Building a code plug for BrandMeister.

When building a code plug there are three stages.

1. Installing the talk groups, reflectors and personal identifications.

2. Building the frequency tables.

3. Building the zones.

These have to be done in this order as you can’t build frequency tables without groups and you can’t build zones without frequencies.

1. When creating the talk groups and reflectors in the contacts list, add ALL of them. Research all the sources. If you want to add personal calls do so, but only those you believe you will need for personal interaction, you’ve room only for a 1000. Talk groups are Group Calls but Reflectors and Personal contacts are registered as Private Calls. In the Tytera and Retevis CPS you can clearly see the numbering is unique for each group. When creating a named Talk group 9 for example, it should appear in the table as 9 in the associated group call list, or it won’t work. I know; I mistakenly one time only programmed TG 9 and found it didn’t work, only to find that TG9 on the screen was talking on TG 4.

2. When creating your frequency lists, research each repeater and hotspot and look for the norms, that is to say determine on which slot certain talk groups should be active. A simplex DV4mini hotspot isn’t a problem, as normally TG9 slot 2 is the norm. This is not restrictive practice, it’s just common sense. In most cases talk group 9 should be found on both slots of a repeater. Every available talk group on each repeater or hotspot needs to be programmed individually. Consider programming in simplex channels as well. There are channels available for DMR simplex, and PMR/DMR as well. Why not add them while you are at it.

3. Zone choices are a lot more difficult to make. On each named zone you can fill 16 channels with information pre-programmed in the first and second categories. You can have more than one zone to cover a repeater, its talk groups and its slots, and mix a selected zone with adjacent repeaters if you want for an easy change of channel.

When considering the three factors above look at the following information when talking either on a hotspot or your local repeater.

On slot 1 normally single digit, double digit and triple digit talk groups are standard. Slot 1 should normally contain international, national and language based talk groups. But this is not always the case. Check your repeater’s home page.

On slot 2 are generally found the 4 digit talk groups like UK calling 2350 and chat groups 2351-4. If needed talk group 9 can be used to make reflector calls to other reflectors, but it is superfluous to connect to 4400 reflector as this corresponds to talk group 2350 already available in an open unrestricted repeater. Again check your repeater’s home page.

For repeater sysops it is a matter of balance, either you want a repeater for the users or you want a repeater for accessing the wider world, or a mix of the two. If you are running multi-mode, then you have to juggle the needs of the many to outweigh the needs of the few. Dynamic talk groups are those that are activated by PTT at the repeater, and remain active for 10/15 minutes and only for as long as no one reactivates in the time period. Fixed or Static talk groups are those that are locked open 24/7 or by schedule, by activating this function on selfcare, or by the functionality of PiStar software, or forced by MMDVM changes.

By and large UK Brandmeister repeaters are open to the UK on slot 2, and internationally on slot 1, except where they have chosen to cluster with other locally grouped repeaters.

This means 2350-2354 are either dynamic or fixed (static) on slot 2, or they have a reflector. 235,91 etc are dynamic or fixed (static) on Slot 1.

Talk group 9 is standard for local users on both slots, with the addition that on slot 2 a user can connect a reflector on this talk group. As I commented above, there is little point connecting to reflectors 4400-4 as the associated talk groups are already available in this scenario. However it leaves the possibility of connecting to a foreign reflector on talk group 9 slot 2 should a user demand it, such as 4639 USA national (3100). There is the possibility of leaving open talk group 3100 as dynamic but there is a problem here. Dynamic talk groups have that fixed time-out and cannot be disconnected while they are alive except by a group call to TG4000 on the system in use, it kills all dynamic talk groups, but reflectors can have a restricted time-out, but they can be disconnected by private call to Reflector 4000 or a group call to TG4000. I say they can’t time-out, but a sysop can force a time-out in self-care or in Pi-Star. Talk group 9 should never be a static talk group, but left dynamic. It is what it is, local and PTT operated. Planting a reflector on it changes its nature, and takes on the characteristic of the talk groups in the reflector held in the registry on the servers. If it has been connected locally there really is no need to leave it connected when it has finished it’s task.

As I see it Mmdvmhost, as in most homebrew repeaters like F5ZLR and GB7SO, GB7HX as examples, have all talk groups unrestricted, which can create issues on a repeater unless the sysop takes a handle on it. Generally such talk groups are dynamic, activated by PTT by a local user. They permit two way traffic for the duration they are active normally 10/15 minutes after last transmission outbound. A sysop can fix (make static) selected talk groups in self-care or via Pi-Star, so that they all remain open bi-directionally for the period selected, either full-time or part-time.

Remember there are only two available “channels” and we all have to share. As I see it if a dual mode is operating D-star on one slot then DMR is NOT available on the other.

In Summary then if you have a UK BrandMeister repeater that you would like to populate to the best advantage, This is my recommend for a code-plug.

For Slot 1 TG9, TG91 and TG235 in other words National and International.

For Slot 2 TG9, TG2350, TG2351, TG2352, TG2353 National and regional and local chat. Or you program for reflectors, but bear in mind they will be withdrawn from service.

If you want Scotland then add TG2355 as well.

There are other talk groups for clusters, and for bridges to other modes, so you can add those as well.

TG23522 is a bridge to Wires-x and TG23526 is a bridge to the AllStar Hub Net.

Each repeater keeper has the right to govern his domain as he sees fit, but this becomes more problematic when it is a repeater governed by committee. It is even more difficult when there is a multi-mode repeater in use. Bear in mind that you will need to find an alternative to reflectors by the end of 2020.

When it comes to it, any repeater will have a settling-in period for the sysop to examine the use of the unit and tune the use of it appropriately.

Primarily this is a hobby, a pastime, and not a job, a fact that some people frankly forget. By all means enjoy it but do consider others. Any opinions expressed are mine.

Regards, Chris F5VMR G4NAB.

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Radio Amateur and Professional Radio Operator and IT professional for 40 years so don't say I know little of what I say.

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