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Thread: Listening To Digital

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    SW Lower Michigan
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    9

    Default Listening To Digital

    Before I begin, let me say I take my test in 2 weeks for my amateur license. Until then, I've been listening to traffic getting the feel of the land so to speak.
    Anyway, I've been interested in the digital part (DMR). Do I need a license to just listen in on digital if I get a digital radio before I take the test and get my license (yea, I'm sure I'll pass.)?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Gillingham, Kent, UK
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    369

    Default

    Hi,

    Good luck with the test. It's not designed to be hard, just to make sure you have the basic knowledge to operate a radio safely and without causing problems for other people.

    You can listen to all amateur radio transmissions without a licence. You just need to remember not to transmit! You can program up a DMR radio with all the details needed to listen without having to enter an ID. Until you get your licence, you can't operate the DMR network user activated rooms, so you will just have to listen to what is being transmitted. In fact, before you can use the DMR networks, you need to request a unique ID from the network managers. the ID number will be assigned to your ham callsign.

    There are a number of radios that can be programmed in 'promiscuous' mode (it will listen to everything), and most of the others can be manually programmed to listen on every Talk Group.
    MB6IGK Fusion WiRES-X Digital Gateway on 434.5125 MHz in Gillingham, Kent, UK

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    SW Lower Michigan
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Thanks. I've been studying for about 3 weeks now, and I think I'm about ready for it, though I've learned to be over prepared for things.
    Yea, I know I can't transmit, but just listening to conversations, and learning to operate my radios while I wait for my license seems to be the best way to get into the hobby. But I had no idea that digital was a much better option than analog. If I'd have know that, I would've bought a a different handheld as my first (even though at this point, I'm already planning a shack in my head, and dive right in.). I just wasn't sure that I could listen to traffic without first getting my ID number.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Gillingham, Kent, UK
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    Default

    You need the DMR ID number assigned to your ham callsign to be able to access the network, but you don't need either to listen. DMR originates in the commercial sector, hence the ID numbers and not callsigns. Amateurs have co-opted the technology and made their own networks up, but they needed to come up with a way of using their callsigns to keep it within the governments rules, hence the need for a central database that matches up the callsign to the DMR number.

    It's a big hobby, with a lot to try out. In regards to digital being better than analog, well.... That's a can of worms. lol

    Digital modes are definitely going to play a big role in the future of the hobby. So is the internet and computers, whether amateurs like it or not. That doesn't mean that FM, AM, SSB, CW and other older modes wont still have a place. Using SSB or CW to communicate with someone on the other side of the planet with nothing more than a simple radio and a piece of wire strung up in a tree, is truly a magical moment. Being able to route digital voice traffic via DNS servers isn't quite so special. Practical and easy, but not exactly exciting or special.
    MB6IGK Fusion WiRES-X Digital Gateway on 434.5125 MHz in Gillingham, Kent, UK

  5. #5

    Default

    What hasn't been said about DMR listening is that without a license you will have to connect to what is called a static talkgroup (TG).

    There are 2 types of TGs and the way that you can listen to them. One is static, and that is sent by the repeater that you are connected at all times. The other one is PTT (Push To Talk), and those talk groups require you to transmit a signal before you are connected to listen -- and the listening only last for 15 minutes.

    Whether a TG is static or PTT depends on the repeater that you are connected to. The repeater sets it, and it usually has local TGs as static.

    A hotspot won't provide any help with monitoring either -- they need a DMR ID to connect -- and the DMR ID is only assigned to licensed amateurs.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    SW Lower Michigan
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Thanks to all. I picked myself up a Anytone uv898 to begin with. It's a really nice radio, and I'm learning a lot more about programming will it. A bigger plus though is its reception is much better than the Baofeng or Tenway handhelds I also have. There is a learning curve withbthe digital, but one that's fun...at least for me.
    And since we have a small unused bedroom, I'm already making definite plans for my shack. Heck, even my 16 yr old is showing interest, so that means I may be bringing another user to the fold.

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