Amateur Radio: DMR: Codeplug

Revised 2019-08-21

New or updated entries indicated with New or Updated. Labels expire in 30-60 days.

drama-mask And we say…

Using a Spreadsheet to Organize a DMR Codeplug

Introduction

The DMR codeplug 1 is the "magic" that brings the radio alive. The codeplug contains three elements: contacts, channels and zones.

Where in the world do you want to talk to?

The Brandmeister servers on the internet have connections to DMR repeaters and hotspots around the world. A list of the connections—talkgroups can be loaded into a spreadsheet found in office suite 2 packages. We are going to choose the talkgroups wanted for inclusion in the codeplug.

  1. Download a CSV list of Brandmeister talkgroups. The CSV button is atop the webpage.
  2. Open the spreadsheet and import the CSV file.
  3. Insert a row atop the sheet and add 5 column headings as shown. Lock the top row.
    cp1
  4. Resize the column widths.
  5. In column E, insert a eye-catching graphic symbol for each talkgroup you choose to add to your codeplug.
  6. How many talkgroups have you chosen? At the bottom of column E, add the formula "=COUNT(E2:E1324)". The last number—1324—will change as the number of Brandmeister talkgroups increases.
    cp2
  7. The talkgroups you choose migrate to:
    • A new tab on the spreadsheet, as shown below.
    • The CPS' "digital contacts" entries.

Screenshots

Following are three portions of additional spreadsheet tabs. Locking rows and columns allows moving around a sheet while showing the labels.

Talkgroups

Columns A, B and C are the Brandmeister talkgroup name, the talkgroup number and an abbreviated (I labeled it "Ch_Name") name. The shortened names 3 are so that all (or most) of the name fits on the radio display without (or minimal) scrolling.
dmr-cp-bm-zones
Starting in column E, I created the various wide-area and regional, et al, zones names. Note, at the page bottom, there is a formula for each column total. Also note that I sort the talkgroups into talkgroup number order for entry into the codeplug.

DMR repeaters

This view is a section of the sheet sorting out the DMR repeaters and the talkgroups available on each repeater.
dmr-cp-dmr-rptrs
Note the short abbreviation for the screen display to identify the repeater. Column AP contains the ~15 common talkgroups.

NWS Weather, Simplex and Analog FM repeaters

This view is a section of the sheet for the weather frequencies, the DMR and simplex frequencies and the analog FM repeaters.
dmr-cp-bm-wx-analog
The three added "VFO" columns reminds me to enter the data into the proper VFO—the MD-UV380 is UHF/VHF—in the CPS (Customer Programming Software).

Do You Need Help?

Colorado Digital MultiproticolThe construction of a codeplug can be daunting, but I encourage you to persist in putting yours together. Do use the resources on this website. The weekly Tuesday evening technical Colorado HD Net discusses codeplugs, hotspots and all things digital about DMR, AllStar, D-Star, and P-25. Part 2 of the net is a question-and-answer opportunity. Part 3 is a discussion about a single topic. The net prologue tells all. Additionally, knowledgable members can be found on the talkgroup throughout the day and evening throughout the week. And there is an active Telegram group; search for "Colorado Digital Multiproticol" and join it.

Comments

Is it necessary to use a spreadsheet to organize a codeplug? No. Does my choice of arranging the codeplug meet your needs? Maybe, but you no doubt will find a methodology that suits your needs. Play with your ideas and see what works for you. I find it easier to play with a spreadsheet's rows and columns than with pencil and paper. Perhaps a combination may work for you. In the reading I do, I take notes using my Evernote account, and pull them together into a hopefully cohesive document. I hope this helps.

Questions or comments? Email is at the bottom of this webpage.

Footnotes

1 KE0FHS explains assembly of his codeplug here.

2 I use Google Sheets on a Samsung Galaxy tablet, but any spreadsheet of your choosing will work..

3 The few characters available on a DMR radio display doesn't lend itself to scrolling long Brandmeister names. Thinking back to my early days of shortwave listening and the organization of the World Radio TV Handbook developed in the 1950s and continuing today, I chose to prepend a nominal two-letter abbreviation to the shortened talkgroup name where appropriate. Some examples:
wa—wa for wide area—waWW (for World Wide), waAsME (for Asia/Middle East), waEu, waOc (for Oceania)…
us—usCO, usNJ…
us_r—r for region—us_rMidW, us_rNoCO, usrMidAtl…
gb—for Great Britain—gbIre Chat, gbMidlands…

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