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DMR2Gateway

For the past year I have been running two MMVDM hotspot with Pi-Star connected to the same XLX reflector. One (Pi-Zero) was running on version 3.4 and was solely being used to be able to communicate in YSF mode to the XLX reflector, whereas the other one (Raspberry Pi 2B with MMDVM) was acting as DMR2YSF connected to the same reflector.

This provides me a possibility to check whether or not the reflector which I administer works as expected.

Until recently there was no option to upgrade version 3.4 on the Pi-Zero since there was just no image available. But somehow they managed to port a 4.1.5 version to Pi-Zero and provide it under the Beta section of the Pi-Star website. I immediately downloaded it and copied it to a microSD card, booted the hotspot and confirmed it to be working as expected.

On the second hotspot I was running a Spanish version; if I am correct this was the version that provided switching between rooms. As it was not applicable with the reflector I administer, since there is only one room we all use, I have decided to upgrade that hotspot as well. So I downloaded the 4.1.5 version, copied it to a microSD card, booted the hotspot and confirmed it not to be working. Whatever I tried I couldn’t get DMR2YSF working (even with the correct TG setting). I decided to upgrade to 4.1.6 to see whether or not that would make a difference but the answer was no. (By the way upgrading from 4.1.5 to 4.1.6 can be done by issuing a couple of commands directly on the commandline or by clicking the upgrade button at the top of the screen when you’re in expert modus)

Then it came to my mind that the XLX reflector would, by default, be able to transcode the DMR signal to C4FM and the other way around. With other words what would be the reason to transcode a signal from DMR to YSF on a hotspot with restricted hardware compared to the server the XLX reflector runs on? So I decided to switch from DMR2YSF to DMRGateway and thus send the data signal directly off to the XLX reflector.

For this to be working:

enter your 7 digit CCS7/DMR ID under general configuration

only enable DMR mode

toggle the Brandmeister Network Enable and DMR+ Network Enable switches to off

set the XLX master to the correct XLX reflector

set the XLX module to the correct module on the reflector

toggle the XLX Master Enable switch to on

make sure you have the DMR CC set to one that matches your HT

don’t forget to apply the changes

verify under Expert modus / DMR GW the settings for Slot and TG so this matches with the settings on your HT

And that should be sufficient. By the way if you don’t like the voice notification “Connected to XLX reflector…” you can disable this under Expert modus / DMR GW / Voice by modifying Enable 1 to Enable 0


FTM-300DE (2)

Memory channel management is a different kind of thing. It is a time-consuming task to select the channels and add assign them to a memory group, unless you use the ADMS software.

Another point to note is that if you rotate through your memory channels and you reach the last channel you have to turn the DIAL in the opposite direction yourself. So there is no jump from the last memory channel directly to the first memory when you turn the DIAL key to the right.

In my opinion, the set could have won a lot of points as a mobile set because it is standard equipped with Bluetooth. However, when I compare its implementation to an FTM-100 with BU-1 and BH-1 headset, I am somehow disappointed. When I use a parrot function to verify my audio it doesn’t sound very good. And then it doesn’t matter whether you use a standard headset or a more expensive one with noise cancellation. By the way, the headset must have a default PIN code of 0000; this is not a choice, so Yaesu again says farewell to the older headsets such as the BH-1 and BH-2, where the pin code is set to 6111 by default. The audio via bluetooth sounds a bit pinched, not clear and far from nice. In a silent shack it is still do-able, but the question is how your counter parts, especially if they are mobile, will respond to your modulation. A plus is that the standard PTT toggle works, so you have to press the PTT button once to start transmitting and once to stop transmitting.

In short, the FTM-300DE is a nice set, but there are plenty of areas for improvement that can easily be addressed with a firmware update.





FTM-300DE

When Yaesu released the FTM-300DE I was amongst one of the first in the Netherlands to receive the transceiver. As I used to own an FTM-400 and was still in the possession of an FT-1XDE, FT-2DE, FT3-DE, FT-70 and FTM-100DE, I was somehow used to C4FM. And I’m still happy with C4FM…

So what about the new set? That’s a question you might expect when you buy a model that’s just hit the market. And is it for me? That last question is a bit more difficult to answer, because it strongly depends on the requirements/wishes you have for a new set.

After playing around with the FTM-300DE for a few days, I think the audio sounds nice. In addition, I have the idea that the fan does not start as quickly and is a lot more quiet compared to the FTM-100DE or FTM-400(X)DE. The redesigned air funnel apparently does do its job.

It takes some getting used to doing without a touch screen, but once you get the hang of it, you can use it quickly, especially if you’re used to the FT-3DE two-way radio. Everything is “hidden” in a logical place in the menu in my opinion (compared to the other sets).

Since the release Yaesu has released new firmware two days before I received the transceiver. And so the first thing I did upon receipt was initiate a firmware upgrade. The upgrade consists of two parts, a MAIN and DISP. Only for the MAIN upgrade you have to move a mini switch, which for convenience is now placed in an accessible place (behind the display on the main body). The whole process takes less than fifteen minutes.

Then I tried to load memories from the FTM-100 or FTM-400 with the ADMS software. The software says you can import files, but all options were greyed out and unusable. After some testing I managed to import a file from the FT-3 and write it to the SD card (which was pre-formatted in the transceiver). In no time the memory channels appeared on the screen and I was able to write the changes to the SD card and read them into the set.

The question is whether this is a good mobile set or whether it is better to use it in the shack. My idea is that if you don’t want to change too many settings on the road and you remain “stuck” on a frequency or repeater, you have a great companion with the FTM-300DE. And if you do want to make a lot of adjustments while you’re behind the wheel, I recommend an FTM-400XDE. The screen of the 300, although easy to read, is still fairly small. In addition, the fast functions are hidden behind the F key, but there is an extra menu layer in between, unlike, for example, with the FT-3.




FTM-300DE (3)

Just a small nuance with regard to the use of Bluetooth on the basis of testing on a direct frequency and not via the parrot function.

Unlike with previous implementations (FTM-400/BU2, FTM-100/BU-1) the audio sent to your headset via Bluetooth does not depend on the position of the volume control on the set. That is an important difference, because you now control everything in terms of audio directly on the headset. Apparently this depends on the type of headset you’re using as well. Yaesu didn’t and up until now doesn’t follow the complete Bluetooth standards which causes some headsets to work as expected whereas others have their culprits when connected to the transceiver.

In order not to become very deaf immediately, I recommend that you set the volume on your headset to minimum. The sound can then be called acceptable and I must say, with a bluetooth headset in one ear and my other ear against the speaker of an FT-3, that it is intelligible. Now just to test with a counter station and then I think I can adjust my opinion regarding the set in a positive way…

For the past few weeks I’ve been using the FTM-300DE as a node with the HRI-200; unlike the FTM-100DE, the 300 gets less warm, even in the high temperatures of recent weeks. The transceiver could still be touched in a normal way, the fan has not made much noise and in that respect I am satisfied with the performance. But there is a big but…

If you start the set in Wires-X mode and start the software on your PC, you have the option to dim the display in 7 different settings. Even on the most dimmed setting (which I have used continuously), the display lights up and the frequency set in the Wires-X remains vaguely visible in the background. With the active VFO you don’t have such a problem because the display of the frequency is bright enough, but with the inactive VFO you can vaguely see the frequency used in the Wires-X software.

So you cannot completely switch off the display. So be careful with this!