I bought one of these on an Amazon Deal for about $64. I started to wonder if it was actually such a good deal after fighting with it for a while. It’s pretty good really. Just quirky.
(edit – the GD-77 failed me, six weeks after I bought it. Radioddity is sending me a replacement.)
First of all, I’d like to drop the phrase “code plug”. It’s probably not likely to be erased from the DMR lexicon since it’s an old Motorola term, but this is an old term, it doesn’t apply to the new DMR radios, it really irks me, and it seems to confuse new DMR users into thinking that they need a piece of hardware in order to get the radio working. This is not the case.
A “code plug” is simply a configuration file which is uploaded to the radio from a computer in order to get the radio to work. It sets all of the Talk Groups, Zones, Channels, settings, etc, so I’m going to call it a configuration file, because that’s what it is.
The Radioddity firmware and software versions seem to go together. For example, the newest radio firmware (to date, 27th Feb 2018) is v3.0.6. This requires you to use software v2.0.5. With that said, a couple of things to remember:
- Do not mix older radio firmware with newer Windows software, or newer radio firmware with older Windows software. This will cause problems.
- Do not expect to load a configuration file from an older version of software into a new one and expect it to work.
Somewhere in my experiments, as I was updating firmware, doing factory resets, etc, I noticed my radio reporting “Factory Init…” as it was resetting. It started up with the text “welcome” scrolling across the screen, and it reported itself as a TYT MD-760 in the radio’s “about” section.
I’m not sure what causes this. Some people say that you should never do a factory reset with firmware v3.0.6. However, I’ve seen this happen with v2.6.6 also.
I fixed this by performing the following steps:
- Perform a factory reset on firmware v3.0.6 (apparently you should not do this?).
- Load the radio with a v3.0.6 configuration file (this seemed to un-confuse the radio).
- Flash it with firmware v2.6.6.
- Perform a factory reset on firmware v2.6.6.
- Flash it with firmware v3.0.6.
I don’t know if this is the right thing to do, or if only part of this is required, but it’s what I did, and it’s been fine since.
Programming Your Radio
I am using firmware v3.0.6 and software v2.0.5 in this example.
If you find that you can’t modify the Boot Item section, or other things are greyed out, you might be in BASIC MODE. This is really no good for setting the radio up properly. To get out of BASIC MODE and into EXPERT MODE, do the following:
- Open the programming software (also called the CPS).
- Press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+F11 on your keyboard.
- Enter password DMR961510 at the prompt. You’re now in expert mode.
Entering your DMR ID
If you don’t have a DMR ID number, get one here: https://register.ham-digital.org/
It can take around 24 hours for your ID number to be approved and delivered to the email address you signed up with.
Double-click “General Setting” in the menu tree on the left side of the programming software. It will open the following window. Enter your DMR ID number and close the “General Setting” window.
If you do not enter a DMR ID, then you really can’t go any further. Your DMR ID number is linked to your call sign, and is unique to you.
Adding a Talk Group
There are three main steps to adding a Talk Group on this radio:
- Each Talk Group or Personal Contact must be added as a “Digital Contact“.
- If you want to actually hear this “Digital Contact” as well, you need to add it into a “Rx Group List“.
- Tie each “Digital Contact” entry and “Rx Group List” entry together by creating a “Channel“. This is where you specify the repeater details like frequency, time slot, etc.
Sounds pretty simple? It is.
Let’s add Talk Group 310, also called TAC 310.
First, add Talk Group 310 as a Digital Contact, as follows:
The “Digital Contact” window should look like this once it’s done:
Close the “Digital Contact” window. Next, add a Rx Group List entry for TAC310:
The Rx Group List window should look this once it’s done – confirm that digital contact TAC310 is moved from the “Available” list to the “Member” list by highlighting it in the “Available” list, and clicking the “Add” button:
Close the “Rx Group List” window. Next, link the Digital Contact and Rx Group List together by creating a CHANNEL, using the following steps.
A note on Time Slots (or Time Slices)
Usually, Time Slot 1 is used for Worldwide, Countrywide, and TAC Talk Groups. Time Slot 2 is used for State and Local Talk Groups.
The Channel window should look like this once it’s done:
The above image is adding a channel on the N5MS DMR repeater in Norman, OK. Your repeaters frequencies, Time Slots, and Color Codes may vary
Close the “Channel” window. Next, add your TAC310 channel to a Zone. In this case, Zone 1:
I’m not sure whether you NEED to add a channel to a Zone or not. Best to be on the safe side, I guess.
That should be it. Repeat the above for each Talk Group you want to add.
Remember when creating a channel, if you’re wanting to use the same repeater, the frequencies and colour code will stay the same. However, the time slot may change depending on the talk group (National, WorldWide, Local, etc).
Remember to choose the matching “Contact” and “Rx Group List” entries in your channel.
At the current time, this document only covers adding your DMR ID, and adding Talk Groups. This is a preliminary document and will be subject to updating and improvement as I learn more both about DMR and the Radioddity GD-77. Please feel free to leave comments, hints, and tips.
Loading DMR ID database onto the GD-77
You can load a database of DMR numbers and call signs into the GD-77 so that instead of the DMR ID being displayed when someone is talking, their call sign is displayed instead. The GD-77 can’t hold ALL DMR ID numbers and call signs, but it can hold more than 10,000 (if I remember correctly). This only works with firmware v3.0.6.
The software to upload the database to the radio is in the firmware and software archive for v3.0.6 / v2.0.5 respectively and it’s in a folder called “DMR ID”. The application is called ActiveClient.exe. It looks like this (with CSV file opened):
You will need to have a database file ready to upload, in CSV format. You can get this at the “DMR ID download as CSV file” link below. You can’t just upload any old CSV file, since the radio is very picky about character encoding.
To put the radio in the correct mode for reading & writing the DMR ID database, switch the radio off, then so the following:
- Press and hold: Side Key 2 (the lower one), the green menu key, and the # key.
- While these three keys are pressed, turn on the radio.
- Release the three keys. You’re read to read & write the DMR ID database.
A curious thing about the ID database – performing a factory reset doesn’t seem to erase it.
There are some fantastic resources online for the Radioddity GD-77.
Re-Engineered Programming Software
Roger Clark has made the programming software more user friendly. Read all about it and download it here:
Obviously, use this at your own risk, since I don’t know how / if this could affect your warranty.