Repeaters, MMDVM and Services for DMR in the Pacific Northwest

What is Digital Mobile Radio (DMR)?

Digital mobile radio (DMR) is an open digital mobile radio standard with the primary goal of the standard is to specify a digital system with low complexity, low cost and interoperability across brands, so radio communications purchasers are not locked into a proprietary solution. The standard has become popular within the amateur radio community due to the relative lower cost and complexity compared to other commercial digital modes.

What does PNWDigital offer?

PNWDigital provides voice, APRS and SMS services via Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) to hams in the PNW states of Idaho, Oregon and Washington plus affiliate services in British Columbia and surrounding states. We charge nothing for our services and all repeaters are open for any licensed ham to use to use under our terms of service. We do ask that you join our IO Group if you are not a visitor or traveler in our region. We provide favored and priority services to any EmComm group or ham club for their community service activities. And we have fun with DMR too!

What is our technology (in brief)

We are a c-Bridge based network of Motorola’s MotoTRBO repeaters located in Idaho, Oregon and Washington with our own direct connecting MMDVM servers as a secondary method to maintain contact with the network when outside of our repeater coverage area. We operate 3 c-Bridges using 3 Washington data centers and more than 75 repeaters, 9 MMDVM servers, 2 Echo Servers and various backend support operations in multiple data centers.  We also maintain a SMS and APRS-D server.  We have affiliation with neighboring DMR Groups and share talkgroups with other c-Bridges and the Brandmeister network.

Who are we?

At our core, we are just a few hams who love DMR and have a background in long time ham radio going back to the 70’s when repeater systems were linked only by RF.  These few hams made the move to DMR, in part, to continue with the enjoyment that linked repeater systems provide but now with the twist of IP linking.  The two voice paths offered by DMR, and other linked services are very nice bonuses.  While some may argue the purity of hams using the Internet to connect repeaters, no one disagrees on the simplicity to deploy repeaters, the value of having 2 repeaters in one and the success of DMR in the digital world of Ham radio…need more reasons? Then: Why DMR

When did we begin?

In 2013, our organization began in Washington with a c-Bridge and 3 core repeaters in Mazama (NO7RF) and on Cougar and Mt Baldi (NF6C).  That same year Greg left Washington and KK7TR and AF7PR stepped up with replacement repeaters. Over the next 10 years, we grew from  3 to 90+ plus repeaters with the help of other repeater owners and donations of labor, hardware and cash.

Why did we form PNWDigital?  

This is harder to pin down.  Because it is enjoyable, it works well, it’s Motorola and we ultimately decided we wished to build out a superior Ham radio network throughout Washington in great part, to provide services to EmComm groups and other public service organizations.

What groups do we partner with?

Looking at the wider view into the region, PNWDigital.Net is also a collection of other DMR organizations or independent repeater owners who chose to join us in affiliation onto our c-Bridges or joining with their own c-Bridges interconnected to our core repeater network.  Together, we form a very comprehensive group of DMR repeaters across the Pacific Northwest, each repeater capable of the more typical single site functionality as well as the more interesting use of the networked operation, controlled by a varied deck of talkgroups.

How are we organized?

We have no titles, no rank, no board, no incorporation and no dues.  We self fund our repeaters, servers, sites and all the overhead of running a large digital repeater network.  We manage the organization by consensus though at times, a majority on hot button issues.  We accept donations rather than operate as a club with dues or other fees to offset our costs.

Who is the PNWDigital Leadership?

The core admin team for the PNWDigital Network consist of the following Hams:

  • KC7AAD — Rod, Spokane WA email  //  VM and web hosting services, IP and networking SME
  • N7ER — Brad, Whidbey Island, WA email  //  Primary booster/presenter of DMR at meetings
  • W7NCX – Dave, Kelso WA, email  //  Primary NCS for the Weekly Gathering, programming and server services
  • AF7PR — Rob, Tacoma WA. email  //  Mr. Repeater, the basic force behind the many repeaters in Washington
  • NO7RF — Mike, Mazama WA email  //  c-Bridge SME

Where do we operate?

The Pacific Northwest primarily, consisting of our core states of Idaho, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, Canada.  We also have some expansion into other states; Montana, Utah and California due to our related activities and associations over the years with hams.

What does the future of PNWDigital look like?

We eagerly anticipate the ongoing expansion of repeaters to enhance our network. PNWDigital is optimistic about the possibility of formal organization, enabling us to pursue funding from grants and business donations. Behind the scenes, we’re dedicated to improving network capabilities and providing enhanced support to our members through dynamic web services supported by a robust database. Your active support is invaluable, whether it’s through hardware contributions, offering repeater sites, providing internet access, sharing professional expertise, or making monetary donations. Together, we can strengthen and grow our community.

How to contact us:

First Published: January 13, 2022 Last Updated: 7 months ago by Marc (KK7LMP)

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