Adding more entries each day…

If you wish to contribute to this FAQ or have a question answered: FAQ@pnwdigital.net

* Some questions may appear more than once under different categories


First Published: August 29, 2023 Last Updated: 7 months ago by Mike – NO7RF

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About Us (3)

Joining PNWDigital or becoming a member is as simple as making a request in our primary IO group: Groups.IO

  • There are no membership dues, fees or initiation (we do accept donations)
  • It is very simple to join.
  • We require that you live in our primary service region
  • We require that you have a DMR Radio ID number issued to you

Once approved to the IO Group, you are a considered a “member” and you now have access to additional privileges:

  • Use of the network (not just your local repeater)
  • Use of our MMDVM services
  • Access to our other IO sub-Groups
  • And other cool, fun stuff including $25 gift cards

Visits: 130

PNWDigital has the following core membership and service areas:

  • British Columbia, Canada
  • California (Southern CA and grandfathered in)
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Utah

At this time we do not provide direct services outside of the above areas though we do have connections with other networks that cover the world.

Visits: 118

This FAQ section came onboard August 28, 2023 through the major effort of Marc KK7LMP. Marc began the laborious project to update the old FAQ file that had been ported over from our old trbo.org site and then never freshened for this new site, nor the content updated.

We also suggest that you try our search box as well with your own keywords as it also works very well (upper right corner, above the calendar).

This FAQ still has much more to be added and hopefully others beside Marc will join our small group of contributors. More info at: pnwdigital.net/contributors/ if interested, contact us at: FAQ@PNWDigital.net

Visits: 138

Anytone (2)

Simply stated, get an Anytone 878-I or 878-II HT if you can afford the investment.

  • Great value to cost ratio at ~$300 (MAP), much less if you know where to purchase
  • Great ham features generally missing from the commercial radios
    • Supports SMS and APRS analog and digital (over DMR)
    • RT Systems Programmer support for all the Anytone DMR radios
  • Frequent firmware improvements (you don’t need to update but you can)
  • Excellent pricing if you are a PNWD member
  • PNWD publishes starter and complete codeplugs
    • Other radios you likely will need to code your own (steep ramp to rolling your own)
  • Purchase a good 15″ antenna (Nagoya Na-771) as the stock antenna under performs
    • Or the Nagoya Na-701 8″ will be better than stock if you can’t tolerate the 15″ whip
    • If you Tx inside a car, highly recommend a external antenna, small mag mount is far better than stock antenna

The Anytones are the most popular radios on Ham DMR. There is great support by individuals, clubs, IO Groups, etc. We strongly encourage you to stay away from the very low end radios such as Baofeng unless you want a cheap go-box, glovebox or backpack back-up. Even for back-up…Don’!

Visits: 114

PNWDigtial prefers the Anytones for many reasons. One of the better reasons is that Tri-band is supported (144-222-420) in the Anytones…if you use Mode 14. Mode 14 also provides access to the commercial, general business and public service arenas, Rx or Rx/Tx if that is something you are interested in (FCC hardware certification, licensing and authorization notwithstanding).

Mode 14 advantages:

  • Frequencies available (Rx and Tx) are 136-174 Mhz, 220-225 Mhz and 400-520 Mhz
    • You may lock out TX on any channels that are outside the ham band segments if you wish
  • PNWD’s codeplugs are set for mode 14 (so you may need to change your radio away from its current mode)
    • AT-Options software is a simple method to make that change

You may need to change your radios mode to 14 in order to be able to load our codeplugs into your CPS and then write it to your radio.  For more information:  pnwdigital.net/anytone-modes/

Visits: 122

APRS & SMS (13)

  1. Yes.
  2. Analog SMS is fine to use and is encouraged.  
  3. Digital SMS is implemented differently and may only partially work. Some have found success when sending an SMS to another radio via Simplex or on the same repeater.

Visits: 183

Not currently but it is planned to be implemented on our two slot MMDVM servers such as Ted and possibly RexX.

The single slot servers will not support APRS-Digital on the PNWDigital network. Single time slot servers have half the pipe to handle both slots of talkgroups and APRS traffic only adds to the clutter, all inside a single “pipe”.

Visits: 100

  1. Feel free to use Analog APRS on the freq: 144.39. Using APRS this way does not use the PNW Digital network at all. 
  2. PNWdigital also supports APRS digital (APRS-D). The Anytone radios are compliant. Other makes may be compliant as well.

Visits: 124

The A/B bands are not affected except for the very short duration of the actual data transmission (less than 1 second) and then, the data is sent when there is an opening between voice calls.

NOTE: A and B bands refer to the Anytone radio’s ability to use dual receive and to display on the screen one or both sets of information. The A band is the top and B is the bottom display set when in dual band display mode.

Visits: 122

  1. Testing should be done on simplex between different manufacturers or with different settings to determine what works best.  
  2. Try SMS through a repeater to another radio on the same repeater.  
  3. If that works, then try it between two radios on different PNW repeaters.  
  4. Note: Report your findings as the PNWDigital Tech Team has yet to find the time to work through all the manufacturers and the settings in each of the radios.

