Items of Interest

Question / Answer style is at the end of this page

AUDIO — VU or audio level meter showing recent caller history, updates each 15 or 30 seconds (or manually refresh at end of callers transmission). Test fields to search for Call Signs, RID’s and TG ID’s.  Monitors Audio Test and Parrot full time and all PNWDigital sanctioned net talkgroups are are carried when those nets are active.

HOT!  —  Hot audio History, Hotest user listed at the top.  This is just a tool, not a call out to harass members but to be used to help everyone adjust their levels or the manor that they hold their microphones when speaking.  More info on how to use the VU meter to best advantage.

CALLWATCH — Shows active talker and caller histories, optional text search or accept and text reject are available

Lastheard —  Temporary address, shows most active user, repeater and/or talkgroups via pie charts, this tool will soon move to PNWDigital’s own servers

USER HISTORY

ID’s —  Caller history by Call Sign in chronological order, a long running list of when a caller was last on the network

Freguent ID’s  —  Caller history by most transmissions

Callwatch;  The latest version of c-Bridge (our networking) software has changed the name of netwatch to Callwatch.

This new Callwatch is much more versatile than NetWatch was.  Special filtering is available now to custom tailor your output to favor select talkgroups, c-Bridges, Branmeister or other networks.  Check out this page for more details and examples of custom URL’s.  Callwatch without these filters can be rather painful to watch.  🙂

Talker Alias:  The PNWDigital network servers do not support Talker Alias.  Please disable it if enabled.  If you use it, the c-Bridge will not understand how to handle your call and history.  The BTech 6×2 has shipped with default enabled, so please disable that feature.

KerChunking, why do it and is it legal?  If you come from the FM repeater world, you do a quick key up to bring up the repeater to test for signal strength and confirm that the repeater can hear you.  On DMR, KerChunking primary purpose is to turn on or off a talkgroup(s), set or change timers.  Is it legal to KerChunk without providing your call sign?  Well  that depends…

Sec. 97.119 Station identification.  (a) Each amateur station, except a space station or telecommand station, must transmit its assigned call sign on its transmitting channel at the end of  each communication, and at least every 10 minutes during a communication, for the purpose of clearly making the source of the transmissions from the station known to those receiving the transmissions.

So yes, you may KerChunk but you should keep in mind, you now have 10 minutes to identify your station.  Is that practical, likely or is this simply to be overlooked?  That is your decision.  Maybe better would be a 3 second kerchunk with the words, “WA7DMR KerChunking Wash 2 Up” or simply 2 seconds, “WA7DMR KerChunk”.  Or jumping at some point to ID.  All your choice.  Net controls should likely ignore any CallWatch entry less that 1 second long as it is likely a ham trying to join the talkgroup.

Also, when you change TG’s, you generally are not changing frequencies and you do not need to ID.  Some folks ID at the end of every transmission, it is unnecessary and annoying.  This is not HF.

Reporting Repeater or Network Issues:  If you notice a problem with a repeater or service provided by PNWD , please report it to: tech@dev.pnwdigital.org

  When you report issues please try to be specific.  If RF, tell us that you were using your HT on low power in the car on a stock rubber antenna (bad method) or a base station running 200 watts into your Moonraker 15dB gain antenna.  If you can provide RSSI from the the repeater and Netwatches RSSI into the repeater that would be helpful.  Really the more details the better as it helps the technical team with our diagnostic.  Many of our repeater sites are many hours distant from a tech team member, so we have no way to gather RF data except from our members.  Thank you helping us help all the users.

Why are Threads/Topics marked with a NoMail Hashtoag:  When a topic is hijacked by a reply that has little to nothing to do with the original topic, it can be set for No mail and any additional posts will not be Emailed out to every member.  This is an effort to keep the threads and hashtags on topic and to eliminate excessive Emails that tend to drive members away from the benefits of the IO Group.  No Mail is also used when a poster posts messages about Radios, Codeplugs and/or MMDVM devices or services, are posted to the wrong group.  Both of these groups have dedicated PNWDigital IO Groups. Occasionally, a poster will be on temporary moderation.

Anytone: Radio Check / Roaming / Talker Alias:  Do NOT Use any of these features in the 578, 868, and 878 radios!

PNWDigital.Net does not support these features as implemented by Anytone.  Roaming is supported correctly only in the Motorola MotoTRBO line of radios.  Use of these Anytone features causes problems on the network.

Bad User Audio:  Why is the DMR Audio so Bad…or is it?  It runs high (hot) or low (soft)…lets fix it!

