[ Duplicate a SD card ]
[ Nets ]
[ Organizing a Codeplug ]
[ Pi-Star Colors ]
[ Reflectors ]
[ Remote Commands ]
[ Updating and Upgrading Pi-Star ]
[ UV-380 ]
- Get your amateur radio license…
- Want to learn how to get onto DMR? Start by reading…
- Amateur Radio Notes by KE0FHS (comprehensive introduction to and reference information, a must read)
- Get/Register a DMR ID
- Americas, Asia, Middle East, Oceania et al—everywhere other than Europe and Africa
- Europe and Africa
- BrandMeister Network
- Brandmeister Explained
- BrandMeister News
- BrandMeister Talkgroups
- Hose Line
— If your browser fails to produce audio, try another browser. My situation? Chrome fails, but Opera works on Win7 and DuckDuckGo works on Android. It makes no sense.
— If no browser produces audio it is very likely that the Hose Line server software has failed. The only solution? Check back in the days following. I have never seen a webpage announcement one way or the other.
— Some links below to lesser known talkgroups are simply to see if there is activity, and may not remain here. So many unused talkgroups, yet more are added each month. Ridiculous. Sigh…
- TG 91 Worldwide (Info)
- TG 310 TAC 310 (Info)
- TG 311 TAC 311 (Info)
- TG 310 TAC 312 (Info)
- TG 3108 Colorado (Info)
- TG 3134 New Jersey (Info)
- TG 3142 Pennsylvania (Info)
- TG 31012 QuadNet (Info) (QuadNet2 USA IRC Network)
- TG 31083 Colorado Severe Weather (Info)
- TG 31084 Mountain Skynet (Info)
- TG 31088 Colorado HD (Info)
- TG 31241 MD-DC XRF336 C (Info)
- TG 31360 TriState (Info)
- TG 31482 South Texas (Info)
- TG 31625 The Hangout SPot (Info)
- TG 31648 DMR Info Network (Info)
- TG 31660 Ocean County (Info)
- TG 31672 Pi-Star Chat (Info)
- TG 31801 The Gathering Spot (Info)
- TG 31802 Chat Lounge (Info)
- TG 31803 Secret Talk Group (Info)
- TG 98003 Reddit (Info) (KM8V)
- TG 310588 PA-SE Cluster (Info)
- TG 314259 TriState Fusion Bridge (Info)
- TG 3124257 DelMarVa 8802 (Info)
- Talkgroups (Download CSV etc list using buttons atop page)
- CCS7 User Database (search by call or DMR ID)
- Digital Communications Interconnect
- Digital Mobile Radio (DMR)
- Discovering DMR by KE0FHS
- Static, dynamic, and auto-static BrandMeister talkgroups
- DMR Learning Series by KD8TWG
- DMR Learning Series by K8JTK
- Worldwide Talkgroups
- DMR For Dummies
- Ham Digital
- Twitter @BMMasterStatus (monitors status of Brandmeister servers)
- HBLink (HBLink provides a suite of programs for building and extending existing networks.)
- HBlink for Python3
- HBlink Monitoring Server: ColoradoHD.31088
- Make Your Own DMR Server
- T G I F Network
- T G I F through the DMRGATEWAY
- T G I F Talkgroups
- DMR Contact List Download
- Micro–Node Int'l's Nano–Spot
- MMDVM Duplex Hotspot | Commswg
- NEX-GEN Custom Hotspots
- SharkRF Hotspot 2
- ZUMspot & MMDVM Demo Page
- ZUMspot Raspberry Pi Info and Setup
- ZUMspot— DMR Hotspot
- PAPA DMR Roundtable: TG 3106 (Mon 2000 Pacific time)
- Colorado HD Hotspot Discussion Net: TG 31088 (Tue 1930 Mountain time – excellent!)
