Based on the poor DMR repeater coverage in our area, I've been wondering about other DMR experiments. I found a project in Holland by one David PA7LIM called "BlueDV" (). BlueDV is his software that seems to be in most active development on Windows (there are other OS's also available).
As I understand it so far, the idea is that BlueDV does two things. 1) It can negotiate DMR (BrandMeister, DMRPLUS, XLXDMR), DSTAR and FUSION protocols on the Internet; and 2) it can encode/decode audio using the AMBE codec (aka vocoder), which requires a Digital Voice Systems, Inc license. This is some of what a DMR radio does and there is no RF involved.
When using BlueDV, the AMBE codec license is accomplished by buying a hardware dongle that has the codec on a chip (e.g., a DVstick 30 from DVMEGA at , a ThumbDV from ).
More info on this also at and
I imagine this codec must be a part of all DMR radios, though I don't know if there are different kinds of hardware packaging, sub-licensing, etc.
For BlueDV configuration, it seems only a minimum is needed. I've been reading and listening to many of you friends debugging codeplugs and hotspot configurations for a while now. So I was expecting to be doing that. But here's the only config screen in BlueDV:
Okay, as there is no RF there is no TDMA, so no time slots. There are no repeaters, so no color codes. But it seems there have evolved some other nice nuanced configuration options for the DMR radios that are not available here. (I adapted the DMR+, the DSTAR and FUSION parameters on this config but I have not yet tried to use them.)
The interface is also pretty bare bones:
You type the talk group on the right hand side, under "DMR" and the button on the lower right, called "AMBE3000" is the PTT. (Theoretically the computer's space bar is also a PTT but I got blocked for doing that, so maybe this version xmits too many times that way.)
QSO's so far, and it's only been a few days, have been mostly okay.
One recent AM 8:08 was pretty busy and the software froze-up badly, and repeatedly. It makes me wonder about the speed of my computer, the BrandMeister API performance, and probably a pile of other variables I don't know anything about yet. The software itself is a major wildcard too...
I'm still curious why so many hams, normally DIY types, have taken to the AMBE proprietary DMR codecs, when newer, and apparently better, open source ones are also available. See, for example, Codec 2
73 -Dave KD2MQE