Setting Up DR Memories in Icom Radios

Posted: 2019-06-10 in Ham Radio, How To
Tags: , , ,

I follow several amateur radio groups and one of the most common questions revolves around setting up a new radio and communicating on DSTAR. This post is designed to answer that question and provide starter files to get the neophyte up and running quickly.

If you already know the advantages of using your Icom radio in DR Mode and just want the files, here they are. These are in Excel format. You will have to save as a .csv file before copying to the SD Card in order to import them. These should work in all four radios but I have only verified that they can be imported to the 51 and 5100.

ICOM Memories

There are several types of memories in an Icom radio (scan limits, call, GPS, etc.) I will only focus on regular memories and digital (DR) memories.

For the rest of this discussion, below is sample list of one hotspot and 4 repeaters that I will use to illustrate the difference between regular and DR memories and to demonstrate the incredible advantage of using DR memories over regular memories in your Icom radio.

CH Freq    Dup  Offset Mode  Name      YourCall   RPT1      RPT2
0  444.00  DUP- 0      DV    Hotspot   CQCQCQ     KM4RZT B  KM4RZT G
1  146.46  DUP- 1.5    DV    KC1EGN B  CQCQCQ     KC1EGN B  KC1EGN G
2  444.35  DUP+ 5      DV    K1HRO B   CQCQCQ     K1HRO  B  K1HRO  G
3  145.32  DUP+ 0.6    DV    K1HRO C   CQCQCQ     K1HRO  C  K1HRO  G
4  145.35  DUP- 0.6    FM    KT1S
Regular Memories

Lets assume the above list is loaded into your regular memories. All you can do is talk. You cannot link to a reflector, issue an info or echo command, etc. If you want to issue an Info command AND talk, your memories would look like this:

CH  Freq    Dup  Offset Mode  Name      YourCall  RPT1      RPT2
0   444.00  DUP- 0      DV    Hotspot   CQCQCQ    KM4RZT B  KM4RZT G
1   146.46  DUP- 1.5    DV    KC1EGN B  CQCQCQ    KC1EGN B  KC1EGN G
2   444.35  DUP+ 5      DV    K1HRO B   CQCQCQ    K1HRO  B  K1HRO  G
3   145.32  DUP+ 0.6    DV    K1HRO C   CQCQCQ    K1HRO  C  K1HRO  G
4   145.35  DUP- 0.6    FM    KT1S
5   444.00  DUP- 0      DV    Hotspot          I  KM4RZT B  KM4RZT G
6   146.46  DUP- 1.5    DV    KC1EGN B         I  KC1EGN B  KC1EGN G
7   444.35  DUP+ 5      DV    K1HRO B          I  K1HRO  B  K1HRO  G
8   145.32  DUP+ 0.6    DV    K1HRO C          I  K1HRO  C  K1HRO  G
Want to do ECHO tests on each repeater?

You need to add “——-E” (“-” = a space) for every DSTAR repeater.

CH  Freq    Dup   Ofset Mode  Name      URCall    RPT1      RPT2
0   444.00  DUP-  0     DV    Hotspot   CQCQCQ    KM4RZT B  KM4RZT G
1   146.46  DUP-  1.5   DV    KC1EGN B  CQCQCQ    KC1EGN B  KC1EGN G
2   444.35  DUP+  5     DV    K1HRO B   CQCQCQ    K1HRO  B  K1HRO  G
3   145.32  DUP+  0.6   DV    K1HRO C   CQCQCQ    K1HRO  C  K1HRO  G
4   145.35  DUP-  0.6   FM    KT1S
5   444.00  DUP-  0     DV    Hotspot          I  KM4RZT B  KM4RZT G
6   146.46  DUP-  1.5   DV    KC1EGN B         I  KC1EGN B  KC1EGN G
7   444.35  DUP+  5     DV    K1HRO B          I  K1HRO  B  K1HRO  G
8   145.32  DUP+  0.6   DV    K1HRO C          I  K1HRO  C  K1HRO  G
9   444.00  DUP-  0     DV    Hotspot          E  KM4RZT B  KM4RZT G
10  146.46  DUP-  1.5   DV    KC1EGN B         E  KC1EGN B  KC1EGN G
11  444.35  DUP+  5     DV    K1HRO B          E  K1HRO  B  K1HRO  G
12  145.32  DUP+  0.6   DV    K1HRO C          E  K1HRO  C  K1HRO  G
Want to link to reflector XRF757A?

