A new TETRA project in the Brandmeister Family

Artöm DL5ABM and his team are thrilled to present their newest endeavor TetraPack.Online, a Tetra TMO amateur radio network showcased for the first time at HamRadio 2023 in Friedrichshafen. This project shares common objectives with Brandmeister, such as multiple hardware support, widely available talkgroups and digital services.

What is Tetra, how is it different than DMR ?

Tetra is also a digital radio protocol leveraging the concept of talkgroups and timeslots, with a few improvements amongst which:

  • Tetra uses a different codec (ACELP) offering superior voice quality compared to DMR or P25,
  • The TetraPack RF protocol allows for 4 timeslots over a 25kHz spectrum. One timeslot is dedicated for signaling (data exchange between the subscriber radio and the network), while the remaining 3 timeslots can carry simultaneous voice conversations. If you want, you can stack more base radios and get an additional 4 timeslots for each frequency added while still needing only one signaling timeslot!
  • It is possible to have full-duplex conversations, so your radio behaves like a cellular phone,
  • The concepts of static and dynamic talkgroups are gone. Once you select your desired talkgroup on your radio, there is no need to press PTT. Your radio automatically communicates your chosen talkgroups to the network and an a voice timeslot will be allocated for you to listen and talk through.
  • Basic web-based browsing is possible (comparable to WAP)

How does TetraPack.online integrate with Brandmeister.network ?

The two networks tightly integrate with one-another:

  • The same IDs assigned by RadioID.net are used on both networks to identify ham callsigns,
  • All talkgroups greater than 90 are shared with both networks,
  • Group calls and private calls are supported within and across both networks,
  • SMS can seamlessly traverse between the two networks.

What do I need to setup a Tetra Base Station?

In the Tetra world the terminology has evolved from “Repeater” to “Base station”. This configuration comprises a Site Controller responsible for network-side functions, and a Base Radio which divides the 25kHz carrier into 4 timeslots. Several base radios can be added into one Base Station (each using their own frequencies) thus providing more timeslots. You could almost compare this to a DMR Tier 3 setup.

Presently, TetraPack only supports two Motorola hardware platforms because they are the only ones we have been able to acquire and develop on at this point. If you, or someone you know, can lend or donate alternative Tetra hardware to our development team, we will work on incorporating support for the new equipment. We also welcome donations to help us purchase diverse Tetra hardware and expand the range of supported platforms.

At the moment, we have tested and built support for the below configurations:

Configuration Option 1

Configuration Option 2

  • Motorola EBTS or MBTS base station
  • PC or Raspberry running Debian 64-bit
  • icE1usb E1 adapter, or Cisco 2611XM router with either the vwic2-1mft-t1/e1 or vwic2-2mft-t1/e1 module.

Once you are ready to start, contact an administrator on the Tetrapack Telegram Support Group to get connected!

Which Tetra radio to use ? How to program it ?

You can use any TMO-compatible Tetra radio to communicate on the TetraPack network.

Just like DMR, the radios are programmed via codeplugs. However you only need to enter base station frequencies and talkgroups; the timeslots are dynamically assigned by the base station.

Can you connect using a hotspot ?

We are not aware of any hotspots supporting Tetra at this point.

Resources

More information can be found below:

Brandmeister DMR 2021 : A year-in-review

2021 has been a great year at Brandmeister DMR. The development team once again spoiled the DMR Amateur Radio community with many great features. Let’s review the most significant ones:

A new hoseline on steroids – QSOs on Brandmeister DMR talkgroups can be heard using a web browser on virtually any device, using the brand new Hoseline with improved audio, volume normalizing, multiple talkgroups listening, instant play, and many other features described in detail in this article.

Enhanced repeaters coverage plots – The coverage plots are more precise than they used to, and are updated minutes after making a change in repeater’s data.

Users and Repeaters Self Service– The days of the default “passw0rd” for hotspots and repeaters are over. The registration process on Brandmeister ensures that ham’s IDs are protected, and the traffic is not disturbed by rogue devices or gateways. Most new users are now automagically approved, and it only takes 5 minutes now for a new repeater to become available and manageable on Brandmeister DMR! Thanks to the collaboration of Brandmeister and RadioID developers, the repeater data is imported in Brandmeister, and sysop rights are automatically added. No need to ask and wait for this to be done manually!

