This is, essentially, a more up to date version of Echolink or IRLP with a superior network capability. With Wires-X, it is possible to press a button on the front of the rig to access the network and choose a room from a chosen part of the world to make a call.

The Galway VHF Group has recently given a contribution to the Galway Radio Club towards a new Yaesu Fusion Repeater which will be fitted with the Wires-X system. This should go on the air in October 2017.

The Multi-mode Digital Gateway situated on 145.850 MHz, covering DMR Fusion and D-Star, will cover Galway City and a surrounding radius of 25 miles. This will go on air in October. The Call sign will be EI2GCD.

A Yaesu Fusion Gateway, with similar coverage, will be going on air in October. The Callsign will be EI2SHD and the frequency will be 144.8125 MHz.

All of the Galway VHF Group are currently active on Yaesu Fusion and some are active on DMR. The Galway VHF Group would be delighted to assist anyone who wishes to enter into the field of Digital Communications.

If you wish to discover more about this aspect of the Hobby contact Steve EI5DD at

More information may be obtained >> here

Considerations for a Digital Radio System in Galway may be obtained >> here