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AB1JU NCPRN CS-700 Codeplug 101 - The Basics
The AB1JU NCPRN CS-700 Codeplug is set up to get the NC DMR user on the air quickly. It was initially created for AB1JU and KB1UNY by AB1JU with contributions and input from system admins and internet research.
Start the CS-700 programming software and open up the file you just saved... Remember to enter your radio ID and radio name under General Settings. Write the file to your radio... then to save a copy with your radio serial number, read your radio after uploading. We encourage you to customize this codeplug so it works for you.
"Roll Your Own" DMR
The following is pretty specific to the AB1JU NCPRN CS-700 codeplug, but the concepts are applicable to other DMR radios. Here are some of the features and items that we hope will enhance your NCPRN System DMR experience. Feel free to tailor things to your own needs.
A zone is a grouping of channels. The CS700 radio has a 16 stop channel selector, so there are a maximum of 16 channels you can have in each zone. In the AB1JU codeplug, each repeater has its own individual zone, with all the talkgroups that are carried for that repeater; plus a monitor all channel. The other types of zones are listed below.
Area / Travel Zones
The Area / Travel zones comprise 2 or 3 repeater systems with the talkgroups PRN, Local, TAC 1, TAC 310 and DCI Bridge. There is also a Monitor All channel; this channel also scans 441.000 simplex. The Monitor All channel can also be used to talk back to the last repeater / talkgroup heard if the PTT is pressed within 5 seconds of the last transmission.
There are special zones for Simplex, FRS / GMRS and three analog zones. Occasionally I will add a special zone for an upcoming event, such as a hamfest or public service event.
This is where all the details such as frequency, talkaround, admit criteria, color code, scan list, group list, timeslot, etc. are placed. Some of these parameters can be different if the same channel is in different zones. For example, in the standard zone you may want to use a Group List to hear other timeslot traffic, but in an "Area Zone" you might use a different Group List so that other talkgroups are heard. There are lots of possibilities for customization here.
There are 3 programmable buttons on the CS-700, each with two functions depending on how long it is held down. The AB1JU NCPRN CS-700 button functions are:
- Top Button Short: Emergency On (this triggers on simplex 441.000 only)
- Top Button Long: Emergency Off
- Side Button 1 Short: Toggle High / Low Power
- Side Button 1 Long: Nuisance Delete
- Side Button 2 Short: Toggle Scan On / Off
- Side Button 2 Long: Toggle Repeater / Talkaround
These are the "Quick Text" messages you find under the "Messages" icon. They are for text you send frequently, such as "Please meet me on Local".
This is the most dynamic part of the codeplug as here you find the radio ID aliases (Private Calls) and talkgroup numbers (Group Calls). As more folks get involved in DMR, more contacts are added to the list. You can add contacts too, not only new radio IDs, but also new talkgroups. So if one of your DMR repeaters starts carrying a new talkgroup, you can add that in here. The "Contact Name" is what appears on the screen, "Call Type" is "Private" for a radio ID and "Group" for a talkgroup, with "Call ID" being either the radio ID or talkgroup number.
Digital RX Group Calls (Group Lists)
These work together with your channels to let you listen to more than one talkgroup at a time; here is how it works. Each channel can have a Group List. Each Group List contains Group Calls from the Digital Contacts list. The Group List gives us a way to monitor more than one talkgroup when you are on a channel. The practical result is similar to scanning the talkgroups listed in the Group List. In the AB1JU NCPRN CS-700 codeplug, we have several Group Lists such as Mon All, Area Mon All, MARC Mon All, Hytera Mon All and AREA-H Mon All. Take a look at the Monitor All channel for each DMR repeater and you will see each has a Group List assigned. The Group List corresponds to the talkgroups that you will hear while on that channel. It also auto-scans the scanlist which includes the MA1 channel - this allows you to monitor the talkgroups that are in the Group List that is assigned to the MA1 channel as well - see "Scanning all traffic on a repeater" below. When you select the Monitor All channel in a Zone, you will hear (and be able to reply to) traffic on the listed talkgroups for that repeater, both the ones listed in the Monitor All channel group list and the ones listed in the MA1 channel group list. (Usually both channels have the same group list.)
Scanning all traffic on a repeater
Remember the "Mon All" and "AREA All" Group Lists? Here is where they fit in the AB1JU codeplug. The Mon All Group List has all the talkgroups that are available on each repeater and the AREA All Group List has all of the talkgroups that are used in the Area Zones. For each zone, I have set up two channels for each zone, "MA1" which is on time slot 1 and "Monitor All" which is on time slot 2. In the repeater Scan List we have these two channels: [zone] MA1 and [zone] Monitor All. When we go to the "Monitor All" channel, it scans this list; it listens to all of the timeslot 1 traffic, then to all the timeslot 2 traffic. Much better than going thru each individual channel. Each zone has this feature. But how do you reply to a call? In the "General Settings" we have Group Call Hang Time is set to 5 seconds (5000) to give us 5 seconds to reply. "TX Designated Channel" is set to "Last Active" so that when we key up within 5 seconds, we are on the last channel we heard. We have also set "Priority Channel" to "None" since we want to give all channels an equal opportunity to be heard.
Custom Scan Lists
The AB1JU NCPRN CS-700 codeplug has custom scan lists: each Area Zone / Travel Zone has a corresponding scan list. The Area Zone scan lists will scan the PRN, Local, TAC 1, TAC 310 and DCI Bridge. Each Area Zone has 2 or 3 repeaters that it will listen to. You will only hear traffic from the repeater you are in range of... sort of a "poor man's roaming". Setting your radio to an Area Zone and putting it on the Monitor All channel, especially while driving, will enable you to monitor that group of repeaters and talkgroups without constantly changing the radio settings.
Talkaround and Simplex
For those that are used to being able to use talkaround on a repeater output, yes, you can do that in the DMR world too. However, the CS700 has an issue with that at this time. (We hope that will be fixed in the future.) The other thing about talkaround in the DMR world is that it really isn't recommended. Simplex is a much better choice, and the AB1JU NC PRN codeplug does have a simplex zone that contains all the suggested simplex channels.
The suggested simplex channels for UHF DMR are:
|FREQUENCY||TALKGROUP ID||TIMESLOT||COLOUR CODE|
I hope you find my codeplug useful and a good starting point...
Remember: Amateur Radio is all about experimentation and learning, so I encourage you to customize this codeplug so it works for you.
If you like my work...