Flagler County has a new DMR repeater – installed about 2 weeks go on 444.975 (+5MHz). Color Code =1 and current local repeater usage is on TS=1, TG=9.
There are about 4 of us who have DMR radios (both Motorola and CS-700’s) and have been testing the system. The antenna is not optimal (yet), since it is only at about 105-feet. Portable coverage is acceptable (not great) outdoors, but mobile coverage is fine throughout the County with a modest mobile antenna (3db gain or better).
Near term plans for this system include moving it to better than 200-feet, as well as connecting with IP Site Connect to a remote c-Bridge which will give us Florida, Northern-Florida, New England/NY/NJ, California and other state/region TG’s – in addition to the “normal” TG-1 (WorldWide) and North America trunk groups. Target timeframe for the internet is in the next couple of weeks, while relocation to the higher tower may take a few weeks.
We are very fond of DMR (over DSTAR, Fusion,etc.) for the simple reason that the repeaters don’t have to be “linked” to a reflector. Trunk groups on DMR work very differently, allowing radios users to “share” the repeater without having to hard-link the repeater to a specific reflector (and to remember to Unlink from the current reflector). Users simply program a channel position to include the TG that they want to talk with and simply hit PTT. If the system is able to connect, you’ll hear the confirmation tone – if not able, you’ll hear the “denied tone”. In this regard, it allows groups to come up to speed with DMR just by sharing their “code plugs” or programming files (unique to each radio type). No codes to remember, no reflector names to input, etc..
DMR also gives us some awesome capability using c-Bridge technology to link not just DMR repeaters into conference controllers (like DSTAR reflectors), but also to link non-DMR systems into the DMR network (analog, P25 and even DSTAR). Because of this capability, we are also looking to acquire a c-Bridge locally which we can use as an on-demand radio bridge for our work with Emergency Services.
If you’re looking to acquire a DMR radio inexpensively, the best route is to purchase a CS-700 from Connect Systems. That company is also planning on releasing a DMR+DSTAR radio (CS-7000) in the next 6 months, although they’ve slipped that availability date a couple of times already. Target price is $259 from the latest reports.
If you’re a Motorola fan, there are two major options for handhelds – the XPR-6550 and the XPR7550. The 6550 is the older generation which includes the Gen-1 Codec – a great radio that can be had for about $350-400. The 7550 is the current model with the Gen-2 Codec which has MUCH better sound quality and is also Bluetooth capable, so you can program it without a cable (great for field programming). Current cost is about $700 for the XPR-7550. Our “seed group” already has 3 copies of the XPR-7550 handheld and we’re delighted with the radios.
If you’re looking at Mobiles – the first group has Motorola units – both the XPR-4550 and the XPR-5550. Much like the handhelds, the difference is in the Codec as well as the Bluetooth interface (as well as price). 4550’s can be had for $350-425, while the 5550’s are about $600 (but worth it since you can program with BT and not have to have a cable).
In addition to Connect Systems and Motorola – there are numerous manufacturers of DMR radio – most notably Hytera and some of the Chinese knock-offs (sounding like Hytera but different spelling). Those radios fall between the CS-700 and Motorola pricing.
If you have a DMR radio – give 444.975 a try and let us know what you think. We’ll put notices out when the new TG’s are ready for use, as well as when the relocation to the higher tower is anticipated.