How to register for a DMR ID on DMR-MARC and Brandmeister

DMR is a technology invented for commercial use to replace analog FM, meaning it wasn’t originally made for ham radio operators. Why is that important? DMR uses numerical IDs for each radio on a particular network. This is bad for Ham radio operators as our callsigns have letters in them. When a DMR radio gets programmed, a numeric ID is required. This ID is arbitrary, but must be unique with each system (or network) the radio is a part of. If you bought 2 DMR radios to use in a simplex fashion, meaning no repeaters or internet linked systems, you can pick any number. However, when you join a worldwide network like DMR-MARC or Brandmeister, no 2 IDs can be the same.  You can see how tricky this is without a central system to dull out IDs and manage them. As of 2018, “Radioid.net is now the single source for DMR IDs. “Register.ham-digital.org” is the single ID source for EU hams. Both DMR-MARC and Brandmeister, along with many other networks, use radioid.net as the source for DMR IDs.

Not all DMR repeaters are the same. What makes a DMR repeater different is the network its connected to, if connected to a network at all. Make sure you verify what network the DMR repeater you plan on using is connected to and if an ID from “radioid.net” will work (more than likely the answer is yes, but it never hurts to check if you run into problems connecting). If you have a hotspot, or use “Pi-Star”, it will more than likely use the Brandmeister network.

How to register for your first DMR ID

  1. First, register at https://www.radioid.net (EU hams register at https://register.ham-digital.org/)
    1. Fill out the information to include your callsign
    2. After completing the registration, you will receive an email within a few days with your new ID. It’s strongly suggested to not lose this email.
    3. It is also highly recommended to also register this ID with the Brandmeister network. Doing so will allow you take advantage of the many features the Brandmeister network has to offer, like callsign and text message routing.
  2. Second, Register on Brandmeister once you have your DMR ID from radioid.net; go to https://brandmeister.network/?page=register
    1. Fill out the information to include your new DMR ID at the bottom of the page
    2. Once completed, you will receive a verification email within a few days.
    3. While on Brandmeister’s website, make sure to visit the “Self Care” page under your callsign (top right) and set your radio type and other information. Important if you want to use text messaging through brandmeister.
  3. Program your DMR radio with the ID and enjoy world wide communication over DMR!

I have my ID and my radio is charged, what now?

If you are not within range of a local DMR repeater, a hotspot, will be your easiest way to get on a DMR network. Not sure if there is a DMR repeater around you?

  • Search online for any local ham clubs around your city. Chances are they have a website with detailed information on how to connect.
  • Repeaterbook.com.
  • Other online resources. For example, for those that live in Texas, there is https://dmrtexas.net. Other states or regions may have similar resources.
  • Brandmeister’s repeater map

 Accessing your first DMR repeater

When looking for a repeater to program into your DMR radio, you will want to look for the following pieces of information about the repeater…

  • RX frequency
  • TX frequency
  • Color Code
  • Which talkgroups are on what timeslot.
    • (Typically local/regional QSOs are on slot 2, and networked world-wide QSOs are on timeslot, but there is no standard.)

When you use your programming software to program your DMR radio, have a target talkgroup in mind you want to access and how you are going to get there(which repeater). For example, TAC310 is popular and you want to join in.

  1. Lets pretend you live in or are visiting San Antonio Texas and you want to get on TAC310. After looking at repeaterbook.com you find this repeater: https://www.repeaterbook.com/repeaters/details.php?state_id=48&ID=16665
  2. Using the pieces of information about the repeater from above, we find the following…
    • RX frequency — 441.7625
    • TX frequency — 446.7625
    • Color Code — 1
    • Which talkgroups are on what timeslot. — TAC310 is on slot 1.
  3. When you go to program your radio, you will start by…
    1. Create a contact (Using our example of TAC310: Create a contact named “TAC310” and the ID will be “310” and will be a Group call. On the GD-77, make sure you create a RX-group too.
    2. Create a channel with the repeater frequencies, color code, and the target contact you want to contact.
      1. Do this for each target talkgroup you have in mind. You will end up with a bunch of channels which we will group together with zones.
    3. Create a zone. Zones are merely groupings of channels so that you can flow through the radio easily as you are switching repeaters or talkgroups.
  4. Once programmed, on your radio using the menu, go to the zone you made and to the channel you want to access. Kerchunk the repeater for about 1 second, and if your radio has a talk permit tone, it should beep letting you know you made it in. If not, it will make a boonk noise.
    1. If you had success, a great way to fully test your connection to the repeater is using a parrot mode. All homebrew repeaters have it using brandmeister ID 9990.
      1. I have a how-to on my page here
    2. If it bonked, there are primarily 3 main reasons why it didn’t work….
      1. Double check you are within range of the repeater. Most HTs on high-power should hit a repeater 10-15 miles away with decent line of sight.
      2. Make sure the repeater isnt being used by another talkgroup on your timeslot. Look at the activity light on your radio. If its in use, have patience.
      3. I assume you have programmed correctly, all the information about the repeater… 😉
  5. That’s it. Its high level, but it should help ground you as you seek and learn about DMR.

Accessing your first hotspot

Coming soon…….