THE DARK SIDE I HAVE BEEN
I started my digital affair with a girl named DSTAR and then later flirted with C4FM, swapping between the two for a couple of years. But I never went to the DARK SIDE (aka DMR).
I've tried DSTAR on Kenwood's D74, Icom's 7300, 7610, 9700 and more recently the lovely IC-705. Due to accessibility issues with local repeaters, I've almost exclusively used a HotSpot to make contacts. Once the initial learning period was over, I found DSTAR easy to use and very reliable.
For C4FM I've used Yaesu's FT3, FTM400 and the FT991A. Again, due to a lack of access to repeaters, I've depended on my OpenSpot2. More recently, I've started to use my mate's Gateway (MB6HW/G4CFP). I also enjoy accessing Wires-X through my PC and FTM300. Access to Fusion repeaters has been much simpler when mobile in my truck using an FTM7250.
DMR I've purposely avoided because A) I'm already overloaded with stuff that I need to learn more about and B) I don't want another radio to pay for, charge, and worry about. Additionally, I believed DMR can be quite tricky to setup due to something called CodePlugs 😵
But then recently, I spotted an advert on Facebook Marketplace for a device called a "DVMEGA CAST" at £175 (used). I didn't even know what it was until I Googled it. It turns out that it's an IP Radio which connects to your broadband router wirelessly or via an ethernet cable. It's based on the DVMEGA AMBE3000 utilising a Raspberry Pi-Nano. It has a built-in audio amplifier providing 3W to the internal speaker, which produces a good clean sound.
The unit has a 2.5inch touch-screen on the front panel, along with a rotary encoder for adjustments and an RJ-45 socket for a microphone. It's worth noting that a microphone (MH-48) is NOT provided, nor is a power-supply.
With the main configuration completed and network connection established, you need to make changes to the mode settings....
Finding this on FaceBook for £175 was a real bargain, because filling an ML&S Basket with the same goods would result in a bill of £460 😦😦😦
So in summary, I'd recommend this radio without any hesitation! Having said that, I only paid 38% of the normal price, so that will influence my opinion somewhat. If you happen to have an MH-48 mic hanging around and don't mind connecting the radio to your existing power-supply, then a standalone DVMEGA CAST will only cost you £320 new. That's pretty good value for money - I can certainly think of a few things that cost me more which gave me less entertainment. It's got me onto DMR without all the (apparent) hassle of codeplugs and programming. Result!
To give you an idea of the quality of voice transmission, below is a video of Gregg (K6EGG) talking to me on Reflector 1C in December 2021. The video should start at the point where I'm about to respond to Gregg's call...
- Cabled (RJ45) or Wi-fi to internet connected.
- No RF connection or repeater needed!
- Webinterface based configuration option.
- 2.4" touch screen for setup and control.
- Support Yaesu MH-48 with keypad for control.
- Rotary encoder for volume and multi-functionality.
- Embedded high-end CPU on dedicated mainboard.
- Support D-Star, DMR, and C4FM mode.
- Integrated Original DVSI AMBE3000.
- Easy to use web-based upgrade utility.
- Support a DVMEGA-pi radio for Hotspot functionality.
- Supports an internal DVStick30 for AMBE-server.
- Low power consumption 12VDC (2.1 mm Barrel Connector).
- Colourful speaker indicator for status.
- 3.5mm external speaker connection.
- High performance 3 watt speaker
- Extra USB-connections available for future use.
- Solid full-metal powder coated housing
- Lifetime free Software updates.
Thanks for visiting. Leave a comment.
73, Tom, M7MCQ.