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

DMR is a technology invented for commercial use, meaning it wasn’t originally made for ham radio operators. Why is that important? DMR uses unique 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 other networks, utilize these websites for user IDs.

The main reason for the 2 networks is that DMR-MARC was created by Motorola hams with the intention of only using Motorola hardware. Meaning, repeater owners are not allowed to add homebrewed or non Motorola DMR repeaters to their network. This allows for stability and a lot of other good reasons. Brandmeister on the other hand was created after DMR-MARC to allow homebrewed DMR repeaters. The 2 networks are independent from one another but have overlapping talkgroups to help ease confusion. For example TAC310, TAC311, all the US States Talkgroups, and many others. Just remember, a talkgroup on one network is not always the same as the other.

 

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. For some, having only a DMR-MARC registration is enough. Many DMR repeaters are connected to the DMR-MARC network and this will suffice. However…….
    4. It is highly recommended to also register this ID with the Brandmeister network since the 2 networks are intertwined.
  2. Once you have your ID from DMR-MARC go to https://brandmeister.network/?page=register
  3. Fill out the information to include your DMR-MARC ID at the bottom of the page
    1. Once completed, you will receive a verification email within a few days.
  4. Program your DMR radio with the ID and enjoy the world wide communication.

 

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.

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 1. 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…….