How it all begun…
I was on a business trip in Plano, TX, some years ago, where 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. But now in 2022 I found that Brandmeisters DMR became a bit rough and undisciplined here in Germany, so I often go back to DStar, to enjoy civilized OM’s.
Due to the fact that the ZUMspot can do both, I ordered an Retevis RT90, but we both did not 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. I simply did not like it.
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. The ZUMSpot was later given to my club after I fixed 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. To avoid disturbing the local repeaters too much. With this in mind I use my radios in the QTH to monitor TG91, 262 and 263 (multimode) via the hotspot. 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 on a telescopic mast 6.5m (19.5′) for the AT-D578UV Pro and a special construction on 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 as in 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. In tests I could reach repeaters 90km / 60mi away.