Firstly I must check that my personal settings are correct in the CPS and my DMR ID is in place otherwise my next QSO will be a non-starter.
Talk Groups and Reflectors
No matter what Code Plug Software I use, the principles are the same, I cannot build a code plug without talkgroups, so if I have not already done so, then I compile the list that I think I may need, then I add them all anyway for future expansion. I add also TG 4000, as this will be invaluable. Once I have all the talkgroups as Group Calls then I add any remaining reflectors as Private Calls, but quite frankly, if I have all the talkgroups I will not need reflectors, as they are really referenced to the relevant talkgroups. However Private Calls 4000 & 5000 might be a good idea. Finally I add any DMR ID’s I know such as friends and colleagues, and any repeater DMR ID’s that I will use. I will explain further on down. I try and get them in numerical order if I can, but if needs be, later on, I can use N0GSG’s DMR Manager to re-sequence all the information.
Now it really is down to me to research the repeaters or hot spots that I may use. I have to ensure the transmit and receive frequencies in my radio are the correct way round, the colour code is correct, and the timeout is set to a reasonable time – anything greater than 180 secs is unreasonable in my book (wafflers to note!).
Most local repeater keepers will have given some basic information on their repeater, and some of them are Reflector Based, that is to say TG9 on slot 2 may have Reflector 4400 active and fixed. Some however may have fixed TG 2350, but either way the result is the same, everyone will be on TG 2350 none the less. But for the moment let’s look at GB7SO.
This repeater in the South of England has Fixed Talkgroup 2350 on Slot 2, and Fixed Talkgroup 235186 on Slot 1. TG 2350 is the centre of activity for the most of the UK, and TG 235186 is the ID Talkgroup of the repeater. Being an MMDVM repeater is also has the capability of D-Star as well but this is not included in this article. Alongside these other talkgroups TG 9 on either slot are still available as are ALL talkgroups.
Fixed talkgroups (shown as Static) cannot be overridden or disconnected. Any other talkgroups are Dynamic that is to say are activated at the local repeater that remain available for a time after activation despite no longer being used. Fixed talkgroups become dynamic when are activated at the repeater as well, which might seem a little confusing. Read on.
Let’s for example have a QSO on GB7SO with a user on TG 2350 who is elsewhere in the country and is for argument’s sake is on Reflector 4400, and we elect to QSY to TG 2352 for a longer chat.
In my code plug I have conveniently programmed TG 2352 so for me it’s a quick two clicks from TG 2350 on the zone channel changer and I’m there. For my correspondent he has to private-call his reflector based repeater or hotspot with 4402 and wait for the acknowledgement, before we can continue out chat that we successfully conclude.
Now it has to be remembered that for the duration of our chat, that GB7SO has been unavailable for use on Slot 2 because I was operating on TG 2352, and the correspondents hot spot or repeater has likewise been unavailable to other traffic. This is quite normal and to be expected. The rest of the network has been unhindered by our QSO as we have activated a dynamic path between us.
The proper thing to do after our QSO is for the correspondent to make a private call to reflector 4000 to return his system to standby and perhaps automatic reset to 4400 if that has been set up, and for me to turn my zone channel change knob to a TG 4000 channel on GB7SO and press PTT. The network via repeater automatically responds by “Not Linked”, and the repeater becomes available again on slot 2 for all traffic. TG 4000 works only on slot 2, and not on dynamic talkgroups on slot 1. A private call to Reflector 4000 is not the same as a group call to TG4000.
To explain the above scenario, it is a good idea to be aware that a zone has 16 channels each of which can have a different frequency and or talk group allocated. I can program more than one zone to cover one repeater, for example one zone can have GB7SO with all the Slot 1 talkgroups, like 9, 80,81,90,91,113,235 etc and another zone can contain all the GB7SO talkgroups normally found on slot 2 like 9,2350,2351,2352,2353,2354,2355 (if I want to talk to Scotland HI), and so on. I can also program a zone for travelling so that all the Repeaters from the South to the North of England on TG 2350 (TG9 Reflector 4400) are in one zone, making it simple to change channel as I move through the country.
There are further regional talkgroups, and language talkgroups and national talkgroups, equally available to me via GB7SO, but I have to be sensitive to the local needs so I shall be prudent with my talkgroups selection. TG 9 slot 1 and TG 9 slot 2 are necessary, and if possible TG 99. TG 99 has additional properties in that it is network accessible. I will include TG235 on slot 1 as that gives me a national reach, and I could include TG 91 on slot 1 as well as the the DMR ID TG 235186. On slot 2, I program TG2350, TG2351, TG2352, TG2353, TG2354 as I might need to QSY. As a mobile it is not so easy for me to call reflectors as I’m driving, so I’m hoping other repeaters are as amenable. But in any case it would be a good idea for me to program TG 4000 in one channel so that I can kill the dynamic channels if necessary once I have finished with them.
DMR ID Repeater Talkgroups.
GB7SO has available on slot 1 talkgroup 235186, so that any user of the repeater can talk to an affiliate of the repeater as if they on a local talkgroup. It leaves slot 2 free for TG 2350 traffic as normal. I was pleased to see this has now been adopted by a repeater in the US whose page I encountered this morning.
TG 208688 is available for F5ZLW, TG 208687 on F5ZLR and TG 208987 on F1ZKD all by prior arrangement of course.
In Summing up
So I have all the talkgroups I need, I have programmed all my frequencies and necessary talkgroups attached, and I have created the several zones that I may need. All I have to remember is that if I call up a dynamic talkgroup on a repeater or duplex hotspot, I tune my channel to TG 4000 after my qso to kill the dynamic talkgroup. It will necessarily kill a fixed talkgroup if it has become dynamic through use, but it will not disconnect it from its status as permanently available.
Foot Note.This is an update of an earlier article that is still relevant.