Tag: Amateur Radio

More on DMR

I’m now wondering why I didn’t get on DMR sooner. Dear non-existent deity – was talking to a station in the Netherlands the other night. The Netherlands on a handie talkie. Of course this isn’t your NORMAL handie talkie.

I’m seriously loving this AnyTone AT-D878UV. The battery is the 3100 extended so I can run it most of the weekend without having to charge it.

And the fact it has Bluetooth as well as APRS and other things – for example it syncs up just fine with my Avantree Audition headphones. And get this – the headphones will also sync to both the handheld and the phone. So I can play my music and when the radio goes off it’ll override and put the music on pause. How fucking awesome is that?

Two Amateur Radio things

First – my FCC license expired back in April and I was fretting about what to do. You see I hold a amateur Extra class license and ragging rights I did the 20WPM code test element 1C.

Well color me surprised to find the call I’ve had since they started the vanity program began – they no longer charge $10 for the privilege. You just electronically file the form 605. Luckily I was in the grace period. In case you’re wondering what call is, I’m KD1S.

The other thing I did yet another handheld radio. This time I got the Anytone AT-D878UV. It is a dual-band analog and DMR radio. For $238 I got the radio, charging kit, programming cable and software and a $50 credit toward classes on BridgeCom. Because I note here in the Metro Atlanta area there’s literal shit ton of DMR radio. Can’t wait – the radio is nice, has bluetooth connectivity, even a GPS module in it. For the price you can’t go wrong.


A QSO per day

If I can I try to have one amateur radio contact per day. That’s what a QSO is. I also like operating QRP – low power. My QTH is Providence, RI. FN41GT which is my grid square location.

So there you have it amateur radio speak.

One thing about being a HAM

You end up on a lot of roofs. I was mentioning how we’d been up on top of Bradford House in Providence (It’s known I believe as Sister Dominica Manor) and on top of a college building putting up repeaters.

So we were asked if we’d like to see the setup on the roof. A picture was snagged of course I’m the 2nd from the right facing toward the church tower. The gentleman in the striped shirt he does the national weather service announcements you hear on 162.400MHz in these parts.

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Field Day 2018

So this year I’ll be visiting the PEMA field day activities. It should be interesting as I haven’t been to a field day exercise in many years.

Probably because I let my membership in W1AQ lapse. And I sort of went quiet in the hobby for some time. I mean the net and it’s fun sort of diminished the value of being on the radio as much.

But I find myself at least clipping the radio on my belt and listening. Occasionally throw my call out and talk to a few folks. I forgot how fun that can be.

I should go dig out my VE creds – they’re doing a test session but at 8AM on a Saturday is a little too early for me.

And I have already programmed in the simple frequency on my Yaesu VX-7RB: }
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Finally problem solved

So on my MD-380 I had put the New England code plug on it. But I noted nothing in RI was included – no zone, no repeaters nothing.

So put in a bunch of repeaters – except years of experience bit me in the ass. You see I had known for example that 449.225 here in RI used to have a CTCSS code of 67.0 – not anymore. It changed. I was wondering why I could hear conversations on the repeater but could never trip the repeater myself. Wrong CTCSS. Teach me to check the online repeater directory next time.

That’s been solved so now the Quahog Net aka N1JBC Net is active on my MD-380 and one of the nodes on the KA1RCI net – one in West Greenwich, RI which is roughly 25 miles from here. I get perfect coverage from that baby here in Providence – so on 5W PEP on 70cm band I can hit a repeater 25 miles away from where I am.

But then I shouldn’t be surprised – one place I lived I was on the fourth story of the building and I could easily hit the Boston based repeater some 45 miles away.

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Did my first EOC Staffing for Emergency Management

So this morning I did a couple hours at the Emergency Operations Center alternate over the police/fire/commissioner HQ. It was interesting first I hadn’t realized how many cameras were all over the city.

Second there were fire, police, PEMA, and three amateur radio people there.

Devil of a time getting a Kenwood TS-2000 to change it’s tuning increment so we could  monitor the fire departments frequencies. Apparently it needs the MARS mods to work properly.

 

 

Got my TYT MD380 all programmed

Found the New England code plug for the radio. A code plug is basically a file with all the zones, repeater, simplex, etc. broken out. Plus I can add zones too.

That makes it really easy to program. Just open the code plug, connect the radio and write the data. Simple. Finding that New England code plug was hard though. Just go to the New England Digital Emergency Communication Network (NEDECN) and once there click on the DMR Downloads link on the left. Then click on DMR Code Plugs, and then Tytera (Which is TYT) and then select your code plug for either VHF or UHF. Then open the MD380-G software and then File/Open the code plug you just downloaded.

Connect your radio to the computer using the USB cable. Then Ctrl-W to write the code plug to the radio. So I now have MA, NH, ME and VT in my radio. And I’ll edit the code plug to hit the two DMR sites here in RI, one in Smithfield which is about 10 miles from me, the other in Bristol which is also about 10 miles from me as the crow flies.

And it works for me as I commute into Boston daily. So I’ll keep the MD380 with me too.

***UPDATE***

I had to program my call and DMR ID into the radio. It’s in the general settings.

Yet another new radio

This makes three that I own.

The inventory as follows:

  1. A Yaesu VX-7Rb does 70cm, 1.25m and 2m translation from 400-480MHz, 222-225MHz and finally on the 2m side it’s 144-148MHz.
  2. A Baofeng B580T does 70cm and 2m
  3. And all new a TYT MD-380 70cm DMR radio

I’ll be very honest here I like the MD-380 – it’s a very solid radio. The entirety of it cost me $100 but for an HT that does digital that’s pretty impressive. It comes with battery, metal belt clip, two antennas one stubby the other a whip, and charger stand and plug adapter as well as programming cable and software. It also comes with a fairly comprehensive manual even if it is in Chinglish. As an example of the latter it’s on the very first page where it states:

To Customers

Thank you very much for using TYT our two-way radios. This product has a newly developed function menu and humanism operation design, making it easy to use.

The humanism operation design bit really gives it away. And Chinglish if you’re wondering is original Chinese translates into English where certain things just stick out, like the above.

Once it’s charged up I’ll install their software, see how crappy it is and then go with Chirp instead.

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Amateur Radio: Stealing the Thunder – Cheap DMR radio coming

I’ve been watching the digital modes on VHF/UHF shift around past couple years, WIRES, D-Star etc. But the radios are too expensive. I don’t want to ever pay close to $400 to $1,000 for a handheld radio.

t’s coming from Baofeng of course.  The new DA-77 is a full up DMR radio. And the price – $129. So I’ll jump in.

Now on to what DMR  – it’s a digital encoding based on 12.5KHz channels. It stands for Digital Mobile Radio. A bit of misnomer but then a handheld is in fact a mobile radio. If you want to go you can read the protocol specifications here.

It’s interesting that the ETSI who controls the DMR standards insists on calling it a “…licensed land mobile…” service. Amateur Radio in the United States isn’t just restricted to terrestrial use – there are a number of satellites whizzing around in the sky right this moment. Plus there is an amateur radio presence on the International Space Station. So Amateur Radio in the United States isn’t a land mobile thing.

But for the capabilities and price – once the DA-77 is available I’m buying one. The reason I think DMR will win in the long term is that the others I mentioned are WIRES (Yaesu) and D-Star (Icom). But they don’t play because they are proprietary protocols. But DMR is open in the sense that ANY manufacturer can use the standard. So there will in fact be a whole lot more DMR radios than WIRES or D-Star out there. if price is the driving factor that is. And believe me, it is!