Fun with DMR: programming a single channel DMR system

bagmouse7

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Jan 19, 2003
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205
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NC, USA
Here is my fist pass at a setup up a setup guide for a single channel DMR system using a Uniden 436 and the latest release candidate (2).
I am monitoring my local amateur DMR repeaters who are all part of the PRN DMR repeater network.
This gives us some interesting monitoring opportunities now that DMR systems are supported.

First, I will share some critical web resources for amateur DMR monitoring:


First, here are some of the tools to help.
-----------------
Reference:
DMR repeater listing (this is for NC, but all states are listed):
https://www.repeaterbook.com/repeaters/feature_search.php?state_id=37&type=DMR

DMR-MARC UID Repeater and Database:
DMR-MARC Network

PRN Talkgroups:
Talkgroups | PRN
--------------------

Once you find a local repeater, you can use my guide at a the system to your radio.
I will use this system in my example:
https://www.repeaterbook.com/repeaters/details.php?state_id=37&ID=10508


Now, lets get started building a system in Sentinel.
Start the Sentinel software, I usually do a full “Read from Scanner” before I start programming a new system.

To enter a new Favorite list, do the following:
Select "Edit" and then "Edit Favorites List"
Then hit the "New Favorites List" button and create a new favorite list.
"Raleigh NC - PRN DMR Network"

Click on the "Options" tab and set this to a favorite (FL Quick Key) and favorite tag (FL Number Tag)

Next Click on "Systems" tab
Click on the green plus sign
For "System Name" I used:
"KB4CTS DMR Ham-Cary NC PRN Network Repeater"
then I selected "System Type" of "DMR One Frequency" the hit OK.

Click on "ID-Search" to enable ID-Search, set "Quick Key" and "Number Tag" to whatever you want (1 in my example), I also like to set the "Emergency Alert Light" as well.

Now click on the name of the new system name in the left box of Sentinel, which will show the system details.

Click on "Sites" and hit the green + button.
Enter a Site name:
"Cary NC KB4CTS - DMR -443.7875"
in my case, and I assigned a quick key of 1.

Now click on the new Site name in the left box of Sentinel, which will show the site options.

On the "Frequencies" tab hit the green + button and, enter the repeaters frequency (443.7875), leave "Color Code" as "Color Code Search".

Now click back on the System name in the left box of Sentinel, which will show the system options.

In the Excel spreadsheet, select the 2 columns with the callsign-name-state and the unitID as the 2 columns.
I used column C and D from the "full-US-copy-paste" tab in the spreadsheet.
The first column needs to be the unit name, and the second column needs to be the Unit ID.
Once you select the data, hit Edit - Copy.

In Sentinel, click on "Unit IDs" and then hit the green + button.
After you click on the green + and creating an empty row, float over the box on the empty box at the top on the number column, DO NOT SELECT IT WITH A LEFT MOUSE CLICK, hit the RIGHT mouse button and select "Paste"
If you do not do this exactly, Sentinel will give you an error message "Paste Operation Failed..."
Do the paste steps exactly as I have written, it is important not to left mouse click and select anything or else the paste operation will fail (if it does fail, delete all of the IDs and then try the process again, it can be tricky).

Sentinel will go "not responsive" if you paste a large amount of data, but it will recover.
After about 1 or 2 minutes, Sentinel will regain it's composure and the pasting will be successful.
Before you do anything, hit File and then Save on Sentinel because it will sometimes crash after the paste operation.

I have added one more enhancement, which has added even more data on the display (TGID info).
Click on the department tab, and hit the green button:
I have named it "PRN System - 443.3375 - Digital Amateur Network" and set the quick key (to 1).

If you click on the "department" name on the left hand box in Sentinel, you can add "Channels" to the "Department"
The TGIDs for the PRN network are on the last sheet of the spreadsheet (the tab PRN-TGIDs-paste).
Go to the excel spreadsheet, select the 5 column and 12 rows of the TGID info, hit "edit" then "copy".


Go to the excel spreadsheet and select the TGID-paste sheet data (it is a 12x5 table) and then hit edit -> copy.

Now go to the "Channels" tab and hit the green + button.
Float the mouse over to empty box at the top of the column and hit the right mouse button and select "paste"

At the top of Spectrum, hit "file" then "save" then exit Spectrum.
Select the Favorites List in Spectrum, select your new favorite with a right mouse click and then "Monitor Favorites List" and turn it "On"

Now connect your scanner and "Write to scanner".


Now, upload this to you scanner, enable the favorite list, select the favorite list.
Enjoy the nice enhanced info!



--------------
Tips-
The full USA UID database is 16820 rows, If you make the "Unit ID Name" CALLSIGN-NAME-STATE, the full USA database is too big for 1M limit for a single system.
If you make it 15000 rows, it will then fit. I have also created lists where the description field uses the state abbreviation rather than the name in order to simply the area identification.

The UID dataset is so large that I can't have more than one copy of it in a single favorite list (it hits the 1M limit with 2 copies).
I have one System (the one I can receive the best) with the full US database dumped to it.

