Everything you ever wanted to know about DMR Hotspots

The Beginners Guide To Hotspots

A hotspot, simply put, is your internet gateway to a particular DMR network. You would use a hotspot when you either don’t have a DMR repeater nearby, or simply don’t want to tie it up for any length of time.

Many hotspots are capable of multiple modes as well, such as D-Star, P25, DMR+, YSF and NXDN… but we are only going to talk about DMR here.

To begin, let’s just say there is no single answer to how each brand/model of hotspot should be configured.

Depending on what firmware you are running, what digital modem board you are using etc… there are going to be variations. So we are going to focus on the basics and give EXAMPLES of how it can be done, though not necessarily how it should be done. OK? OK…

To start, here is a great video that walks you through how to setup Pi Star on a MMDVM Hat hotspot. This is a very common hotspot configuration and one that really sets the base for understanding how they work. This video by KJ4YZI – Ham Radio Concepts covers a lot of information that can be universally used on many hotspot configurations. The video is around 20 minutes long and it is very much worth watching.

KJ4YZI Hotspot Tutorial

Now that you have previewed the video, let’s cover some basic rules of thumb for using a Hotspot.

  1. If you only have ONE hotspot, configure it using your Radio ID. Do NOT add a 0 or 1 on the end like some might suggest. This is only relevant if you have multiple hotspots running at the same time. This is rare.
  2. Be mindful of what Talk Group you are using and how many repeaters it is keying up on the network. This is especially important if you are rag chewing with a friend who is also on a hotspot. It might be best to choose a TAC channel for that.
  3. Remember that hotspots are generally reliant upon good WiFi. So if you are using a cell phone for your WiFi source and driving around in a vehicle, you are likely going to have more complaints from those that you are talking to about the reliability of your transmissions. It’s just something that you are going to have to deal with. Cell phone networks can be spotty and have latency here and there, which will cause you more R2D2 issues. Both on transmit and receive. It’s normal for this to happen.
  4. Don’t forget to check your BER in the hotspot Dashboard. If it’s too high, check your RXOffset and TXOffset. You might need to adjust it higher or lower to get your BER down around 0.2% or less. This is VERY important to achieve reliable usage of your hotspot. Radio frequency accuracy varies, so be sure that your hotspot and radio are working well together.

This should be enough info to get you up and running, without too many hiccups. Please visit our contact page and pose any additional questions you may have and we’ll do our best to get you a solid answer.

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