Central Idaho Amateur
Radio Club
     
W7CIA Member Affiliated Repeater
W7CIA VHF/2-Meter DMR Repeater

This page last updated 30 August 2017.


Table Of Contents
Introduction

The W7CIA VHF/2-meter repeater is a low level open repeater, located approximately 3 miles south of Cascade, Idaho (e.g. 60 miles due north of Boise) and can be linked to the KC7MCC CIARC repeater via the 33cm Link Backbone under DTMF command by a control-operator. The W7CIA repeater provides coverage along the highway 55 cooridor, from south of Smith's Ferry (i.e. mile marker 85) to McCall.

It is absolutely essential that all operators become familiar with the DMR operating guidelines. These can be found on the Idaho ARES web-site by clicking here, or on this (i.e. CIARC) web-site by clicking here. These guidelines provide a context regarding the shared resource nature of DMR and wide-area networked repeater operation, and are structured to make the operating experience more enjoyable for all operators.

Operators who do not comply with the above mentioned guidelines may find themselves subject to FCC part 97.205(e) restrictions.


Operators hearing stations that do not adhere to the DMR operating guidelines are encouraged to not respond to operators that operate in violation of the guidelines in an effort to discourage poor operating practices.


W7CIA VHF/2-Meter Repeater Access Parameters
Call
Sign
DMR-MARC ID QTH Input
MHz
Output
MHz
MODE Timeout
Timer
Minutes
W7CIA 311602 Cascade 146.360 146.960 DMR 10



The W7CIA Repeater has migrated from analog FM to Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) on 21 January 2017. This was accomplished with the purchase and installation of a Hytera RD-982 VHF repeater from White Cloud Communications. Users with a standard analog FM transceiver will no longer be able to access the W7CIA repeater. The primary reasons for this change are to increase the usable coverage foot-print through improved signal quality, attain seamless wide area networking capability (i.e. global, national, regional, and local coverage through the BrandMeister network), with a focus on statewide ARES communications capabilities.

[Hytera RD-982 Front]

Why Hytera Was Chosen: A number of people have asked why Hytera was chosen over Motorola. Since Motorola customer programming software is a subscription service, there would be an on-going charge simply to be able to maintain programming of the repeater. No such subscription charge exists with Hytera. Pirating software is not an option, legally or ethically. Motorola may very well be a viable choice for other repeater owners / operators if the subscription fee is not objectionable to them, or if they have a business relationship with Motorola that negates the cost of the subscription. Given a very balanced comparison of Motorola and Hytera repeater specifications, and Hytera's more favorable retail pricing when compared to Motorola, Hytera simply made the most economic sense.


Because of DMR's implementation of digital voice technologies, including Forward Error Correction (FEC), DMR may offer a 25% to 30% greater coverage foot-print than standard analog FM technology. This gain largely occurs because DMR provides the equivalent of a full-quieting signal (i.e. no noise) where the analog signal falls into the noise floor as the signal becomes weaker. It is realized that the majority of DMR activity in the USA is centered on 70cm UHF, but 2m VHF provides nearly a four-fold increase in coverage foot-print when compared to 70cm UHF, so the combination of DMR and VHF makes sense when considering coverage performance.

DMR connectivity to the CIARC 33cm link back-bone will be disabled during the CIARC monthly NET.

If your station is not DMR equipped, and you attempt to listen directly to the W7CIA repeater on 146.960 MHz, you will only hear digital communications, which will sound like noise. It is recommended that stations equipped with standard analog FM capability use either the No Business Mt. or Brundage Mt. CIARC analog 2-meter FM repeaters.