For my local monitoring I have a single group with 4 DMR systems in it. Each of these "DMR single channel systems" has a copy of the NC UID dataset (it is 1680 lines long).
I have tried to put all 4 repeaters frequencies in the full USA system that I created above, but when I did that the radio would never stop and receiver on any of the frequencies.
Maybe someone out there can suggest a solution. For now I am putting my home state and the surrounding states into a regional UID group. Ill add other states as I receive them.
Use too many and you will see the dreaded "Favorites List is over 1M. Too big." Message...

Maybe someone else has a good solution for my issue above?

In any case please feel free to provide feedback and further optimizations as I am interested any any tips or best practices that others may have found.

Attached is link to a zipped copy of the excel spreadsheets that I have used in the above example.
I have also included a .csv file so others without excel can play with the data, but if you use the .csv file you will have to create your own, custom callsign-user-state column.
The zip seems to be too large to attach to the forum post...

https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArPd5lK8RHBmkB5RX6eUzJ8Ij0EN

Enjoy!
 

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ecarvalho

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Feb 23, 2005
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752
I want to try this later tonight
I appreciate your documentation on this.
I'm in Northern VA (Aldie) and will review the site you provided looking for near by repeaters.


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kibler

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Dec 8, 2010
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Hi bagmouse.........hope to see a lot of these write up's in the future! Thanks for the information!
 

ecarvalho

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Feb 23, 2005
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752
Bagmouse what was the string you used to get that data dump you had on the excel file? That was good stuff pulled from that cgi data dump page.


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rescue161

KE4FHH
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Jun 5, 2002
Messages
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Location
Hubert, NC
Just to keep the talkgroups and names the same, here are the PRN talkgroups with their assigned names.

Slot 2 - 2 - PRN
Slot 1 - 27500 - Local (each repeater has a local talkgroup that does not normally go across the network)
Slot 1 - 27501 - Chat 1 - On Demand talkgroup that links 2 or more repeaters together
Slot 1 - 27502 - Chat 2 - On Demand talkgroup that links 2 or more repeaters together
Slot 1 - 8951 - TAC 1 - On Demand Worldwide
Slot 1 - 310 - TAC 310 - On Demand Nationwide
Slot 1 - 3100 - BrandMeister - On Demand (DCI Bridge)
 

KE4ZNR

KE4ZNR@radioreference.com
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Raleigh, NC
Gonna stick this for a little while.
Great thread Bagmouse!
Marshall KE4ZNR
 

bagmouse7

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plaws

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O-o-o-o-o-o-o-klahoma
At the top of Spectrum, hit "file" then "save" then exit Spectrum.
Select the Favorites List in Spectrum, select your new favorite with a right mouse click and then "Monitor Favorites List" and turn it "On"
I've seen the show and I hear they are planning a movie </obscure science fiction reference> but I've not seen the software. Is that where the screen cap is from?
 

snerd

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May 13, 2007
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Location
Comanche County, OK
This is a fantastic tutorial! Thank you!! It still seems a mountainous hill to climb, but I'll study this over the next few days. Seems I was on the right path, I just wasn't carrying through to the end.

ETA: I was doing it all on the scanner. It was so much clicking, I had to give it up! I've had my left shoulder replaced, and the right one really needs it. It just hurt way too much.
 
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ecarvalho

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Feb 23, 2005
Messages
752
You can use this link to dump the full user database to a .csv file, and then import that into excel.

http://www.dmr-marc.net/cgi-bin/trbo-database/datadump.cgi?table=users&format=csv&header=1

Here is more info:
http://www.dmr-marc.net/cgi-bin/trbo-database/datadump.cgi
Thank you! I saw that actually and I was wondering how you changed all states to the abbreviations and included in one column in Excel. I used your spreadsheet tho. Thanks.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/pzvgbhltv74zxk1/IMG_0581.MOV?dl=0
 

ecarvalho

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KF4JYE

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Upstate SC
In his initial post on July 5, bagmouse7 commented:

"I have tried to put all 4 repeaters frequencies in the full USA system that I created above, but when I did that the radio would never stop and receiver on any of the frequencies. Maybe someone out there can suggest a solution."

I created a similar multiple frequency list for SC and am having the same problem. Has anyone found a fix for this?
 

jkmail

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Apr 26, 2007
Messages
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I have some DMR added in a conventional form as per web site lookup. My scanner sees it when it is keyed but there is no audio. Any ideas as to what I am doing wrong. Thanks
 

garys

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Jun 13, 2002
Messages
4,641
Location
Eastern MA
I've tried to program my town's school department DMR channel as a single channel trunk. I have it programmed as a conventional DMR frequency and get Color Code information, as well as audio. When I program it as a trunk system, I get nothing.

I have ID search set to on since I don't know any of the TGID. I think that is where the problem might lie. I've not been able to great any channels since I don't have the information. When I look in Sentinel, there are no channels, even though ARC536 shows a lot of blank lines. When I look on the scanner itself, there are also no channels.

Do I need to have some data in the Channel section for this to work?

Also, do I have a Service Type active in the Department section for this to work?

Thanks.
 
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