Creating a DMR codeplug for the AnyTone AT-D878UV
Few things in amateur radio are more frustrating confronting a DMR handheld for the first time. In this post, I'll touch on the basics of a codeplug to help you overcome that frustration. Link to a working codeplug that you can borrow and adapt to your needs at the end. It also includes APRS and DPRS settings.
By now, most of you have heard about DMR and the blockbuster Anytone 878. DMR has taken off as the leading digital voice mode due in good part to affordable handhelds and the ease of use of hotspots. Once properly setup, a DMR radio is simple to operate. However, loads of amateurs using a codeplug that was given to them, and that won't let them profit from any of the awesomeness of DMR. This post is for beginners that want to set up their brand new handies. I included my own codeplug at the end of this post.
Step 1. Go get an ID
This is not your callsign, but a number tied to your callsign. You will need it for the configuration of both your radio and your hotspot. Go here if you are in Europe/Africa or here if you are elsewhere, and fill in the forms.
Step 2. Ignore the front panel
No matter how hard you try, you won't be able to program your DMR radio from the front panel. Accept it, and ignore it from now on. Turn your computer on and download the programming software for your radio. Install it. You'll do most of the work from it.
Step 3. Plug your radio and read from it
Plug your radio into your computer using the programming cable that came with it. The cable from another radio will most definitely not work. Once plugged in, fire up the programming software and "read" from the radio. Save the file for future reference, and make all changes in a copy. If you are familiar with Chirp, you'll figure this one out fairly quickly.
Step 4. Set your own ID
The radio will come pre-programmed with a dummy DMR ID such as 123456. Change it for your own one. Your radio won't work without your real DMR ID. Please don't use anyone else's ID: it's pretty much like stealing someone else's callsign.
|The Anytone 878 can hold several Radio IDs|
Step 5. Talkgroups
Here comes the first part about a codeplug. Talkgroups are chat rooms. Find the ones that are of your interest in this list, and take note of their IDs. You might want to include 310, 214 and 9990 amongst them. Add these your talkgroups list. List all of them as Group Calls, except for 9990 (that is Parrot, aka echo test, and requires a private call).
|List of talkgroups|
Step 6. Channels
A channel is a combination of a talkgroup, a frequency, a color code and a time slot. Unless you are using some funky two-antenna hotspot, you want to set your channels like this:
- The allowed frequency for a non-NoV low-power hotspot. In the UK, these are only 438.800.000 and 434.000.000. Pick the one that your hotspot is configured for.
- Color Code 1 (CC 1)
- Time Slot 2 (TS 2)
- One talkgroup from your list above
DMR has plenty of interesting features such as promiscuous mode, but you don't want your radio to start acting like crazy on your first try. Keep your channels as described above: one channel per talkgroup.
Step 7. Zones
Zones are like memory banks -- for now. There's plenty of black magick features that Zones can bring into the commercial space that DMR was originally designed for. You don't need them. Just rename the existing Zone to something like "Hotspot", and add all your channels to the zone.
Step 8. Contact List
Remember step 1, when you requested an ID? Everyone else has done the same. You can download a list of all IDs and load into your radio. Next time we work each other I don't have to spell Pablo for you, as you'll have the right spelling on your screen, alongside my call ;)
Step 9. Save the file and upload it to the radio
You know how to do this. Just make sure the right COM port is selected. Save a back up the damned file!
Step 10. Profit
Key up your radio to bring TG 9990 (Parrot) up to your hotspot. Key it up again, and say something. If Parrot comes back at you and repeats your message, you got everything sorted out already.
Key up any other talkgroup, listen for traffic and announce yourself as you would in a polite and friendly repeater. Try asking for a radio check if you feel something's wrong.
Here's a link to my own codeplug. The final result should be something like it. Feel free to modify and reuse it, but remember to type your DMR ID in there.
If it doesn't work, try verifying the configuration of your channels. If it still doesn't work, leave a comment below, or drop me a note over email, Instagram or Twitter.