IRLP and EchoLink capabilities are available full-time on the CIARC 33cm Link Backbone. Connectivity between DMR / Brandmiester services and EchoLink / IRLP services can be enabled or disabled by an authorized control operator. When connectivity between EchoLink / IRLP services are enabled for DMR, those services are only available on DMR Time-Slot 1. The IRLP node number for thw W7CIA repeater is 3210. The EchoLink node name and node number for the W7CIA repeater are W7CIA-R and 696264 respectively. The W7CIA repeater implements an EchoLink blocking policy on stations that connect and disconnect without making a call, or by exhibiting other abusive behavior (such as repetitive keying to position a directional antenna). If you abuse the EchoLink service by displaying poor operator behavior, you will be blocked.

Amateur Radio operators should be familiar with FCC Regulations, including 97.205(e) and with proper operating practices (see New Ham Guidance). The repeater trustee provides open repeater access at his own expense, and reserves the right to invoke 97.205(e). Amateur Radio operators can avoid being subject to implementation of 97.205(e) simply by implementing proper radio operating practices.


DMR Code Plug Parameters

For those wishing to add the W7CIA VHF DMR Repeater to their DMR code-plug, the following programming parameters should be employed:


W7CIA DMR Code-Plug Parameters
CHANNEL CHANNEL NAME TALK GROUP TYPE TIME-SLOT TALK-GROUP COLOR CODE TIME OUT CLUSTER
1 BM ID
3116
DYNAMIC 1 3116 1 180 NO
2 BM MT
3130
DYNAMIC 1 3130 1 180 NO
3 BM NV
3132
DYNAMIC 1 3132 1 180 NO
4 BM OR
3141
DYNAMIC 1 3141 1 180 NO
5 BM TX
3148
DYNAMIC 1 3148 1 180 NO
6 BM UT
3149
DYNAMIC 1 3149 1 180 NO
7 BM WA
3153
DYNAMIC 1 3153 1 180 NO
8 BM ZONE 7 DYNAMIC 1 31097 1 180 NO
9 BM TAC 5 DYNAMIC 1 8955 1 180 NO
10 BM SNARS
31328
DYNAMIC 1 31328 1 180 NO
11 BM SOCAL
31066
DYNAMIC 1 31066 1 180 NO
12 BM NORCAL
31068
DYNAMIC 1 31068 1 180 NO
13 TS1 NET STATIC 1 8 1 180 YES
14 TS2 NET STATIC 2 2 1 180 YES
15 BM ARES-ID
31160
STATIC 2 31160 1 180 NO
16 BM EMCOM
9911
STATIC 2 9911 1 180 NO

If you are constructing a code-plug that supports the KC7MCC, N7IBC and W7CIA DMR repeaters, it is recommended interleaving channels for each of the repeaters as contiguous channels of a like talk-group to promote driving safety. For example, if the TS1 NET for the KC7MCC DMR repeater is adjacent to the channel for the N7IBC DMR repeater, and then the W7CIA DMR repeater, you will not need to change zones when mobile operation requires you to move from one repeater to the next. You will only need to change channels.

Dynamic talk-groups (i.e. push-to-talk talk-groups), residing on time-slot 1, are available to stations directly using the W7CIA DMR repeater with DMR Tier II equipment, or by stations using analog repeaters that are on the CIARC 33cm link back-bone (when enabled). While stations on DMR will have the ability to activate a specfic dynamic talk-group, users from the CIARC link back-bone do not have the ability to select a talk-group and can only use the talk-group that is currently activated.

Calls initiated from other repeaters that are on the BrandMeister network, and appearing as a dynamic talk-group on time-slot 1, will be heard on the CIARC repeater network whenever the 33cm link is enabled. Any traffic on the CIARC repeater network will be heard on the active dynamic talk-group on time-slot 1. This means that your traffic may be heard on other repeaters in Idaho (and other regions, states, countries). The 33cm link will be disabled during the monthly CIARC NET, and at other times at the discretion of the control operator(s).

Dynamic talk-groups on time-slot 1 may be scheduled to operate as static talk-groups to coincide with specific NET activiies. See the CIARC home page for NET details. See the BrandMeister 311602 Repeater information page for current static talk-group and timed static talk-group information.

Note that the BM prefix in the channel naming indicates that the channel is routed to the BrandMeister network.

