I have finally got around to making new, double screened patch cables for the duplexer. This means, if there was any desense this should have improved so weak-signal performance could be better.
I forgot this update this before. It seems Phoenix reconnected 4400 on DMR+ to their TG235 again!
I’ve been thinking about the antenna for FR. I have decided to seek to fund a new antenna with greatly increased gain. It will be big, apparently a full 17ft tall, but this will also provide an advantage. It has about 12dbd gain. Also, it has more gain at the horizon than the current antenna and a narrow vertical beam width which, considering that FR is not sited at a high point, will likely provide better coverage.
The Phoenix people have decided to disconnect their TG235 from reflector 4400 on DMR+ so this can no longer be accessed from FR. The rest of the DMR+ <-> Phoenix linked TGs, including the regional ones, remain unaffected.
SMS, Parrot etc are now all working as expected.
XLX reflectors have moved to TG6, with a prefix of 6 before the commands – e.g. 64005 to connect reflector E on XLX 950.
I have chosen to use a different TG and prefix for each network, so that contacts for private calls in your radio don’t clash as most radios won’t let you have two different named contacts with the same ID. So:
TG 6 slot1 – XLX sytem – prefix 6 to commands
TG 7 slot1 – as yet unused. Reserved for another XLX connection
TG9 slot1 – linked to PK and BH as before
TG23510 slot1 – SouthEast TG
TG8 slot 2 – DMR+ reflectors. Prefix 8 to commands. Defaults to disconnected.
TG9 slot 2 – BrandMeister – no prefix required.
Private calls, SMS and UA talkgroups on either slot are directed to/from the BrandMeister network.
I have a new and exciting feature to announce. Jonathan, G4KLX has written a new piece of software that allows the connection of more than one DMR network at once, so as of today, FR is connected to Brandmeister, DMR+ (and by extension Phoenix) and XLX. Note, this is still experimental so some of these options might change. Feedback appreciated.
- TG23510 – South East
- TG 9 – Regional link – FR, PK, BH
- TG 8 – XLX reflectors
- TG 9 – Brandmeister reflectors – default 4400
- TG 8 – DMR+ reflectors – linked to Phoenix
XLX implements 26 lettered reflectors, A-Z. These can be connected by making a private call to IDs 4001-4026 on slot 1. I am told most DMR activity is on 4005. These reflectors are cross-mode, so you can speak to others on D-Star, YSF etc. To disconnect, use 4000. To get status, use 5000. This is basically the same as BM/DMR+ reflectors.
A list of XLX reflectors is here:
Using BrandMeister reflectors:
This works exactly as before, so you can continue to use the system as you already do.
Using DMR+ reflectors
All DMR+ reflector activity will be transmitted on TG8. To connect, you prefix all commands with an 8. (Similar to using a phone in an office; dial 8 DMR+ “line”!)
So, for example, a private all to 84400 connects you to DMR+ reflector 4400 / Phoenix TG 235 UK Wide.
A list of DMR+ reflectors is here:
It is my pleasure to announce that FR has been on-air since this morning.
One of the GM350 units had developed an intermittent fault, believed to be in or around the AF IC, which provides AF processing for both TX and RX audio paths. Fault-finding proved frustrating!
Andy, G3UEQ assisted with the kind offer of a GM900 unit, but I couldn’t get it to programme. Paul G7KBR then kindly posted me a GM350 4ch unit, which I was able to programme and is now acting as the RX for GB7FR.
As always, setting up the TX deviation was a bit of a fiddle as I don’t seem to have any luck with the theoretically correct deviation, as tuned using an RTL SDR. The signal was received fine on my MD380 and PD365 but not on my MD650, which is extremely fussy when it comes to TX deviation. However, a slight tweak allowed the MD650 to receive the repeater and now all seems to be working well.
Reports are welcome, especially from owners of radios from manufacturers other than Hytera and Tytera.
You have probably noticed FR is off the air. This is due to a TX fault. I will update you when everything is up and running again.
I’ve been thinking recently about talkgroups and reflectors.
In the beginning, I saw that the UK had chosen reflectors, so I went about trying to build a repeater that only used one talkgroup (TG9 on both slots). I experimented with TalkGroup rewrite to allow access to other talkgroups but still rewrite them to TG9 at the repeater. This was interesting and educational, but it was not perfect.
Later, for technical reasons, the code I had contributed to the MMDVM project to make this happen had to be removed.
Recently, I’ve been pondering this “sitting on the fence” approach of having reflectors and talk-groups. To be honest I think it’s messy to use both and perhaps we should choose one or the other, or at recognise that they have different purposes. In particular, it makes things harder for mobile users as manual-dialing reflectors can be to taxing whilst driving. Also, many radios don’t actually support this functionality, e.g. my MD650 I use in the car does not.
So what do you, as users, think. Should we remove the default connection to 4400 on TG9? Reflectors would still be available on demand but would disconnect after 10 mins or so of inactivity.
This does not mean we have to give up 4400. 4400 is also TG2350 so in place of an always-connected reflector 4400, I can make TG2350 static. This gives an option to use roaming on this TG too.
Note, we are the only country in the world that has this obsession with reflectors. Everywhere else the primary access method is talk-groups, with reflectors available to connect when required. This is sensible because regularly used talk-groups are always there, but if you want to try something new, just connect it as a reflector and try it out.
FR has an intermittent TX fault. Thankfully its not causing too much problem today. I am looking in to it. When the fault occurs, the TX radio puts out blank carrier. Work continues….
It seems there is still a problem. I am going to look into replacing the TX radio, then I can take my time over repairing (if possible) the current one.