DMR Setup on Anytone D878UV with APRS/SMS

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 21:32

The Anytone D878UV is quite a nice DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) capable radio packed with features like APRS (Reporting only), Bluetooth and GPS. It's no surprise that this is my favourite DMR radio and I can recommend it if you are getting started with DMR for the first time. This post will help you get DMR up and running on your Anytone D878UV.

Anytone D878UV Radio
Click to enlarge, Anytone D878UV Radio

DMR Basic setup

The first step you need to do is to program your DMR ID into your codeplug. Are you new to DMR and don't have an ID yet? You can request one here:

After you got your DMR ID you can use the programming software to set up DMR for your radio.

Setup your DMR ID

In the sidebar, go to the "Digital -> Radio ID List" and add your DMR id with your callsign as a name in the 1 slot.
Then go to "Digital -> Talk Alias" and set the "Send talk alias" option to On. This will transmit your callsign as metadata in the DMR call.

From what I have been told it is still good practice to ID like you would on a analog frequency. For radios without Alias/Contact support, an other ham using your radio or outdated user lists. Keep this in mind :)

Importing the DMR user list

Download the latest user dump from and open the programming software. By pressing the menu "Tool -> Import" you can select this file as the "Digital Contact List". This will show the call/country on the display whenever a DMR user is received.

Talk group setup

DMR works with "talk groups", an id number that represents a room of people or the DMR id of a person to make a private call directly to another DMR user. This is the contact list you can call people from the radio. You also get the option to provide a manual id for a call, but this is easier to use.

Programming software, DMR talk group list
Click to enlarge, DMR talkgroup example

Channel setup

One more thing! You need to setup the actual radio channels now. For this, you need to know DMR repeaters or own a hotspot.
I'll use a hotspot channel as an example, setting up a hotspot (often MMDVM hotspots, or an Openspot) is not included in this article.

Channel configuration
Click to enlarge, channel configuration example.


Be sure to set the radio ID to your callsign, as configured on the ID page, the talk slot, color code and frequency.
The contact is the default contact if you press the PTT button, you can change that on the radio by going to the talk group list, selecting a talk group and pressing "Select contact". You can also go to the talk group list and press the PTT button on a selected item to only transmit to that ID for one shot.


You can call 9990 (Private call! Not group call, a common mistake) to test if DMR is setup correctly. It should transmit a recording of what you said back to you.

Congratulations, it should now work! Now for the advanced items.

APRS (Analog Package Reporting System) Setup

Most HAM's already know APRS, you can also use DMR for APRS reporting. For this, you need to setup the APRS part in your codeplug to include digital APRS, for digital APRS you need to know your DMR master node ID and GPS transmit location. Since I am from the Netherlands this is 204999, the first three digits of the master server followed by 999, but consult the Brandmeister wiki to be sure and replace the value you have in the APRS TG.

DMR APRS Setup - Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge, APRS settings

After this, APRS should work in the menu of your radio.


DMR allows SMS to be send, we can use the Brandmeister network for this as well!

For this to work correctly, you need to make sure your Anytone radio uses M-SMS, the Motorola standard.
After this, you need to make sure that you have the correct settings on the Brandmeister Network. On the Selfcare page, make sure your brand is set to "Chinese radio" and edit your APRS call as you like with a SSID.

Brandmeister setup sms
Click to enlarge, Brandmeister setup


Then you need to setup SMS standard for the Anytone. If you don't SMS might not be received or garbled data. For this you have to send three separate text messages to DMR ID 262995 containing:

After this, you can send CONFIG to get the active configuration as SMS back to your radio.

Some users have reported that having "Digi APRS RX" on in the channel configuration can give issues with receiving SMS on the Anytone, if you want to use SMS leave this off.

DMR Information service

Some DMR SMS numbers are handy to know. For example, DMR ID 262993 which is an information service. You can send the following commands:

DMR SMS Commands 262993
Command Does what?
help Sends the available commands.
echo Sends a response back to test SMS functionality
wx Weather information at Repeater location.
wx help Weather command help.
wx <City>, <CountryCode> Weather information in city.
wx gps Weather information from your last transmitted GPS location.
metar <ICAO code> Airport style METAR information by ICAO code.
gps help GPS command help.
gps Shows the GPS position from the radio, also shows distance and direction to repeater.
gps set Set GPS position as "home".
gps home Shows distance and direction in relation to the stored "home" position.
gps <callsign> Shows distance and direction in relation to DMR user by callsign.



You can also send a message to DAPNET using this, a HAM Radio system for pagers.
To do this you can send a message to DMR ID 262994 containing (no quotes): "[CALLSIGN] [Your message]".

DMR SMS Queueing

There is a way to store SMS messages for if you aren't on the radio at the moment and send by callsign instead of DMR ID.
Something I can recommend is to enable direct message receiving, if you are online you will still get the SMS directly after your radio sends a APRS packet.
Do this by sending a message to DMR ID 262995 containing (no quotes): "DIRECT ON"

You now have the following commands

DMR SMS Commands 262995
Command Does what?
DIRECT ON Enables direct sending of SMS to your radio when reporting in with APRS.
[CALLSIGN] [Message] Sends a message to a callsign.
INBOX Sends a response back with messages in queue.
GET 1 Sends the first message back from the queue.
GET Sends the all messages from the queue.
DELETE 1 Deletes the first message back from the queue.
DELETE Deletes the all messages from the queue.

DMR SMS to Mobile phone SMS gateway

Finally, wouldn't it be cool if you could send an actual text message to a mobile phone number from your HAM radio? That's certainly what the folks behind SMSGTE must have thought. This system works with APRS messages and acts as a gateway between a mobile phone and ham radio messaging, luckily there is a way to send APRS messages via DMR as well.
To start, you add your own mobile number (this will be a public message! Please keep that in mind).
You need to know your APRS DMR gateway ID, this will be the same ID from the APRS part of this article, so in my case 204999.

DMR APRS SMS Commands 204999 (NL, check your id)
Command Does what?
SMSGTE #mynumber add [Phone number] Adds your phone number to the SMSGTE platform, linked to your callsign with ssid (APRS).
SMSGTE @me [Message] Sends a text message to your added number. (you need to do this to get the access number)
SMSGTE @[call]-[ssid]  [Message] Sends a text message to the phone number of the HAM.


You can send messages on your phone to your radio by texting "@[callsign]-[ssid] [Your message]" to the access number you got the text from.


Quick tips

  1. When listening to a dmr repeater in promiscuous mode, press * and it will hold the current receiving talk group, so you can reply back without manually dialing.
  2. While scanning, press menu to stop scanning and hold the current channel, else it reverts back to whatever channel you were originally on.
  3. This site has dmr contact lists updated hourly, and in a couple different formats:

(thanks for these, Trusty_Compass on Reddit!)

  • Hold 0 to enter the manual dial menu quickly when on a digital channel. Press # in that menu to manually dial a talk group!


That's it for my setup guide, hope it was helpful to you and feel free to contact me with questions you may have.

73 de PD0TW


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