Getting Started in DMR
The transition to Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) requires a bit of preparation and there is a learning curve. Unlike most of our competitors, we at BridgeComSystems have set out to not only sell radios, but to educate our customers in the technology that is available.
Because of this, we have built BridgeCom University. We are making Videos and updating them regularly to keep them current and relevant. As a person new to DMR, there are a few things you will need to know/learn. Even experienced DMR Radio folks tell us that these videos really make the experience more fun. Following the steps below will make your DMR journey a really exciting trip and bring you a bunch of FUN communicating to the world through digital radio!
If you are already a HAM, the following is a great resource set:
If you are having difficulty programming in your first DMR code plug, we do have an excellent step by step guide that is taken from the perspective of a person who is unboxing the radio and attempting to use the software for the first time.
When you start with DMR, you will need a Digital DMR ID which you'll have to Register for and Acquire to program into your radio before you can use a digital hotspot or a repeater (see below in DMR ID section).
Unlike Analog, you will encounter 2 other fields which you may not have seen before which are Color Code (essentially the same thing as CTCSS in the Analog Realm) and Time Slot (there are 2 time slots or communications channels on each digital frequency).
You'll also need to add your new channels to a Zone prior to writing your code plug over to your radio.
Here is a link to a great DMS Code Plug 101 PDF instruction that takes you through the entire radio CPS code plug setup. Click Here for your first step in DMR.
A great Video for starting with the radio right out of the box:
The following video will show you how to find and set up a local repeater:
If you are NOT YET a HAM or looking for more details, the following is a great resource set:
Begin at the Beginning.
To Begin, you need an FCC license for Amateur Radio (HAM) --and to get that you will need an FRN number as that is the way that the FCC looks at individuals.
Then you will need to study for and take 1-3 test(s) for you License (Tech, Gen, Extra)
You may take all the exams at once or progressively over time. Volunteer Examiners who already are HAMs (VE's) administer the tests. After passing the test(s), a Call Sign is assigned to you within 1-3 weeks.
Once you have a license (DMR is fully available to a Technician or above), then you will need to register for a DMR ID (can be issued the same day or take up to 3 days to receive).
With your CallSign and DMRid in hand, you can then go out to the BrandMeister (BM) website and sign up for an account there.
Once you are notified that you are active (this is a voluntary organization and so it is not necessarily quick, although it usually is same day), you will want to go to the SelfCare tab and turn ON your HotSpot security and create a HotSpot Security Password (different from your BM password --think simple, ie., all uppercase, or all lowercase. or all numeric -one or the other/not mixed).
Now you are ready to get started.
Acquire Radio and HotSpot of your choosing at:
Making this Radio and HotSpot yours means configuring/programming your credentials and preferences. Step one in completing this task is the unboxing and setup. The video linked below explains a LOT of the terms used in DMR, demonstrates working with the radios and PC computer, and includes CPS download/install and Firmware update which is optional and almost NEVER needed.
Here is Step Two. Below is a video of Ron showing how to use the CPS software to get started accessing local Repeaters.
This is a non-Bridgecom overview of DMR. It gives some great general information about DMR. Our SkyBridge Plus offers many of the features of "most expensive" hotpot that he mentions at the price of the "low-cost" options mentioned. Plus, we provide educational videos and BridgeCom University in order to assist you on your journey in DMR.
Here is a great discussion of the "Code Plug", how it works within Anytone CPS software. In order to store your version image sub-folders, I suggest that you name the folder something simple like “RadioBackup”. The following is an example involving an 878 radio and an 868 radio and their code plugs:
The .rdt files are an "image in time" of your radio which means that they are radio/version Dependent. They will only work with your 878 radio and the version that its firmware has in it.
As a point of reference, .rdt file "code plugs” are "ReadFromRadio" or "File -- Open" from your computer into the appropriate CPS software. When you are satisfied with any changes to them, you can "WriteToRadio", and back them up by using the "File -- SaveAs" feature.
Unlike .rdt files, .lst files are radio/version Independent. These files are the controlling files for a specific "code plug set" and are paired with a series of .csv files that detail all the components of the code plug (all .csv's for a specific .lst must be kept in the same folder with the .lst).
These .lst files are "ReadFromRadio" or "Tool -- Import" from your computer, to the appropriate CPS software. After you are satisfied with any changes to them, you can "WriteToRadio" to load your changes to the radio; or "Tool -- Export" back to your computer so that the comma-delimited .csv files may be examined/manipulated using some text editor such as Windows Notepad/Excel, etc..
The following is a great video from Duane where he demonstrates these characteristics of the different files.
BCU Classroom: Exporting/Importing AnyTone Code Plug Data
Below is a quick example of using the Export/Import functionality to move a developed code plug between AnyTone 868 and 878 handheld dual band radios (this can be done between any AnyTone Radio Model, Mode, FW version).
As to an 868 - using the appropriate 868 CPS software (downloaded from BridgeCom) if you save off the unique entries from the 868 radio, you can then Export the associated .lst and .csv CodePlugSet created to a known folder & file, and then Import the same to an 878 CPS image. When satisfied with the plug and any changes, this can be written to the 878 radio and then backed up either as a new ".lst set" or saved as an ".rdt" file Image to its own folder/file for future use.
As discussed, be sure to specify in the saved file name, the Radio Type, Mode, FW and Date with all your backups so you can know the qualities and order of their creation! (note: remember that the .lst file and all its associated .csv files MUST be in the same folder).
We realize that some of this is "old hat" for you, but we note it here for reference sake.There are some real distinctions between the process of making contacts in DMR and the Analog HF world.
On the Anytone handhelds, the channels are selected by the 2nd knob on top of the radio. The Parrot TG channel (TG9990) allows you to talk to yourself to verify connectivity and strength with a hotspot/repeater, and every TG that we connect to, we MUST disconnect-from using the SKY TG Disc channel (TG4000).
Have fun with your radios and keep us in mind if there is anything else we can do. Any time we can be of assistance, simply open a new ticket by going to: