How to Get Into DMR … Without a Radio!

Are you a licensed ham who is interested in Dstar or DMR – but without the cost of expensive radios?

Here are three steps you can take to accomplish the task. This applies to the three most popular protocols.

It begins by acquiring a special USB Dongle that contains an analog to digital and digital to analog IC chip reffered to as an AMBE3000. They
sell for about $100 but that’s still only 1/4 the cost of an Icom IC-51HT or DV4HOME V2 SDR.

Because only licensed hams are permitted on each system, registration is required.

For Dstar go to:
(Login then click REGISTER, it takes 10+- days).

For DMR registration go to:

You can confirm your DStar Registration later at:

For software I recommend the free BlueDV Windows client:
(note: expand the BlueDV-09548-preBETA.ZIP and RUN the contained .MSI installer).

and here for the latest changes to build 9548:

When you plug in the ThumbDV it should create a new “virtual” serial port. Look under Control Panel, Device Manager, Com & LPT . You must note the new COM port# it creates and use that COM# when setting up the BlueDV setup software. Also remember the ThumbDV™
Dongle works at 460800 baud (older models are at 230400).

Be aware that BlueDV build 9548 is BETA, although the Dstar and DMR operations are very stable, Fusion has yet to be fully implemented, currently limited to receive only.

I quote from David, the author: “Press CTRL+1 to activate C4FM (Fusion) on BlueDV but it currently only works in receive mode. I find BlueDV software to be superior to WinDV.

As always, install any software you download online at your own risk. Every computer configuration is different and not all software will be compatible with all systems.

Youtube Help and setup video for BlueDV:

73 & Happy Digitizing!

Mike Raymond, K5HUM, is a special contributor to and writes from Louisiana, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

5 Responses to “How to Get Into DMR … Without a Radio!”

  • W4DEY/Derrick Young:

    what about those of us running Android or Linux? will this work under Wine on Linux?


  • n1kdo:

    Is it radio?

    The web site says “you can make a ( DSTAR or DMR ) QSO without a radio.”

    So it’s NOT RADIO. It’s a internet audio chat room, that just might be transmitted on a few unwitting/unwilling repeaters.

    I’m not saying it is not fun, or worthwhile, but if you are working hotspot-to-hotspot, why not just use a chat room and not tie up a talk group on physical repeaters? And since it’s not radio, when Comcast or AT&T internet goes down, who are you going to work? Nobody.

  • SV1LJJ:

    You know that there are DMR radios that are cheaper than the dongle, right?

    In DMR this is only handful when you can not install an outdoor antenna!!!


  • Ralf VK4FMGC:

    Yes you can get cheaper HT’s than the price of the new Dongle, but as radio’s go, they leave a lot to be desired. Also you won’t need anymore Hotspots, repeaters or multiple HT’s to cover all the three modes. I guess that this is only the beginning with more to come.

    Great job David you have done so much for Amateur Radio. Keep up the good work.
    P.S. anyone want to buy an expensive DMR Radio that has now become redundant ?

  • Mark W4ITG:

    If you remove the radio it’s no longer ham “radio” just a conference call that could be done with a cell phone. Please please please let’s keep the radio in the equation before we lose our frequencies.

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