Digital Mobile Radio (DMR)

I guess it had to happen sooner or later. It’s over ten years since I got involved with internet linking on Amateur Radio with IRLP and Echolink. But I was never really swayed by the upcoming digital modes. At the time D-Star appeared to be the front runner, and since then there have been others, including (probably) the two most popular other ones, Fusion (C4FM) and DMR. But Analogue was (and probably still is) my preferred option.

However, things move on, and I’m now developing an interest in DMR. For those that understand the technology, it’s essentially a time division multiplied system that splits one 12.5kHz channel into two 6.25kHz ones. From a telecoms point of view it’s something I’m very familiar with, but the implementation of it for Amateur Radio is another thing. In my experience the best way to learn is to play. So I’ve acquired a couple of pieces of kit which will allow me to do just that.

I’m now reading up about it, and as ever, as with other aspects of the hobby, there are various ‘factions’. Straight away I can see there are two variants I can use, both of which in their own right are I’m sure perfectly fine. But it’s one or the other. Both will have pros and cons. What I need to work out is which one is the best for me. I then need to work out how to programme all the options. This may take some time. Anyway, within a few days, expect to see G4EID appear on one or other of the DMR systems.

73, Mark.

The arrival of Gfast in Churchtown.

The other day I was trawling through my usual daily news feeds and came across this:- 

For a little background, openreach give a description of what Gfast is here:-

There was mention of the street cabinets that are served off the Churchtown exchange (where I live). In recent weeks I have noticed many cabinets being fitted with an extension, but hadn’t really figured what they were for. The extension is fitted to the main cabinet, not the associated cabinet that supports the broadband connections.

So I now need to do some rapid research since I’m not really familiar with the technology. It claims a huge increase in speed, but it’s *very* dependent on how far from the cabinet you are. And the further away you get, the less the benefit. Almost to the point that beyond a certain distance, the benefits aren’t really that great. I suspect I may fall into this category.

Anyway, my current provider, Zen, who I’ve no desire to move away from, apparently support it, so it’s time to give them a call to see what the options / benefits are.

What I do find surprising is that I’ve registered my interest for faster broadband on many official sites on the basis I’d get advanced warning when the time came. And I’ve received nothing. Only now by chance do I read I can get it.

As I find out more, I’ll add to this post.


Update 3rd January 2019. Well, Zen have been in touch, and the information I’ve been given is not what I was expecting. It looks like I could indeed benefit from an increase on download speed, possibly up from 60MB/s to 120MB/s. But the downside is that my upload speed would drop from 20MB/s to 5MB’s. For me that’s not acceptable. Given the amount of data we need to push into ‘the cloud’ these days, I”d bee looking to increase the speed, not drop it. So, it’s a no from me…..

January 2nd pre dawn sky

This morning the temperature dropped quite significantly. Which meant I was back on the normal winter duties of de-icing the cars. Hardly something that appeals, but this morning, the pre dawn sky had something pretty spectacular on offer. Low in the South East a slim crescent moon can be seen next to an astonishingly bright Venus. I’ll check again tomorrow, and a little later too since Jupiter should also be seen lower on the horizon.

If you’ve time, it’s worth a look. Here’s a snap taken with the phone. One day I’ll get a decent astrophotography setup in place.