I’m noticing a bit of a trend - some hams are buying DMR radios and are hardly computer literate - Today the conversation went like this.
The radio I bought, it won’t program.
OK - lets see if we can help, have you managed to read from the radio?
Do I need to use that software you sent?
Yes - you run the software and connect the USB cable to the socket under a flap - you need a little screwdriver, remove the crosshead screw and the cable fits the socket.
Yes - I’ve done that. It still won’t program.
Have you read the radio?
How do I do that?
Press the read button on the screen and the contents of the radio will load into the computer.
It says it’s a different model.
That’s because you haven’t read the radio yet - when you do, it will change.
I sent you a codeplug to use as a template - the one I use here
What do I do?
Press open, navigate to that file and load it in - then write it to the radio
Have you opened it and can see the details? Look in the contacts and zones
There are frequencies in there but that’s not my repeater
No they are my repeater - you need to remove my one and insert yours
What are they?
I don’t know - what its your repeater?
I’m very confused.
No problem - give me a ring in the morning and I’ll go through it with you
Talk tomorrow - bye
Ten minutes later ebay say a customer wants to return a faulty radio
Reason? The fan doesn’t work. The fan comes on when you transmit and it starts to get warm. With no frequencies in the radio …
These people have passed a test. Yet they assume they can buy a radio with no knowledge of computers, CPS software and the basics of DMR in terms of colour codes, slots and zones and get up and running with no effort, no research and no knowledge.
I don’t mind giving refunds, but sometimes I do wonder if people are just too dim for DMR?
I agree. As an amateur radio operator, you are expected to know how to operate your equipment. This is a highly technical hobby. If you don’t have the aptitude for it, perhaps it isn’t the right hobby for you.
I sold a portable rather neat unit to a ham operator. He just asked me if he can cut off the Europlug and fit a British one - which of the two black cables is the live, does it matter? The plug he wants to cut off is the switch mode power supply and the black cable is the 8.4V DC power supply to the radio. Can you imagine what sticking 240V AC into it would do? My concern with DMR is nothing compared to perhaps dying! Worse, I’ve sent him messages by every medium I can think of telling him NOT to cut it off, but no response - now I’ve got somebodies life hanging on reading an email!
I found Yaesu System Fusion to be easier to manage than DMR. I have a DMR and did the programming OK, but the learning curve was just a little steeper for DMR than Fusion. Some times the old dog CAN learn new tricks.
Another warning bell today - could I program the radio with all UK DMR channels? I sent a nice message back asking for a few details - asking about his windows installation and version of windows as I need to make sure his computer is compatible. The answer was he has windows with a ram. I asked him for the local digital repeater, he gave me the old GB3 analogue one. I explained that I don’t know the parameters he needs for his local Digital access, and I sent him the CPS and a rather large countrywide codeplug, but slightly out of date and needs updating, to use a a template. He replied asking what it was. I don’t think I’m going to sell him the radio - I can see either a costly return, or a total pain in the ■■■ for months trying to remotely sort out what he’s having issues with.
Here’s my latest one - I sold a chap some stuff and he called me to ask if I’d be willing to help him with a radio he didn’t buy from me - he asked if I could see him Saturday morning. He’s a nice guy so I said OK, and went into the office as the option was painting a wall at home and it was a good reason to tell my wife I was so sorry but I had to go to work.
He was prompt and turned up on time and brought in the radio and I found a cable and read the radio while we chatted. He’d put a codeplug in and figured he’d got something wrong as it didn’t seem to work on digital, but did on analogue. He told me he was from Spain, and he wanted to talk to his Spanish friends. The contents of the radio looked pretty normal - the right sort of frequencies, with groups and colour codes but then I noticed the callsign for the repeater. I checked on Google. He’d entered the repeater details 100% accurately, but the repeater was in Spain, not the one near him in the UK. Getting into a repeater 1500 miles away would have been some feat!