- ColoradoHD Net Recordings
- TG31088 Net Check-in
- DMR Information Net: TG 31648 (Tue 1930 Central time, net control KC5RJL)
- East Coast Reflector Tech & Swap-Shop Net (Tue 2000 Eastern time)
- Tidewater (VA) DMR Net: TG 31515 (Thu 2100 Eastern time—DMR news, discussion et al; net control WZ4K)
- #redditnet FakeHam LIDNet: TG 98003 (Thu 2130 Eastern time—fun and sometimes silly)
- F-troop: TG 505005 (Sat 0000 UTC – general purpose net) (also on AllStar/Echolink)
- Lists, Other Sources
- KE0FHS: DMR Nets
- NEX-GEN: DMR Nets
- Rickey: DMR Nets
- BrandMeister API
- BrandMeister Talkgroup List
- Color Schema
- CW ID
- Cautionary MMDVM Tale
- Pi-Star CW ID
- FCS Reflectors
- Github: Andy Taylor (explore the inner workings of Pi-Star)
- Groups.io: Pi-Star Users Support Group
- Hotspot Interface
- Pi-Star Notes by KE0FHS
- Changing a hotspot frequency (Avoid satellite frequencies; hotspot may be blocked from operating.)
- Expanding the filesystem
- Remote commands
- SSH Access to Pi-Star
- Updating and upgrading Pi-Star
- Updating hotspot firmware via Pi-Star
- Updating to Pi-Star V4
- Anytone AT-D878UV
- Anytone.DE (firmware et al)
- Anytone Config Builder
- How to Set Up Anytone 878 DMR Roaming
- Modifications, hints, tips and technical information…
- TYT MD-380
- Scanning (setting up scan lists on 380/390)
- TYT MD-UV380
- 60 Days with the TYT MD-UV380 (source: HVDN)
- Firmware Update: TYT MD-UV380/390 Update 17.05 (also CPS software) (source: HVDN)
- Teardown & Comparison: TYT MD-UV380: Part 1 & Part 2 (source: HVDN)
- Colorado Digital Multiprotocol Reflector Gateway #31088
- Netwatch NJ-TRBO
- Pi-Star Multi-Reflector #31672
- XLX Multiproticol Gateway Reflector
- DMR Repeaters, Area List
- Frequency (Repeater) Coordinating Councils—USA & Canada
- K4USD Network
- N2JTI NJ-NY-PA DMR Ham Radio Network
- N2NSA NY Metro DMR Repeater Network
- WR3IRS Interstate Repeater System
- Basics of DMR Digital Mobile Radio | Radioddity
- CQ DMR Map by EA2CQ
— A select list of dealers, based upon conversations with persons whose opinions I and friends trust, selling DMR radios. The list is not comprehensive. Links are not endorsements. Buyer beware. Your mileage may vary.
- Amateur Radio Toys
- Bridgecom Systems
- Buy Two Way Radios
- Connect Systems inc
- Let's Get Ready
- Smraza (Raspberry Pi)
- DMR Shack | DMR Blog and Review
- DMR Shack | DMR to YSF
- First Coast DMR
- Ham Radio Concepts
- Ham Radio 2.0 (more videos)
- Hotspot—Hardware Network Switch: Brandmeister–DMR Marc
- Hudson Valley (NY) Digital Network
- N5AMD's Digital Voice Resource
- Reddit: DMR
- Powerwerx Software Downloads (radios, USB cable drivers, firmware, DMR contact CSV files, codeplugs)
- Roger Clark, Freelance IT Consultant & Developer
- Using APRS on DMR…
- VA2PV Ham Radio Video Playlist
- Codeplug; Building a…
— There are numerous YouTube videos but I prefer the printed word. Your mileage may vary.
- DMR Codeplug 1.0.1 | K3NXU
- How to Build a Code Plug | K9NPX
- Codeplug; Organizing a…
—Choosing talkgroups and grouping them into zone lists.
- Codeplugs; Sample…
— Codeplugs are enigmas. Whereas it is best to learn to build your own codeplug, looking at samples can help. These repositories may be helpful. Third-party codeplug editors (below) can convert file formats. Ses my notes below.
