DMR – Joining the Dark Side!


As a birthday present to myself I have just ordered a Retevis RT3 DMR hand-held off eBay which should be delivered just after Christmas.

South Kesteven ARS had a talk in October by Sean Burton 2E0ENN about amateur DMR where he demonstrated some handsets and the new DV4Mini which allows gateway and internet linking for the various networks, DSTAR, DMR and System Fusion. This piqued my interest in the DMR scene.

As I posted last time I dabbled a few years ago with decoding PMR DMR using software and a sound card but they were very hit and miss at the time. I reacquainted myself with the various projects and using the FUNCube Dongle Pro+ and the latest version of DSDPlus (support forum at RadioReference.com) monitored the nearby GB7RR DMRPlus repeater managing to get some reasonably clear decodes of some amateur transmissions.


I decided to dig out my Realistic PRO-2022 scanner and using a discriminator tap fed into the sound card got slightly better quality decodes.


Doing some research and reading a couple of reviews had decided I was going to get a Tytera TYT MD-380 when funds allowed but spotted the Retevis RT3 which appears to be identical and slightly cheaper.

I know some people wince at the thought of DMR and issues with proprietary technology used in some of the systems but I think the genie is out the bottle and it isn't going away soon. Adoption of DMR appears to be growing with talk of restructuring of talk groups needed to deal with the growth (whatever that means!) so I should at least get my feet wet and understand the technology.

I registered for an ID, now off to decode the jingo and understand all this talk of codeplugs, talk groups and time slots.
Andrew Garratt, MØNRD, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from East Midlands, England. Contact him at [email protected].

One Response to “DMR – Joining the Dark Side!”

  • Paul KG7OWO:

    Hi guys.

    I am writing this message because of an article or message comment I saw several weeks back. The topic of which is spreading like an uncontrolled burn.

    The original comment was basically saying that hams who still use CW, and especially ones who think and feel that newer hams who cannot Cary on a conversation at 19wow, on a set they built themselves “aren’t real hams”.

    Let me take a minute to agree with this with both sides before moving on. Those who think the old school cw types have doomed Amateur Radio operations to a legacy of our dated technology and modes, poppycock! We can no more destroy armature service by using CW than by using slow scan tv. Each mode is useful for divergences of purposes. Learning and using CW is just a way of keeping the roots of the amateur service alive. I have a modern licence not requiring cw, and plan to learn the language that is Morse Code as soon as I can.

    For a moment or two, I almost bought into this Idea, that nostalgia types were using cw, to try to keep amateur radio from advancing.

    Then not a few hours later, and all. I have is a e-cHeapo HT, I ministered a discussion, more like an argument really, about which digital mode should be supported. Message, DMR, D star or system fusion. Yes a discussion about which proprietary system will win. My guess none. Not unless one of these competitors, gets smart and either goes open source like IBM did, and VHS did. Or more likely, some guy come up with a chip or software that will licence encode/decode to everyone opening source on all of the proprietary stuff coming out now.

    Hams are not going to flock to HRO.com, and turn in their old faithful whatever it is, and cow two to one of the major big companies seeking to become the only viable brand of hf/digital/uhf/vhf communications. Someone will motivate anew way of doing it, or someone will blink, in order to not be left with a.warehouse of Sony beta scan tv recorder.

    Yeah, nobody is innovating within the world of Amateur Radio at all!

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