Digital Modes

We’ve included MMDVM_Bridge and Analog_Bridge from DVSwitch https://dvswitch.groups.io/g/main in the ClearNode software distribution. Initially we are supporting DMR via the Brandmeister Network. Further modes and networks will be coming soon. You do not need a digital radio – you will use your Analog FM radio as normal – your audio is bridged over to the Digital network via the Analog and MMDVM bridges.

(Existing users – you must get the latest software distribution for both the ClearNode mobile app and the software running on your ClearNode device. To update your ClearNod device – in the Node Details screen, Versions section, tap on “RedNode Version” and the tap “Update” in the popup. Your ClearNode will reboot twice during the update. DO NOT INTERRUPT THE POWER TO YOUR ClearNode during the update !!)

Before you can operate on the DMR Networks

You must apply for your DMR ID at https://www.radioid.net/ and you will need to register for an account at https://brandmeister.network.

After you have logged into the Brandmeister website – go to the SelfCare Page, turn on “Hotspot Security” and type in a password of your choice and “Save” the page. You will need this password for your Digital Bridge setup in the ClearNode mobile app.

As of writing you do not need to register with http://tgif.network – they are not authenticating user connections. We understand that this is changing and they will be requiring secure connections in the near future. Use the default password instead of your custom hotspot password.

Configuring your ClearNode for DMR

It’s time to configure your ClearNode with your DMR information. With this release of the ClearNode mobile apps the Node Setup screen has been split into 3 separate screens – AllStar Setup, Echolink Setup and Digital Bridge Setup.

Tap on Digital Bridge Setup and turn on “Enable Digital Bridge” to enable the relevant services to start up at boot.

There is a single choice “AMBE Mode” in this release – “DMR”. In future releases other modes will selected with this control. Fill in the fields “Location”, “Information URL” and “Talker Alias” with something appropriate – these text values are presented in various places throughout the network. It is typical to include your name and call sign in the “Talker Alias” field.

USRP and TLV gain control the gain or cut applied to the audio encoding sent between AllStar and Analog_Bridge in the case of USRP and, between Analog_Bridge and MMDVM_Bridge in the case of TLV. The value 1 (one) is equivalent to no gain or cut.

The second block of setup values “DMR Setup” is where you select your DMR network of choice. “DMR Network Host” reveals a selection table where you can record the details and passwords for other networks. We include 2 networks for convenience – however they do have to be individually configured with your Hotspot Security Password.

In particular you must configure your password for the Brandmeister network – here we are connection to “3103.repeater.net”.

After entering the host name and password, tap “Save” in the top right corner to return to the Digital Setup screen. Note that these details have not been sent to the ClearNode device yet. The Port can be left at the default of 62031 for most all cases. It is provided to support private servers that might have been implemented differently.

Next enter your DMR ID – this is the ID issued to you by radioid.net. You are allowed 2 DMR IDs by the issuing authority. Hence the need for the “hotspot extension #” – this uniquely identifies each “hotspot” that you own – you can have multiple hotspots each made unique by the 2 digit extension. You can leave “DMR Timeslot” and “DMR Color Code” at the defaults unless you fully understand their purpose and have reason to change them.

At this point you can tap “Save” at the top right corner of the Setup Screen to send the configuration to your ClearNode. If you are enabling or disabling the Digital Bridge ClearNode must reboot to enable the new services.

Connecting to Digital Talk Groups

After ClearNode reboots you are ready to start connecting to Talk Groups – we’ll use the Brandmeister Talk Groups in this example. Once your ClearNode is back up and running and you are on the Node Detail screen, tap on the “ADD CONNECTION OUT” link to activate the remote node catalog/history screen. Tap the digital icon at the bottom of the screen to chose Talk Groups already in your catalog.

The catalog for Digital is subdivided according to the DMR Network Host you selected in the Digital Setup section. Only the Talk Groups appropriate for your selected network will be displayed in the table. You may manually enter a new Talk Group by tapping the “+” icon in the top right corner.

Note that for Digital Talk Groups you begin the number with the prefix “TG”. After adding to the table you will returned to the Node Details screen if the Talk Group is found and connects.

Initially the connection will be displayed as above. After a short period the “Talker” will be displayed in the sub-title of the Connection row.

The “ADD CONNECTION” process for Digital modes is a little different from AllStar and Echolink. In the non-digital modes you can add multiple connections inbound and outbound and they are all bridged together. Whereas the digital mode is bridged to any other non-digital connection, you can only have one digital connection at a time.

You may also search for digital connections – from the “Add Connection” screen tap the spyglass search icon in the top right corner.

We maintain a table of Talk Groups on our servers which we update periodically – this is the table that is searched – a maximum of 100 results will be returned.

Tap on any of the results to add this Talk Group to your personal catalog, connect to it and return to the Node Details screen.

To disconnect from the Talk Group use the same gesture as you do for AllStar and Echolink connections – swipe left in Apple iOS and long press in Android.

Although in other implementations Adding Talk Groups is cumulative – not so in ClearNode, before issuing the “Tune” command for a new Talk Group, ClearNode will issue a “Disconnect” command to clear all existing connections. This acts as a fail safe to prevent cross connecting Talk Groups.

Keeping the Host and ID files up to date

There are several lookup files where the DVSwitch services lookup the names and identities of all the hosts and endpoints on the digital networks. These files need to be kept up to date as they change. (These lookup files are located in the /var/lib/mmdvm and /var/lib/dvswitch directories on your ClearNode.) A script is provided to update these files – /usr/local/sbin/DVSM_Update.sh You may run this script manually at the ClearNode’s Raspberry Pi CLI, however it is much easier to automate it and run daily. Here is an image of a typical Timed Event setup to run this script automatically. (See the Timed Events documentation for more information on creating Timed Events.)

Troubleshooting

If you get the following dialog when navigating to the Digital section in the Add Connection screen, check your host password – be sure it is identical to the value set in your hotspot security settings at Brandmeister or whichever system you are connecting to. Also check the correct spelling of the host name and that you have the correct port for the host.

If after connecting to a system you find that you get no traffic when you are certain there is traffic on a Talk Group as evidenced by the “Last Heard” page or some such, “kerchunk” the system by briefly depressing the PTT on your HT to send traffic to the Talk Group. This is not supposed to be necessary, but we have noticed that in some cases it is.

Like AllStar and Echolink – DMR systems and individual Talk Groups may operate Black and White Lists to Deny and Allow individual connections. They may also block individual nodes using an IP Address block. If you suspect that you have been blocked contact the target system’s technical support for help.

Note that the “Parrot” node TG9990 is a “private” connection – you must add a “#” at the end e.g. “TG9990#”.