- DMR at Foxhollow
- DMR Starter Codeplugs… | Miklor
- DMR-Utah Codeplugs
- Hoosier DMR Codeplug Vault
- Hudson Valley Digital Network Codeplug Repository
- MD-380 Brandmeister codeplug | Digiham
- N2JTI NJ-NY-PA & WR3IRS DMR Codeplugs
- National Codeplugs | DMRTexas
- Codeplug Editors
— FYI. I haven't evaluated or thoroughly tested all editors. Back up your codeplug files. I like, use and support N0GSG's software; recommended.
- DMR CPS Programmer by DL5MCC
- DMR Config—Command Line Editor (Win/Linux/Mac OS) by KK6ABQ
- Editcp—Codeplug Editor by WJ2O (manipulate codeplugs)
- N0GSG Contact Manager (manipulate codeplugs)
- TYT Codeplug Editor by G6AMU (manipulate codeplugs)
- SD Card Tools
— I suggest using 16gb Class 10 SanDisk or PNY cards. Don't depend upon the cheap no-name cards found in some hotspots, including those from China.
- SD Memory Card Formatter
- Win32 Disk Imager
Some notes on the TYT MD-UV380…
The MD-UV380 is a mid-2018 dual-band variant of the popular MD-380. Web searches do not yield much information about the radio. In my opinion, the manual could be improved. The following items are notes and observations made since purchasing the radio in July 2018. My CPS software is version 1.03; I haven't perceived a need to upgrade it. At introduction the radio cost ~$140; in mid-2019 the price has dropped to ~$80.
- The charger is not a rapid-charging unit. It takes 6-8 hours to charge a dead battery. I bought a second battery.
- When unboxing your new radio and loading the TYT CPS (Customer Programming Software) onto your computer, the very first thing to do is READ the radio, and save the initial file elsewhere as a 'do not touch' safety valve backup just in case. I name files in the the format of 'uv380-yyyymmddhhmm.rdt' so I can revert to previous versions.
- An MD380 codeplug will not directly load into a MD-UV380. Let's leave it at that. If you seek a MD-UV380 codeplug (as a sample, starter or to study) in lieu of building your own, in my opinion the easiest solution is to use the N0GSG DMR Contact Manager to read in an MD380 codeplug and write it out in the UV380 format. (If you are a new user of the N0GSG software, I strongly recommend first reading the PDF user manual.)
- As an aside, there are a few "tools" software packages for tweaking the MD-380 firmware. Note these will not work on the MD-UV380. There are no MD-UV380 "tools" packages.
- The dual VFOs are not ganged. When one has UHF and VHF repeaters and simplex frequencies in the same zone list, you can listen to traffic on both receivers simultaneously. VFO A audio has priority over VFO B if both receivers are active.
- If scanning a zone list with analog FM frequencies and the scan stops, the radio will continue to check for other activity approximately every 3 seconds. A momentary "blip" interrupts the audio.
- The MD-UV380 has 3—H, M, L—power levels; page 51 of the manual states only there are only two. I like to have a quick button programmed to change same. To conserve the battery, I program repeaters at M and step to H if needed. Program one of the buttons on the left side of the radio.
- If implementing the Pi-Star Remote commands—these should be set up as private, not public, calls—on your radio for use with your hotspot, KE0FHS has a good explanation on how to set up the reboot, shutdown and other commands. For the reboot and shutdown commands, there is one more step to be done. The reboot and shutdown command fails unless you uncheck the "Private Call Confirmed" checkbox on the codeplug's "reboot" and "shutdown" Channel Information sheets. Otherwise, on the hotspot, the DMR logo just shows up on the OLED screen over the rolling MMDVM logo.
- The Remote commands svckill and svcrestart should be ignored by repeater users. Andy Taylor, MW0MWZ, the developer of Pi-Star, explained these commands are intended for "repeater keepers".
