Digital Mobile Radio DMR MMDVM Hotspot Jumbo Spot

Talk and listen to Hams around the world at home using a small handheld radio! I just got started in DMR and have found it pretty easy and inexpensive. With an Internet connection and the Ailunce HD1 combined with the MMDVM hotspot (Jumbo Spot) it is possible to talk to Hams around the world. So is this Ham Radio or is it (VOIP) Internet? I see it as Ham Radio and using the Internet as a tool. What are your thoughts?

Ailunce hd1 lcd

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How it Works

Using a handheld digital transceiver like the Ailunce HD1 we can communicate around the world from home. It doesn’t matter if you have local DMR digital repeater or not. I do not in my area, so I use the Jumbo Spot (MMDVM hotspot).

If you have a local digital DMR repeater you won’t need a MMDVM hotspot, but that’s for another article.

DMR stands for Digital Mobile Radio.

The Jumbo Spot allows Hams to operate on one or more digital modes without the use of a repeater. The Jumbo Spot basically becomes your private repeater. Here we are using DMR mode.

The handheld connects to the Jumbo Spot in your home and it connects to talkgroups on Internet servers around the world using your Internet connection.

You need a digital transceiver like the Ailunce HD1 and a MMDVM hotspot like the Jumbo Spot.  There are other more expensive alternatives. Of course you’ll also need Internet access from your home. I have cable service and the cable service provides me with a cable modem and WIFI router.

The nice thing about the Ailunce HD1 handheld is that it also communicates with our local analog repeaters. I consider it my dual purpose (analog/digital) VHF/UHF transceiver.

DMR hotspot

DMR MMDVM Hotspot – Jumbo Spot

The terms MMDVM hotspot and Jumbo Spot are used interchangeably. MMDVM stands for Multi Mode Digital Voice Modem. There are alternatives on the market and some run as much as $200, but the Jumbo Spot I found costs $85 shipped from California. This is a good E-Bay seller and I have had numerous contacts with her. When the SD card went out after two days she reimbursed me for it, no questions asked.

This device is a Raspberry Pi zero W (WiFi) with a Jumbo Spot RTQ MMDVM Hotspot expansion board. It’s the least expensive of the alternatives that I researched and a reliable solution! You can build these if you want, but I chose to buy it assembled and with the software ready to go (almost).

What does RTQ stand for? Ready To QSO!

You can find it here – Assembled MMDVM Hotspot Support P25 DMR YSF + Raspberry pi + OLED +ANT +Case US


You will need a DMR ID to setup the hotspot, so if you don’t have one go to RadioID and register for an ID. You will also need power for the hotspot. I use a phone charging cable and a USB port.

Here are the steps:

  1. The installed TF card (micro SD card) will need your WiFi SSID and password. Remove it from the hotspot and insert into your computer. I used an adapter. (TF stands for T-Flash. It was a SanDisk term.)
  2. Go to the WiFi Builder configuration utility here and use it. Then download the wpa_supplicant.conf and save to the TF card root directory.
  3. Insert the TF card into the hotspot and power it on. It will load after about 3 minutes and should be on your home network.
  4. In your web browser url field type in, http://pi-star, when prompted the username is: pi-star. The password is: raspberry. That will take you to the hotspot configuration page below.

Configuring Pi-Star for Digital Voice (DMR)

It’s pretty straight forward and I’ll show you my configuration in the video and also a little trick to keep the bit error rate (BER) down.

The video below shows a good example of transferring the TF card back and forth between the Jumbo Spot and computer. Have a look at the beginning.

Software Updates

The software and firmware of the Jumbo Spot is easily updated using the pi-star software.

Thank you

Are you on DMR? What are you thoughts on it?

If you have any questions, please ask them here. I prefer the comment section here or in YouTube over e-mail because your comments and questions will help others as well.

Thank you for subscribing to this website. I appreciate the comments, questions and suggestions. You can follow me on TwitterFacebookInstagram and YouTube if you have those.

Please stay in touch and best 73,

Rich, K0PIR



Ailunce HD1

Assembled MMDVM Hotspot – Buy on E-bay

WiFi Builder Configuration Utility

PiStar Digital Voice Software –

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I'm an Amateur Radio enthusiast. I love the hobby and experimenting with radios, antennas and software. On my YouTube channel I upload videos on the Icom 7300 and Icom 7610 along with Ham radio software programs. I hope to inspire people to try new things in Amateur Radio.

22 Responses

  1. Robert Austin says:

    Hi Rich, AE/KE0OHH here. Is there a difference between a Jumbo Hot Spot and a WiFi Hot Spot? I have a Hot Spot on my laptop that my phone connects through. I live in a very remote county in SW Colorado, with one repeater, but it is reachable only in a restricted region. We have no TV or radio reception, and the cable company pulled out 6 years ago. BUT, I have high speed fiber and a 10 meg. connection. How do you feel about DIY Raspberry Hot Spots? 73

    • K0PIR says:

      Hi Robert,
      Thanks for commenting here.
      Yes there is a difference. Not to confuse things, but to keep it simple, I usually think of a Wi-Fi hotspot as a device inside a restaurant or café that I can connect too with my laptop and connect to the Internet. That’s a easy way of looking at it.
      Most Internet service providers provide a modem with a wireless router and that’s what I am using to connect my jumbo spot too. The jumbo spot does not have a wired connection, only wireless.
      I have not used the raspberry pi as a hotspot, but I think I’ve seen them. I’m not sure how easy it will be to configure, but I bet there’s a lot of help out there.

      Thanks again and hope to hear you on, 73!

  2. John K7KB says:

    Thanks for the article Rich. In my opinion, using the Jumbo Spot with your transceiver makes it a VOIP hybrid. Not completely VOIP since you are using a handheld transceiver, but still VOIP since it is transmitted digitally over the internet.