You need to add XRF757AL for every DSTAR repeater.

CH Freq    Dup  Offset Mode  Name      YourCall   RPT1      RPT2
0  444.00  DUP- 0      DV    Hotspot   CQCQCQ     KM4RZT B  KM4RZT G
1  146.46  DUP- 1.5    DV    KC1EGN B  CQCQCQ     KC1EGN B  KC1EGN G
2  444.35  DUP+ 5      DV    K1HRO B   CQCQCQ     K1HRO  B  K1HRO  G
3  145.32  DUP+ 0.6    DV    K1HRO C   CQCQCQ     K1HRO  C  K1HRO  G
4  145.35  DUP- 0.6    FM    KT1S
5  444.00  DUP- 0      DV    Hotspot          I   KM4RZT B  KM4RZT G
6  146.46  DUP- 1.5    DV    KC1EGN B         I   KC1EGN B  KC1EGN G
7  444.35  DUP+ 5      DV    K1HRO B          I   K1HRO  B  K1HRO  G
8  145.32  DUP+ 0.6    DV    K1HRO C          I   K1HRO  C  K1HRO  G
9  444.00  DUP- 0      DV    Hotspot          E   KM4RZT B  KM4RZT G
10 146.46  DUP- 1.5    DV    KC1EGN B         E   KC1EGN B  KC1EGN G
11 444.35  DUP+ 5      DV    K1HRO B          E   K1HRO  B  K1HRO  G
12 145.32  DUP+ 0.6    DV    K1HRO C          E   K1HRO  C  K1HRO  G
13 444.00  DUP- 0      DV    Hotspot   XRF757AL   KM4RZT B  KM4RZT G
14 146.46  DUP- 1.5    DV    KC1EGN B  XRF757AL   KC1EGN B  KC1EGN G
15 444.35  DUP+ 5      DV    K1HRO B   XRF757AL   K1HRO  B  K1HRO  G
16 145.32  DUP+ 0.6    DV    K1HRO C   XRF757AL   K1HRO  C  K1HRO  G
Want to unlink from XRF757A?

In the regular memory you would need to add an UNLINK command for EVERY REPEATER/HOTSPOT.

CH  Freq    Dup   Off  Mode   Name      YourCall  RPT1      RPT2
0   444.00  DUP-  0    DV     Hotspot   CQCQCQ    KM4RZT B  KM4RZT G
1   146.46  DUP-  1.5  DV     KC1EGN B  CQCQCQ    KC1EGN B  KC1EGN G
2   444.35  DUP+  5    DV     K1HRO B   CQCQCQ    K1HRO  B  K1HRO  G
3   145.32  DUP+  0.6  DV     K1HRO C   CQCQCQ    K1HRO  C  K1HRO  G
4   145.35  DUP-  0.6  FM     KT1S
5   444.00  DUP-  0    DV     Hotspot          I  KM4RZT B  KM4RZT G
6   146.46  DUP-  1.5  DV     KC1EGN B         I  KC1EGN B  KC1EGN G
7   444.35  DUP+  5    DV     K1HRO B          I  K1HRO  B  K1HRO  G
8   145.32  DUP+  0.6  DV     K1HRO C          I  K1HRO  C  K1HRO  G
9   444.00  DUP-  0    DV     Hotspot          E  KM4RZT B  KM4RZT G
10  146.46  DUP-  1.5 DV      KC1EGN B         E  KC1EGN B  KC1EGN G
11  444.35  DUP+  5   DV      K1HRO B          E  K1HRO  B  K1HRO  G
12  145.32  DUP+  0.6 DV      K1HRO C          E  K1HRO  C  K1HRO  G
13  444.00  DUP-  0   DV      Hotspot   XRF757AL  KM4RZT B  KM4RZT G
14  146.46  DUP-  1.5 DV      KC1EGN B  XRF757AL  KC1EGN B  KC1EGN G
15  444.35  DUP+  5   DV      K1HRO B   XRF757AL  K1HRO  B  K1HRO  G
16  145.32  DUP+  0.6 DV      K1HRO C   XRF757AL  K1HRO  C  K1HRO  G
17  444.00  DUP-  0   DV      Hotspot          U  KM4RZT B  KM4RZT G
18  146.46  DUP-  1.5 DV      KC1EGN B         U  KC1EGN B  KC1EGN G
19  444.35  DUP+  5   DV      K1HRO B          U  K1HRO  B  K1HRO  G
20  145.32  DUP+  0.6 DV      K1HRO C          U  K1HRO  C  K1HRO  G

As you can see, my regular memories are filling up fast. The ID51 only has 500 regular memories, I have used 21 of those for one FM repeater and four digital repeaters with 5 commands each. This is not efficient. It is also a pain in the ass to setup and manage. If you change the frequency of your hotspot, you have to change every one of those commands. Nobody’s got time for that. Enter DR mode.

