Working The Cluster Network.
The Southwest cluster is made up of a number of independent Repeaters operated by their own Repeater Groups working in tandem to create a big, if not the biggest UK network of DMR repeaters to date.
Each Repeater Group owns and operates their repeater and internet feed. Groups can join or leave the Southwest Cluster (SWC) there is no restrictions or demands on them, it is a truly independent network. The only thing we ask of you the user of the SWC is to show you’re thanks to the operators of your local repeater by joining their group and maybe make a donation to help with the running costs. Remember repeaters are not sponsored by Ofcom or the RSGB, they are totally paid for by the repeater group.
Each repeater provides the following characteristics:
Talk Groups (TGs) are another important ingredient in the DMR recipe of operation. Think of a TG being a meeting room, where if you set your terminal to a TG of say 1 and others set their terminals to TG of 1 then everyone is in the same ‘room’ and can hold a QSO. While your all talking on TG1 another radio operator sets their terminal to TG2 and tries to join your QSO, then their terminal will refused to transmit (This is provided the radio is set up correctly) and the operator will receive the “no service tone”. Their terminal will also ignore any received traffic that is not TG2 so effectively they cannot hear your QSO.
However when you finish your QSO on TG1 and clear the other operator on TG2 can transmit freely. Of course your now locked out of using TG1 and you then receive the no service tones when you try to transmit.
Yes I know it sounds complicated, and yes it is. BUT just remember to set your terminal to TS1/TG9 and TS2/TG950 for use on the SWC, everyone else will have to set their terminals to the same values, so you can all hold QSO’s with little or no effort.
This feature is enabled on a repeater by repeater basis and can be disabled on request of the repeaters keeper.
Unlike the MK1 SWC which was limited to TS2/TG950 being SWC wide and TS1/TG9 being local only. The introduction of our own FreeDMR server. We can now offer Dial on Demand Talkgroups.
This is ONLY available on TS1/TG9 on your local repeater.
DoD does **NOT** require you to program hundreds of channels with different Talkgroups and Timeslots. DoD makes programming the radio terminal simple. Your terminal only requires TS1/TG9 and TS2/TG950 only!!
Two channels per repeater, that’s it!
So to use DoD change your radio channel to TS1/TG9 on your local repeater. That’s it your ready to go!
You will need to know how to get to the “Private call” option on your radio menu.
Next press the up/down/ok buttons to move to and select “Private Call” option.
Then simply enter a number of a TG you want to connect two. The FreeDMR website holds a list of pre-defined TGs to select. Of course you can also make one up! More on that later.
Once you have entered all the numbers of the TG you want to join do not press “Ok” just press the PTT. You will hear your terminal transmit. After 1 second release the PTT and if all is good, the system will report “Connected to xxxxxx” That’s it! you have Dialed on Demand. The server is doing all the hard work of cross linking TGS and TS for you.
When you have finished your QSO repeat the above steps to get to the “Private call” menu. This time enter magic code of 4000 then transmit, and release. The system will report “Not connected” this means you have returned the repeater to local TG9
It is good practice to take a listen to TS1/TG9 for a few moments to check there is not a QSO taking place. As the repeater is physically on TS1/TG9 you should hear a QSO even if the repeater is connected to a DoD Talkgroup. It’s the server doing the TG changes not the local repeater.
You can transmit 5000 into the system, using the above technique and the system will report the current DoD Talkgroup its linked to, or “Not connected” which will confirm your back on the local repeater only.
Have a play, there is a lot of Talkgroups to listen or interact with!