NOTE: Dynamic talk-groups are advisory. Technically, it is possible to program any talk-group into your radio's code-plug file and use it. There are no technical restrictions applied by the repeater or the BrandMeister network with respect to dynamic talk-groups. However, the repeater trustee recommends that operators adhere to using the talk-group listing above in as much as is practicable.

Information on the W7CIA repeater that is published on BrandMeister can be viewed by clicking here.

Station operators are requested to limit their use of high-volume traffic talk-groups, such as California statewide 3106 or USA Nationwide 3100. If you need to use a high-volume talk-group, please limit that usage to making a call and then move to a talk-group with lower traffic volume.


Private Calls

Stations making Private Calls are asked to restrict private calls to time-slot 1. Private Calls, whether initiated while on a talk-group, or programmed by setting the TX Contact to a private call contact, can be carried out on time-slot 1. If you do not use a pre-programmed channel for a private call, please make sure that you are on a channel that specfies time-slot 1 prior to initiating a private call. If you are on a time-slot 2 channel when you receive a private call, please, at your earliest convenience, coordinate a pause and switch to a time-slot 1 channel prior to resuming a private call.


W7CIA Repeater Block Diagram

W7CIA DMR REPEATER BLOCK DIAGRAM

The following observations regarding interfacing through the accessory connector may be of interest to others:

W7CIA Repeater Coverage Footprint

W7CIA DMR REPEATER COVERAGE FOOT PRINT

Clustered Time-Slot / Talk-Group Pairs

The KC7MCC 70cm/UHF DMR Repeater, N7IBC 70cm/UHF DMR Repeater and W7CIA 2m/VHF DMR Repeater are configured to subscribe to a cluster on Time-Slot 1 / Talk-Group 8 and to another cluster on Time-Slot 2 / Talk-Group 2. Respectively, these channels are named TS1 NET and TS2 NET. Any communications occurring on any of these repeaters will be heard on that repeater and the other two repeaters when one of these channels is used. Clustered Talk-Groups are STATIC.

The maintaining of a static talk-group on both time-slots is not conventional. The purpose of doing so is to support primary NET operations on one time-slot, and allowing traffic to be moved off of the primary NET and onto the secondary NET in order to maintain communications capability while allowing the primary NET to serve, unimpeded by traffic, as a coordinating NET. The convention that has been established for these two clustered time-slot/talk-group pairs is that the primary NET operations will be conducted on TS2 NET while off NET traffic will be handled on TS1 NET.

A composite coverage prediction for repeaters included in these clustered channels is shown below:


W7CIA DMR REPEATER COVERAGE FOOT PRINT

Hytera RD-982 Wish List

After running the Hytera RD-982 repeater for several months, there are several issues that have been encountered that could easily be addressed by changes to the operation of the repeater firmware, and, in some cases, would also require changes in the Customer Programming Software. Each of these issues is discussed individually below, along with a proposed solution, and a customer work-around (if available). The proposed solution is not necessarily the only solution, but provides a reference point for discussion.

The above observations ane recommendations were published on 3 February 2017, updated on 24 May 2017, and are based on Hytera RD-982 Firmware Version A7.06.04.000 with radio version D7.06.02.004. Each of these issues could be resolved by software update as each is rooted in software behavior.


Hytera RD-982 Accessory Connector

[Hytera RD982 Rear]

The following information was obtained from a pdf file that contains the RD-98X revision 3.5 service manual for the UHF version of the repeater. The accessory connector is a D-SUB 26-pin type. A DSUB 26-pin connector, compatible with the RD-982 accessory connector, can be ordered from DigiKey. No connector is provided with the repeater when purchased.