    • K0PIR says:

      Hi John,
      Nice to hear from you and that’s what I think. I still see it as ham radio because I’m still using my call sign and I’m using a radio. It just goes out over the Internet instead of the airwaves. In all honestly I like the airwaves better Lol


  3. John K7KB says:

    Right now, with the FCC crackdown on chinese DMR Radios, it’s hard to know which ones are compliant and which ones are not. I believe your Ailunce is on the FCC blacklist now, but I see it’s still being sold on Amazon. I guess I’ll wait and see which ones get put on the compliance list later then decide if I want to give DMR a try.

    • K0PIR says:

      Hi John,

      I know there’s been discussion about that and we even discussed it a a ham club meeting one evening but we didn’t get too far with it. I think the majority of us own one of the Chinese radios.

      I don’t know much about these things but, looking at my Ailunce HD1 I see it has a FCC ID label. I know they are selling them in the United States.

      These are good things to be aware of especially since they transmit out of band. Honestly I just wish they would have taken precautions like other manufacturers.

      Thanks again John best 73!

  4. Lee Watts says:

    I have a Icom7100 which has DMR capability. That’s one of the reasons I bought it, but sadly, later found I cannot hit any of the DMR capable repeaters in my area. Too far away I guess. Looks to me like the Jumbo Spot should work with the 7100 like the handheld you described. Am I correct in my assumption?
    Lee WA7OK

  5. K0PIR says:

    Hi Lee,

    Nice to hear from you and thank you for commenting here.

    I am not really familiar with the 7100. It looks like it has D-Star though.

    The pi-star software in the Jumbo Spot has D-Star. I would do some searching and see how it works.

    That’s very interesting about the 7100 and thank you again.

    Rich, K0PIR

  6. Tony Teri says:

    Great post. I need help in understanding how I would configure the Radio to transmit to the Jumbo Spot.

  7. Don says:

    Can there be any issues between the DMR hotspot and the server that it connects to? I can send all day but have only heard one gentleman testing something. I have tried on parrot and I see the hot spot responding and then listening. Then I hear no reply. I also have another DMR radio and I have sent on that and do not hear any traffic on the hot spot. Firewall issue on the router? Do I need to open firewall ports on the router or forwarding ports on the router?

  8. K0PIR says:

    Hi Don,
    Nice to hear from you and thank you for commenting here. I don’t believe so, I did not have to and I have not heard anything like that. If you can set it up as a temporary DMZ that would answer your question. That’s usually pretty easy to do in the router. I would think it’s just a configuration error somewhere and look at the Configuration I have again to see if you have a typo in there or something not configured properly. Use the same server that I show in the video and configuration photos.
    If you have an HD one I also have a video on it.
    By the way I don’t think I got the parrot to work on mine. I am not sure why, but since it is working otherwise I didn’t bother with it.

  9. Eugene Colton says:

    Got a question. Just visited a friend today who has a JumboSpot, seems to be programmed but he doesn’t know how to get the BM Jumbo Spot data programmed into his computer and copied to his newly-purchased TYT MD-380.
    BTW we met in South Dakota at a campground in Pierre last July. Exchanged photos, etc.

    BTW I have a Nano-Spot, and my entries to the computer/MD-380 go like “NS TAC310,” etc.

  10. K0PIR says:

    Hi Eugene,

    Yes I remember and nice to hear from you again. I hope your trip went well.

    I am still perfecting the KX2 antennas, hi hi.

    I think you are referring to programming a code plug for his radio. Those are very popular radios and there is probably a sample of one he can look at on YouTube or Facebook.

    Chris knows a lot about those and he is on YT:


    Best 73!

    Rich, K0PIR

    • William KD8VHP says:

      I have a question about the sported frequencies. Would i be able to transmit VHF into it if i had a VHF antenna for it? I would be using it for P25.

      • K0PIR says:

        Hi William,

        Nice to hear from you.

        Would you be able to use a VHF frequency instead of the UHF? Good question! I have not seen anyone doing that. I see that it says it will work either UHF or VHF. (The MMDVM hotspot support module can work with UHF or VHF(VHF is not the main band)).

        I suppose it is worth a try. Thanks for the question and thank you for commenting here.

        Best 73,
        Rich, K0PIR

  11. Dave Evangelista says:

    Hi, Rich. N2TRY (Dave) here. Great site and good beginner information. I have a n00b question for you (or anyone else in the thread). I recently purchased an Anytone AT-D878UV (nice little rig).

    My question: How do I program the hotspot frequency into the code-plug? (Should this be an Analog or Digital simplex frequency)? If it’s digital should this be Slot 1 or 2? I notice in the videos (both here and elsewhere) where it’s observed TS1 is disabled and TS2 is enabled (and this is critical I understand). Is the TS2 on the pi-star set by default or in the defaults? Maybe I missed that.

    Kind regards & 73’s


  12. K0PIR says:

    Hi Dave,

    All great questions. Here is my post and video on the codeplug. This is not for your radio, but should give you some information and answer some questions.

    I used 446.500 MHz and it is designated as Digital in my codeplug and you’ll see where to put TS2 (Slot: Slot2) in your codeplug.

    I hope this helps. Best 73!

    Rich, K0PIR

  13. Les M Bradshaw says:

    Cant get the display to work on the Jumbo spot ? I am connected to wifi and running.

  14. John says:

    Can you provide a link or information where to purchase?

    John, N6UOP

  15. K0PIR says:

    Hi John,
    Nice to hear from you. Looks like the seller I bought from is sold out at the time. There are other sellers.
    I did a search and came up with a list. Just pick one that is assembled. Here’s one.

    Best 73 from Fort Pierre Grasslands

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