- For each zone list with hotspot talkgroups (Brandmeister, in my case), VFO B entries are (1) Unlink 4000, (2) Remote's Reboot—enables waking up a hotspot that dropped a WiFi connection—and (3) Remote's Shutdown. Shutdown can be helpful. It lets me quickly turn off the car's hotspot as I pull in the driveway so I am not additionally transmitting through the house's hotspot; I don't have to reach to pull the car's 12vdc plug.
- For me, the MD-UV380 has been a bulletproof radio. (Your mileage may vary.) In my opinion, the dual-band MD-UV380 is akin to the classic single-band MD-380. Compared to the expensive and complicated (more settings to sort through) Anytone AT-D878UV radio, the MD-UV380 is a "plain Jane" radio with a simpler, less complicated, screen and easier CPS programming. For me, simpler is better. Think about it. In the end, it is just a conversation.
- For what it is worth, I use a hotspot virtually all the time. I don't bother setting static talkgroups. Further, I don't bother loading the contacts database into the radio, but that's me.
- Some persons complain about the digital audio quality. The audio quality is fine. Digital audio is communications quality, not high fidelity, and sounds different than analog FM. Some persons may need to adjust the radio's microphone gain, using the CPS, but that's no surprise.
A few notes on codeplug manipulation…
- There may be a deletion logic error in both the TYT CPS software and the N0GSG DMR Contact Manager. (I would expect the same logic problem occurs in other editors.) Attempts to delete a digital contact and a channel seens to unhook the relation between digital contacts and channels. I have to correct the channel records, adjusting the contact name, to fix the misalignment. In my opinion it is easier to make the corrections with the N0GSG DMR Contact Manager.
- Early first impressions is the DMR CPS Programmer by DL5MCC is more difficult to use. There seems to be more dependency on CSV files. The advantage is more or different DMR radios are supported. That said, I haven't yet attempted to delete records using the DL5MCC program while sorting out the TYT software (v1.03).problems. Editcp by WJ2O does not seem to work with the UV380. The first attempt produced a string of frequency 'out of range' errors. After checking the test file with both the TYT and N0GSG software, Editcp won't recognize the 'rdt' file format.
A few other notes in no particular order…
Organizing a codeplug
Zone lists are the end product that enables one to find a desired entry amongst all talkgroups, repeaters and simplex frequencies loaded into the radio. Note the MD-UV380 accepts at least 32 channels for each VFO, keeping the defaults of VFO A=UHF and VFO B=VHF, for a decent-sized zone list. My "final answer" codeplug—organized primarily by location—looks like this.
- For hotspot use, for each zone list the Brandmeister talkgroups go into VFO A. The Unlink 4000 and the remote commands Reboot and Shutdown go into VFO B. The remote commands should be set up as private, not public, calls.
- Continuing with Brandmeister talkgroups and the hotspot: One zone list contains the wide-area regions of the world. Several zone lists divide the USA states into regions. One covers English-speaking Europe and there is another for Oceania. The TAC channels and Areas 0-9 go into two more zones.
- Continuing with Brandmeister talkgroups and the hotspot: One zone list contains a very few miscellaneous ("Misc") Brandmeister talkgroups with nets and activities of interest. These talkgroups don't fit (in my judgement) the regional or state zone lists mentioned above.
- Continuing with Brandmeister talkgroups and the hotspot: One zone list (I call it "Home") has the few Brandmeister talkgroups I use on a daily and weekly basis.
- For local DMR repeaters, each repeater gets its own zone list with entries for its available talkgroups.
- A separate zone list contains both DMR UHF and VHF simplex frequencies.
- About 50 area analog UHF and VHF repeaters and simplex frequencies are in one zone list.
- NOAA NWS weather radio frequencies go into VFO B in one zone list. A few in-the-clear public safety frequencies go into another zone list.
My codeplug has ~300 entries, but I don't have any difficulty quickly moving anywhere. Aside from adding an occasional new Brandmeister talkgroup to get to a DMR net or changes to area analog repeaters, I haven't made any significant changes to the codeplug since December 2018.
