My Digital Radio Setup

How it all begun…

When I was on a business trip in Plano, TX, I visited a local Ham Radio Outlet (HRO) and bought an ICOM ID51E for DStar and a ZUMSpot. Back home in Germany I made it to work within a few days as this was completely different from my analogue experiences in HF/VHF/UHF so far. But the activities here in Germany on DStar were not overwhelming and in a lot of publications DMR was pushed heavily. The ID51E still exists but I am now mostly on DMR-Brandmeister, which I really like.

Due to the fact that the ZUMspot can do both, I ordered an Retevis RT90, but we both did no click into each other. I got it working, but the software was not stable, crashed very often and the radio could only be run via Codeplug, no VFO Operation possible.

As I bought it at Amazon, I could send it back within 30 days, but I was already highly frustrated after 14 days and simply sent it back. I promised myself to do some more researches which radio could suite me best and came across the ANYTONE radios. I had a look at the AT-D868UV and AT-D878UV Plus (with Bluetooth and Bluetooth-PTT) and ordered it at a distributor here in Germany. Received, unboxed, Software installed. WOW !!! THIS IS COMPLEX AND COMPLICATED ! (Actually it isn’t when you have understood the basics, which I will explain in another post)

 

During my researches I came across the website of a Dutch HAM, PC5E who is dedicated to a lot of different DMR radios of many manufacturers. I downloaded his Anytone codeplug for Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands and studied what he had done to get the Anytone UV878UV running. Playing around with it I understood the concept of codeplugs. Not in depth and not using all features of the Anytone, but enough to get it running. Now, 6 month after buying the AT-D878UV I create Codplugs for others, using my blueprints and being the proud owner of one AT-D878UV Pro and two AT-D578UV Pro (one in the car, one in the QTH).

Beside the radio’s I own four hotspot’s. One ZUMSpot, which I do not use anymore, as it was making problems (not investigated on it) when I visited a friend in Canada (12/2019) and I will later take care of it. I use two MMDVM (China-Clone) Dual-Hat Hotspots mounted on two Raspberry Pi 3B, one for DStar, one for DMR and a brandnew SharkHF openSPOT3 for use in the car, hotel or anywhere I do not have a proper repeater or do not know the repeater frequencies. The openSPOT3 is typically connected through a LTE wifi hotspot or my mobile phone in tethering mode.

At home I use the Dual-Hat Hotspot for DMR to have TG91 (world) and TG262 (Germany) on Timeslot 1 and Timeslot 2 in static mode as the German Brandmeister Repeater OM’s only have TG262 static, TG91 is set to dynamic, which means you get kicked out every 6-10 minutes (I personally don’t understand that and think it is a shame not doing TG91 static – it is contrary to the idea of amateur radio). With this fact in mind I use my portable radio to monitor TG91 via the hotspot and the D-578UV in the shack to monitor TG262. Both, TG262 (TS1) and TG91 (TS2) are set to static on my hotspot(s).

The other Dual-Hat hotspot at home is dedicated to DStar. Both Dual-Hat Hotspots run the pi-star software.

Here at home I use a DIAMOND X30 about 10m (30ft.) over the ground and  under the roof for the AT-D578UV Pro and a special construction at the car for a Diamond NR-770H which can be flipped to a horizontal position which is useful for parking garages. In the car I use the Bluetooth PTT switch, mounted to the gear-stick and a typical BT-Headphone for a mobile phone. This does the job more than well. Same for the handheld AT-D878UV , BT-PTT-Switch attached like a wrist watch (with a wrist watch band) to my right arm with the same BT-headset from the car. In the QTH I use a callcenter style BT-Headset with the PTT-Switch on the desk or in the pocket.

BT-PTT Switch with a wrist watch band  BT-PTT Switch as delivered

 

+ QTH use: AT-D578UV Pro with a callcenter like BT headset and the BT PTT-Key either in the pocket or on the desk
+ Portable use: AT-D878UV Pro with a BT headset for mobile phones and the BT PTT-Key with a wrist watch band
+ Mobile use: AT-D578UV Pro with the same BT-headset for mobile phones, BT PTT-Key mounted to the gear-stick

For the handheld I use (depending where I am) the DIAMOND SRH805S which is only 3.5 cm or 1.5″ long (!!) which works very well, the manufacturers antenna and a DIAMOND SRJ77CA Antenna, about 40.5 cm / 15.9″ long. With the SRJ Antenna I could easily reach repeaters in Canada 30km / 19mi away from the livingroom of my friends house.

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