DMR Ham Radio Articles

DMR Radio Specifications

The DMR interface is defined by the following ETSI standards: TS 102 361-1: Air interface protocol TS 102 361-2: Voice and General services and facilities TS 102 361-3: Data protocol TS 102 361-4: Trunking protocol

The DMR standard operates within the existing 12.5 kHz channel spacing used in land mobile frequency bands globally, but achieves two voice channels through two-slot TDMA technology built around a 30 ms structure. The modulation is 4-state FSK, which creates four possible symbols over the air at a rate of 4,800 symbols/s, corresponding to 9,600 bit/s. After overhead, forward error correction, and splitting into two channels, there is 2,450 bit/s left for a single voice channel using DMR, compared to 4,400 bit/s using P25 and 64,000 bit/s with traditional telephone circuits.

The standards are still (as of late 2015) under development with revisions being made regularly as more systems are deployed and improvements are discovered. It is very likely that further refinements will be made to the standard, which will necessitate firmware upgrades to terminals and infrastructure in the future to take advantage of these new improvements, with potential incompatibility issues arising if this is not done. DMR covers the RF range 30 MHz to 1 GHz. There are DMR implementations, (as of early 2016), that operate as low as 66 MHz (within the European Union, in 'Lo-Band VHF' 66–88 MHz.)

The DMR Association and manufacturers often claim that DMR has superior coverage performance to analogue FM. Forward error correction can achieve a higher quality of voice when the receive signal is still relatively high. In practice, however, digital modulation protocols are much more susceptible to multipath interference and fail to provide service in areas where analogue FM would otherwise provide degraded but audible voice service. At a higher quality of voice, DMR outperforms analogue FM by about 11 dB. But at a lower quality of voice, analogue FM outperforms DMR by about 5 dB.

Where digital signal processing has been used to enhance the analogue FM audio quality then analogue FM generally outperforms DMR in all situations, with a typical 2–3 dB improvement for "high quality" voice and around 5 dB improvement for "lower quality" voice. Where digital signal processing is used to enhance analog FM audio, the overall "delivered audio quality" is also considerably better than DMR.However DSP processing of analog FM audio does not remove the 12.5 kHz requirement so DMR is still more spectrally efficient.

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