How to select a BrandMeister Master Server?

One of the main distinguishing feature of BrandMeister DMR is that the network is accessible from any master. Therefore you have a choice of 40+ master servers to connect your repeater or hotspot. How to choose?

The best performance will not always be with the master server that is closest to you geographically. Rather, it depends on your internet service provider’s capacity/peerings and the one of the master server.

The key factors for best DMR performance are jitter, then latency. Below is the most simple method to find the best master for you, without any special software.

Step 1: Go to the Brandmeister DMR Master Servers list, and select which master(s) you want to consider. Click on the “Status” button and grab the IP address for the master in your browser’s address bar.

Step 2: From the same network as your repeater or hotspot, run a “ping” command for 1 to 2 minutes to each master you are considering. Perform this test during the time of the day where your typically have the most traffic.

Step 3: Check that the round-trip delay provided by each ping (called latency) stays consistent, without any major variations (called jitter). See the examples below:

Good (No Jitter):

~ ping -t 74.91.118.251

Pinging 74.91.118.251 with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=71ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=73ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=69ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=68ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=71ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=74ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=70ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=69ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=69ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=68ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=69ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=69ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=70ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=72ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=70ms TTL=54

You can see that there are no major latency variations.

Bad (Jitter):

~ ping -t 74.91.118.251

Pinging 74.91.118.251 with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=71ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=73ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=354ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=366ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=219ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=72ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=70ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=77ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=983ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=875ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=917ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=75ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=72ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=819ms TTL=54
Reply from 74.91.118.251: bytes=32 time=668ms TTL=54

You can observe here the big variances in latency, indicating jitter. Symptoms of jitter include choppy/garbled audio and delayed/dropped transmissions.

Step 4:

Once you have found some masters with no jitter, pick the one offering the lowest latency (smallest ping time).

For any further question, please refer to the BrandMeister Support Portal.

Using DMR IDs on BrandMeister

The support team noticed a lot of questions are being sent regarding the use of IDs in radios, hotspots and repeater. Here is how BrandMeister recommends to use DMR IDs based on the different use case.

Accessing BrandMeister DMR with your radio and a public repeater or hotspot

All you have to worry about is the codeplug of your radio. In the configuration, you will use the 7-digit DMR ID your call-sign has been assigned (for example: 2060945) and the proper TX/RX frequencies.

Accessing BrandMeister DMR using your radio and personal hotspot

In your radio’s codeplug, configure your 7-digit personal DMR ID as assigned by HamDigital or RadioID. (For example: 2060945).

In your hotspot configuration, use your 7-digit personal DMR ID followed by “01”, for a total of 9-digits. (For example: 206094501). If you have more than one hotspot, use the suffix 02, 03, etc. Always make sure that all your hotspots are using different frequencies.

Do not add only “1”, “2”, etc. for a total of 8 digits, as this won’t work.

You do not need to request a 6-digit repeater ID for a hotspot, even if more than one person is using it, and even if it is dual-timeslot. The 6-digit repeater IDs are designed for large-coverage repeaters.

Providing a BrandMeister DMR repeater for the general public

If you would like to setup a repeater to allow a larger audience to access the BrandMeister DMR network, you will have to apply for a repeater ID with HamDigital.org or RadioID.net depending on your geographical location. Use this ID as-is in your repeater codeplug configuration and you are done.

If you are planning to deploy more than one repeater you will need to request a new 6-digit repeater ID for each repeater. Do not add “01”, “02” suffixes in each repeater configuration.

BrandMeister DMR reaches 50,000 Self-Care Accounts

In May 2020, the number of amateur radio operators who have created a Self-Care account on the BrandMeister DMR network has reached 50,000 unique call-signs.

This milestone is a good opportunity to look back at the exponential growth of the network since it started just 4 years ago, and to say thank you to all those who made it happen: developers, users, bloggers, documentation writers, support teams and master admins.

2016

2020

To register your self-care account, go to https://brandmeister.network/?page=register

BrandMeister DMR reflectors support ending by end of 2020

The reflectors feature was implemented in the early years of BrandMeister to provide a compatibility with other DMR networks including this functionality and allow reflectors-based hotspots to connect to BrandMeister.

With more and more countries appearing on DMR, the restrictive numbering format of the reflectors (4XXX) is causing talkgroups numbering conflicts for a growing number of countries which MCC code starts with 4.

