Why You Need a DMR Hotspot

Raspberry Pi 3 DMR Hotspot

Why You Need a DMR Hotspot

Are you an amateur radio operator getting into DMR radio? If you said yes, you need to build a DMR hotspot. The use of Digital Mobile Radio is exploding across the ham bands and you may be considering a DMR hotspot. DMR Hotspots have become critical due to the expansion of the Brandmeister Network in recent years. Brandmeister is so open and flexible it’s easy to find activity and have long rag chew conversations; conversations that often times tie up local repeaters.

Raspberry Pi 3 DMR Hotspot
Raspberry Pi 3 with a DVMEGA board, often called a Pi Spot.

DMR Hotspots Help Save Your HT Battery

Another reason why you should own a DMR hotspot is battery life! “I don’t want my HT battery to last longer,” said no one, ever. We all could use more and by using a hotspot at your home QTH will save you a ton of juice in the ol’ battery pack. I’m able to use my Anytone 868UV on low power around the house which leaves me with two or three days of battery before needing a charge.

DMR Hotspot Will Allow You To Monitor Talkgroups

If you’re used to using analog repeaters instead of digital, one thing you’ll quickly learn is most repeaters are setup for dynamic talkgroups.

Let’s say you live in Miami, Florida but want to monitor your old friends in Colorado on the statewide Colorado talkgroup (3108). You bring up your local DMR repeater in Miami and key the radio using 3108 as your defined talkgroup. Once you key that talkgroup the repeater will open it and let you monitor it for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, that talkgroup will drop from the repeater and you won’t hear any traffic from it until you key your radio again which begins another 15 minute of monitoring. Not exactly the most efficient way to monitor a talkgroup. If you have a DMR hotspot you would have your own personal simplex node that allows you to monitor any talkgroup you want all day long without ever touching your DMR radio.

Raspberry Pi DMR Hotspot

I use what many call a PiSpot. That is a Raspberry Pi 3 board with a DVMEGA sitting on top of it. This gives me a 70cm simplex DMR node that runs in my ham shack. It’s on all the time and I’ve had minimal issues with it. It sits in a Gigaparts DV Case which is made of acrylic. I love the case! It makes my DMR hotspot an unbreakable tank.

DMR Hotspot Range

DMR HotspotMany hams wonder what the range of the DMR Hotspot actually is. I have the answer for the Raspberry Pi 3 DMR hotspot! Thank you to Bud, W0RMT for helping me with this experiment!

I keep my hotspot on a window ledge in my ham shack which sits at the top of my home. That means my hotspot is around 40 feet in height with a clear look out the window. The Pi Spot using the DVMEGA board transmits at 10mW of power. Don’t let that scare you, it’s plenty of power to keep you connect around your house or property. I walked around the neighborhood and found I received .5 miles of range before I lost the signal from my Raspberry Pi 3 hotspot using a Diamond SRH320A as the antenna.

Learn more about my thoughts on building a DMR hotspot by watching this video:

Author: Matt Kaskavitch

6 thoughts on “Why You Need a DMR Hotspot

    1. Yes, it does. My Raspberry Pi Hotspot will also do multiple different modes thanks to some simple settings on the PiStar firmware.

    2. openspot is deprecated, very expensive and non opensource. i suggest using NanoHOTSpot from bi7jta the price is half and it have wifi+screen. also size is alot smaller, its based on mmdvm and pi-star. its very active development new features coming every week.

  1. This is fantastic! I live in Timnath and only have a UHF DMR radio at the moment and would love to build a hotspot so I can participate more in the community. I’d love to see a video or article (or a series…) on the step-by-step process… what to buy? Where? Etc.

    1. Well, there are several sources to help you select a hotspot.
      Just google dmr hotspot comparison and you’ll have plenty of reading.

      For example, I need a wireless network connection. That limits my options.
      You’ll sort it out.

  2. Some really nice and useful information on this web site, also I conceive the style and design holds superb features. gbeaddfabfef

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *