Monday, September 11, 2017

DMR Code Plug Programming

DMR Code Plug Programming for the Tytera MD-380

Ask anyone if they are going to get into Digital radio and the immediate reply is NO it is too complicated. Why? The stock answer is that it cannot be taken out of the box and placed on air without having to program it up first. Take one look at the Programming Software and it is not hard to understand. The Software allows the programming of a "Code Plug", which is essentially the "personality" of the radio. The radio can only transmit and receive on the channels programmed into the code plug. An RTFM problem before one starts!

If you have not acquired a DMR ID then go to this location:  Follow the instructions and have a PDF copy of the front page of the licence to upload completing the registration process. The ID is issued within a day or two. Follow the steps below and programming will become second nature. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will your code plug!

The order in which the programming is done is as follows:

1) Contacts
2) Channels
3) Zones
4) Placement of channels into Zones.

The program for the individual radio is either down-loadable from the manufacturer's website, or on the disc supplied with the rig. In this write up, it is the Tytera MD-380 or clones such as the Retevis or Zastone handhelds that will be described. 

On running up the program this is the first screen that will show on the screen

If the set is a UHF handheld, then this is the basic information seen. Attach the programming lead supplied with the radio and then switch the radio on. Look along the toolbar of the program as seen above and to the right of the disc symbol there is a picture of a handheld radio with a white arrow pointing to the left. Click on this and anything programmed into the radio will be downloaded to the program on screen. Normally, there is one channel as an example. The view shown is the Basic Information which is the first item in the menu.

General Settings

Click on the general settings and the screen below will pop up.

Look at the positions highlighted by red arrows. The Radio Name is your callsign and this is typed in Capital Letters. the Radio ID is the DMR registration number assigned to your callsign. The two boxes shown on the bottom right of the screen can contain in Line 1 - your Name and Line 2 - your Callsign. These may be left blank and will not affect the operation of the radio. Best to leave any other settings alone until you have a greater understanding of their consequences!


On the menu, click on Digital Contacts and this screen will pop up

Click "Add" at the bottom of the screen. Enter the name of the contact in the "Contact Name" box - it is possible to replace the words Contact 1 with the name required. Click on "Call Type" and three options will be available on the drop down menu. Most calls will either be "Private" or "Group". Enter a contact here which may be an Individual, a Reflector, or Talk Group.  

Any number of channels can be added to this box for future use.

To program a channel such as the Ireland Calling Channel the layout would be as follows:

No    Contact Name                   Call Type             Call ID

 1     Ireland Calling                    Group                  2722

 2         EI4ALE                          Private               2720045

Ireland Call is the Irish Calling Channel it is a Talk Group and will be a group call so all can hear that call when it is made. 2722 is the DMR ID for that talk Group.  EI4ALE is a Private Call so when the call is made it will only be directed to that individual in this case the DMR ID is 2720045. On completion of the contacts screen, the next task is to assign channels.


On the menu in the left hand column, Click on  "Channels Information" and the following screen will appear

All of the positions with red arrows need to be filled in the following order

Channel Name -   From our Example above this one can be named Ireland Calling Channel 
Channel Mode -   Generally defaults to Digital but, if not, the drop down menu will allow selection
Frequency -         Your choice of Frequency for the RX and TX frequencies
Contact Name -   Click on the down arrow and all of the contacts will display - choose the Ireland
                          Calling Channel
Colour Code -      This is can be any number 1 - 15 but generally set to 1 unless otherwise required
Repeater Slot -    Can only be set to 1 or 2 - in our case we set this to 2
TOT (s) -             Set to 180s for network operation. Most Network items time out after 3 mins
Power -               Set to Low power if using a Hotspot but, set to High power if going through a

Best not to alter any of the other settings unless you have read more about them.

It is possible to program in Analogue channels by selecting Analog in the Channel mode. The method is the same as for Digital Channels. CTCSS can tones can be added if the Analog mode is selected.

