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Thread: DV4Mini

  1. #1
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    Wink DV4Mini

    Hi Folks,

    I've been spending a great deal of time (and some $$ too) reacquainting myself with amateur radio, specifically the digital modes. D-Star has been a lot of fun, and my enjoyment of it has grown rapidly, to the point where I decided to invest in a DV4Mini dongle so I wasn't croaking local repeaters or my good friend N1RCW's D-Star hotspot with my incessant playing.

    Well the DV4Mini is touted not only to work with D-Star, but also with DMR, C4FM (Fusion), P25, and even dPMR (experimental). It plugged and played perfectly on D-Star. The setup was relatively effortless. DMR? Not so much, but I ultimately won the battle.

    There is an apparent rapidly growing DMR Network called "BrandMeister", which is built with catering to amateur radio operation and experimentation in mind. After an on and off two day battle to get it working I suddenly had a breakthrough and I have it working quite well according to signal and audio quality reports. All this via my Tytera MD-380 portable (which was originally bought for monitoring Eversource and some hospital security DMR) and a Dell tablet with an Atom processor running Windows 10 home and sitting in a docking station.

    Wondering if anyone here besides me owns a DV4Mini and can comment on their experiences with it, or furthermore any other type of "ham appliance" like a DV4Mega, DVAP, etc....for $129 delivered the DV4Mini is turning out to be a huge success in my case.
    Scott - Scan New England Webmaster

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    Hi Scott,

    I picked up a dv4mini a month or so ago. I have mine connected to a Raspberry Pi 2, though I first had it connected up to a windows machine. I also have 2 DVAPs (2m and 70cm).

    So far I have played with the dv4mini on Dstar and on Fusion. I have 2 DMR radios but have not got around to programming them yet.

    I know some people like to use their dvaps for 'long range' stuff (connect to large outdoor antenna, etc) but I have used mine for basic around the house/yard use. With that being said (on DStar) I think that the dv4mini is as good or better than the more expensive dstar only dvap. I will say that the 2 meter dvap is a bit more finicky than the 70cm one. Infact I plan on selling the 2m dvap at nearfest.

    I am sure you will enjoy the dv4mini very much. I wonder if you are using the 'standard' dv3mini.exe software, or are you suing dv4mf2.exe software. I like the later better.

    Those are the only 2 RF dv mode devices I have used. I also have a dv dongle, and a thumbdv. Both don't require a radio, and are intended for DSTAR use. I will say I like the thumbdv better. These days the thumbdv does not live on a computer (per sey) though. I have my thumbdv connected directly to my Flex Radio, which allows my to do HF DSTAR contacts.

    I would not mind your 380 codeplug with dv4mini memories already programmed in. It might be a quicker way for me to try DRM (hint hint).

    Anyway, enjoy and I would be happy to answer any questions if I can. Glad to see ya back into the hobby, and exploring dv modes.

    73

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    Jeff N1ZZN has the mini, I'm sure he'll chime in on it. I still haven't gotten that far along into it except to read a few articles here and there.
    CLYDE - N1BHH - A KNOW-CODE AMATEUR RADIO OPERATOR / WQWJ272 - GMRS
    Pro94 Pro106 Pro164 Pro197 Pro2006 Pro2015 Pro2021 Pro2055
    Yaesu's FT60R, FT2900R & FT8800R, Icom IC735, Motorola MTX9250 (900 MHz.)

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    I ultimately wound up using the DV4MF2 software. I could not get it to work on DMR though until I got the 12-Jan-2016 beta version of DV4Mini Control Panel working. I still can't explain why, but I would never see a BER% when trying to adjust the QRG. Once I installed the aforementioned DV4Mini I was able to adjust QRG. Then, when I went back into DV4MF2 it "magically" worked. I like that interface better as well and it is the "required" version according to the BrandMeister user guide.

    I've attached my MD-380 codeplug, but be advised you'll find a lot of receive only data in it as that's all I was using the radio for until now. This is probably a dumb statement but obviously you'll need to enter your own ID and callsign. I only have one channel programmed for use with the DV4Mini and that's the simplex setup with CC1, Slot 2, TG 9. I'm not sure if it's possible to manipulate the DV4Mini via the radio with DMR as it is with D-Star but I haven't got that far yet. Early indications were that it is not, but I'm still learning.