Our statistics are also showing that less and less operators are using reflectors on BrandMeister DMR, and the demand for new reflectors is practically nonexistent.

For all the above reasons, the reflectors functionality will be retired no later than December 30th, 2020. After this date, Talkgroup 4000 will continue to provide the same auto-static disconnect function and Talkgroup 9 Timeslot 2 will behave just like any other one-digit talkgroup.

If you are using a dv4mini hotspot in reflector mode, please refer to this post to use MMDVM support.

USA 3108 Master Server removal

The USA 3108 Master Server will be removed on or around May 30th, 2020. The 3101, 3102, and 3103 masters have more than enough capacity to take the load.

Anyone with existing bridges connections (CC links, XLX, OpenBridge, etc.) or if you are a repeater owner with a cluster on 3108, please open a ticket on the BrandMeister Support Portal under the BMUSA section and we will get you moved to another master.

New Philippines Master Server 5151

The BM team is delighted to announce a new Master Server 5151 deployed in the Philippines, hosted on the island in the Eastern Telecoms datacenter. With the server physically located in the country, hams from the Philippines and nearby regions can enjoy lower latency, fewer hops, and thus better performance during QSOs.

The server address is at BM5151.hamradio.com.ph; Fixed IP address at 120.89.61.77. It should already be present in the BM Masters list for all hotspots that auto-update their master server list.

For more information on talkgroup lineup, local BM team, nets, etc. please refer to the wiki page.

Helpdesk platform for BrandMeister users and repeater sysops support

Should you need support in utilizing the BrandMeister DMR network, support to BrandMeister users, the team has put together a commercial-grade platform that combines bug tracker, documentation and ticketing.

The ticketing platform is accessible in English at this address: https://support.brandmeister.network/servicedesk/customer/portals

(you will also find this link at the bottom of the brandmeister.network website, by clicking on the word “Support”).

A team of hams is watching the ticket queue to assist you, respond to your questions, escalate possible bugs and organize feature requests.

Support’s answers can turn into knowledge documents, which will show up as possible answers as you type your question for the support.

So the more this platform is being use, the more help it will provide to the entire user community!

South-Korea Master 4501 back on-line

The South-Korean Master server is back on-line. Unfortunately the local administrators were not able to recover the configuration from the crashed drives. If you are a repeater owner and connect to Master 4501, you will have to re-configure the following: Static Talkgroups, Timed Subscription, Reflectors, Cluster membership, and custom repeater passwords (ask local administrators or BM Support).

We apologize for the downtime and the inconvenience, and wish you happy QSOs now !

BrandMeister DMR repeater sysops: how to create a “local talkgroup” on your repeater

BrandMeister Repeater Sysops : How to create a “local talkgroup” for your repeater ?

Repeater owners like to offer a talkgroup dedicated for hams within the coverage area of the repeater and refer to it as the “local talkgroup”. This can be achieved two ways, depending if you want a talkgroup:

1) that only local users within the repeater coverage can use

As you know, all valid talkgroups numbers are routed between BrandMeister master servers. There is however an exception for talkgroups 1 through 90. QSOs on these talkgroup numbers will never route past the repeater.

Considering that single-digit talkgroup numbers are usually used for clusters, using a talkgroup number between 10 and 90 for your local-only talkgroup(s) is a good choice.

One might think that Talkgroup 9 on Timeslot 2 is an option because traffic doesn’t seem to route. However it is not a good idea because TG9/TS2 is dedicated for reflector usage. As soon as someone connects a reflector on the repeater: all the traffic that users think is local on TG9/TS2 is now broadcasted on the matching talkgroup on the worldwide BrandMeister without them knowing! (unless the connected master is configured to disable reflectors, but better be safe than sorry!).

2) that is dedicated to the local community of the repeater users but also available outside of the coverage area if someone travels and want to use a different repeater or hotspot to talk to hams at home

What is recommended in this case is to simply use a talkgroup number that matches the 6-digit DMR ID of the repeater. This avoid any possible collision if choosing an arbitrary talkgroup number, since all repeaters have a unique ID on the BrandMeister network. 4-digit and 5-digit talkgroups are usually dedicated to regional talkgroups. There no need to make this talkgroup static since it is for the repeater’s local users.