Here’s how I figured out how to program my DMR radio, which is another terminology for writing an MD-UV390 Codeplug.
You can find tons of material online about how to program DMR radios. Here is a good example. And for a deep dive into everything DMR, you should check out the W2XQ web site. But today, we are going to be really basic.
Your DMR radio needs to be programmed. You create a codeplug to program your radio. As I researched all the web sites, it was like a jigsaw puzzle without a picture on the box. A really basic north star to get me going. So, I drew one, shown above. There are four jobs to do, and in a proper order.
Every radio comes with some customer programming software or CPS. In addition to the TYT software, I have found two very useful alternatives. One is DMR Codeplug Editor by G6AMU. Another option is N0GSG DMR Contact Manager by Tom Wheeler. You will find the latter also integrates with contact databases.
I began my MD-UV390 codeplug by creating DMR Contacts. You use Contacts to identify every Talk Group, reflector or individual user you want to show up in your radio. Each contact has a unique numerical ID and name, as well as the call type (Group or private). Without a list of contacts, you can go no further. My first list of Contacts was simply the Talk Groups supported by my local DMR repeater.
Next, each Contact was associated with DMR Rx Group, which included a Label and a DMR Time Slot (1 or 2). If you have a group list associated with a contact, your radio will also output any signals from other ID. Without a group list, you only hear the contents sent by that single Contact.
MD-UV390 Codeplug Programming
Third, you bring everything together by programming Radio Channels. Channels are the equivalent of old fashioned radio memories. Channels are the place to program frequencies and power, and bring these together with your Contact and Group lists. Channels are also where you program analog FM frequencies for repeaters or simplex. (Contacts and Groups are only digital.)
Finally, Zones are the way to program how Channels show up on your handheld display. My radio is dual scan, so my MD-UV390 codeplug Zones have an A and B row. I programmed DMR into A and Analog into B. And there it is. The entire top level process for getting started.
Depending on you radio, you can download and install a database of all DMR ID names and call letters, which can be quite useful. I will take that step next.