    If you get on please let me know; I'll usually have it on in the evening and be monitoring TG 4639 which is USA Nationwide. There is a lot of activity there although I notice people do not move off of it to regional or TAC/Local TG's once they establish communications. I know this practice is frowned upon on the DMR-MARC Network as it keys up every repeater in the country and occupies a time slot. I assume it's the same with BrandMeister although again I just haven't got that far yet.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Scott - Scan New England Webmaster

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    Thanks Scott.

    I will try to program up the radio this weekend, though it will be a busy one with the holiday.

    Don't worry, I won't forget to change the radio id

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    If that codeplug looks odd, it's because I'm using the experimental firmware available for the MD-380, which allows for monitoring of all talkgroups in each time slot of a system. A little off-topic from the original post but just an explanation of what might appear to be odd programming.

    If this works out for me, and I think it will, I may consider adding a second DV4Mini to the arsenal so I have one for D-Star and one for DMR. Or I may look at one of the other alternatives. Either way this will be down the road a bit.
    Scott - Scan New England Webmaster

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    Another DV4 Mini owner here. Working every mode except P25.
    Oddly, I find the Fusion to work and sound the best. D* is D*, the DMR has an issue with a really noisy squelch tail (for lack of a better term).
    Plus, far-end GPS coordiates and distance are passed thru for display on the Yaesu FTM-400.


    -JR

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    Scott: About codeplug:

    I have been thinking about doing the firmware update to the radio. I must admit I bought the radio right after I heard about the firmware being released. I know it adds features, but does the radio work as expected otherwise? That is one thing I was not sure of. I also Have a CS700 that I was previously using on DMR.

    If the radio works the same (plus added features), I may use the 380 as my day to day DMR radio (not that I am on DMR too much).

    Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFR View Post
    the DMR has an issue with a really noisy squelch tail (for lack of a better term).
    -JR
    You mean the BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP? That's the best way I can describe it. Superbly sounding audio followed by that shriek that makes you want to get up and leave the room, but you can never do so before it explodes? Yeah, I hear ya. DMR audio is IMHO superior to D-Star, although with the new generation of D-Star radios that I'm fortunate to have in the arsenal (ID-5100a and ID-51a) that digital mode to me sounds quite good as well. I have no experience with Fusion directly and of course any YouTube videos don't really do any of these modes justice ultimately.

    Did you come across any of the issues I mentioned when setting it up with DMR? D-Star was brainless (which falls right into my gameplan these days), DMR was a chore but worth the brain cells.
    Scott - Scan New England Webmaster

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    I wondered about that as well Bill, but it's not an issue in my case. Even if it is it's a simple matter of flashing back to the standard firmware. I've flashed this MD-380 so many times it's a wonder I'm not up on charges....

    Quote Originally Posted by w1wra View Post
    Scott: About codeplug:

    I have been thinking about doing the firmware update to the radio. I must admit I bought the radio right after I heard about the firmware being released. I know it adds features, but does the radio work as expected otherwise? That is one thing I was not sure of. I also Have a CS700 that I was previously using on DMR.

    If the radio works the same (plus added features), I may use the 380 as my day to day DMR radio (not that I am on DMR too much).

    Bill
    Scott - Scan New England Webmaster

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    Sorry that I haven't commented on this thread until now. I am running the DV4Mini on a Raspberry Pi 3, running the W1MSG image. I have updated to the 2.0.0.11 version of DV4MF2. I do often have to make fine adjustments of the frequency to get things working right, though I'm trying to run both the DV4Mini and my various radios into the service monitor to make some sense of if things are actually off frequency, or if it's just the software goofing up.
    Jeff Lehmann - N1ZZN WQDJ863
    Hanson, MA

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    Hi Jeff,

    I've been running mine with the same setup after receiving my Pi 3 last week. Nice to have it on a dedicated platform.

    It works dandy for DStar but results are mixed on DMR. Half of the problem may be the Tytera radio I'm using, but the other half is definitely the lack of error correction. Reportedly someone in "5 land" is working on a new software front end for the 'mini that is alleged to "greatly improve" error correction and audio quality on DMR.

    I'm also looking at a DVMega dual band so I can use my VHF DMR equipment instead. I'm still trying to puzzle out the best approach to that as I'd like to have the DVMega work on DStar and DMR. This requires bluespot/bluestack software/hardware.

    I also spoke with a rep at Wireless Holdings, the maker of the DV4Mini, by email a week or so ago and asked if they planned to make a DV4Mini that worked on 2 meters. The response was yes, but no time frame. If they do so and the aforementioned software is something other than vaporware I'd get the 2M version.
    Scott - Scan New England Webmaster

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