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?

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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

Preparation

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

Sources:

RadioID

Ailunce HD1

Assembled MMDVM Hotspot – Buy on E-bay

WiFi Builder Configuration Utility

PiStar Digital Voice Software – PiStar.uk

AmateurRadio.digital

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K0PIR

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.

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Robert Austin
2 years ago

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

Guest
John K7KB
2 years ago

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.

Guest
John K7KB
2 years ago

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.

Guest
Lee Watts
2 years ago

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?
Regards;
Lee WA7OK

Guest
Tony Teri
2 years ago

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

Guest
Don
2 years ago

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?

Guest
Eugene Colton
2 years ago

Rich,
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.
Suggestions?
BTW we met in South Dakota at a campground in Pierre last July. Exchanged photos, etc.
73
Eugene/AF9O

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

Guest
William KD8VHP
2 years ago
Reply to  K0PIR

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.

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Dave Evangelista
2 years ago

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

Dave

Guest
Les M Bradshaw
2 years ago

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

Guest
John
1 year ago

Can you provide a link or information where to purchase?

Thanks,
John, N6UOP

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