Reflections on 2016 from VA3XPR


Dear VA3XPR members,

I thought I would take a moment during Christmas day festivities here with my family to reflect upon the past year for VA3XPR. With our busy lives throughout the year, sometimes it is only during these times that we can take a moment to reflect upon the success of the past year.

As many of you may well be aware, 2016 was yet another fantastic year for VA3XPR and DMR as a whole. We now have over 1,500 registered DMR IDs across Canada, with over half of these within the province of Ontario alone. DMR adoption by the ham radio community continues to grow by leaps and bounds, primarily driven by the availability of low cost equipment and extensive ham DMR repeater networks all over the world, including DMR-MARC, DMRPlus and Brandmeister to name a few.

For VA3XPR, we added a number of new talkgroups, including the DMRPlus US & UK talkgroups, which were made possible through a partnership between the DMR-MARC and DMRPlus networks. These new talkgroups will allow users with the DV4mini and DVMega hotspot dongles to gain access to users on the DMR-MARC network, affording all users with maximum flexibility for their ham radio operations. Also, in March of this year, we brought on a sister repeater to VA3XPR, the VE3YYZ DMR repeater, which is connected to the Brandmeister DMR network, thereby allow Toronto area hams the flexibility to use the DMR network of their choice.

Looking forward, we have much more goodness on the way for Toronto area hams, as we are also working on some facility upgrades at the VA3XPR-1/VE3YYZ repeater site, which will improve the performance of all systems at this facility for the benefit of all greater Toronto area hams. A special thank you goes out to Eric Meth, VE3EI and Jon Rorke, VA3RQ who have been instrumental in helping to make the VA3XPR repeater system the success that it is today through their hard work and continued technical expertise. In addition, I would also like to thank the DMR-MARC, DMR-MARC Canada and Brandmsiter Canada teams that have worked tirelessly to keep our networks running around the clock.

With hundreds of hams active on DMR within the usable range of VA3XPR repeaters, both in Toronto and the Niagara Peninsula areas, these repeaters have become some of the most active in North America. And this is definitely good news! When I first put VA3XPR on the air in downtown Toronto in September 2011, the intent was to create an environment that was both welcoming and inclusive to all ham radio operators where discussion would be free and open and conducted in a professional, courteous and respectful manner. As such, these were the cornerstones of the VA3XPR Code of Conduct, which all VA3XPR users should be familiar with, as they are expected to adhere to at all times. So, one ask I have for all readers of this post is that they please take the time to read this Code of Conduct and share it with others so that together, we can continue to make the VA3XPR repeater system a ham radio community that we can all be proud to be part of.

And speaking of community, stay tuned for upcoming DMR Newbie Nights in the Toronto area starting in January 2017! These are a great way to newcomers to DMR to learn about available gear, programming tips and tricks, learn about available talkgroups and best practices while operating on DMR repeater systems.

So, with that, I will take a moment to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I very much look forward to hearing each of you on the air and may 2017 be a great year for you all and that we will continue to see unabated growth with DMR!


Don Trynor, VA3XFT
VA3XPR Repeater Sponsor

About Don Trynor, VA3XFT

Don is a 16-year veteran of the telecommunications industry and a licensed Canadian ham radio operator since 1988. He is passionate about VHF/UHF repeater communications, especially using digital modes and he has owned and operated a number of ham radio repeater installations over the years, including ones in both the provinces of Ontario (VE3/VA3) and New Brunswick (VE9). In addition to ham radio, Don enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, biking and astronomy.