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Pacific Northwest DMR Best Practices


Washington repeater owners support this policy and will work together to insure the best operation across all our networked assets.


  • PNW DMR is an open system and all users, travelers and visitors are encouraged to use our resources.

  • There are no dues or fees for use and few restrictions on use of the PNW resources.  We certainly appreciate our donors.

As a user or member of the PNW DMR repeaters located in Washington as well as much of it's network infrastructure, we hope that our users know the contents of this page and as much as possible, try to adopt our best practice expectations.


NOTICE:  Please use High Power by default, most especially for handheld radios inside vehicles.  Please use an outside antenna, or better, use a 40 watt mobile radio!!!

Please do NOT use any Baofeng radio on this network; they are NOT compatible on our two-slot MotoTRBO repeater network (Tier II) as they spew on both timeslots simultaneously.  This includes the "upgraded" DM-5R Plus version.


Our list of client radios that are preferred for use on PNW:

  • Motorola MotoTRBO, including all original generation 1 handhelds and mobiles

  • Hytera PD series HT's and MD series mobiles

  • Vertex-Standard VXD series HT's and EVX series mobiles

  • BFDX CS580 (the lowest price point $110-$139 on this preferred list)

  • CSI's 7xx series HT's and 8xx series mobiles

These radios must NOT be used on PNW:

  • Baofeng; any model including the DM-5R and DMR-5R Plus model

  • Koytone

  • more to be added...

Motorola MotoTRBO radios are the ONLY fully compliant radio with our MotoTRBO IPSC repeaters.  TXI is missing from ALL non-MotoTRBO radios and roaming, SMS and other data services are not fully compatible.

If a radio is not on the Do Not Use list, then they "generally" can be used but we encourage your use of the radios on our preferred list.  Many inferior radios are rebadged, so it can be a whack-a-mole process to maintain the Do Not Use list.  Only the worst radios tend to be blacklisted. 

NOTE:  CSI's (BFDX) CS-580 is the best low end radio and is preferred over any other Asian radio for PNW DMR network users.  Superior audio quality both Tx and Rx, large color display, good user interface, small form factor, easier factory CPS programming, better specs and many innovative digital value for $110 to $139.  We are trying bulk buys for our members, so check with us for stock or pricing, no mark-up as we only wish to have a lower cost/higher quality radio option available for use on our networks. ALWAYS use HIGH Power with any HT.

A big consideration overlooked by new DMR users is that the low end radios tend to have very POOR programming software and much less codeplug support.  You may be be on your own without any support building a codeplug.  It is a daunting task that can take many hours and easily be done incorrectly.  That is a recipe both to give up as well has have substandard operation.  Please consider our support network by use of the approved radios.

If you have not yet purchased a DMR radio on our approved list, and you do find something in the no-man's land to get you on the air and on our network, please consider it to be a provisional radio while you learn DMR and before you are ready to invest in radios for permanent use on our network.  In other words, that it be for temporary use or evaluation and well may become a spare or glove box radio as you invest in the approved user or client radios from our list above.

Listing of Chinese radios purely for reference and convenience:  Here  ///  Radios Reviews


  • Traveler's and visitor users of PNW should have a bit more latitude in their radio selection.

  • Be considerate of your use of wide area talkgroups, especially on timeslot 1, remember that Local 2 or timeslot 2 talkgroups have less impact on our main network talkgroups.

  • Brandmeister conversations should be kept to a minimum and moved to a TAC talkgroup as soon as convenient.  PNW is not a Brandmeister network but a c-Bridge network that supports Brandmeister.

  • Use the Parrot talkgroup to test your audio levels and quality to confirm it is within norms.  How well you sound is important to other users who hear your transmissions.

  • Please maintain minimum signals into the repeater to minimize obnoxious noise impact to other listeners.  That means use your highest power setting available unless you are positive your weaker signal is under -100dBm.  If any doubt, use High!

  • Always when calling, say the talkgroup you are on as many users scan or use RX Groups or can't see their display and then otherwise, will not know where to respond to your call.  Mentioning which repeater you are using is handy as well.

  • Remember to leave a few seconds between transmissions to allow other users to PTT into the talkgroup or key out of the talkgroup.

  • Codeplugs and MotoTRBO CPS are available to members only who have agreed to abide by our best practice expectations.  See last line of this page.

  • Loaner radios may be available as well as purchase of XPR-6550's at a price point less than $200.  We want to compete with the CS-750 pricing by providing TRBO radios to our members at a lower cost.  Contact your repeater owner directly via the repeater's CCx link on the PNW homepage if you are interested in TRBO.

  • When calling to strike up a conversation, it is helpful if you say something more than your call sign.  Let people know you would like to converse.  We have many more listeners than talkers, so say something compelling.

  •  Mostly our user's and member's participation in our interactive Yahoo Group to help make PNW DMR better.

  • PNW DMR Hallmark:  "I-5 Coverage"

A LAST FEW THOUGHTS:  Our repeater and c-Bridge owners have invested or contributed well beyond $60,000 in repeaters, site rent, Internet, insurance, Heliax, commercial antennas, commercial tower stand-offs, gasoline, networking and hundreds of hours of labor in the design, programming, installation and maintenance of this network as well as time away from their family.  There is no such thing as a 2 hour hill trip, 2 typically can be 8. 

At a minimum, please seek out to support them by acknowledging their contributions on behalf of the network and ultimately to you, the user of the network.  Any repeater owner can be Emailed by clicking on the Color Code of the respective repeater or say something to them when you hear them on the air.

Maybe said another way, think about taking your spouse out for dinner 1 night a year and tell her that PNW DMR suggested that an annual night out was a good investment in your continued relationship.  Or maybe you could do both and thereby, pay it forward. Something to consider, the value of a relationship.

If you have question, please Email PNW, any repeater owner (click on the Color Code link on the home page), post your question to our Yahoo Group or ask during our weekly Not-A-Net Gatherings. 

Lastly, if you agree and wish to become a member of PNW DMR, then send an Email indicating you agree in principal with our best practices or respond to the Yahoo Group Poll.

Terms of Service

Revised: 05/25/2017 10:30

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