I used a spreadsheet—see sample screenshots—to figure out what entries I wanted in each zone list before I assembled the codeplug with the radio's CPS (Customer Programming Software).
Optionally load a sample codeplug into the radio software and study it. KE0FHS explained assembly of his codeplug here.
The CPS (Customer Programming Software) supplied by the radio manufacturer differs, but every codeplug contains three elements. Build a codeplug by creating, in turn, (a) contacts, (b) channels and (c) zones.
I use the N0GSG Contact Manager to sort the contact list and order the zone list entries. Do read the supplied documentation. The software is very handy if inserting an entry into an already organized zone list. DMR ID databases can be directly loaded into the radio (I chose not to do so); see the documentation.
Your "final answer" codeplug will look different. Perhaps some of the above ideas may help.
Questions or comments? Email is at the bottom of this webpage.
Sharing a codeplug
I ran into a problem sharing a codeplug as a Gmail attachment. The recipient of the file reported it was corrupted. The solution was to upload the codeplug file to my Dropbox account and then email a link to share it. Other cloud services—Box, OneDrive et al—should work too.
The CSS Tool enables one to play with the total color schema of the Pi-Star software. The combinations are unlimited. Using a comprehensive color table I chose to only change the "border" color…
- Configuration > Expert > CSS Tool > Background > Banners
… from among the following possibilities. See what you think.
- 0000FF — Blue
- 0000CD — Blue 3
- 00008B — Blue 4
- B22222 — Firebrick
- 8B0000 — Red 4
- 228B22 — Forest Green
- 36648B — Steel Blue 4
- 8B4726 — Sienna 4
- 282828 — Sgiverydarkgrey
Remember to "Apply Changes" to see results. (To return one or a few colors to a default value see this list of default colors.) At the page bottom there is a safety "reset values" to all default colors should your total schema wanders off the rails. Do make a record of your CSS changes as the Pi-Star Configuration > Backup/Restore > Download Configuration ZIP file does not include the color values.
Make a Full Pi-Star Image File
After upgrading and updating Pi-Star on one hotspot's SD card, I made a second SD card for a second hotspot. The first hotspot worked. The second failed to work. It made no sense; I assumed the SD card was the problem. The solution? (Tip of the hat to WB3EHB for suggesting a solution.) Using two Windows SD utilities:
- Use the Disk Imager program to read the first good SD card. Name the file, adding the "img" extension. Note the location of the (~15gb) file written to the fixed disk. When done, remove the good SD card and put it back in the hotspot.
- Use the SD… Formatter program, format the second SD card.
- Use the Disk Imager program to write the file, created in step 1, to the SD card.
- Remove the completed SD card and put it in the second hotspot. Power on the second hotspot and open the Dashboard…
- Adjust, if necessary, the BER values with the Configuration > Expert > MMDVMHost > Modem > RXOffset/TXOffset menus.
- Increment the Configuration > DMR Configuration > DMR ESSID hotspot number.
- Optionally change Pi-Star colors to differentiate the hotspots.
- Make a Pi-Star Configuration > Backup/Restore > Download Configuration backup. Save it with a different name to differentiate the files.
A fringe benefit of this exercise? Making a full SD card image includes all settings and configurations, including those items not saved in a Configuration ZIP file. If you make additional cards for one hotspot, skip step 4.
Updating and Upgrading Pi-Star
Updating Pi-Star may involve two steps. Moving from version 4.0 to version 4.1 requires downloading a new image file. With 4.1 installed, new release candidate versions—it is always good to run the Update first and Upgrade second—are installed with the Dashboard commands…
- Configuration > Expert > Update
- Configuration > Expert > Upgrade
The date at the upper right of the Dashboard changes only when there is a significant Pi-Star Update (per KEOFHS: "changes to the Pi-Star dashboard app"). The version number changes whenever there is a Pi-Star Upgrade (per KEOFHS: "operating system-level changes to the system and packages required to support new features").
Alternatively, SSH commands may be used for updating and upgrading Pi-Star.