I got my truck back. It’s been 4 months since I could identify on a repeater at 5AM and not have anyone respond… I guess it WAS pretty early. I’ll work on that.. .still figuring out what repeaters have coverage in the places I’ll be. That being said – it’s time to revamp my cluttered codeplug.

I don’t end up in some places as much as I thought I might, so I want to remove, or limit, the amount of stuff up there. I don’t think I’ll use DMR when I’m out and about. Analog is still the go-to for general rag chewing, I think. That might change, but it’ll still be a while because, well, all the different digital modes. I know there’s a lot of YSF machines near me, and a couple of them even openly tell you that they don’t have internet connectivity, which is the entire draw of digital modes, or so I thought.

OK, where am I going with all of this? Well… I ran an update to my RT systems software (along with firmware updates on the radio). I haven’t found MUCH different, but I did find a couple of items:

  • “DMR Calculator”
  • Bluetooth Mic settings

DMR Calculator

the “DMR Calculator”. This is great, as this is a functionality I was trying to build in excel early in my DMR days (I actually had the macros working – and creating CSV files, but it was a bit awkward). I think “Contact Manager” did some of this, too, but it also was a. stop-gap, creating files that the CPS had to load into the radio.

So what does this thing do? Well, it allows you to enter one set of RF parameters in a single window, then select as many talk groups as you want, and the software will auto-generate the channels. One channel for each talk group, with those RF parameters. It will even save them all to a specified zone. There’s only one downside – you have to have the zones pre-defined, so you can’t build the DMR portion of your cqodeplug entirely from this interface – you need to pre-plan your zones. Not the end of the world, it just takes more planning when you build a cqodeplug.

I still don’t see the “create zone” feature that existed (in menus, but not functionality) once upon a time, so zones must either be manually created and populated, or manually created, and populated via DMR Calculator.

Bluetooth Mic Options

This is really nice – when I first got the BT01, I had to use the Anytone CPS to set up the BT01 configuration, and the RT systems CPS to program the memories (well, I didn’t HAVE to use RT Systems, but it was a lot more convenient than the Anytone stuff). Now, I don’t need the Anytone software, as far as I can tell.

This does bring up a good point. In the radio, I have a label telling me what the buttons do. (P1-p6 short vs long press). I need to come up with something simple for the BT01, maybe mounted to the back of the mic.

New software flaws

I did find that when I had one particular “existing” cqodeplug open, I could not create new files without the software crashing. I’ve supplied this plug to RT Systems to try and understand what’s going on. Now that I “unloaded” this file, I may do a read back of the radio with the newest RT software, and clear zones and channels to start over. While I like DMR, like many others, I’m not seeing it get USED like FM for rag chewing… though I’d like to maybe have a drive time conversation or two with some of my friends from around the country. We’ll see what happens as I rebuild the cqodeplug, and possibly get some new DMR machines on the air…

Firmware Updates

Anytone does keep providing some firmware updates. I have two different versions of the radio (UVII and UVIII+), and they haven’t ceased support of the older model, which is somewhat refreshing. It means my radio isn’t forgotten. Luckily, with my install, I can swap radios easily, should that ever be a concern.

ARC4 Encryption

Well, I’m excited to see this in the radio firmware, but RT Systems doesn’t support it yet, apparently. The Anytone SW supports it – for Motorola interoperability, apparently – but RT systems hasn’t added it yet.

APRS Fixes

Now, I HAVE seen APRS hang up when the BT01 was in-use, which apparently wasn’t just me, so I’ll have to try it out once I get my GPS antenna reconnected. I need to do a little work to extend the coax…

(Lack of) bottom line…

There really isn’t a bottom line here – Just some observations. I will say that RT Systems is making a lot of progress on the Anytone DMR programming front – especially since it’s allowing the same cqodeplug to be used for both portables and mobiles. The anyone radios are what they are now. I don’t think there’s much more they can add to them for FM / DMR. Everyone is pretty much limited by which digital mode they’ve invested in – DMR, YSF, D-star, even P25… pick one and run with it. I like DMR because it has the most hardware options, but I also see a lot of YSF repeaters out there, and have friends with YSF equipment they prefer.