PIN NAME DESCRIPTION
1 NC  
2 GND  
3 DB26_GPIO4 GENERAL I/O INTERFACE WITH FUNCTION DEFINED THROUGH THE CPS
4 SWB+  
5 NC  
6 AGND  
7 TXAUDIO EXTERNALMIC SIGNAL INPUT, SUBJECT TO CPS SETTINGS
8 RXAUDIO RX FILTER / FLAT AUDIO OUTPUT, SUBJECT TO CPS SETTINGS
9 GND  
10 D+ WHEN THIS PIN ISUSED FOR USB, USB OF MM10
11 GND  
12 DB26_GPIO2 GENERAL I/O INTERFACE WITH FUNCTION DEFINED THROUGH THE CPS
13 ACC_IO2 ACCESSORY IDENTIFICATION PIN (NOT DEFINED)
14 PROM IN NOT DEFINED
15 ACC_IO3 ACCESSORY IDENTIFICATION PIN (NOT DEFINED)
16 DB26_PTT_IN PROGRAMABLE INPUT PIN (PTT BY DEFAULT) VALID FOR LOW LEVEL, CONFIGURABLE VIA CPS
17 GND  
18 PF_DET NOT DEFINED
19 D- WHEN THIS PIN IS USED FOR USB, USB OF MMP10 WILL BE DISABLED
20 DB26_GPIO3 GENERAL I/O INTERFACE WITH FUNCTION DEFINED THROUGH THE CPS
21 GND  
22 DB26_GPIO5 GENERAL I/O INTERFACE WITH FUNCTION DEFINED THROUGH THE CPS
23 DB26_GPIO6 GENERAL I/O INTERFACE WITH FUNCTION DEFINED THROUGH THE CPS
24 SLOTA_AUDIO 1. AUDIO OUTPUT OF RX SLOT A, 2. SELECT DIGITAL MODE VIA THE CPS
25 SLOTB_AUDIO 1. AUDIO OUTPUT OF RX SLOT B, 2. SELECT DIGITAL MODE VIA THE CPS
26 RSSI RSSI INDICATION OUTPUT (RESERVED)

Note that the text description on pin 10 appears to be incomplete, which is how it appears in the original pdf file. Both pin 10 and pin 19 pin descriptions are paired, and refer to disabling the USB interface on the 10-pin front panel connector.

A review of the RD-98X schematic shows all of the GPIO pins terminated to +5V with a 10KΩ pull-up resistor. When configured as an output, the GPIO pins are driven by a saturated transistor, with the collector buffered to the pin using a 470Ω resistor. When configured as an input, the pin drives a 33kΩ resistor in series with a 10KΩ resistor that is internal to an MUN5214DW1T1, and drives the base of the MUN5214DW1T1 transistor, which has a grounded emitter. The internal transistor also has a 47KΩ resistor from the base to emitter. With this termination, an input pin that is not connected to any external circuit should have a quiescent high state at 4 volts.

The CPS provides the following options for programming the function of the GPIO pins:


PIN NAME OPTION
12 DB26_GPIO2
None
Ext Mic PTT
Carrier Detect
CTCSS/CDCSS Detect
Repeater Knockdown
Channel Steering 1
Channel Steering 2
Channel Steering 3
Channel Steering 4
Telemetry VIO 1
Telemetry VIO 2
Telemetry VIO 3
Telemetry VIO 4
Monitor
Reset
Major Alarm
Minor Alarm
Major & Minor Alarm
Voice Detect
Repeater Disable
Launch High Power
Voice or Carrier Detect
Voice or CTCSS/CDCSS Detect
Remote PTT Detect
Contact Select 1
Contact Select 2
Contact Select 3
Contact Select 4
Tx Slot Switch
20 DB26_GPIO3
3 DB26_GPIO4
22 DB26_GPIO5
16 DB26_PTT_IN
None
Ext Mic PTT
Repeater Knockdown
Reset
Repeater Disable
Launch High Power
23 DB26_GPIO6

The CPS also provides the following pin reference:


RD982 Pins
Hytera RD-982 Customer Programming Software Information

The following images illustrate how to program the Hytera RD-982 to participate on the BrandMeister network, using Hytera Customer Programming Software version V8.0.09.007.NA2.






