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Default [KB6NU] Is DMR a mass adoption phase winner in digital voice radio?

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Is DMR a mass adoption phase winner in digital voice radio?

Posted: 07 Jun 2016 12:01 PM PDT

Recently, someone forwarded an e-mail from Rick, K1RJZ, to an amateur radio
mailing list that I subscribe to. I found Ricks comments to be so right on,
I asked him if I could publish them here as a guest post, and he agreed.
Thanks, Rick!

At Dayton this year, it was no surprise that digital technologies got a lot
of attention, including HF software-defined radios (SDRs), like the ICOM
IC-7300 and the FlexRadio 6000 series, and VHF/UHF digital radios, such as
the Tytera DMR radio that sellsÂ*for about $130. Hams are excited about
digital radio because it is something new to explore.Â*As you can see below,
it was standing room only at the DMR Forum at Dayton this year.

One of the reasons for this excitement is that they are software-based, and
unlike hardware radios, SDRs (some are really HF radio servers) are easily
upgraded, and manufacturers can add compelling new features as technology
changes. That means that you get a new radio every year without needing XYL

If you follow technology (smartphones, laptops, the internet, whatever),
you know that there are certain common phases that all technologies must
pass through. These include the pioneer stage, the early adopter stage, and
then “the chasm.” Once a technology adoption has survived these three
stages, it then reaches the mass adoption phase, and it begins to grow very
quickly. Competing technologies then need to adopt. If they dont, they will
eventually fall by the wayside.
The Tytera MD-380 DMR radio was going for $109 at Dayton. The normal price
is around $130.

There is no question that DMR technology (Digital voice Mobile Radio) for
hams has jumped the chasm and is now into the mass adoption phase, and may
soon enter the low-priced commoditization phase. Inexpensive, mass-produced
Chinese DMR digital voice + FM portable radios were being sold inside the
Hara arena for as low as $109 with a color display and free programming
software. Remember that these are Part-90 type accepted, commercial-quality
radios, not low end junk with dirty transmitters and low qualityÂ*RX audio.

In addition, there were many used, first generation Motorola DMR radios for
sale in the flea area. These radios perform just as well as the current
models, but have less memory. From what I saw at Dayton, I have no doubt
that DMR is on a run and is now well into the low-priced mass adoption

D-STAR, Fusion and to a lesser extent NXDN are all established and are not
going away, but in many areas they are not experiencing any meaningful
growth when compared to DMR. D-STAR repeaters in New England, for example,
have been converting to DMR because DMR radios are far cheaper than D-STAR
radios, have more features, and have far superior networking. ICOM D-STAR
repeaters have not been highly successful in high-RF areas, such as you
typically find on top of skyscrapers and busy mountaintop sites. The D-Star
technology is way cool, the ICOM repeater hardware much less so. Â*Some
repeater clubs have figured out ways to use non-ICOM RF guts for their
repeaters, and those have been successful, but it also takes some smart
techie-hams to pull that off. Â* A tip of my hat to them!

Many clubs are wisely taking advantage of the subsidized Yaesu Fusion
repeater offers but most in New England seem to be using them in either
dual mode or FM-only Mode. Fusion in digital mode has been very slow to get
traction in these parts of the world. It is not a bad format, but Yaesu got
inÂ*the game very late, Fusion is proprietary and has far fewer working
features than other technologies. Â*As a big plus, Fusion in high-bandwidth
mode can send pictures such as ground truth weather status pictures. Â*Most
other digital voice modes cannot do hat.

NXDN, another commercial digital voice format used by the railroad
industry, has some pockets of ham activity such as in southeastern
Massachusetts but nationwide adoption is very slow. I don’t want to sound
biased, I’m just reporting what I am hearing from multiple face-face
sources and Dayton presentations.

None of these digital voice technologies or FM will go away and all of the
digital modes are generating a lot of interest in the hobby. They are all
fun and if you are a ham, you will have a ball trying them out. I have used
D-STAR and P25 digital voice for years, and though I have yet to try Yaesu
Fusion, I am very much looking forward to it. But, from what I saw at
Dayton, DMR now seems to be a seriousÂ*leader the digital voice technology
adoption curve.

For more information, check out a recent DMR podcastÂ*on the HamRadio360

The post Is DMR a mass adoption phase winner in digital voice radio?
appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

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