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Monday, 28 May 2018

Forays into DMR and the Bowburn Rally

I attended the DADARS rally in Bowburn yesterday and, despite some unforeseen roadworks on the A1(M), I found the event venue with no problem and quickly concluded, due to the antennas on the top of the building, that the club hosting the rally was based there.

Now I have a sort of tradition of buying a new radio at rallies, with me buying the GT-5 at the National Hamfest one year, and buying my QYT KT-8900D from the Blackpool rally last year I carried on that tradition by picking up the latest Chinese offering for DMR, the AnyTone AT-D868UV, a 6 watts claimed dual-band HT that can also do FM as well as DMR.

My own opinion of the audio quality of DMR has not been as favourable as that of System Fusion by Yaesu, however, for reasons I need not explain, it is the only other digital voice system I will use, I won't use D-STAR at this time, again I need not explain why.

DMR coverage in my area is, for lack of a better word, poor, but that's not to say I cannot use it, and with these dual-band radios now coming out I am pretty sure that there will be 2-meter repeaters with DMR functionality coming on air at some point, though here in the North East of England the favoured digital voice system is in fact System Fusion, for which I already have the radio for.

I am awaiting confirmation of my DMR ID and have found a codeplug that has all repeaters in the UK in it as well as a few other things that would be of use in this radio, the codeplug has been written along with the system issued DMR ID, the codeplug was supplied free of charge by Moonraker, the software was elsewhere on the Internet, the radio itself was supplied by Mirfield Electronics and I got a business card off them so I could contact them should I have any issues at all, fortunately no issues yet.

The radio keys up fine, though to actually test the DMR side I'd need something that can decode DMR, my RTL-SDRs should do this no problem, also another station with DMR equipment should be fine to give me an idea of how this radio performs on DMR a bit more fairly than an RTL-SDR

Going back to the rally, it was not too big and they did have bacon rolls (which I did have one despite having a McDonald's breakfast that morning), it was also good weather so the drive to and from the rally was in an air conditioned car, complete with a short QSO with Chris G4FZN once I got back into GB3IR's range, which I noticed was definitely a couple of S points down just as the A1 goes over the Tees, my handsfree performed well as long as I was speaking at the microphone, or at least the report I got from Chris was along those lines, I mostly monitored GB3CD until I was just past Darlington on the way back, on the way out I switched to S22 (for the talk in though it didn't seem to be in operation) once out of GB3IR's range (with the control panel for the FTM-400XDE in the centre of the car dash this was achieved easy.  The rally came up in my QSO with Chris and I was surprised he was not there, however he obviously had other things to do that day.

The rally was worth the visit, not too busy and had a raffle and tombola, I didn't win anything but there's always the National Hamfest in September, but that's another story entirely, plenty of stalls at the rally, and plenty of radio gear up for grabs, I had a choice between a Bluetooth microphone for my KT-8900D or the DMR, I chose the DMR in the end as in the shack I don't really need a Bluetooth microphone.

Now time to play with the DMR, see what it can do (and if it is a "Motorola killer", I have heard plenty of DMR users are set in their ways and use Motorola MotoTRBO equipment)

73 de 2E0EIJ

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