A DMR hotspot is basically a miniature computer running Linux with an attached digital radio modem board. Setting up a hotspot can be a confusing and time consuming process, especially if you are not yet really confident using DMR. Not only do you have to deal with setting up the software, you have to find the parts and keep your fingers crossed that you ordered the right ones, and that they are not defective or of inferior quality.

We take the risk and guesswork out of it for you. Our hotspots come completely assembled, tested, and ready to use. They are set up by experts and we absolutely guarantee it works and will get you on the air as soon as you receive it. And, if you need assistance, we're here full time and ready to help you. We're proud of our hotspots, so please read on and learn how we build them for our customers.

We now offer three types of MMDVM boards!

In addition to our reliable imported JumboSpot MMDVM boards, we are now the only hotspot builder to offer the top quality American designed and manufactured boards from Lone Star Electronics, N5BOC. There are expertly engineered to provide the best performance, stability and reliability of any Pi-Star/MMDVM based system on the market. It uses only the finest components, it is the simply the best system you can buy, anywhere.

The Design

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We wanted a hotspot that we could toss in the truck, a backpack, or a pocket without worrying about a weakly mounted external antenna that might break or damage the circuit board. It can't melt in a hot car, and we also wanted it to look good on a desk.

There isn't a big selection of cases available for Raspberry Pi Zero based MMDVM hotspots. We don't like the cheap metal ones from China, and those acrylic cases are painful to assemble, bulky, and they just don't look like they are designed for the purpose.

So, we designed our own enclosures and after many iterations, this is what we came up with. We already have in-house design capabilities and our own 3D printer farm, so we were able to design, prototype, and produce a finished product designed specifically for its intended purpose.

Each enclosure takes about two and a half hours to produce. If there are any mistakes, we throw them away and start over. If it doesn't look as good as our personal hotspots, we won't send them to you!

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By utilizing our own 3D printing facilities, we can take the time to produce smaller runs in several different colors. Translucent colors look very cool and let you see the LED activity through the case. Opaque colors are deep and vibrant. Both the translucent and opaque cases have a crystal type light pipe directly over the LED array that lets you monitor your hotspots status.

We use high quality materials that are very durable and heat resistant to 190º F. It has just enough resiliency to it that it won't crack or break if you drop, sit or step on it.

We wanted our devices to look good all around, so the backs of the cases are printed with a subtle starburst pattern, and as you might notice, there are no visible fasteners.

The Build

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A lot of consumer grade electronics enclosures are injection moulded so circuit boards snap in to save money on fasteners and labor.

Ours doesn't. We use heat-set solid brass threaded inserts so we have a solid and level mounting point for the Raspberry Pi Zero.

Some makers only use two cheap plastic standoffs, relying on the Raspberry Pi Zero GPIO header to hold the MMDVM board in place.

We don't cheap out here. We use four 11mm solid brass standoffs that thread firmly into the threaded brass inserts.

We also use a giant heatsink to keep the CPU as cool as possible.

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We install the MMDVM board (import version shown) and fasten it down with steel button head screws for a professional, finished look.

We weren't impressed with the consistency of the Chinese ceramic antennas that come installed on JumboSpot boards, so we check their performance against defined benchmarks and replace them with ceramic antennas from Johanson Technology if they aren't up to snuff.

The OLED display fastens into its own housing in the cover, so unlike other hotspots, the whole board is accessible. Should it ever need service, it is easily disassembled.

The cover snaps on very securely and a thumbnail slot is provided to help with removal if ever necessary.

Our MMDVM Boards

Our premium MMDVM modem boards are made in the US using only the finest components available. Nothing is sacrificed to give you the best performing hotspot on the market today! Our imported JumboSpot boards are manufactured in China, but sourced from reliable US suppliers.

Premium American Made Dual Timeslot Duplex Board

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Our premium American made duplex board allows you to have your own private repeater. It shares the same features as our Premium board below plus allows full, dual timeslot operation. The case size is exactly the same size as our other hotspots making it portable and compact. These are top-of-the-line systems and a must have for any serious DMR user.

Choose From Two Simplex Boards

Disclaimer: We strongly recommend the American Made Premium boards over the Chinese JumboSpot boards. We offer the JumboSpot boards only because some customers want something at the lower price point. But in the interest of providing honest information to our customers, you should be aware that all JumboSpot boards are low quality. We'll sell you a JumboSpot based hotspot it that's what you really want, but we won't be as proud of our product as we would like to be.

Premium American Made

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Premium N5BOC MMDVM Board (Top)

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Premium N5BOC MMDVM Board (Bottom)

  • Superior engineering for the best performance of any MMDVM hotspot on the market.
  • 4 layer circuit board provides isolation between noisy analog and sensitive digital components.
  • Full size internal copper layers provide ground plane not found in other boards.
  • On-board voltage regulator provides noise reduction and increases TXCO stability.
  • Uses standard MMDVM firmware.