The only change made to the settings was to increase the time-out timer period to 600 seconds, or 10 minutes.



The Basic settings must include setting the Radio ID to the repeater's DMR-MARC assigned ID. Please note that the Group Call Time[s] field has been set to 1.0 seconds, based on a query of what users of Motorola repeaters are using. The value of this field is not properly depicted in the image below.



A single Digital Channel is programmed to support connection to the BrandMeister network. It is important that the IP Mult-site Connect pop-up menu have the Slot1 & Slot2 menu item selected. No contacts need be programmed, and the digital channel should have the Tx Contact Name set to None. This channel will be used as the default channel.



Although an Analog Channel is not required, it may be useful to perform repeater service and diagnostic tasks where analog test equipment may be the only equipment available.



A Mixed Channel is not necessary but was programmed to support experimentation with this feature.



The Digital Channel, Analog Channel and Mixed Channel are added to the memory zone.



The CW ID is set to the call sign of the repeater.



The W7CIA repeater a hardwired CAT-5 connection to a DSL Router/Modem. The IP address of the repeater is acquired using DHCP. All other settings within the Basic Setting and IP Connect Configuration follow the BrandMeister wiki page. The specific page on setting up the Hytera RD-98x series repeaters can be viewed by clicking here.

Note that some users of Hytera RD-98x series repeaters have experienced issues in setting the Network Authentication Key to an empty field. The recommended work-around is to write the programming file to the repeater using a non-empty Network Authentication Key, then clear the key and re-write the programming file to the repeater.

Also observed with the Hytera RD-982 repeater is that the IP address, acquired via DHCP, may be acquired after a substantial delay after powering up the repeater. Be patient. If an address is not acquired after one-minute has elapsed after power-up or programming, verify the network settings. It may be necessary to disable DHCP in order to be able to set the Gateway IP address before re-enabling DHCP.



If you are considering a purchase of a Hytera RD-98X series repeater, and need a reference repeater file to examine with the Hytera Customer Programming Software to help make a pre-purchase evaluation, the code plug file for the W7CIA repeater (sans call-sign and DMR-MARC ID) can be downloaded by clicking here.


Hytera RD-982 Firmware Updates

Hytera recommeds going through your dealer to obtain firmware updates. However, we have had success in going directly to Hytera to obtain updates by informing them that our dealer recommended contacting Hytera directly.

An important consideration, when purchasing the programming cable for the Hytera RD-982, is whether the programming cable supports firmware updates. There are two options that support firmware updates:


To view a copy of the Hytera RD-982 firmware update instructions for the version 8 firmware, please click here.


Please do not contact us to obtain Hytera RD-982 firmware updates. This page is presented to provide information, and we will be happy to answer questions to the best of our ability, but we will not provide services that should come from either a dealer or the manufacturer.


Final BrandMeister Set-Up

Once the repeater appears on the BrandMeister repeaters page, it is necessary to conatct the administrator of the BrandMeister Master server that is being used to request that admin access be added to the repeater trustee's BrandMeister account. A list of administrators can be found by clicking here. Once granted, the repeater trustee can then edit the information page for the repeater, set up static talk groups, and setup clusters (which allow local talk groups to be shared among a defined set of peer repeaters).

You can monitor your repeater's participation in the BrandMeister network by using the Brandmeister Last Heard page. Instruction on constructing a filter in your web-browser, to limit the displayed traffic to just the repeaters, individuals, or talk-groups that you wish to monitor, can be found by clicking here.

Brandmeister Testing

Users of the W7CIA repeater can usually be found on the Idaho ARES 31160 Talk-Group. If you are placing an RD-982 repeater on the air and need to make a contact on the Brandmeister network for testing purposes, you can usually reach W7CIA, N7IBC, N7BMH, K1BMW or W7ELE on this Talk-Group.

Please be sure to listen first, after activating the Idaho ARES 31160 Talk-Group on your repeater, to ensure that no Idaho ARES activities are being conducted prior to making a call.