It really is not bad technically but user audio can be.  We have so many new users now, that it is a consistent and ongoing issue.  Try listening to a DMR net and you will be diving for the volume pot or not able to hear the soft talker.  Then you will dive to turn it back down!  This is a HOT topic (pun intended) but it can also be soft as well as breath puffs into the mic port.  The vocoder is less tolerant of bad audio.  Too loud, too soft or maybe worst, your breath blowing into the mic port confuses the vocoder and can cause EXTRMELY LOUD OBNOXIOUS sounds over the air.  Many speakers have been popped due to some of the worst audios.  The details of why, how to test for it, compensate for it and be a good neighbor is beyond this FAQ.  Please use the Parrot, turn your radio volume up and listen for distortion, puffs and other nasties.  If it sounds bad to you, it likely is worse for everything who must listen to you.  More details from our Links page:

Audio TestUse W7NCX’s Audio VU LED Meter  //  Audio VU Meter Project  //  VU-LED  //  Polly  //  Zello Streaming

CallWatch: is your friend.  CallWatch and CallWatch-B can be very helpful when trying to understand how the system is active or it’s activity history.  If you are having problems or tryiing to help another user of the network, this is the first place to go as there is much information provided by each line entry to aid in diagnosing the issues.

  • It shows talkgroup, signal strength and overall loss rate
  • If you see UnKnown IPSC instead of a named talkgroup, then you have something programmed incorrectly in your radio, usually the wrong timeslot
  • There is history of activity going back some hours, generally the last 1500 transmissions.

FT / PTT:   What are Full Time / Part Time Talkgroups? — The matrix is your friend, for example, “P15/3m”, the meaning is decoded as follows:

  • Push to Talk or Part Time Talkgroup
  • Talkgroup turned on for 15 from the time of the last key-up by the local user of that repeater
  • Hold-off Timers set for 3 minutes to hold off the other talkgroups on the timeslot (so you don’t get highjacked)
  • Locals hold-off all network activity for 5 minutes (by default)
  • MCT’s can also be in effect optionally
    • MCT Off: holds off all other TG’s for 15 minutes (then kerchunk on the TG you wish to use)
    • MCT ON turns on All TG’s for 55 minutes (for your monitoring pleasure)

This is explained in more detail on the longer Matrix for Washington West, etc and on the MCT page directly. 

Roaming with the Anytone’s:  Roaming in the Anytone radios is not compatible with MotoTRBO repeaters (PNW DMR).  Do Not Enable Roaming, Auto-Roaming or Repeater Check.  The anytone radios are capable of “locking” up a repeater by repeatedly keying up the repeater over and over so that it the transmitter never drops.  It also ignores the MotoTRBO repeaters RSSI level rather than evaluate for the strongest repeater.

Latest Repeater, Networking and System News:  If you wish to keep up on the latest updates at PNW DMR, simply go to message 3909.  This message is pinned to the top of the Topics list.  This message is never sent out as Email to the membership, so you must go into IO groups. 3909 is also available via: news.dev.pnwdigital.org.  This message can be updated numerous times a week.  So you are interested in what’s happening, you should check at least weekly.

Reporting Repeater or Network Issues:  If you notice a problem, please report it to: tech@dev.pnwdigital.org

  When you report issues please try to be specific.  If RF, tell us that you were using your HT on low power in the car on a stock rubber antenna (bad method) or a base station running 200 watts into your Moonraker 15dB gain antenna.  If you can provide RSSI from the the repeater and Netwatches RSSI into the repeater that would be helpful.  Really the more details the better as it helps the technical team with our diagnostic.  Many of our repeater sites are many hours distant from a tech team member, so we have no way to gather RF data except from our members.  Thank you helping us help all the users.

Reading this Group by Topic Mode:  If you only read by single messages, you are missing out

IO Groups supports threaded topics and is a handy way to read the topics of interest.  Also pinned to the top is a running file of system and network update changes and other timely info.  <Check it out>


Where is all the DMR Traffic?  The Friendly Repeater…or there’s a lot of listenin’ goin’ on here…Why is everyone listening but not responding to me?

Not exactly a FAQ but seems to be a question asked from time to time that seems to have a story worth exploring.  Long story short, we all need to make an effort to engage when someone throws out the call without expressly asking for a QSO, radio check or something specific.  This page was created about 5 years ago over on the DCI website, it is still appropriate today.  For all the dollars tied up in our network and network of repeaters, seems it takes a check-in net to generate activity. Take a read through this thoughtful page about our quiet repeaters.  <The Friendly Repeater>

Text Messaging or SMS:  Can SMS be used on PNW?

SMS is fine to use and is encouraged.  SMS is implemented differently and may or may not work or may only partially work.  Use the SMS Format: M-SMS in the Anytones as that supports MotoTRBO and the c-Bridge.  Testing should be done on simplex between different manufacturers or with different settings to determine what works best.  The try SMS through a repeater to another radio on the same repeater.  If that works, then try it between two radios on different PNW repeaters.  Report your findings as the PNW Admin team has yet to find the time to work through all the manufacturers and the settings in each of the radios.

Private Call:  Why doesn’t PNW DMR Allow the use of Private Call?