Visits: 183

There are several ways:

  1. In Radio: when an APRS beacon is received, it will display a compass pop-up with text on the display of your Anytone radio (AT878UVII+ only) with the user’s direction, distance and  Callsign or SSID. 
    • Also stored history in MENU APRS 5 1, oldest listed first (up arrow once for newest)
  2. On the PNWDigital APRS and SMS Dashboard.
  3. On the APRS.fi website.
  4. More information at: https://pnwdigital.net/aprs-digital/

Visits: 126

Use of APRS in a DMR transport stream may not satisfy FCC requirements as the call sign is not transmitted.  Only the Radio ID number (a representation of a call sign) is in the digital stream.  The call sign is included in in the analog and satisfies the FCC requirement of station identification. It is not known if the FCC will accept the de-facto RadioID.net database in lieu of a call sign.

Visits: 121

No, it doesn’t interfere.

For instance, when Anytone radios send APRS-digital data, it uses a separate talkgroup, 311999, on timeslot 1. You may be using a voice talkgroup that is on timeslot 1 or timeslot 2. The radio switches between these modes seamlessly during transmission. This data transmission doesn’t depend on talkgroups and happens between voice activity.

(Note about APRS-analog: Similarly, APRS analog changes frequency and settings automatically between voice transmissions. There’s no interference between voice and APRS operations.)

Visits: 84

If you have your radio programmed for the PNWDigital network, then the APRS-digital (APRS-D) TX and RX will use the frequency you have programmed for the repeaters you use. The APRS-digital settings below mean that when you are using any talkgroup on the repeater of your choice (e.g., East Tiger Mountain VHF), the APRS-digital beacons will be sent to and received from that repeater on its programmed frequency.

Notice, in the settings below for APRS-digital, you do not set a frequency for APRS-digital. These are all the settings needed for APRS digital in the CPS or RTSystems Programmers.

Global APRS-digital settings:

  • Report Channel: “Current Channel”
  • Report Slot: “Slot 1”
  • APRS TG: “311999”
  • Call Type: “Private”

For each digital channel, you must set:

  • APRS Rx: “On” (or checked)
  • APRS Report: “Digital”
  • APRS Channel: “1”
  • Optional Settings:
    • APRS PTT Mode – Default is “Off”

Visits: 137

  • APRS-A is commonly know as APRS, using 144.39 Mhz simplex, created by Bob Brunda and reported commonly on aprs.fi
    • 144.39 Mhz FM wideband simplex is most widely used but other frequencies are used for both front and back hauls.
    • APRS was created by Bob Bruninga, WB4APR (SK) in the late 1980’s
  • APRS-D uses a digital transport over the PNWDigital network to connect to aprs.fi via our WA7DMR gateway
  • The Anytone DMR radios support both analog and digital position reporting methods
  • PNWDigital supports a digital to analog position reporting gateway

Visits: 128

Data Format:

  • APRS Analog: In the analog version of APRS, data is transmitted using traditional analog FM (Frequency Modulation) signals. This means that information is encoded into audio tones, similar to what you hear when you tune in to a regular FM radio station.
  • APRS Digital: APRS digital, on the other hand, uses digital packet data transmission. Information is converted into packets of digital data, which are then sent over the airwaves. This method is more resilient to interference and noise, resulting in more accurate data transmission.

Efficiency:

  • APRS Analog: Analog APRS tends to be less efficient in terms of bandwidth and speed compared to its digital counterpart. It may not be as suitable for transmitting large amounts of data or complex messages.
  • APRS Digital: Digital APRS is more efficient and can transmit data more quickly and reliably. It can handle various types of information, including GPS coordinates, weather data, and messages, making it versatile for different applications.

Compatibility:

  • APRS Analog: Analog APRS may require specific hardware and adjustments to work effectively. It’s often used with older equipment that may not support digital modes.
  • APRS Digital: Digital APRS is compatible with modern digital communication technologies and software, making it easier to integrate with newer radio equipment and computer systems.

Error Correction:

  • APRS Analog: Analog signals are more susceptible to interference and signal degradation, which can lead to data errors. There’s limited error correction in analog APRS.
  • APRS Digital: Digital APRS includes error-checking mechanisms, which can help detect and correct errors in the transmitted data, ensuring higher accuracy and reliability.

Versatility:

  • APRS Analog: Analog APRS is primarily used for basic position reporting and simple messaging due to its limitations in data handling.
  • APRS Digital: Digital APRS is more versatile and can handle various types of data, making it suitable for a broader range of applications, such as detailed weather reporting, telemetry, and advanced messaging.

In summary, APRS digital is a more advanced and versatile version of APRS compared to its analog counterpart. It offers benefits in terms of efficiency, reliability, and compatibility with modern technology, making it the preferred choice for many Ham Radio operators and enthusiasts, especially in scenarios where accurate and timely data transmission is crucial.

Visits: 143

Yes, PNWDigital-owned repeaters are typically APRS-D enabled as are most of the repeaters on the network, when operating normally. For other repeaters linked to the network, create a channel and test. If you appear on our APRS Dashboard, or aprs.fi, the repeater is enabled. If not, contact the repeater owner or email us at tech@pnwdigital.net for support.

This information will be automated and published to the website in a future project on an unknown but low priority timeline.

Visits: 118

Use the SMS Format: M-SMS in Anytone radios as that supports our MotoTRBO repeaters and the c-Bridge hardware.  

Visits: 226

Audio (3)

This is often overlooked or simply ignored by new and experienced DMR users. But it is a major portion of the DMR experience and should be considered a priority right up with the programming of a DMR repeater. Why?