Standard JumboSpot Import

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Imported MMDVM Board (Top)

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Imported MMDVM Board (Bottom)

  • Open source board design commonly used by most MMDVM hotspot builders.
  • 2 layer circuit board with all components mounted on top.
  • No ground plane.
  • Relies on noisier, less stable Raspberry Pi GPIO regulated voltage output.
  • Much less expensive than US made boards.
  • Uses standard MMDVM firmware.

Testing and Setup

We thoroughly test every device we build. We have a few short QSO's and test them to make sure the range is what we expect. We also determine the best RX and TX offsets for each unit.

When we are satisfied that the device performs correctly, we install a new Sandisk Class 10 micro-USB card with the latest version of Pi-Star. We only use Sandisk cards in our own devices, and we won't sell you anything that we don't use ourselves.

We can ship your DMRspot ready to use so it will work right out of the box, and if you select this option we'll perform the following tasks before we package it up for shipment.

  • Install the latest firmware for the MMDVM board.
  • Configure your callsign and DMR ID.
  • Configure your desired frequency and color code.
  • Configure your locale settings.
  • Configure your WiFi credentials.

We then test it again to make sure it connects to Brandmeister correctly and is ready to run. We want you to be able to open the box, power it up, and be on the air within minutes with no hassle.

Requirements

Requirements are simple, and for most digital radio users, you will already have everything you need.

  • WiFi - You will need access to a WiFi 2.4 GHz internet connection. This can be through a router, access point, smartphone hotspot, or personal cellular based WiFi hotspot.
  • Power - 1.5 amp (or better) 5V power supply with a micro USB connector. These are very common and you may already have what you need. If not, we also sell quality UL listed 2 amp travel power supplies with a flexible power cable in a color that matches your DMRspot.
  • Battery - Optional external batteries can be used when you're away from the shack. Almost any 5v cell phone USB "charger" battery can be used. They are available in capacities that provide a few hours to several days of non-stop use.
  • A DMR ID if you will be using DMR. You can get that here: https://www.radioid.net
  • Once you have your DMR ID, you will need a free Brandmeister dashboard account. You can get that here: https://brandmeister.network/?page=register

This is the information we will need from you if you want us to preconfigure your DMRspot. You can provide this using a secure form by clicking here. Note: This is completely optional, and you are free to set your DMRspot up yourself if you are already an experienced Pi-Star user.

  • Your call sign
  • Your DMR ID
  • Your WiFi SSID
  • Your WiFi password
  • The desired frequency you want to use
  • The desired color code you want to use (usually 1)
  • Your time zone

Please note: We will maintain a backup copy of your original settings on a secure system. Should you ever need to restore your DMRspot to its' original condition, contact us and we'll send you an import file.

Specifications

We buy all our parts from US distributors. We only deal with US based sources that stand behind their products and make sure we consistently get quality parts. We only buy in 30 day quantities so that we always have the most recent inventory.

  • Processor - Raspberry Pi Zero-W board version 1.1 w/WiFi 2.4Ghz
  • Premium USA Made MMDVM Boards - We purchase our boards from Lone Star Electronics in Texas. Designed and manufactured in the USA, these are the best MMDVM based hotspot boards available anywhere, and the ones we use in our own personal hotspots.
  • Standard Import MMDVM Board - We use the latest revision JumboSpot boards. Users should note that while these boards are reasonably reliable, they are inherently lower in quality. The legitimacy and stability of the board components is unknown.
  • Display - .96 inch white character OLED.
  • Micro USB Card - SanDisk Class 10 16GB (included when you choose pre-configuration)
  • Case - High quality polymers printed in our own facility. Heat resistant to 190º F.
  • Power Consumption - Less than 200 milliamps average on standby, and 260 Milliamps on transmit. We like Anker 6700 mAh batteries for field use. In our testing, one of these lasted about 30 hours with moderate activity. A small lightweight "lipstick" phone charger battery can last 8-12 hours depending on activity.
  • Power Supply - Optional, 5v 1.5 amp minimum required.
  • Range - Hotspots with internal antennas are designed to work at fairly close ranges. Our premium boards use the highest quality internal antennas that provide maximum range and signal strength. Here are some real world observations of what you should expect for the premium boards. Outdoors, basically line of site, 200-250 feet and usually much more. Outdoors with obstructions, 100-150 feet or more. Indoors through one wall, 50-60 feet. Indoors through two walls, 40+ feet. For hotspots with external antennas, you can expect to double these ranges. Note: We test with TYT MD-380-390 and Anyone AT-D868/878 radios using Diamond SRH805S stubby antennas. For testing purposes, we consider it a "fail" when the BER (bit error rate) rises above 4.5. As with anything RF related, your milage may vary.

Please note: It is not advisable to place your DMRspot in a location where the temperature may exceed 160º F. The adhesive used in the display manufacturing process can soften and your display may develop discoloration or distortion. Placing your DMRspot on the dashboard of an unoccupied vehicle in bright sun can cause temperatures to easily exceed recommend limits.

30 day money back guarantee.
One year guarantee against defects in materials or workmanship.