Its a fine and long standing tradition amongst Radio Amateurs to convert old military or commercial (PMR or Land Mobile) equipment to get onto the Amateur radio bands, but technology moves on and its time Amateur Radio did too. You’ve bought a DMR transceiver, so lets get the set programmed up.
While not always immediately obvious how to set up a channel if you’re new to any radio programming software and you’ll be wanting to get started, here we’ll show you a quick and easy way to get started, with screen-grabs and some basic facts.
First things first – select Expert mode, like pictured below, and now save your codeplug – dont write it back to your radio, save it to your PC. do not forget this step, because If you make an error one day, you may need to revert back to an earlier codeplug, in fact, we suggest that you save most codeplugs’ you make, provided you name and date them – as they take virtually no space up on your PC.
Click on the thumbnails to get full pic / screenshots
And before we begin, a few factoids.
1:) You can not swap or use the codeplugs, software or leads on or between Motorola and non Motorola sets.
2:) Do not ask us for Mototrbo software.
3:) Motorola DPxxx program leads are expensive because they have a ‘chip’ in them.
4:) You cant do Dstar or Yaesu digital on them.
5:) Only the Motorola MotoTrbo SL4000 portable has no FM (as far as i’m aware)
6:) Note difference’s between TDMA and FDMA – TDMA is a pulsed system unlike less efficient FDMA Yaesu/D*star
7:) A codeplug is the program data from the radio, most commonly seen, saved as files on your PC
8:) High power DM4600 codeplugs can not be written into standard 25w DM4600 codeplugs
9:) There are likely mistakes in codeplugs, its up to you to check them before use, we will not be held responsible.
10:) There are a few different approaches to programming them, i prefer simplicity.
That said, lets get ‘programming’
Lets create a simplex DMR channel. As you can see the radio ID is already filled in – yours will start with 235 – instead of just 007 here, in the box – just above the Motorola graphic sign. (you can change that too if you get the right size)
For a simplex DMR frequency you need three bits of info, frequency, colour code and numeric talkgroup ID, and for a repeater you obviously need the TX/RX frequencies **and the slot number used for each talkgroup**
Around Morecambe Bay we use 430.3125 DMR simplex, talkgroup 9, and colour code 1, so lets use that.
First, set up the ‘Digital Contact’ like in the screen-grab below –
first we are going to define which talkgroup (group call) to TX on.
So, in the left-hand side pane, pictured below, navigate to Contacts / Digital – and right click on ‘Digital’ and add a ‘Group call‘ – it will probably be named ‘Call 1’ which will be wrong for most channels, so always rename these to something meaningful – i named this ‘Talkgroup 9’
Then across at the top of the right-hand pane, change the number in ‘Call ID’ to whatever talkgroup ID number you need. in this case, ‘ 9 ‘ it should then look like ours pictured below when you’re done..
Next we need to define which talkgroup(s) to receive on – so, it’s talkgroup 9 again, Yes, you’ve already defined it, but as you can receive up to 16 – you’ll need to specify just which ones in a list, of course we’ll only need to add our single talkgroup – so navigate to RX Group Lists / Digital / and right-click on ‘Digital’ and add ‘RX Group List’
Strictly speaking, you don’t really need to specify *any* RX grouplist in the RX field, in which case the default TX talkgroup will be used for RX if set to ‘none’
see the ‘Talkgroup 9’ you’ve just made in ‘available’ ? – so now click ADD so it appears in ‘Members’ then rename it to ‘Talkgroup 9’ then in the left-hand pane rename ‘List 1’ to ‘Talkgroup 9’ like below ..
Now its time to add some frequencies !
In a new or existing zone, right-click the zone you want the new channel in and select ‘add Digital channel’ and rename it to whatever you want the channel display on the radio to say. here ours below are automatically named ‘Channel 1’ ‘Channel 2’ – the square icon represents a digital channel, the other means analogue FM.
and of course, rename the channel to 430.3125 DMR – or whatever you want to appear on the radio display. Select the channel you’ve defined and fill the channel info like pictured in on the right-hand pane in the screen-grab below
So after the frequencies are in, and you’ve set the colour code above, and the slot (if it its repeater) select your newly made ‘talkgroup 9’ in both the RX section’s ‘Grouplist’ drop-down, (arrowed) and again over in the TX section, in the ‘contact name’ dropdown. Make sure your transmit timeout is something a bit longer than the default 60 seconds and make sure all the ‘Emergency’ stuff is unticked too, as i need to do in this example here below. again arrowed
You have now made a digital channel for your MotoTrbo set. You can either write it into your MotoTrbo set or carry on programming your set up. The DM4600 codeplug on this site can be downloaded and some of its bits dragged and dropped into your codeplug, but beware, if you drag ‘n’ drop digital channels from another open codeplug in to your codeplug, you will need to set up talkgroups and RX group lists separately, and name them exactly the same too, which is very tedious. You might want to do this too..
And finally – a lot of people new to DMR can’t tell when the person they are listening to has stopped transmitting. so, back up in ‘General Settings’ click ‘channel free indication tone‘ and it you really hate the ‘chirp’ everytime you press the PTT, choose ‘Talk permit tone‘ to ‘None‘ in the drop-down.
All work, text and images © GB7MB