DMR - It's Not Personal

I don’t know why, but some people take criticism of technology personally. Maybe its because they spend money on some technology product and if someone else makes negative comments about it, they feel they must defend it as if they have to defend and justify their financial investment.

Take my comments on DMR. I have people, one in particular, that attack my comments on DMR as if I am personally attacking them. How silly.

Yes, I use DMR. I also use DStar. Not using any other digital (primarily) voice technology right now because it gets too costly to get one of everything. My real criticism of digital technology as it relates to ham radio is that the manufacturers could not decide on ONE technology to use. This fragmentation is frankly keeping a lot of hams from adopting digital and thus they are staying on FM. So while a town like Cincinnati has two DMR repeaters, two DStar repeater stacks, a P25, and a couple of Fusion systems, there are just a few hams on each system. Most are still on FM. So instead of the digital users expanding, you find most of the digital users using FM.

I did buy a couple of DMR radios because we got a few DMR repeaters and the radios were CHEAP! Had it not been for CHEAP, I would not have branched out into DMR.

But that has not changed my basic beliefs too much about DMR. Yup, sounds a little better than DStar but not overwhelmingly better. If you have the latest generation DStar radios, they should very good. So does DMR.

It is still difficult to find a conversation on DMR compared to DStar. Even on the DMR North American talk group at times.

Yeah, DStar has that R2D2 noise when the signal gets weak. When the DMR signal gets weak it also distorts but sounds different, so the only difference between the two is the sound of the digital signal when it gets weak. That does not make one better than the other.

The DMR networking is nice, but it is not as flexible as DStar. If the DMR repeater owner does not offer a talk group, you cannot connect to it yourself. With DStar you can connect to any reflector you like. Just program it into your radio.

With DMR you must use a commercially manufacturer repeater. I’ve asked many times, and there is no way to home-brew a DMR repeater. With DStar, a hundred dollar board, a computer and a couple of FM radios, you can build your own DStar repeater.

DStar has all sorts of applications that allow you to send text and files over the radio. I have not seen anything like this readily available with DMR. I think Motorola might offer something, but not something that is open source and could be used by anyone without a license fee.

DStar requires you to register a call sign. DMR requires a registration/serial number. To get a call and name to show up with a DMR transmission, you would have had to program a person’s registration/serial number into your radio along with that person’s name to get it to display. With DStar, when a person transmit, it comes with their call automatically. The DStar user can also program his radio to display on your receiving radio something like “Bob in Detroit” or “Bob on ID51A.”

With DStar, if your radio has a built-n GPS, when you transmit your position is sent and also sent to the APRS network. Have not seen that capability with DMR.

So it all comes back to this DMR is a commercial standard that hams are trying to make work in amateur radio. But as of yet, it is still lacking what DStar has now. Will it get to the same point as DStar is at now, I don’t know, we’ll see but the current state of the DMR technology does not seem to allow that kind of flexibility.

If you don’t agree with me, fine. You don’t have to attack me personally over my comments. If you have better information like “there is now a DRats-like program for DMR” then let me know about it. If DMR moves to registering call signs and they display with each transmission, let me know. If you can easily home-brew a DMR repeater, tell me about it.

However as of now, DMR is a digital voice system, sounds nice, is networked and any ham can use it inexpensively with the Chinese radios; provided you have a local DMR repeater.

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