Use with a Hotspot e.g. DVMega or Shark Openspot

If it is planned to use the Hand Held Radio with a hotspot or Local Repeater it is essential to program the TX and RX frequency to suit that of the device in question.


There are a maximum of 16 Zones selectable on the average Hand Held Radio. These can hold up to 16 channels.  This equates to a total of 256 channels. This allows one to sort their channels into specific Groups held in each Zone.  

By "right clicking" the mouse on the Zone information, a small tab with "Add" will appear click on that and this will add a Zone into the list. Do it several times and there will be a few more Zones added. 

Click on Zone 1 in the menu and the screen shown will appear. This Zone can be renamed by back spacing over the Zone 1 name and giving a relevant name for the channels contained therein. 

To add Channels to the Zone, available channels will be listed in the left hand column. Click on a channel in the list as in the case of channel 2 which will become highlighted. 

Click the add button in the centre of the box and the channel will be added to the zone as in the case of Channel1 already in the channel member box.

16 zones may be programmed with channel members. 

That completes the basic programming. Anything that was not highlighted with a red arrow is best left alone!

Setting up a scan list

The scan list may be set up by clicking on "Scan List in the side menu. To add more than the one Scan list, "right click" the mouse whilst pointing at Scan List and an "Add" tab will appear so click on that also. Selecting a scan list after clicking "Scan list" on the menu will result in the following screen 

To add channels to the scan list, click on the desired channel in the left hand column and then click "Add" in the centre of the box and the channel will move across. Only 16 channels may be selected for each list.

Once programmed into the Radio, the scan list can be selected from the keyboard. The rig may be set to scan by programming one of the buttons on the side of the radio. Go to the side menu and select "Buttons Definitions" and the following screen will appear

Go to the "Radio Buttons" box and click on the pull down menu for "Side Button 1". Click on Scan On/Off. After this, select the pull down menu on "Side Button 2" and change this to "High/Low Power" which may be selected from the contents of the pull down menu.


Give the program a suitable name like your callsign followed by code plug. Save this, and if you wish to change anything always save the changed file with a new name. Code plugs take time to build and it would be a shame to overwrite work already done. ALWAYS keep the original copy so you can have a reference point from which to start.

It may seem laborious at the start, but after a few times it will become logical and second nature. If you have mastered the steps demonstrated, you will be able to program most other transceivers with little difficulty. It will be found that other more complex rigs, like the Motorola, follow a similar pattern.

USERS OF THE Radiodity GD - 77  - Use the Radioddity CPS Program for the GD-77

Using the Radioddity CPS Software is similar to setting the Tyera MD-380. Follow the sequence above to set up the Contacts, Channels, Zones, and placement of Channels in the Zones. However, there are a couple of extra steps required to get the radio to receive the channels on which it transmits.

Rx Group List - if this part is not completed it will not receive anything

It is necessary to set up a Receive Group List for each batch of channels. Right click on the "RX Group List to add a new list and give it a name. Highlight the channel to add and then hit the"Add" button in the centre. In the example shown, the IRL SERVER is the name of the RX Group List and the Three channels have been added

The Channel List

Go to the Channels list and double click on the desired channel which willresult in the screen shown below:

On the right hand side, click on the RX Group list pull down box and, in this case select the Ireland Server. If you haven't already named the contact, click on the pull down menu next to contact name and select the relevant name for it from the list. Generally all contacts here would be Color Code 1 and Time Slot 2. unless otherwise required.

Make sure The Callsign and name are added into the Boot Item. Add the Callsign and Radio ID (DMR Registration) into the General Settings. That completes the Code plug. Save a working copy and save a User Copy under your own callsign.

If it is not possible to change the information in the Boot Item list perform the following task:

With the Program Software up and running on your computer, press and hold CRTL, ALT, SHIFT, and press F11 at the same time. A pop up window will appear. Type  DMR961510 into the box and this will give "expert facilities and open up a few other facilities not normally required for programming a routine CPS.

Best of Luck with your efforts  .......