Ham: DMR? 1.25m / 220?

e9999

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just got around to renewing my license which perked again my interest in getting an inexpensive HT for giggles. Have not kept up with the tech for some years now. I see that there are some relatively inexpensive units that allow for DMR or 1.25m/220 band use these days.
Are either of those options worth going for given the present state of affairs? I don't know anything about DMR but I suspect that digital has big advantages techwise (noise etc) although maybe there may not be so much infrastructure to support it?
 
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My equipment just supports 2M and 70cM and find I only use 2M. The only digital I use is APRS but that is sent/received with my analog radio.
If I was to get a another HT the "digital" feature I would be interested in would be APRS rather than DMR.
In the club I am in, there seems to be more interest in emerging protocols/modulations that work in high noise weak signal situations. Most of those folks are using a laptop to modulation to and from an analog rig. As the protocols are new and send digital data rather than voice they are not being built into HTs at this point.
I wonder if longer term, Ham will go to digital data with a txt like app on your smartphone for user interface, and digital voice will not really take off.
I use repeaters and don't know if DMR is making inroads there, so that might be a factor to consider.
 
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1911

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The "problem" (for lack of a better word) with DMR and D-STAR and other similar is that they have become brand-specific digital protocols, even if they didn't start out that way. Motorola in the case of DMR, and ICOM in the case of D-STAR. They both use a closed-source proprietary voice codec (can't be modified by the user). So you essentially have another VHS/Betamax struggle going on, with no clear winner and neither one has achieved a significant market penetration.
 

e9999

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So, iffy to buy a DMR radio now then, I guess?

On a different note, it's rather interesting that if we are moving to digital communications that essentially means fundamentally -it seems to me- that we are going back to something like Morse code except that instead of short/long bits we now have zero/1 bits systems...
 
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The "problem" (for lack of a better word) with DMR and D-STAR and other similar is that they have become brand-specific digital protocols, even if they didn't start out that way. Motorola in the case of DMR, and ICOM in the case of D-STAR. They both use a closed-source proprietary voice codec (can't be modified by the user). So you essentially have another VHS/Betamax struggle going on, with no clear winner and neither one has achieved a significant market penetration.
There are three main amateur radio digital standards: DMR, D-Star and C4FM. They don't inter-operate. Only Yaesu makes C4FM Radios (also called System Fusion). ICOM, Kenwood and FlexRadio makes D-Star radios. Motorola, TYT, Boafeng, Anytone and numerous others make DMR radios. In the past, there were lots of incompatibilities with DMR radios but they have gotten a lot better. It's not quite correct to say that DMR and D-Star are brand-specific. You can also find all three types of repeaters.

For trail use, I think analog FM is the most useful because that's what most people have. Most if not all digital radios also operate on analog, so you'll be fine with any of the standards.
 
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I should also add that if your goal is to communicate with others on the trail: Stick with 2m VHF, and 70cm UHF and analog FM is all you need. Another usable trail option is GMRS and even FRS can be okay if you're not too far apart. Both GMRS and FRS are UHF, roughly 70cm.

If your goal is emergency communication, *DO NOT EVER RELY SOLELY ON HAM* Get an Inreach, Spot or a PLB

If your goal is to play with radios.....buy everything :). I'd get one of each a Yaesu C4FM, a ICOM D-Star and an Anytone DMR. They all have their fans.
 

pismojim

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Eric,
If you (and the rest of the users on this thread) had a DMR capable radios we could have this discussion with everyone directly. The DMR Talkgroups can be like forum discussions.

I actually opened the forum tonight because I was curious to see if any of the Land Cruiser Hams might be meeting on a particular DMR Talkgroup.

Besides great audio quality, the Digital mode has other features for back country including much less power requirements, less bandwidth, maybe better range. I'm looking forward to trying digital simplex on the trail. My next project will be getting a hotspot in the truck. Super convenient while traveling from Pismo to Rubicon or wherever.

The past few years I've been keeping in touch with home while on the trail (no cell service) using Echolink and APRS SMS. The more options the better.

Jim
AnyTone AT-878UV, Yaesu FT-60R, Yaesu-2900M, Kenwood TM-V71, Kenwood TH-D72, Icom V85, QYT KY8900
As Dharma Dude says, get one of each. :)
 
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The Chinese motorola clones are cheap and many are good quality as well. If you are interested in digital you should buy one and try it. The cost difference is minimal. The Chinese HT's equipped with digital modes also work in analog mode.
I've had a bit of experience using/experimenting with digital voice on various bands. In my experience digital voice sounds better with good strong signals. When signals are weak it is easier to make out static ridden fading analog than it is to make out clipping gibberish coming from digital. Digital gives you a greater degree of privacy if you want it as most people are not using it or listening.
DMR and DPMR are different. I know DMR is legal on some US ham bands. I am not sure about DPMR. Many of the Chinese HT's readily available are DPMR. Many if not all of the Chinese DPMR radios can be encrypted to a level which is quite secure. To use encryption on HAM bands for any normal non-emergency communication is not legal. It may be legal on leased business frequencies or some other public frequencies, but not Amateur radio bands.
DPMR and DMR offer some interesting data and GPS options.

$=100USD You could probably cover everything out there with:
1.$ Chinese multiband digital HT and a$$ 25-50 watt amp in the vehicle with a good $ vehicle antenna. vhf/uhf.......This option is good for general coms most places in the US to a repeater and amongst the group your with. If you add a Delormie Inreach $$$( wonderful little GPS device that pairs to your android or apple and allows you to send and receive text messages over the GPS sattellites for a very modest pay as you go fee less than $30.) You will have reliable COMS both LOS and SMS by sattellite.

2. If you want to do more HAM radio and "feel more prepared"$$$$$$(used) 3 band HF, vhf, UHF rig like yaesu FT857, $ auto tuner, and a ($ laptop loaded with PCALE and Winmor with a $ multiband or $$$"scredriver antenna and a real of wire for when stopped........This will do all the above minus the digital, but also guarantee you can make a contact anywhere in the world within a few minutes and send and receive text email daily.
 

e9999

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well, to answer half of my original question, it does seem that the 220 band is just about as dead now as it was when I was more active in Ham some years back. While scanning the last few days, I have not heard one single transmission in that band. (Not that there are a lot in other bands, either, in the grand scheme of things, actually, and sadly enough.) So, it does not appear to be very compelling to buy a tri-band radio still. But I'd be happy to be corrected if wrong.

As to the Digital world, it does appear to be somewhat format-unsettled to my untrained eyes.
 
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