New Icom Repeaters and Talkgroup Coming to Sarasota County

Coming soon (perhaps by the end of this week, if all goes to plan), two new VHF repeaters will join the Icom NXCore network in Sarasota County. These repeaters will be the first VHF NXDN sites in the West Central Florida section. So that you can start programming your radios now, the locations/frequencies will be as follows:

146.730 (input 146.130) NXDN RAN 1 and analog PL 100.0 Located along Fruitville Road in Sarasota

145.130 (input 144.530) NXDN RAN 1 and analog PL 100.0 Located in the Laurel area of Venice.

Please note, these repeaters will operate as mixed-mode repeaters. This means they will support both analog and digital communications. However, they will not communicate across modes. In other words, analog in, analog out; or digital in, digital out. If you’re operating an analog radio, and do not wish to hear the data bursts when operating in digital, be sure to set your tone squelch (PL decode) to 100.0 Hz.

Most NXDN radios can be set to operate in mixed-mode. “Mixed Analog” mode sets your radio to analog as the primary mode, but will switch to digital when digital traffic is detected. Conversely, “Mixed Digital” makes NXDN the primary mode, but will switch to analog when analog traffic is heard. Your radio’s Talkback setting determines the number of seconds within which your radio will transmit in this “opposite” mode, before switching back to the channel’s default mode.

When operating digital, these repeaters will be linked to the NXCore server. In addition to the standard talkgroup package, we are adding a new Sarasota County local talkgroup, 1220. This group will be static on Sarasota, Venice, and Verna, and dynamic on all other repeaters in the WCF section. As this talkgroup is intended to be for local repeater use only, no reflector access will be available.

We are happy to welcome these repeaters to the NXDN family, and look forward to even more growth throughout 2021.

New Talkgroups on Kenwood Server

The following talkgroups have recently been added to the Kenwood network:

1800: Indiana Statewide **
5500: Wisconsin Statewide
302: Canada (note: not linked to the Icom 302 talkgroup)

**At the request of the talkgroup sponsor, the Florida NXCore server is not permitted to provide access to talkgroup 1800. Instead, you must contact Doug, KD9IAQ at his address on QRZ, and request access. If approved, he will provide you with connection instructions.

If your Kenwood repeater is connected to the Florida NXCore server, contact me at jtriolo@verizon.net to request access to all groups except 1800. State whether you want them as static or dynamic.

Updates to Last Heard Page

On Friday, November 6, the ID/callsign database was updated on the Icom Last Heard page. The previous database dated back to early 2018, making it rather obsolete. You will see more callsigns/names appear now, as opposed to just ID numbers.

You will still see some ID numbers without callsign or name. In most cases, these are gateway users from other modes, or NXDN users whose ID isn’t registered at the radioid.net page, which is the source of the data I loaded, with minor local modifications.

The Kenwood server will be updated soon. Since there’s less traffic on our local Kenwood server (and no Kenwood repeater within my range), I’m unable to test changes to that server as quickly.

The Icom Last Heard page is at http://flicom.nxcore.org.
The Kenwood Last Heard page is at http://flkenwood.nxcore.org.

Icom Users: SDM Messaging Now Available

Great news! The Icom NXCore server is now updated to support Short Digital Messaging (SDM). This works over all repeaters connected to the Florida NXCore server, AND it works over the hotspot reflectors, too!

At the present time, there’s a slight incompatibility between radio manufacturers. For now, most Icom radios will receive messages sent by other Icom radios, and Kenwood radios will receive messages sent by Kenwood radios, as well as the Icom 4300/6300 series, which was built as part of a partnership with Kenwood. As this technology is new to NXCore, there may be some future enhancements to allow for greater compatibility between the brands.

Messages are sent to talkgroups, rather than to individuals, when sending between repeaters on the NXCore network. In order to send only to a single individual, the recipient and sender must be on the same repeater, where linking is not needed.

In order to receive SDM, your radio’s configuration may need to be updated. If you need help, leave a comment below, including your radio’s model number, and we’ll provide the steps for your particular radio.

With the arrival of this technology, users of Talkgroup 1200 will soon receive severe weather alerts throughout the NWS Tampa Bay region.

We hope you enjoy this new enhancement to NXCore, thanks to the hard work of Bob Thoelen, N1XDN, the author of the NXCore software.

Kenwood Users: Short Digital Messaging (SDM) Update

An updated version of NXCore has been installed on the Kenwood server, which should enable Short Digital Messaging (text messages) from your radio, to other radios on a talkgroup (not individual) basis.

All repeaters connected to the Florida Kenwood NXCore server, have had this feature enabled, but we need your help to test it. Please attempt to send text messages across a talkgroup, with the recipient on another connected repeater. Let us know your results.

Some limitations: Initially, we are testing repeater-to-repeater on the same server only. We have not yet enabled the passing of messages between other Core servers in the network. If it works locally, we’ll try to broaden the scope. Also, as with voice mode, the messages will not go between Kenwood and Icom/hotspots at this time (rest assured, we’re still working on that part).

For users on the Icom network, we have a little more debugging left to do, but we plan to roll out a similar test on the Icom side very soon.

Many thanks to Robert Thoelen for his continued work on NXCore, without whom none of this would be possible.

Important Information for Reflector Operators – How to Connect to NXCore

The popularity of reflectors has grown by leaps an bounds in the past year. These reflectors give hotspot users a way to access NXDN talkgroups, and speak to other hotspot users. However, there are some important steps you must take, to ensure your reflector/talkgroup can also be heard on NXDN repeaters throughout the country.

Step One: Configure your reflector’s NXDNreflector.ini file
Locate the Icom Network section of your .ini file, and configure it as follows:

[Icom Network]
Enabled=1
Address=208.111.3.45
TGEnable= <your talkgroup ID here>
# TGDisable=3456
Debug=0

Any lines that start with a “#” can be left as-is. That symbol signifies a line that is commented-out, and will be ignored. Restart your reflector when done.

Step Two: Notify the Core admins
NXCore must recognize your IP address, to be accepted on the network. Send an E-Mail to Jason, KD4ACG, at jtriolo@verizon.net. Provide your talkgroup number, name, and IP address. It will be added in 24-48 hours.

Alabama Link (31010) now on NXCore!

Effective today, All repeaters connected to the Florida NXCore server, have access to the Alabama Link Talkgroup, TG 31010. This is a multi-mode talkgroup, so you’ll hear users from D-Star, DMR, and Fusion, in addition to NXDN.

On all repeaters, it’s a dynamic talkgroup. Key your radio on Talkgroup 31010 to activate. It will remain active on your repeater for up to 15 minutes since your last transmission. However, when finished, please key Talkgroup 1200 to reconnect it to the local repeater, without waiting for the 15-minute period to lapse.

Look for more talkgroups coming soon.