These days it’s pretty easy to read the news and get lost in stories highlighting all of the negative aspects of COVID-19-related social distancing and many things grinding to a halt. But if one looks closer, there are some really positive things happening during this pandemic. One of the things we’re filing under “good news” is the creation of a partnership between two independent DMR networks right here at home.
On April 10, 2020, the partnership and exchange of statewide talk groups was formed between KS-DMR and Nebraska TRBO.
This partnership didn’t come without a few challenges, one of them being that KS-DMR repeaters are 100% MMDVM-based which use Homebrew Repeater Protocol for networking, and Nebraska TRBO repeaters are 100% MotoTRBO repeaters using the Motorola IPSC protocol – and these two protocols definitely don’t “talk” with each other. The magic of making HBLink (MMDVM) and DMRLink (IPSC) talk to each other lies within two software tools, written by Cort Buffington (N0MJS) and Mike Zingman (N4IRR), known as IPSC_bridge.py and HB_bridge.py. Used together, these handle the protocol translation.
The end result of this partnership is Nebraska TRBO now carries Kansas 3120 in addition to the World Wide, World Wide (English), North America, and Midwest DMR-MARC talk groups on time slot 1. KS-DMR repeaters may access Nebraska TRBO group 3131 as a linkable group on time slot 1.
This working partnership highlights the possibilities that exist between neighboring independent networks without needing to use any part of the global networks which don’t allow for any customization or control of scope of any of the talk groups. (I’m looking squarely at Brandmeister, but the other large networks fall under this as well.)
Additionally, KS-DMR has created an HBLink sub-system specifically for repeaters which have coverage on both sides of the Kansas/Nebraska border who wish to carry both groups full-time.
The Humboldt, NE repeater will be moved to that system as soon as we are able to troubleshoot the internet connection at the site. Stay tuned….
April 26, 2020 Update: The Humboldt, NE repeater is operational and has been moved to the KS-DMR/NE system.