⦿ SCAN International and the Digital Mobile Radio (DMR)

In the early 1990s, cellular phone use was still increasing in the Philippines, while amateur radio was at the height of its trend. Amateur radio during this period was not only for emergency cases but became a hobby for many.

As time went by, with the exponential growth of mobile phone development, amateur radio use gradually decreased. This paradigm shift has instilled in some that amateur radio is on the brink of extinction. Thanks to amateur radio enthusiasts, the hobby remained valued by many.

Parallel to the development of mobile phones, amateur radio is also maintained. With the shift to digital technology, amateur radio has adopted it while maintaining its analog connectivity.

One of the significant developments in the amateur world was the implementation of digital mobile radio (DMR). DMR is a digital radio standard capable of transmitting voice and data and began a decade ago, using Very High Frequency (VHF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF). This development has also drastically aided society in emergency communications.

DMR allows amateur users to communicate worldwide via interlinked repeaters and DMR hotspots. One of the popular systems linking users to the digital network is the BrandMeister System. BrandMeister System is an operating software with multiple features, from switching systems that enable DMR to message, telemetry, and mesh-topology for inter-node communications implementation.

An exciting feature of DMR also is its ability to support private calls. Most DMR users know it can achieve all calls, like group and private calls. There are several different methods to attain a private call. It varies between brands of amateur radio. Regardless of brand, the standard requirement to achieve this method is using DMR ID. Two users can handle QSO on a private conversation via DMR ID.

A DMR ID is a unique number assigned to every licensed user and amateur radio callsign. DMR Radio ID is like a telephone number or an IP address; it is unique and identifies every user on various DMR networks and repeaters worldwide. To get a DMR Radio ID, register on the RadioID.net website.

SCAN International implements digital mobile radio. Its DMR active members are reachable through our registered Philippine talk groups, 51525 and 51546.

In conclusion, as we repeatedly see, cell phone towers are congested or down when disasters strike. Hence, the universal mobile phones and internet infrastructure fail. Amateur radio can communicate without these towers or in a degraded capacity. Amateur radio can aid in getting and sharing information in a disaster and is a robust communication infrastructure that can stand alone. Even though its digital mode connectivity is compromised, its local repeater can work or use direct communication with nearby hams.