DMR - Digital Mobile Radio

DMR, or digital mobile radio, is one of the more popular digital radio types for amateur radio. It currently meets the ultra-narrowband equivalent requirements of the FCC by pushing two voice paths within a single 12.5 kHz channel. This is currently my favorite digital mode, based on the hardware available and flexibility of the systems. DMR is supported by MANY manufacturers, but in the LMR industry and in the amateur radio market. It is also supported by PiStar hardware and hotspots. On the amateur radio side of DMR, there are multiple networks, with the most common being Brandmeister. I currently have hotspots for Brandmeister and TGIF, but there are others available, like D-MARC & NC-PRN.


There are many Anytone DMR radios, and other clones. I have a AT-D878 Plus. While these radios do DMR well, they are missing some features that professional radios have. The other downside is the analog usage leaves a lot to be desired. In my opinion, any radio, digital or not, must do analog well, and the Anytone radios simply don't. I have experienced significant front-end overloading, and therefore my Anyone has been designated to shelf duty all the time.


Motorola has the DMR market locked for LMR users. Some may say that they are too expensive for amateur radio, however, their performance, feature set and battery life provide justification for the cost. I have tested, and use, the XPR series radios in both UHF and VHF. Battery life is excellent (I have seen 26hours on a single battery), and compatibility of batteries in a single series of radios is important to me. I also have tested and use the SL series of radios, which are DMR only, and are a great around the house radio. One huge feature the Motorola radios offer for DMR is roaming, which will automatically go to the next site as you drive along, if programmed correctly. This is best done with DMR only repeaters that beacon, and not multi-mode repeaters.