This is intended for those taking their first step into DMR:
Firstly, you need a DMR ID – go to www.radioid.net to register. You will require a copy of your licence. You will then be issued with a 7 digit number which you can use in your radio and hotspot. The number may take a few days to arrive (always check your spam mail) and will start with 234xxxx or 235xxxx. You do not need a seperate ID for each radio or hotspot – 1 will be sufficient. Please also ensure you register with your correct information as some people have put nicknames then requested they be corrected.
Next, if you do not have a radio, you will need to purchase one. Do not just go for the cheapest radio on the market. Radio all have different memory capacities and features – these are key to enjoying the mode (and a lack thereof can result in you getting frustrated and leaving the mode). Read the section on radios – currently, the Anytone range are the most popular. Also consider that you need programming software (CPS) which is not free from all manufacturers. And most important, can you do your own code plug? If not, get a radio that others in your area use as they can share the code plug or buy from a vendor that pre-programs the radio (Moonraker program all Anytone DMR models). Always take some time to review the contents of the code plug by downloading it via the CPS. The CPS (and firmware) is usually available from the manufacturers website (Moonraker provide this for the Anytones as a download on their website with the code plug). This will show you what channels you have and how the scan list/zones are setup and their content. Also review what the programmable buttons on the radio do such as scan, change VFO, change power etc. There are numerous Facebook Groups dedicated to different DMR radio manufacturers and/or models whee you can get further assistance.
You may also want to check if you are in range of a DMR repeater. The ETCC has a list (https://ukrepeater.net/repeaterlist.htm?filter=DMR) but this is not 100% accurate as it shows all repeaters licenced for DMR, not specifically on DMR but you can always check with locals and/or the repeater keeper. You will also want to confirm the DMR network the repeater is connected to so you can find out what you have access to in regards to talk groups. There is a section on each network within this guide. There are Facebook Groups for most DMR networks where you can get to know about the network and how it operates.
If you lack access to a repeater or you want a handheld and the repeater is just to far away, you may want to consider a hotspot. These are handy when out of range at home or even to access other networks as well as for portable/mobile use as hotspots come in many forms. Prices can vary from near £100 for a basic hotspot and nearer £300 for some of the high end portable units. Many hotspots (especially those running pi-star) can give access to various digital modes such as D-Star, YSF, NXDN & P25 so if you have other digital radios or are interested in getting into other digital modes, then a hotspot can help. You can use the same DMR ID in your hotspot. If you have more than one hotspot, then suffix your DMR ID with 2 extra digits such as 01 & 02 (example: 235xxxx01). I have included a section showing the variety of hotspots available in this guide.
Read the guide – it contains loads of information to help you on your journey. If you know others that use DMR, ask questions. DMR is still evolving – over time, radios have improved, hotspots have developed and cheaper repeater solutions (with better functionality) have come about. DMR can also connect to other digital modes as well as standard FM repeaters, Echolink and Apps via various bridges incorporated into the various networks. Hubnet for instance is accessible via Echolink, FM Repeaters, Allstar, DMR (Phoenix, DV Scotland, Brandmeister, FreeDMR and TGIF), D-Star and WiresX.