1. What is DMR?
DMR, which is short for Digital Mobile Radio, is a published standard for digital voice communications utilizing TDMA technology. There are several manufactures that build DMR radio equipment, including Motorola, Vertex Standard, Harris and Hytera, to name a few.
2. What is MOTOTRBO?
MOTOTRBO is the brand name for Motorola’s DMR capable radios.
3. What are the benefits of using DMR?
The common benefits of using DMR include:
- Crystal-clear audio without background noise or static;
- Text messaging capability;
- Integrated voice and data applications on one device;
- Up to 40% longer battery life as compared to similar analog FM operation.
4. Who can I talk to using DMR?
Since the VA3XPR digital DMR repeater will be connected to the DMR-MARC network, which includes hundereds of other DMR repeaters, users will be able to talk to other DMR users within Canada, plus other countries such as the United States, Germany, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Finland, and Sweden. Unlike using IRLP or EchoLink where other repeaters are dialed-on-demand using a node number, DMR users can communicate with one another simply my meeting one of the available channels. These channels include:
- Channel #1 = World wide & North American communications
- Channel #2 = Local VA3XPR communication
5. Does DMR provide better coverage than analog FM?
Not really. While DMR communication is completely noise free, once it reach the threshold of coverage, it will become unusable, whereas with analog FM, users may continue to be heard even when the signal is mostly noise. As such, usable coverage is very much subjective.
6. What Canadian license will I need to be able to use DMR?
Users will only need their Basic Qualification license to be able to use DMR.
7. Is DMR compatible with D-STAR?
No. These are separate digital technologies and are not compatible with one other.
8. How is the VA3XPR digital DMR repeater linked to the DMR-MARC network?
The VA3XPR digital DMR repeater will be linked to the DMR-MARC network using the Internet.
9. Can I connect to IRLP or EchoLink from the VA3XPR digital DMR repeater?
No. Access to IRLP and EchoLink is not available from the VA3XPR digital DMR repeater, however these services will still be available on the VA3XPR analog FM repeater.
10. Can I connect to the VA3XPR analog FM repeater from the VA3XPR digital DMR repeater, or vice versa?
No. These two VA3XPR repeaters will not be accessible from one another.
11. Can I use my DMR radio if I travel outside of the Toronto area?
Yes! Users with DMR radios can use any repeater on the DMR-MARC network. You just simply need to add the frequency and channel information specific to other DMR-MARC networked repeaters into your DMR radio.
12. Will DMR radios work on analog FM also?
Yes. Most DMR radios will work on both DMR and analog FM.
13. What DMR radios can I use?
Since most DMR operation in the ham bands is on the 70cm UHF band, it is recommended that any radios for DMR use operate in the 403 – 470 MHz band split. The recommended radios for use with DMR include the following:
14. Can I directly enter frequencies and other information into DMR radios?
Most DMR radios do not support the direct entry of frequencies and other channel related information, otherwise known as being Front Panel Programmable (FPP). There is, however, an option board that can be purchased from a 3rd party for some models of Motorola’s MOTOTRBO DMR radios that will enable them to be FPP capable. Information on this option board can be found here.
15. Where can I buy DMR radios?
DMR radios can be obtained from a number of sources, both new and used. Below are the common places
Please note that many dealers are willing to provide “ham friendly” prices to hams for new equipment.
16. What is a Subscriber ID?
A Subscriber ID is a unique identification number that allows your DMR radio to operate on the DMR-MARC network. All DMR radios require a unique Subscriber ID and they can easily be obtained by completing a request form. If you intend to have multiple DMR radios active at the same time, then you can request a Subscriber ID for each radio. Please do not transmit with your DMR radio on the DMR MARC network until you have received a Subscriber ID from DMR MARC and have this programmed into your DMR radio. Using ad hoc Subscriber ID numbers will cause conflicts with other users on the network.
17. What is the “Privacy” option found in the programming software?
The “Privacy” option found in the programming software is to enable encrypting your signal. Since enabling this option is illegal both in Canada and the US, users are required to ensure that they do not enable the “Privacy” option.
18. What if I decide to sell my DMR radio?
If you decide to sell your DMR radio, you should remove the Subscriber ID from the radio before it is sold. The person who purchases the DMR radio should request a new Subscriber ID of their own.
19. How can I get started?
To get started with DMR, follow these steps outlined on the Getting Started page.
20. How can I find out more information?
For more information about DMR, check out the following websites: