Our chariman, ZR5S writes:  At short notice, I decided to go up to the Windy Hill high site to install our new Pietermaritzburg MotoTRBO DMR repeater. I was lucky to have ZS5ML Mike to join me.  We had it fired up within an hour. On the trip back to Pietermaritzburg, I tried many times to work someone but was unsuccessful. Later that evening it started working and I spoke to ZS6MSW and ZS5GR with crystal clear audio for over an hour using just 1W on a portable from Blackridge (25Km).

Today, I spoke to various hams around the world and to Div6, but the Durban DMR repeater does not repeat my transmissions. So I cannot quiet say that all is well, but these teething problems should be sorted out in due course. It is just an internet networking routing issue.

Now that we have a DMR repeater, I need to get an order together for some DMR portables for our members to try out this new mode. But the choice of radios is overwhelming. Big brand names like Motorla, Hytera come with a price tag to make one shudder. Chinese portables are out in the dozen at good prices, but lack product support. Some have GPS, full text keypad, large colour screens, while others look rather boring with only a PTT button and speaker and are more suitable to your average shop security guard.

Will our efforts suitably impress our members… I think so. DMR has firmly seated itself in the corporate sector and hams will manipulate it to suit our needs. DMR_MARC is a fast growing network.  What will become of D-Star? I am sure it will run in parallel with DMR and be just as popular. There are a lot of Icom radios out there that are D-Star ready.

Either way, digital voice is the winner, and is here to stay. FM repeaters will diminish like the first analogue cellphones did. Who remembers SPACE TV, our first satelite TV service. The picture went grainy when overcast because it was analogue. Digital DSTV packs in so many more channels with less drop-out.

Note in the picture, Mr HAM guy, ZS5ML plugging away at his laptop getting the network configured. An image of the modern HAM.

On a side note, I think Kenwood’s NEXEDGE and Yaesu’s SYSTEM FUSION are two digital voice modes that will not take a foothold. A bold attempt to stay with the leaders, but too little too late. They should rather sell a radio that will be compatible with DMR. It is after all, an open protocol for anyone to use.

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