When I first started with DMR my head started spinning and my consumption of pain killers against head-pain raised dramatically. After a while – understanding the concept – I can say that my analogue Yaesu FT857 is more challenging in terms of settings, than my Anytone DMR radios. Well I am deep into Computers since 1980 which is an advantage for sure. I strongly recommend to use Rons CSV Editor in the PRO Version for some $$$ or use OpenOffice Calc from within the OpenOffice suite. I mention that because Microsoft’s Excel is a nightmare compared to this two alternatives when it comes to csv files, and we mainly deal with csv’s.
DMR is not complicated, it is just damn complex. The other problem you will find, is that most information in the internet is either wrong, outdated, half the truth, unclear or goes too deep into details which are not important for the programming of a radio by the Codeplug -Software (CPS). Programming a radio via the codeplug is a bottom up approach.The whole thing consists of a channel list (analog and digital frequencies named by repeater or the use of it), Zones where you group your frequencies logically (i.e. by country, region, usecase or personal taste), a Talkgroup-list of Talkgroups (TG) you are interested in (World, local, regional, country, state, county, language or specific use like emergency comms).
The next hurdle you have to take is the quality of the Codeplug Software. Always the English translation is the best even if makes a native English speaker laugh out loud. If you understand English, feel like belonging to an elite group, which has access to an close to understandable piece of software. If you don’t speak English – good luck !!
Furthermore you need your personal DMR/CCS7 Identifier, a seven digit number which represents you and your callsign in the DMR (and DStar) network. For Europe and Africa, you can register here. North America, South America, Asia and Oceania must register here. In both cases you have to upload a scan of your License.
DMR user details are available in a DMR/CCS7 Database which is ready for download in the internet. Downloaded and imported to the radio, you will see each station with additional information like Call-Sign, Name, City, State, Country. Good sources are radioid.net, AmateurRadio.digital, but my preferred tool is the “easy DMR contacts generator” by HK3A as it supports different radio types. If you only see a 7 digit number, either your Digital ID list is outdated and you have to load a new one or your radios Digital ID database is full and the newly registered callsigns can not be loaded to your radio. Either way – it’s not the other OM’s fault that you do not see his/her callsign, the problem is on your end !
When dealing with repeater (channel-) lists, you will come across a colorcode. This can be a value between 0 and 15. Mostly color code 1 is used. You will find the color code in the repeater lists for DMR in the internet (see useful links for details). The color code of the channel in your codeplug has to be the same as the one on the repeater.
Finally you will find static talkgroups and dynamic talkgroups associated to TS1 or TS2. Which talkgroups are associated to which Timeslot you can find out on the website of your repeater or at the Brandmeister / DMRplus pages in general or for the desired country. The difference is that a static TG is always there, if you want to join a TG which is not static (=dynamic), you choose the talkgroup of your liking in the radio, select it, press PTT and you are subscribed (dynamically) to it with an inactivity timeout of 6-10 min. if you do not have a qso, otherwise you have to press the PTT again (and again) because this TG is closed by the repeater if it is not kept open by you (or others). Both kind of TG’s can be on any TS but you should use TS2 for dynamic talkgroups. The reason is if you choose a dynamic TG on TS1, you disturb the static talkgroups, mainly the country wide ones which are very frequented. If you want to listen permanently to a talkgroup which is not static on your repeater, consider to buy a hotspot, which you can configure to your personal needs without disturbing other OM’s.
Was it that hard ?
More good information can be found on the useful links page