DMR is a digital mode, so owning a DMR radio is required. Before you can use the radio on a repeater, you must obtain a DMR ID (see below).
DMR radios typically cannot be programmed for DMR use from the front panel. You will need radio programming software to create a code plug. A code plug is then uploaded to the radio. See below for the different parameters required to create a code plug.
This is a unique identifier assigned to you and your callsign. It is programmed into your radio and transmitted to the network whenever the radio transmits. This ID identifies you on the network.
The DMR ID can be obtained from RadioID.net.
A color code for a DMR repeater is akin to a PL tone for an analog repeater. There 15 color codes (0-15). A radio must be programmed with the correct color code to access the repeater.
DMR repeaters and networks incorporate a system of “talk groups.” These are simply an ID code transmitted by the radio accepted by the repeater and retransmitted to other DMR radios on the same channel, and potentially across the Internet to other linked systems. This ID code is a simple number like “310.” In the DMR world, 310 has been given the moniker of “Tac-310.” Any radio set to receive Tac-310 on that repeater’s frequency channel will open the speaker and allow the transmission to pass to the end-user. Any other radio not monitoring Tac-310 will remain silent. These talk groups are programmed into radios like channels. A repeater could support multiple talk groups. The end-user radio would have to have each of these talk groups programmed into separate memory channels to utilize them. Memory slot one could be Tac-310, memory two could be Tac-311, and memory three could be Tac-312, for example. The repeater’s frequency and access codes could all be the same, except the talk group code. It is important to know which time slot the talk group is on, as that must match. RepeaterBook tracks the talk groups available to a repeater.
There are technically two different uses for a c-bridge. The first one is at the local level to cluster, connect up to 15 repeaters into a hub. RepeaterBook refers to these as IPSC networks.
The second use to connect clusters of repeaters to additional clusters of repeaters. RepeaterBook tracks this bridge assignment when known. The cBridge is also the source of audio feeds of the various audio streams that make DMR what it is. The Bridge, in essence, is part database manager, part master control hub, and part gateway. It is responsible for the assignment of what talk groups are available to a particular network and the repeaters attached to that network.
DMR Radios are configured using “Code Plugs,” which define the repeaters, talk groups, and other radio settings to communicate. Every manufacturer uses its own format, which may or may not be compatible with similar models. Though this programming model allows a large amount of customization for a given radio, it is also very time intensive – and unlike analog and some digital modes, you must program a DMR radio with a code plug before it works.
MARC stands for Motorola Amateur Radio Club Worldwide Network. It is one of the original DMR network coordinators and is still to this day extremely popular and reliable.
The Brandmeister Network was born from several worldwide hams and software engineers who joined together to create a digital repeater network consisting of master servers and peer repeaters worldwide.
Repeaterbook.com utilizes two APIs to supplement repeater data.
To use DMR through Internet Protocol Site Connect (IPSC) servers, each DMR appliance (radio, repeater, hot spot, etc.) needs to have a DMR ID. For the amateur radio service, these can be obtained through Radioin.net. Radioid.net maintains a complete database of all assigned DMR IDs and who, or what, the ID was assigned to. Repeaterbook.com queries the database in two ways.
Radioid.net rules require a registrant to use their own call sign and not the repeater's call sign. A repeater may have a club call sign or other call sign in some circumstances that is not the same call sign as the individual requesting the DMR ID. When this occurs, RepeaterBook may not successfully retrieve the repeater's DMR ID from the API. In this case, no information is retrieved. RepeaterBook admins should not assume that the repeater record is invalid if the DMR ID cannot be obtained via the repeater's frequency and call sign. Other search parameters, such as frequency and location, can be utilized to try to find the DMR ID. If the DMR ID is manually entered into a repeater record, that ID is used to obtain the API's information since the ID is a unique value in the record.
The API is queried by RepeaterBook whenever a repeater is edited or moderated at the admin level. It is also automatically queried when a new DMR repeater is added to the database. The listed color code, DMR ID, and ISPC Network are gathered and recorded to the repeater's record in the database and displayed on the repeater's details page and elsewhere.
If there is incorrect data on RepeaterBook, including the DMR ID or color code, this data can be changed and overridden by a RepeaterBook admin. However, the IPSC is queried directly from radioed.net and written directly to the database. RepeaterBook would encourage repeater managers to update the data on Radioid.net so that RepeaterBook can obtain the correct information.
BrandMeister also hosts the Halligan API. This API utilizes the DMR ID of repeaters connected to the BrandMeister IPSC to display the repeater's current static talkgroup settings. This data is not recorded into the database but is queried in real-time and displayed on the repeater's page. RepeaterBook admins have no way of editing this data and must be performed by someone with access to the record on the BrandMeister site.
Repeater managers can change the display of the static talkgroups by updating their settings on Brandmeister.network. Repeater owners can also request an admin to update the RepeaterBook list of talkgroup info. Repeater managers may also request to be made a Repeater Record Custodian and manage talkgroups on their own (self-service).
RepeaterBook specifically displays the Priority Description (blue bar at the top of the BrandMeister page), the Description, and Static Talkgroup fields.