DR Mode

DR Mode uses the radios digital memories and has two sections: memories, and YourCall (URCALL).

DR memories start off the same as regular memories EXCEPT, URCALL is removed from the entry so the digital memory looks like this (notice URCALL is missing):

DR Repeaters
CH   Freq    Dup    Offset Mode  Name       RPT1      RPT2
0    444.00  DUP-   0      DV    Hotspot    KM4RZT B  KM4RZT G
1    146.46  DUP-   1.5    DV    KC1EGN B   KC1EGN B  KC1EGN G
2    444.35  DUP+   5      DV    K1HRO B    K1HRO  B  K1HRO  G
3    145.32  DUP+   0.6    DV    K1HRO C    K1HRO  C  K1HRO  G
4    145.35  DUP-   0.6    FM    KT1S
URCALL (Your Call / Your Call Sign)

The separate URCALL list looks like this:

CH   Name        Your Call
0    Talk        CQCQCQ
1    INFO               I
2    ECHO               E
3    UNLINK             U
4    XRF757A     XRF757AL
5    REF001C     REF001CL
6    XLX449B     DCS449BL

With the memory and URCALL separated, when you enter DR mode on your Icom radio, you can see the two sections: “TO” and “FROM”

The “TO” section is where you use your URCALL list, the “FROM” section is where you use your digital memories.

Select “FROM” and rotate your dial through the list of repeaters, until you find the repeater you want to use. Then move up to the “TO” section, and select “Your Call Sign.” Scroll through the list to the command you want to issue and select it. Then key your mic to issue the command.

As you can see, using DR mode and DR memories is a much better way to manage your favorite repeaters and reflectors. Seriously, which list would you rather manage? It’s a no-brainer.

So what do I use my regular memories for? I enter local repeaters that I scan for activity. For those of you with a 4100 that is not a duplex radio, enter your hotspot’s frequency, CQ in URCALL, and appropriate RPT1 and RPT2 value in a regular memory channel so you scan local repeaters and your hotspot simultaneously. If something pops up on the hotspot, you can key your mic and talk or you can switch to DR mode and send whatever commands you want/need to.

Attached to this post are two Excel files that you can import into your radio (convert to csv first). The URCALL list includes regular control commands, commands for my hotspot, as well as link commands to active reflectors.

The digital memories list includes ~50% DR and 50% FM repeaters focused on the North East USA but includes the south and Mid West as well. You can create your own at http://www.dstarinfo.com.

To import the file, first format your SD card IN THE RADIO. Then convert the Excel file to a csv file (save as csv). Then copy the URCALL csv file to the /ID51/CSV/Your Call folder and the REPEATERS csv file to the /ID51/CSV/Repeater List folder. Eject the card, put it in your radio.

Then Menu –> SD Card –> Import/Export –> Import –>

Repeater Groups

In the attached lists I have four repeater groups: 1-Hotspots, 2-Favorites, 21-USA Northeast, and 22-USA Southeast. Hotspots includes all of my hotspots, the Favorites group are repeaters from groups 21 and 22 that I access frequently. I changed their group to give me a short list of my favorite repeaters that I can quickly scroll through and select without having to scroll through hundreds of repeaters.

This is necessary because in the DR memories, you CANNOT have a duplicate RPT1 call sign anywhere in the list. For example, if you have two hotspots and they both use UHF frequencies, they cannot have the same module (B). Using “B” for 70cm and “C” for 2M is really a convention for actual repeaters. DSTAR does not care the letter of the module (except “G”). In my list you can see I use module “H” for my home hotspot and module “T” for the hotspot in my truck. Bottom line, use groups to your advantage.

Hope this helps! Let me know in the comments if you set up your memories differently. I have found this method works really well for me.

73

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