A faster dashboard – The dashboard is now responsive, repeater owners can set passwords on their own, hotspot and repeaters list display twice as fast as they used to, and the last-heard is faster than it has ever been!

Brandmeister Core updates – the core Brandmeister software has seen 48 updates in 2021, bringing lots of performance improvements as well as amazing new features such as the Asterisk’s AudioSocket protocol, TextCapture, and the optimization of Wires-X bridging.

We recognize that all these improvements would not have been possible without:

  • The time and devotion of the developpers involved in the many aspects of Brandmeister
  • Hams contributing their time to testing and reporting issues to the development team
  • Master administrators maintaining, troubleshooting, and updating the servers that make Brandmeister accessible to ham radio operators worldwide
  • Support teams spending countless hours helping fellow ham operators
  • User’s donations
  • Users providing computing ressources and hosting

We have more to come for 2022 … so stay tuned, and Happy New Year!

Technologies used within Brandmeister DMR

Did you know there are 20+ technologies that make the BM magic possible?

Brandmeister’s developers chose the best and most bleeding-edge technologies available to create the most efficient and featureful Amateur Radio DMR Network ever conceived.

To give you an idea of the technologies symbiosis beauty happening within Brandmeister, here is a list of the main ones we use:

Databases

Languages

  • C & C++ for a most optimized core of Brandmeister DMR
  • LUA for ultra-fast calls processing on masters
  • NodeJS for back-end processing
  • Javascript for the dashboard
  • PHP for web functions on master servers
  • HTML for the dashboard and master web pages
  • Python for scripts on master and back-end servers
  • Bash for scripts on masters and back-end servers

Data Transfer

  • REST APIs for front-end to back-end communications
  • Fast-Forward a network protocol created by Brandmeister to transfer communications between masters at very high speed
  • Mosquitto for master-network data transfer
  • D-Bus for message bus system

Operating Systems

Applications

If you have expertise in programming with these technologies and can volunteer several hours per week, contact us to see if your skills are needed!

New talkgroup 98 dedicated to tests

There is now a dedicated international talkgroup on BrandMeister for all your tests: TALKGROUP 98.

You can test the audio on your new radio or software as many times as you want, for as long as you want, without worrying to disrupt a QSO.

If you like helping fellow digital ham operators, please stand-by on this talkgroup whenever you can to provide assistance and feedback.

73’s and happy tests on talkgroup 98 !

Hotspot security password now required when connecting to USA BM Masters

Hotspots connecting to a BrandMeister Master Server in the USA will now require their users to set a hotspot security password. The configuration change will happen on the following dates:

Master 3101 : November 27th, 2020

Master 3102: December 4th, 2020

Master 3103: December 11th, 2020

Users who already have a password set don’t need to take any action at this time.

For general step by step instructions, you may refer to this post. The link can also be found in the FAQ section of the USA Wiki Page under the Hotspot Configurations section.

UK Master Server 2341 IP change

The UK BrandMeister DMR master has been moved to a new IP address: 51.68.220.36. This is due to unforeseen circumstances that unfortunately did not allow us to provide early notice.

Repeater owners currently pointing to the UK Master 2341 “old IP address” will have to change their repeater configuration. The old IP address might respond to MMDVM protocol but is disconnected from any BrandMeister traffic.

Gateway administrators (OpenBridge, YSF, XLX, WiresX, etc.) need to contact BrandMeister support via the Support Portal or Telegram BM UK Group to re-configure their connection.

Hotspot users please refresh your masters list to ensure the UK Master 2341 is updated with the new IP address 51.68.220.36. The old IP address might respond to MMDVM protocol but is disconnected from any BrandMeister traffic.

Stay safe, and happy QSO !

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

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.

BrandMeister DMR at Ham Radio Friedrichshafen 2019 – Stand A1-666

BrandMeister will be present at the Ham Radio Friedrichshafen 2019 exhibition in Germany on June 21st, 22nd and 23rd.

Come by the stand A1-666 to meet some of the team members; we will be happy to discuss and answer your questions.

If you are a seasoned programmer and would like to volunteer a few hours per week coding for BrandMeister, this will be a great opportunity to introduce yourself!

We look forward to meeting with you soon!