  1. Correct levels and clear audio quality enhance everyone’s experience who hear you over the air.
  2. DMR audio has a wide dynamic range and staying within the normal range is more difficult than FM.
  3. Uniform levels help everyone to not adjust the volume control, especially during nets.
    • Asking for OTA reports is a poor substitute but with 3 or more listener, is better than nothing.
    • Adjusting your voice, mic position or distance is a poor and temporary fix that is near worthless; adjust your radio settings.
  4. Sibilance is very often ignored entirely but is nearly as important as levels and very much a part of quality.
    • sibilance is the harsh sounds produced by certain consonants; the most common perpetrators are S, T and Z sounds. Technically speaking, the sounds associated with these letters produce disproportionate dynamics in certain upper midrange frequencies.
  5. A number of tools are available to aid you in adjusting your radio and mic position for the best possible audio.

For more information on audio and audio testing: Audio – Levels, Quality and its Importance.


Visits: 125

  1. Use the “Parrot” (Echo Server) as it transmits your last audio back to you via the Parrot talkgroup.
    • Announcement tracks precede and follow your repeated audio to provide a quality and level comparison to yours.
    • Your levels also can appear on the VU Audio Meter. which is useful to determine your actual audio levels.
  2. Parrot use can confirm that your radio programming and the network is all working correctly if the Parrot returns your audio.
  3. Correct audio levels and best quality are important and well worth making the effort to have the best possible transmit audio.
  4. Asking over the air for reports, while better than nothing, is very subjective and a poor method to address audio levels.
  5. For more information on audio and audio testing: Parrot Echo Service.

Visits: 118

  1. Go to the VU (audio level) meter page.
  2. Speak into any of the following talk groups: Audio Test, Parrot, Net 1 or Net 2. When you complete your TX, the VU meter will show your Average and Peak. You want to strike for consistently hitting the yellow band, that is, not too loud or too quiet.  
  3. Talk to two humans in a talkgroup. They can give you honest feedback about how your audio sounds to them.
    • Parrot, our echo service, is also a good tool for end-to-end audio (and network) testing.
      • Can be used to test without any others to assist you.
  4. For more information on audio and audio testing: Audio – Levels, Quality and its Importance.

Visits: 87

Basics (3)

There are several ways to do so, but likely the best is the big picture method by looking at a map of the Pacific Northwest.

  • If you want to see the big picture, take a look at our Repeater Map
    • Interactive with pop-ups, frequencies, talkgroup deck and heatmap
  • If you prefer a columnar listing showing other information, go to: Repeater List
    • Shows repeater status, Google Map, Heatmap and more

Visits: 157

These are very important settings in your codeplug that are easily overlooked or set incorrectly. If you are rolling your own codeplugs then you must get these settings correct so that your experience on our network are less frustrating for you and our other members. You may our starter codeplug if you are rolling our own as it has all the critical settings already in place as well as a well thought out values for the best user experience.

The key parameters:

  • Talker Alias must be DISABLED
  • Talk Permit (TX Permit) should be: Same Color Code, Follow Color Code or Interruptible
  • Enable the talk permit annunciation tone so that you are “notified” when the system is ready to pass your call into the network.
  • Group Call Hang Timer should be set to 1000ms (1 second)
  • Transmit Audio Level should be set to the proper level for your voice and how you speak into your microphone.

Most radios, by default, do not have the correct setting for our network. If you still wish to create your own codeplug, you should consider getting a copy of our Anytone starter codeplug so that you can see all of the correct settings to program for our network.

Your User experience will be less frustrating and our listeners will appreciate it too!

Visits: 168

Simply stated, get an Anytone 878-I or 878-II HT if you can afford the investment.

  • Great value to cost ratio at ~$300 (MAP), much less if you know where to purchase
  • Great ham features generally missing from the commercial radios
    • Supports SMS and APRS analog and digital (over DMR)
    • RT Systems Programmer support for all the Anytone DMR radios
  • Frequent firmware improvements (you don’t need to update but you can)
  • Excellent pricing if you are a PNWD member
  • PNWD publishes starter and complete codeplugs
    • Other radios you likely will need to code your own (steep ramp to rolling your own)
  • Purchase a good 15″ antenna (Nagoya Na-771) as the stock antenna under performs
    • Or the Nagoya Na-701 8″ will be better than stock if you can’t tolerate the 15″ whip
    • If you Tx inside a car, highly recommend a external antenna, small mag mount is far better than stock antenna

The Anytones are the most popular radios on Ham DMR. There is great support by individuals, clubs, IO Groups, etc. We strongly encourage you to stay away from the very low end radios such as Baofeng unless you want a cheap go-box, glovebox or backpack back-up. Even for back-up…Don’!

Visits: 114

Call History (3)

  1. Bottom Line: Use the Callwatch service. (It used to be called ‘Netwatch’)
  2. Callwatch displays, in real-time, important information about each call to the PNWDigital repeater system. It shows talkgroup, signal strength and overall loss rate
  3. If you see “UnKnown IPSC” instead of a named talkgroup, then you have something programmed incorrectly in your radio. 
  4. If you are having problems or trying to help another user of the network, this is the first place to go as there is much information provided by each line entry to aid in diagnosing the issues.
  5. The history goes back, generally, to the last 1500 transmissions.

Visits: 119

  1. On the Callwatch page, enter text in the “Accept Text” and/or “Reject Text” boxes at the top of the screen. Text in the “Accept Text” box will filter to include your entry. Text in the “Reject Text” box will exclude the entry. 
  2. See these example filters that you can reuse or use as a starting point for your own.

Visits: 147

  1. Yes. It is called “Bridgewatch.”
  2. It has functionality similar to “Callwatch” and in addition includes links to caller’s QRZ and DMRID pages, a list of the last 10 stations, and a Pie Chart showing the most accessed talk groups.

