Digital Voice Overview


Why did I pick a DMR radio and what is DMR?

Digital Voice

Regular readers will know I have a couple of HTs in my collection but they are all strictly FM. I hadn't really looked into Digital Voice too much but was aware of the various Digital Voice modes.

Digital Voice Primer and Resources

I'm not intending to write a full Digital Voice primer. More, I'm going to point at the resources I used, so this should be a decent list if you are new to Digital Voice.

  • I found this blog post which is a good summary of the modes: Blargh blog
  • Specifically, on DMR, the DMR Guide is well worth reading.
  • The video below is also well worth a watch. It covers DMR and is very accessible.

Why did I get into DMR as opposed to D-Star or C4FM?

There are a lot of factors that drive peoples decisions about which modes they want to operate; brand loyalty, local repeaters, cost... For me, the decision was really about my local repeaters and cost.

Bristol (my nearest city), and the Severnside / SW England / S Wales region (we need a better word, maybe Severnside is the best term as it echoes my home town being Liverpool in Merseyside), is very well served with repeaters. Plenty of 2m and 70cms repeaters in all modes. I'm pretty sure I can hear all three major digital modes, and analogue repeaters in both 2m and 70cms flavours.

However, there are far more DMR repeaters than D-Star or C4FM repeaters in the area. The other factor was cost. Specifically, Martin Lynch & Sons had a great offer on the Anytone AT-D878UVII Plus which I couldn't resist. So now I have a DMR HT...

Anytone AT-D878UVII Plus

I'll detail the HT in more detail in my next post in this series, but I will cover the functionality briefly and what it means for me.

  • Dual band - 2m / 70cms
  • Dual Monitor - listen to two stations on two bands at the same time, (V+V, U+U, U+V or V+U)
  • DMR and Analogue (FM) on any channel
  • 6W output, and selectable down to 1W (for hotspot use)
  • Includes the programming cable and software (see later blog post on Codeplugs)
  • APRS on digital and analogue (see my APRS post for more detail when published)
  • Built in GPS (useful for APRS)
  • 4000 channels, 10000 talk groups, 500000 contacts (lots of memory!)
  • 1.7 inch colour TFT screen
  • Bluetooth both for a PTT button and audio
  • 35 hours claimed battery life
  • Comes with battery, belt clip, charging cradle and antenna. Ready to go out of the box

So what can you do on DMR?

Again, I'll detail more about operating in follow-on posts in this series but in short, you can do a lot on DMR

  • Simplex DMR - not common but can be done. HT to HT using DMR
  • Repeater operation, this can be broken down by network
    • Brandmeister - the biggest network but not really present in my area
    • DMR+ - in the UK Phoenix, which happens to be on 3 local repeaters to me
    • SW Cluster - a group of repeaters in my area that have local chat on timeslot 1 TG9 and are connected to each other on timeslot 2 TG950.
  • Hotspot operation - this allows you to connect to multiple networks and even other digital modes. More in the follow up post. I've currently set up a hotspot at home, but you can take them mobile.
  • Digital APRS - analogous to APRS on analogue
  • Text messaging over DMR

Next post

So the next post in this series will be all about the Anytone AT-D878UVII Plus which is my weapon of choice at present for DMR.

Posts in this Series

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