- May 20, 2003
- Pinckney, Michigan U.S.A.
We're in the process of building out our new dual-band mixed-mode ICOM iDAS (NXDN) system here in Pinckney, Michigan; which is very close to Hell; north of Ann Arbor...
146.500 MHz. +1.00 WFM (25.0 kHz.) DPL 047 / RAN 47 (SNPR)
442.675 MHz. +5.00 WFM (25.0 kHz.) DPL 047 / RAN 47 (Coordinated)
This repeater system supports: IRLP, EchoLink, and AllStar Link as well as the NXDN Worldwide Network via talkgroup 65000. At this time, coverage is limited until the weather breaks this spring/summer; then the tower work can begin.
The system hardware is an ICOM IC-FR5000 & IC-FR6000 with UC-FR5000 iDAS Network Controller Cards and SCOM 7330 Repeater Controller.
When programming radios for this system, please setup two separate channels, one as mixed-mode/analog transmit and the other as mixed-mode/digital transmit. For the Worldwide NXDN talkgroups, radio ID's should begin as 26Rxx; where "R" is you're region in the state. If you are from another state, you should use you already assigned/chosen radio ID number from your home state.
For those interested in adding NXDN systems here in Michigan, here is what I propose as a setup for various talkgroups that can be standardized throughout the state. I've already chose to implement this plan on our system as it closely follows the statewide radio system used by public-safety officials and most amateurs in Michigan should be familiar with this plan.
Statewide Talkgroups (Proposed):
26000 - Michigan Statewide All Call
26001 through 26084 - Reserved for Local Countywide Talkgroups
26085 - Michigan Statewide ARES/RACES Network
26086 - Michigan Statewide MICON/NWS/SkyWarn Weather Network
26087 through 26100 - Reserved for future Statewide Talkgroups
26101 - Region 1 (Southeast - Ann Arbor / Jackson and surrounding areas)
26202 - Region 2 (Southeast - Detroit Metro and surrounding areas)
26303 - Region 3 (Thumb - Flint, Bay City, Saginaw and surrounding areas)
26505 - Region 5 (Southwest - Kalamazoo and surrounding areas)
26606 - Region 6 (Western - Grand Rapids and surrounding areas)
26707 - Region 7 (Northern - Lower Peninsula includes Roscommon and surrounding areas)
26808 - Region 8 (Upper Peninsula)
Local Talkgroups (Proposed):
The format is: 26 (FIPS Code) followed a "Zero" and finally, the Michigan County Code where the repeater is located. See examples below:
26025 - Genesee County All Call
26033 - Ingham County All Call
26038 - Jackson County All Call
26047 - Livingston County All Call
26081 - Washtenaw County All Call
26082 - Wayne County All Call
26063 - Oakland County All Call
26078 - Shiawassee County All Call
While this is a relatively new exploration in amateur radio, NXDN has ALLOT to offer over the MotoTRBO systems. First is the cost, equipment is generally about 1/2 the cost of MotoTRBO equipment and can be purchased from either Kenwood OR ICOM. For conventional usage (analog/digital), there are seamless integrated. Second, the ability to support analog and digital together in one repeater, WITHOUT the need for additional software upgrades from Motorola. Following on the heals of this comment, NXDN, at least the ICOM repeaters allow for dynamic mixed-mode operation AND the ability to still access the IP network connections. From all documentation I can find on MotoTRBO, you now must choose either analog OR digital when using the IP Site Connect interface on the back of the repeater; this simple isn't the case with NXDN, although on limitation on this is that the carrier MUST drop prior to switching modes. This is a minor issue, but never-the-less, it allows amateur radio groups to begin implementation of a digital repeater system while still maintaining their current analog system and functionality; thus it doesn't force ALL of your systems users to purchase a digital radio right off the bat (a huge advantage over D-Star and MotoTRBO). Finally, software, easy to come by, cheaper to buy and with NXDN being an open platform now, the sky is the limit when it comes to ideas for software development... Ham's should love that idea.
Also, for those interested in ARES/RACES/SkyWarn or other Search and Rescue and Public-Safety operations; ICOM has introduced a GPS Speaker-Microphone called the "RedHawk SA"... It currently only supports the iDAS radios in analog mode; however, in a few short months, it will also support NXDN digital. This device is an excellent add on for Amateur Radio.
If you're not familiar with it, please see these links:
RedHawk SA - Icom America
RedHawk SA GPS Speaker Mic with LCD - YouTube
We're testing them here and they are simply an awesome add-on and the audio sounds excellent as well...
In conclusion, I have to say that I was a huge supporter of MotoTRBO early on; however, given the direction that technology is headed in, and NXDN's forward thinking methodology into where narrowbanding and where digital radio is heading, I think the Japanese engineers are headed in the right direction and with MotoTRBO still not officially backed by the FCC as an approved format, it seems to me that NXDN is exactly what D-Star should have been; NXDN uses the AMBE 2+ vocoder where as the D-Star platform does not, NXDN has forward error correct, D-Star does not; no more "R2D2" and terrible sounding digital audio (it's still digital, but it's good sounding digital) and with it only using 6.25 kHz. of bandwidth, this mode will allow for a greater number of users to experiment and install their own systems, it'll add roaming abilities, true-interoperabilty regardless of users buying Kenwood or ICOM and is afforable for even the most thrifty of Amateur Radio operators. With tough economic times, this is one reason that U.S. and Canadian railroads have adopted the NXDN platform moving forward; cost, technology, interoperability between brands, and no Mother M hawking over each and every radio sale, software license, etc. And by the way, ALL current NXDN radios can be reverted to WFM through firmware as can the MotoTRBO radios; you'll just need the right tools to do it, but the radio will work with ALL current repeaters in your area that haven't converted; so you're not buying a radio for just this technology, you're buying a good commercial quality radio for ALL of your Amateur Radio adventures (except HF of course)...
NXDN, check it out if you haven't already!
I understand there is an nxdn repeater coming online in seattle? can anyone provide or pm me with information about this? I just got myself an nx-700 for my car and am anxious to test out the digital side of things.
Thank you sir,
any help is much appreciated. If you could get me in touch with them, I would be interested in helping out as well.
New members are moderated and certain board features are restricted.Hmm, he options to enable private messaging are not showing up in my User CP.
Hmm, he options to enable private messaging are not showing up in my User CP. bt i have enabled members to email me, so i would give that a shot. somethin about only having 2 posts may have something to do with it. and thank you, I will join that group.
Annnnyway back to the topic at hand,
thanks for posting the update Jaime and it's good to hear the net is being held.
I couldn't help but notice it's called at the same time and day that the DMR-MARC net is. Maybe that wasn't an accident?
Also guys and ladies,
We are trying first time ever weekend net to see how the repeaters are working and see who else is listening to the NXDN network if your able to check in in about 5 minutes please come check in the net controller will be Jerry W2GLD in Michigan. There is already 3 people standing by and listening waiting for the net to start. The net will be on every Saturday at 12pm eastern 11am central, 10am mountainl and 9am pacific west coast time on NXDN world wide network 65000 talk group.
- Jamie (N4CYA)
Actually Jamie, given A-typical ham radio politics; I have removed myself from the Worldwide NXDN group and will be dismantling my repeaters as well within the next few days. The past 48-hours with this group has been very enlightening to say the least. I wish you guys luck with it; however, I'll stick with the MOTOTRBO platform and a separate 12.5 kHz. narrowband analog setup moving forward.
I wish them the very best moving forward; however, I expect extremely limited growth of this platform in the future.