Visits: 187

Don't Do These Things (4)

  1. No
  2. Private Calls are a type of data service. When Private Call traffic is happening, it takes up all the space on each repeater in the network. Some data functions, like APRS-D positioning which does use PC, are fine as they are short bursts of traffic. But Private Calls keep going and stop others from using the network. Private Calls can be even trickier on our MMDVM servers because they usually only have one channel available for most HotSpots.

Visits: 105

  1. No.
  2. “All Call” was once an emergency only talkgroup and still is but with the availability of cellular phones, the active support of All Call has been deprioritized. Please do not use All Call unless it’s an EMERGENCY and even then, we have few control operators monitoring the talkgroup, so essentially, it is just another local talkgroup, that when used, will annoy everyone.

Visits: 62

  1. No.
  2. The PNWDigital network servers do not support Talker Alias.  Please disable in your radio if it is enabled.  If you use it, the c-Bridge will not understand how to handle your call and history.  
  3. Special note to BTech 6×2 users. This radio has shipped with Talker Alias enabled by default. Please disable that feature.

Visits: 188

  1. No.
  2. Do not use the Anytone Repeater Check or Auto Roaming functionality. Do NOT Use any of these features in the 578, 868, and 878 radios. These Anytone functions are not compatible with our repeaters and can “lock” up a repeater by repeatedly keying it up over and over, causing the transmitter to never drop.
  3. Roaming is supported correctly only in the Motorola MotoTRBO line of radios. Use of these Anytone features causes problems on the network.

Visits: 211

Glossary of Terms (16)

APRS, or Automatic Packet Reporting System, is a digital communication method used by Ham Radio operators. It enables the exchange of data, including location details, weather updates, and messages, using radio waves. It’s a valuable tool for tracking and communication within the Ham Radio community.

PNWDigital supports APRS Digital on its network.

More information is available at: pnwdigital.net/aprs-digital/

Visits: 100

Bridgewatch, created by Ben K7DMG, also uses the same piping options as Callwatch. Additionally, Bridgewatch will allow selection of repeaters to further specify showing only valid talkgroups. One click will clear all the filters that may have been enabled. Some members may prefer Bridgewatch over Callwatch due to the visual graphics, with or without the filtering options.

More info on BridgeWatch or go to BridgeWatch directly

Visits: 99

The c-Bridge is a DMR call routing platform that directs calls to the appropriate destinations be they a different repeater on the same c-Bridge or between other c-Bridges. This functions as a point to multi-point router or similar to VLAN Trunking. Talkgroups (voice call traffic) are the most commonly used method used to direct that traffic to the proper destination.

For more information go to: c-Bridge Network

Visits: 166

Callwatch shows the traffic across PNWDigital’s 4 primary c-Bridges.

  • Top table show the active talker information
  • Lower table shows the call history, 900-1500 calls in the history generally
  • Both tables show time, call signs, repeater used, talkgroup, source of the connections and signal strength
PNWpnw-a.pnwdigital.net:42420Located in Bremerton, serving repeaters in Washington, West of the Cascades and the Western MMDVM servers
PNW-Dpnw-d.pnwdigital.net:42420Located in Kennewick, serving repeaters in Southeastern Washington, most of Oregon and Utah as well as Parrot, East MMDVM and other specialty servers
PNW-Epnw-e.pnwdigital.net:42420Located in Spokane, serving repeaters in most of Washington East of the Cascades and Western Idaho
PNW-Spnw-s.pnwdigital.net:42420Spare c-Bridge, typically idling at DO/SFO, used to stand-in for A, D or E if one goes off-line. Also good for a PNW only CallWatch without the clutter of the wide-area BM talkgroups. <More Info>

More information on CallWatch page

Visits: 306

A channel is a “shell” that contains the basic (and advanced) DMR details needed to transmit over the air – frequency, color code, timeslot are only the basics. For DMR repeaters, you add a channel for each talk group on that repeater, normally bundled into a zone (bucket) built around a repeater’s talkgroup capabilities. On some radios, 1000’s of channels are available. Each channel has a mirid of parameters that must be done correctly for proper network operation

Visits: 118

A codeplug (old school term) is the programming file that contains all the radio settings, repeater information, talk groups, contacts, and other easy to mess-up stuff, all which works together to make your radio work correctly on the PNWDigital network. The codeplug is generally created specificly for the radio model and even the same firmware. A ham can invest 30 minutes or hundreds of hours into their codeplugs. That is one reason why we provide our Anytone codeplugs to our members.

  • PNWDigital publishes Anytone starter (basic beginning) and complete community codeplugs
    • The codeplugs are located in our Files Directory
    • Starter codeplugs have all the basic programming so the radio will work correctly on the PNWDigital network
      • Starters contain only a few zones and channels (sampler) to get you started with the correct basic but very important settings
    • Community codeplugs have every repeater and MMDVM server (over 90 repeaters with thousands of channels)
  • Our codeplugs are available in Files

Visits: 121

Loosely similar to CTCSS in the FM world, a form of repeater access control. Color has no relation to the term as it is numerical only

  • There are 16 codes available (0 to 15)
  • Generally, Color Code 1 is used by default in the ham world
  • PNWD tends to have fewer than a dozen that are not Color Code 1.
  • Client radios can be programmed to ignore received Color Code, similar to carrier squelch
    • Also known as Digital Monitor or Promiscous Mode

Visits: 94

A hotspot is a low-power (10-20 milliwatt) digital voice repeater and gateway that enables you to connect to our PNWDigital netork (or others). We have 10 MMVDM servers which have varying talkgroup decks to serve our membership.

