Wednesday, March 27, 2019

DMR Tip 1 - Using Parrot Talkgroup To Test Your Radio


This next post on my Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) tips series, we’ll look at an easy way to test our radio and also check that the repeater is working properly.  To do this, use the Parrot talk group.  By using this talkgroup, everything you transmit is recorded and played back to your radio. 

[  This article assumes you have a DMR radio and can program it to use a repeater and talkgroup. ]

Using the parrot talk group, every transmission is repeated back to the radio. This allows the operator to test  multiple things.
     Verify that the radio is working and getting into the repeater. 
     Because the parrot repeater is on the internet, when you hear yourself, this verifies that the repeater is working and it’s connected to the Brandmeister network.
     This test allows you to test audio quality and levels.

Using Parrot
  1. Setup a channel that uses the repeater of choice and the Parrot talkgroup (9990) as a “Private Call”  If the group is setup on your Anytone 868/878 you can use an existing channel that you setup for the repeater and use the Parrot talk group by following my instructions “Using a talk group on the fly”.

    [   Note:  When setting up a channel or using an existing channel, I suggest using timeslot 1 (TS1) since the default for dynamic groups is typically TS1.  I think it would also be acceptable to use TS2 because this is a "private call", and therefore doesn't cause the repeater to be subscribed to any talkgroup.  It's always good operating practice to monitor the current group before transmitting to avoid collisions.  ]

  2. Transmit and say anything you want after you get the connect tone. 
    A second or two after your transmission, the Parrot server will make a private call back to you and you should hear the Parrot server echo back whatever you said in your transmission.

If you don’t hear the parrot server repeat back what you sent, check your volume and try it again.  If it still isn’t working it may indicate one of the following possibilities.
  1. Your radio is setup incorrectly for the repeater or talk group.
  2. Your radio isn’t getting into the repeater.
  3. The repeater isn’t connected to the internet.
  4. The parrot server is not working.
  5. You are sending a private call and the parrot server sends a private call back to your radio.  It may be possible for repeater owners to block private calls this but I’m not sure on this.

I hope you found this DMR Tip helpful.  I’d love to hear from you.  Use the comments feature on this page to point out any errors or improvements I can make to these posts.

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Enjoy and 73,
N1CLC
Christian Claborne
(aka Chris Claborne)

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