Private Call is a data based service.  Private Call traffic busies out every repeater on the network.  While some data is not an issue (Radio Check, Text Messaging), Private Call is continuous and doesn’t allow any other users to use the network.  It is a resource hog and most users doesn’t understand why they are blocked from using the network.  The limitations are greater on our MMDVM servers as there is only a single timeslot available to most HotSpots.

Talk Permit / Call Tone:  Why it is essential?

If you want to have a more satisfying DMR experience and reduce potential frustration and system congestion, you SHOULD activate your radio’s Talk Permit tone.  The Talk Permit tone, aka, Go-Ahead tone, Call tone or something similar, is needed so the radio operator knows when it is OK to begin speaking.  This may take .5 to 1.5 seconds before the repeater sends the ACK to your radio.  If your radio is programmed correctly, it will wait politely for the repeater and network to evaluate both conditions.  Talking blindly (no annunciation tones enabled) tends to congest the system and is inefficient and impolite and you are likely not to be heard.  If you can’t hear the Talk Permit tone or the Bonk (rejected) tone, then you won’t know if it was OK to talk.  If the talkgroup is busy or the time slot is not clear for traffic, the system will reject your attempt to transmit into the system (if your radio is programmed correctly).  Talk Permit tones are all but mandatory for use on PNW DMR and most other DMR networks.

     For the Anytone series; enable Call Tone: Digital, set the tone freqs/period, set Talk Permit in each channel to: Same Color Code

GPS:  Why doesn’t PNW DMR Allow the use of active GPS data traffic through the network?

Active GPS is looking for a server to pass it’s traffic, so it repeatedly retransmits the data and that busies out the network.  PNW DMR places priority on voice traffic on both timeslots which leaves less timeslot time for data.  

Some radios to support analog APRS on 144.39 (D878UV) and PNW DMR is working on supporting the 878’s digital APRS reporting but it is not yet available.

All Call:  Why doesn’t PNW DMR Support All Call?

Actually we do…but differently.  All Call was once an emergency only talkgroup and still is but with the availability cellular phones now, the active support of All Call has been buried.  Please do not use All Call unless it’s an EMERGENCY and even then, we have few control operators monitoring the talkgroup, so essentially, it is just another local talkgroup, that when used, will annoy everyone.

TG Labels 1 & 2:  What is the Significance of the Numbers 1 and 2 Attached to the End of a Talkgroup Label?

Label 1 designates timeslot 1 and label 2 designates timeslot 2.  It helpful to know which timeslot you are operating on (important as one gains DMR experience) so 1 and 2 are attached to the Labels.  This is especially important when a label (such as Washington) has two different talkgroup ID’s that are assigned to their respective timeslots.  Typically  this is done for a complement or expansion talkgroup that has the potential for much traffic, so there are 2 which enables there use if 1 or the 2 timeslots are busy with other traffic.  All Talkgroups follow this convention but there are a few that are squishy as they were used by other networks so PNW did not originally label them (Hawaii 1 is on TS 2, so we list it as Hawaii 1-2 or TAC 1 is on timeslot 2 so be list it as TAC 1-2), but these are the exceptions.

Local 1 & 1:  Why Use Local 1 and Local 2?

Local 1 and Local 2 (timeslot 1 & 2 respectively) do not connect to the other c-Bridge manager (1 or more repeaters can be on the manager).  Best used when 2 or more users are going through the same repeater and their conversation may not be of interest to the general user population.  Locals use the least possible resources leaving the timeslot available for use on the rest of the network by others on other repeaters.

PNW 1 & 2:  Why Not Use PNW 1 and PNW 2?

PNW 1 and PNW 2 are FT (Full Time) on all PNW repeaters.  They are the designated calling talkgroups as they have the widest reach on the PNW network.  These are the opposite of the local, which have the smallest reach on the network.  Use them to call, make contact and then move off to a TAC talkgroup.  If you are on the same repeater (or group), then you could also use the locals.  PNW 1 and PNW 2 are not to be used for QSO’s as their use busies out every repeater’s timeslot.

Talkgroup hijacking:  How did I Lose my Talkgroup? Why?  What can I do about it?

Talkgroups are the heart of DMR.  They do all the control for routing, appearance, timing and control of other talkgroups.  This can be very complex.  This control comes you in two forms, automatic and semi-auto (via MCT’s).  Automatic is the original method and is EXTREMELY coding intensive.  Semi-auto or by use of the MCT’s is much less coding intensive and provides the users additional controls.  Further explanation is beyond the level of a FAQ so you should read more from the Talkgroup page, the more details page and the MCT page.

Finding Nets:  For a very comprehensive listing with times local, try: DMR Nets or Calendar
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 If you have a question which you think should go into our FAQ file, please send it to:  tech@dev.pnwdigital.org or post it to the IO group for discussion and it may appear here.

First Published: November 24, 2021 Last Updated: 12 months ago by Mike – NO7RF

Hits: 9

Leave a Reply