  • The N5BOK duplex hotspot is the premier device at a reasonable cost
  • Costs range from $30 junk to over-priced $420 Skybridge
  • Available repeaters are generally better and preferred over Hotspots

Visits: 169

Master Control Talkgroups (MCTs) are special non-voice talkgroups on the PNWDigital network that enable you to turn off or turn on all other networked talkgroups on the PNWDigital repeater on which you are communicating. 

For more information: Master Control Talkgroups

Visits: 198

What is an Mmdvm?

MMDVM means: Multi Mode Digital Voice Modem. That is to say, it’s your Internet gateway to a particular digital network of hams, in our case the PNWDigital network. There are many types of MMDVM devices, hotspots being very common. You may use your MMDVM hotspot to connect to our 10 MMDVM servers (or other networks). Hotspots can enable you to use a DMR network when you are not able to hit a local DMR repeater.

Visits: 113

PeerWatch shows you the repeaters currently connected to each c-Bridge. The network activity is also displayed using red and green coloring. Yellow may occasionally be seen if a repeater has an Internet or other IP related issue.

  • Yellow highlights indicate that a repeater has an internet issue which may effect its network ability
  • Green is talkgroup voice activity on and from, that repeater
  • Red is talkgroup destination activity to the repeater
  • Top color bar denotes timeslot 1 voice activity
  • Bottom color bar denotes timeslot 2 voice activity
  • Data activity is green and red also. They appear very briefly as data is very quick compared to voice packets
    • Left vertical bar is data on timeslot 1
    • Right vertical bar is data on timeslot 2

More information is is available on the PeerWatch page.

Visits: 162

All are indicators of the quality of the received DMR signal

  • RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) – a negative number -100 dBm is good, -65 is superior and -115 likely is broken
  • BER (Bit Error Rate) – 0% is best, 3% to 5% can cause significant negative impact to the received audio quality
  • Loss Rate – Combined RSSI and BER – a CallWatch computation – 0% is best, 3%-5% might be understandable

Visits: 157

A Talkgroup (TG) is simply a name or label that describes a specific voice call over DMR. Also known as a “group call” in the Anytone radios, the TG is a number, generally 7 digits that ties the label to that number.

  • Example: “PNW Regional 2” is a label that is assigned to TG ID: 31771 (on our Timeslot 2)
    • The trailing number 1 or 2 indicates timeslot 1 or timeslot 2
  • The talkgroup must be programmed to the correct timeslot to be heard over the network

Visits: 565

Repeaters and MMDVM servers are programmed with their own set of talkgroups, which comprises the “talkgroup deck”. This deck is also matched to the codeplugs that are generated by ACB for our Anytone radios. Our Matrices show visually, the deck and it’s relationship to similar repeaters.

  • Talkgroups are programmed to be either full-time (FT) or part-time (PTT)
  • Timers are also assigned to the talkgroups to either keep the PTT TG on for a period of time
    • 15 minutes of turn-on time is the general rule.
  • Timers can also be assigned to “hold-off” other TG’s so that the timeslot is not lost if it were to go active elsewhere on the network
  • 3 minutes of “hold-off: time is standard for most repeaters (Except Local 1 or Metro 2, which are 5 minutes)
  • Each repeater has a base set of talkgroups in its deck and others may be added to better support the mission of the repeater
  • MCT’s (Master Control Talkgroups) are able to temporarily override the timers

Visits: 167

A simple way to view a timeslot (TS) is that it refers to 1 of the 2 slices of time in a DMR Tier II signal. It means that 2 voice or 2 data paths are available simultaneously on a single DMR repeater. So a DMR repeater can carry twice the “traffic” in about half the channel space compared to a FM repeater.

In DMR Tier 2 (2-slot TDMA), the radio transmit for 30 milliseconds and then receives for 30 milliseconds. The radio listens for a permission to transmit by sync’ing up to the repeater and then begins a call to all other talkgroup members who will also receive on that same time slot. This enables full duplex communication as well as break-in on an active user.

Visits: 170

A zone is a group of channels, typically built to hold the active talkgroups for a specific repeater. But a zone may also be built to support multiple repeaters based on geography or a specific purpose. Some zones are built for analog and/or digital simplex or the I-5 or I-84 talkgroups while other can be built for a few talkgroups in different repeaters based on a commuters’ daily route.

Visits: 96

Infrastructure (7)

PNWDigital is not part of Brandmeister. We have very different settings in our codeplugs.

It’s probable that your settings won’t fully work on our network if you’ve programmed for BM or other networks. If you’re using a Bridgecom codeplug, please avoid using your radio on our network. We provide Anytone codeplugs as those are set up to work on our network, our repeaters, and MMDVM servers.

For more information on these considerations:

NOTE: We do have many BM talkgroups and share some of ours. See the talkgroup listing page for details.

Visits: 100

PNWDigital’s DMR repeaters are connected by IP network connection to “c-Bridges” or conference bridges. These are computers that provide the backbone to manage up to 50 repeaters per (c-Bridge). Each c-Bridge can be connected to other c-Bridges or other types of digital networks such as Brandmeister.

An example would the hub, spoke and wheel system; a repeater is one of the spokes, the c-Bridge is the hub of the wheel and with 4 wheels you have the transport wagon (network). There is no practical limit to the number of repeaters, c-Bridges and networks that can be connected.

