ZL DMR history
In Wellington we’ve been fortunate to have a DMR repeater on the world-wide DMR MARC network since August 23, 2011 where at 1930 the first contact was made with Bill N1EB. At that time there were about 60 repeaters in the network, today there are more than 300 machines in 22 countries. My DMR interest first started as the 4RF Amateur Radio Club ZL4RFC set up a DR3000 (EMEA version of the XPR8300) machine on 438.0125 MHz with the call sign ZL2R (now ZL2DMR) and a couple of handhelds (DP3600) with Jeff ZL2JG and John ZL4JY as the first users. This system was demonstrated at a number of amateur events including NZART 2012 Conference in Nelson. For testing we followed the NZART Internet connected policy here:
Now with the generous support of the Wellington VHF Group and a donated XPR8400 machine ZL2DMR up at Colonial Knob on 439.250 MHz for everyone to enjoy. This freqeuncy will migrate to 439.750 in 2015.
The original DR3000 machine is now ZL4DMR and is operating as a transportable test repeater on the old 438.0125 MHz frequency [since migrated to full STSP status on 438.750 MHz]. It’s available for demonstrations at club meetings and conferences.
To date the equipment has been all Motorola kit but that’s changed as our first shipment of the low cost Connect Systems CS700 radios have arrived. Jeff ZL2JG has worked on the programming and done a super job of pulling it together. A sample ZL code plug is available from Jeff or myself. There has been enough interest in these low cost radios for several follow on orders. Full details are here:
ZL DMR gurowth
If you are interested in using DMR you need to register for an amateur radio DMR MARC ID as a DMR radio can’t be used without it. You can contact me or register here directly:
The New Zealand interest in DMR seems to be growing almost daily. You can see who has registered by going the DMR registration database here by entering the key word Zealand into the Database Search box:
Originally ZL2R was directly connected to one of the key hub repeaters K9MOT at Motorola’s HQ in Schaumburg, Illinois. With the growth of the network ZL2DMR and ZL4DMR were connected to the VK/ZL TRBO bridge in Australia and now New Zealand has its own bridge, ZL-TRBO. The real-time operation of ZL-TRBO can be seen here:
Usually the repeaters are reported active here on the ‘last heard’ server in Germany:
Sometimes the Zl2DMR machine went off the air because of issues with a temporary 3G Internet link at Colonial Knob, this was fixed in July with a permanent connection via fibre. The New Zealand netwrok map is available here:
ZL contribution to the DMR MARC network
For several years now NZ users have contributed to the cost of the DMR MARC stand at Dayton Hamvention (the organizers charge real money for booths). I have contributed PowerPoint material to be used for presentations at the event. This year I was fortunate to be able to attend Dayton in person and also attended the DMR MARC admin dinner hosted by Mike AA9VI.
It’s taken many many trips up the hill by Group members to get Colonial Knob established. A huge amount of effort has gone into fence and building repairs, work on the wooden poles at the site, and antenna installation. Inside work includes improved security, plumbing, mouse proofing, and even wall cleaning. On the hardware side (as at June), the site has the 2m P25 147.075 MHz machine, the 70cm DMR 439.250 MHz, a APC 2200XL 2kVA UPS with the 48V 180Ah battery bank, and the combiner rack for filters and lightening protection. We will have the long awaited 6m repeater on 53.75 MHz ready around the end of the year. These main assets will be joined by a number of other projects.
Further DMR information
The main web site for the world wide DMR amateur network is here:
While the network started out as the brainchild of the Motoroal Amateur Radio Club in the USA and Germany the system is not a Motorola only show. A wide range of handheld and mobile radios from various makers will work on the network. From Chinese radios available for less than US$200 new through to commercial offerings from Tait, Hyteria, Vertex, and others. The site has a newsletter download available from the home page.
A very interesting UK DMR site is available here:
Be sure to click on the DMRUK newsletter icon at the top right of their home page for past newsletter downloads. This site has some very useful getting started information that is well worth reading. You can see who is active on the DMR network at any time by going to the last heard list maintained by the DMR group of the Deutscher Amateur-Radio-Club here:
See you on South Pacific VK/ZL talkgroup 5 timeslot 2!
73, John ZL4JY email: jy at the Telecom Xtra email domain