The public “Internet” is the typical IP connection just like you have at home or work but also used are cellular, microwave and WAN’s, depending on availability at repeater sites.

Visits: 99

  1. To catch issues early, PNWDigital started the “Adopt a Repeater” program. Volunteer hams periodically test their assigned repeaters, alert admin about issues, and enable swift fixes for seamless communication.
  2. Read more about it, and how you can get involved on the Adopt a Repeater page.

Visits: 180

There are several ways to do so, but likely the best is the big picture method by looking at a map of the Pacific Northwest.

  • If you want to see the big picture, take a look at our Repeater Map
    • Interactive with pop-ups, frequencies, talkgroup deck and heatmap
  • If you prefer a columnar listing showing other information, go to: Repeater List
    • Shows repeater status, Google Map, Heatmap and more

Visits: 157

  1. If you notice a problem with a repeater or service provided by PNWDigital, please report it to: tech@pnwdigital.net
  2. When you report issues please try to be specific. For example, include the RF frequency you were using, the type of radio, the power level, type of antenna, the name of the repeater you were working, the time and date the issue occurred.  
  3. (See also, Adopt a Repeater.)

Visits: 93

  1. We maintain 70+ repeaters. 
  2. Go to the Repeaters Listing Page to see details of each one.

Visits: 109

  1. The repeaters are spread out over WA, BC, CA, OR, and ID. 
  2. If you want to see the big picture, take a look at our Repeater Map
    • Interactive with pop-ups, frequencies, talkgroup deck and heatmap
  3. If you prefer a columnar listing showing other information, go to: Repeater List
    • Shows repeater status, Google Map, Heatmap and more

Visits: 172

Nets (1)

  1. Yes. 
  2. For a list of nets heard over PNWDigital, check out our Events Calendar.
  3. You can listen to our nets via the Audio Stream page.

Visits: 112

New Users (6)

This is often overlooked or simply ignored by new and experienced DMR users. But it is a major portion of the DMR experience and should be considered a priority right up with the programming of a DMR repeater. Why?

  1. Correct levels and clear audio quality enhance everyone’s experience who hear you over the air.
  2. DMR audio has a wide dynamic range and staying within the normal range is more difficult than FM.
  3. Uniform levels help everyone to not adjust the volume control, especially during nets.
    • Asking for OTA reports is a poor substitute but with 3 or more listener, is better than nothing.
    • Adjusting your voice, mic position or distance is a poor and temporary fix that is near worthless; adjust your radio settings.
  4. Sibilance is very often ignored entirely but is nearly as important as levels and very much a part of quality.
    • sibilance is the harsh sounds produced by certain consonants; the most common perpetrators are S, T and Z sounds. Technically speaking, the sounds associated with these letters produce disproportionate dynamics in certain upper midrange frequencies.
  5. A number of tools are available to aid you in adjusting your radio and mic position for the best possible audio.

For more information on audio and audio testing: Audio – Levels, Quality and its Importance.


Visits: 125

  1. Use the “Parrot” (Echo Server) as it transmits your last audio back to you via the Parrot talkgroup.
    • Announcement tracks precede and follow your repeated audio to provide a quality and level comparison to yours.
    • Your levels also can appear on the VU Audio Meter. which is useful to determine your actual audio levels.
  2. Parrot use can confirm that your radio programming and the network is all working correctly if the Parrot returns your audio.
  3. Correct audio levels and best quality are important and well worth making the effort to have the best possible transmit audio.
  4. Asking over the air for reports, while better than nothing, is very subjective and a poor method to address audio levels.
  5. For more information on audio and audio testing: Parrot Echo Service.

Visits: 118

There are several ways to do so, but likely the best is the big picture method by looking at a map of the Pacific Northwest.

  • If you want to see the big picture, take a look at our Repeater Map
    • Interactive with pop-ups, frequencies, talkgroup deck and heatmap
  • If you prefer a columnar listing showing other information, go to: Repeater List
    • Shows repeater status, Google Map, Heatmap and more

Visits: 157

  1. We should all make an effort to engage during and outside of our nets. When someone makes a call without explicitly asking for a QSO or radio check, we can take the opportunity to respond and start a conversation. 
  2. Similarly, let’s improve our calls to prompt more responses. Instead of just sharing your callsign and that you’re monitoring, take a moment to explain the topic you’d like to discuss with the Talk Group. 
  3. Check out the page on the Friendly Repeater concept for more insights on encouraging on-air interactions. You’ll be pleased you did, because meaningful QSOs are truly the essence of this endeavor.

Visits: 206

These are very important settings in your codeplug that are easily overlooked or set incorrectly. If you are rolling your own codeplugs then you must get these settings correct so that your experience on our network are less frustrating for you and our other members. You may our starter codeplug if you are rolling our own as it has all the critical settings already in place as well as a well thought out values for the best user experience.

The key parameters:

  • Talker Alias must be DISABLED
  • Talk Permit (TX Permit) should be: Same Color Code, Follow Color Code or Interruptible
  • Enable the talk permit annunciation tone so that you are “notified” when the system is ready to pass your call into the network.
  • Group Call Hang Timer should be set to 1000ms (1 second)
  • Transmit Audio Level should be set to the proper level for your voice and how you speak into your microphone.

Most radios, by default, do not have the correct setting for our network. If you still wish to create your own codeplug, you should consider getting a copy of our Anytone starter codeplug so that you can see all of the correct settings to program for our network.

Your User experience will be less frustrating and our listeners will appreciate it too!

Visits: 168

Simply stated, get an Anytone 878-I or 878-II HT if you can afford the investment.

  • Great value to cost ratio at ~$300 (MAP), much less if you know where to purchase
  • Great ham features generally missing from the commercial radios
    • Supports SMS and APRS analog and digital (over DMR)
    • RT Systems Programmer support for all the Anytone DMR radios
  • Frequent firmware improvements (you don’t need to update but you can)
  • Excellent pricing if you are a PNWD member
  • PNWD publishes starter and complete codeplugs
    • Other radios you likely will need to code your own (steep ramp to rolling your own)
  • Purchase a good 15″ antenna (Nagoya Na-771) as the stock antenna under performs
    • Or the Nagoya Na-701 8″ will be better than stock if you can’t tolerate the 15″ whip
    • If you Tx inside a car, highly recommend a external antenna, small mag mount is far better than stock antenna

The Anytones are the most popular radios on Ham DMR. There is great support by individuals, clubs, IO Groups, etc. We strongly encourage you to stay away from the very low end radios such as Baofeng unless you want a cheap go-box, glovebox or backpack back-up. Even for back-up…Don’!

Visits: 114

Radio (Not Anytone) (1)

A very different type of DMR radio. Sorta worth exploring but the best model (C006D) is no longer available on Amazon.

  • 3 models: C001D, C004D and C006D; skip the 001 and 004 as they are near worthless
    • The 001 and 004 can be used as monitor radios left in their chargers
  • The C006D is actually a decent UHF radio and when sold on Amazon for $34, a well worth considering

Visits: 103

Radio Programming (6)

This is often overlooked or simply ignored by new and experienced DMR users. But it is a major portion of the DMR experience and should be considered a priority right up with the programming of a DMR repeater. Why?

  1. Correct levels and clear audio quality enhance everyone’s experience who hear you over the air.
  2. DMR audio has a wide dynamic range and staying within the normal range is more difficult than FM.
  3. Uniform levels help everyone to not adjust the volume control, especially during nets.
    • Asking for OTA reports is a poor substitute but with 3 or more listener, is better than nothing.
    • Adjusting your voice, mic position or distance is a poor and temporary fix that is near worthless; adjust your radio settings.
  4. Sibilance is very often ignored entirely but is nearly as important as levels and very much a part of quality.
    • sibilance is the harsh sounds produced by certain consonants; the most common perpetrators are S, T and Z sounds. Technically speaking, the sounds associated with these letters produce disproportionate dynamics in certain upper midrange frequencies.
  5. A number of tools are available to aid you in adjusting your radio and mic position for the best possible audio.

For more information on audio and audio testing: Audio – Levels, Quality and its Importance.


Visits: 125

If you want to have a more satisfying DMR experience and reduce potential frustration and system congestion, you SHOULD activate your radio’s Talk Permit tone.  

  1. The Talk Permit tone, aka, Go-Ahead tone, Call tone or something similar, is needed by the radio operator so they know when it is OK to begin speaking after pressing PTT.  
  2. The repeater sends the acknowledgement sound to your radio after approximately .5 to 1.5 seconds.  
  3. Talking blindly (no Talk Permit or Call tones enabled) tends to congest the system and is inefficient and impolite and you are likely not to be heard.  
  4. For example:
    1. If you can’t hear the Talk Permit tone or the Bonk (rejected) tone, then you won’t know if it was OK to talk. 
    2. If the talkgroup is busy or the time slot is not clear for traffic, the system will reject your attempt to transmit into the system. 

Visits: 123

These are very important settings in your codeplug that are easily overlooked or set incorrectly. If you are rolling your own codeplugs then you must get these settings correct so that your experience on our network are less frustrating for you and our other members. You may our starter codeplug if you are rolling our own as it has all the critical settings already in place as well as a well thought out values for the best user experience.

The key parameters:

  • Talker Alias must be DISABLED
  • Talk Permit (TX Permit) should be: Same Color Code, Follow Color Code or Interruptible
  • Enable the talk permit annunciation tone so that you are “notified” when the system is ready to pass your call into the network.
  • Group Call Hang Timer should be set to 1000ms (1 second)
  • Transmit Audio Level should be set to the proper level for your voice and how you speak into your microphone.

Most radios, by default, do not have the correct setting for our network. If you still wish to create your own codeplug, you should consider getting a copy of our Anytone starter codeplug so that you can see all of the correct settings to program for our network.

Your User experience will be less frustrating and our listeners will appreciate it too!

Visits: 168

  • Set “TX Permit” in each channel to: Same Color Code

Visits: 92

RTS is a nifty radio programming tool to use to maintain codeplugs. RTS can program many DMR different radios. RTS has been around for many years, and it is well worth it to consider its use. RTS currently supports the Anytone 578’s, 868’s and 878’s as well as other major DMR makes/models.

PNWD supports the use of RT Sytems programming software. We also now have an IO Group for RTS support for our members: https://dmr.groups.io/g/PNW-RTS/

You simple read your radio with RTS, no need to use CPS for routine programming. It includes a downloadable digital contact list which can be easily customized to suit you needs. The new DMR calculator is a very slick new feature useful to populate new zones with all the channels with the correct talkgroups.

RTS also donated gift certificates in support of our Valley Camp fundraiser at our DMR Gathering held this past weekend.

RTS has provided PNWDigital with an Affiliate code: Click Here, as well as 10% discount off code for you (through 12-31-23). The code is: “PNWDMR“. RTS also sells on Amazon if you wish to check there, but pricing is higher.

Visits: 133

PNWDigtial prefers the Anytones for many reasons. One of the better reasons is that Tri-band is supported (144-222-420) in the Anytones…if you use Mode 14. Mode 14 also provides access to the commercial, general business and public service arenas, Rx or Rx/Tx if that is something you are interested in (FCC hardware certification, licensing and authorization notwithstanding).

Mode 14 advantages:

  • Frequencies available (Rx and Tx) are 136-174 Mhz, 220-225 Mhz and 400-520 Mhz
    • You may lock out TX on any channels that are outside the ham band segments if you wish
  • PNWD’s codeplugs are set for mode 14 (so you may need to change your radio away from its current mode)
    • AT-Options software is a simple method to make that change

You may need to change your radios mode to 14 in order to be able to load our codeplugs into your CPS and then write it to your radio.  For more information:  pnwdigital.net/anytone-modes/

Visits: 122

TalkGroups (11)

  1. See the Talkgroups Matrix
  2. Find your district and repeater. 
  3. When you click on your repeater, you will see a column titled “Rule.” This column indicates if the Talkgroup is full time or part time
  4. For example, one entry in the “Rule” column might be:  “P15/3m” or “FT/3.” The ‘P’ means part time, and the ‘FT’ means full time. 
  5. Scroll to the bottom of a repeater page to see a detailed description of how to decode these rules.

Visits: 119

  1. See the Talkgroups Matrix
  2. Find your district and repeater. 
  3. When you click on your repeater, you will see a column titled “Rule.” This column indicates if the Talkgroup is full time or part time
  4. For example, one entry in the “Rule” column might be:  “P15/3m” or “FT/3.” The ‘P’ means part time, and the ‘FT’ means full time. 
  5. Scroll to the bottom of a repeater page to see a detailed description of how to decode these rules. 

Visits: 75

  1. Yes. 
  2. In fact, you must Kerchunk part-time talkgroups to be able to listen in to them. Please read this post by NO7RF for more details.

Visits: 182

  1. Full Time talkgroups, also known as ‘static talkgroups’ are always active and transmitting radio traffic. No need to kerchunk a Full Time talkgroup.
  2. A Part Time Talkgroup, also known as ‘dynamic talkgroups’ require an operator to kerchunk the TG to connect to it and listen to the radio traffic.

Visits: 230

Master Control Talkgroups (MCTs) are special non-voice talkgroups on the PNWDigital network that enable you to turn off or turn on all other networked talkgroups on the PNWDigital repeater on which you are communicating. 

  • MCT’s can turn on all talkgroups on a timeslot or turn off all talkgroups on a timeslot.
  • MCT’s can silence a timeslot so that a net can be monitored with limited interruptions.
  • MCT’s can turn on talkgroups for 55 minutes typically or turn off all talkgroups for 15 minutes typically.

For more information: Master Control Talkgroups

Visits: 104

Networked talkgroups are any TG’s that are passed through the c-Bridge controller from one repeater to another. Almost all TG’s on PNWDigital are networked, including those from other c-Bridges or Brandmeister. Only the talkgroup, “Local 1” is never passed to another repeater by the c-Bridge controllers.

Visits: 114

  1. Full Time talkgroups, also known as ‘static talkgroups’ are always active and transmitting radio traffic. No need to kerchunk a Full Time talkgroup.
  2. A Part Time talkgroup, also known as ‘dynamic talkgroups’ requires an operator to kerchunk the TG to connect to it and listen to the radio traffic.

Visits: 97

  1. When you PTT on one of these talkgroups, all 70+ repeaters on the network are activated, and everyone listening will hear your call. PNW 1 and PNW 2 are FT (Full Time) on all PNW repeaters.  
  2. They are the designated calling talkgroups as they have the widest reach on the PNW network.  
  3. ⭐ Correct use of PNW 1 and PNW 2 is to make a quick call, establish a QSO and then QSY to a more local talkgroup like a TAC. 

Visits: 138

  1. Number 1 designates timeslot 1 and Number 2 designates timeslot 2.  
  2. It helpful to know which timeslot you are operating on so 1 and 2 are attached to the Labels. (e.g., “Bridge 2” or “Cascades 1”.)
  3. This is especially important when a label, such as ‘Washington’, has two different talkgroup ID’s and each ID is assigned to timeslot 1 and timeslot 2. 
  4. Typically assigning one talkgroup to two timeslots, as in “Washington 1” and “Washington 2”, is done to handle a high volume of traffic. 
  5. In general, all Talkgroups on PNWDigtal follow this naming convention. But there are a few that live in a grey area as they were started by other networks and PNW did not originally label them (e.g., “Hawaii 1” is on TS 2, so we list it as “Hawaii 1-2” or “TAC 1” is on timeslot 2 so we list it as “TAC 1-2”).

Visits: 106

  1. See the Talkgroups Matrix
  2. Find your district and repeater to see the list of talkgroups the repeater carries.

Visits: 106

We wrote that ‘all’ talkgroups are controlled by MCTs. This is not exactly the case. There are a few emergency communication and public service talkgroups that are not controlled by MCTs. In addition, local traffic is not controlled by the MCTs. Local traffic are communications recieved by a repeater and transmitted back out by the repeater without going through a c-bridge controller to any other repeater or network. The talkgroup, Local 1, is the example of a talkgroup that is not controlled by an MCT.

Visits: 113

Visits: 1325