Update: 20220721 – I had a conversation with one of the admin’s on a DMR network this morning. Roaming appears to work, at least in the Anytone radios, regardless of whether the repeater is set up to “beacon” (i.e., periodically sending out a transmission).
It therefore appears that the radio sends out a short transmission. It causes the repeater to come up briefly but not long enough for the repeater to connect to the C-bridge, the gateway to the DMR network(s).
If this is the case then it would appear to come under the rule of an unidentified transmission, section 97.119 Station identification, (a) Each amateur station, except a space station or telecommand station, must transmit its assigned call sign on its transmitting channel at the end of each communication, and at least every 10 minutes during a communication, for the purpose of clearly making the source of the transmissions from the station known to those receiving the transmissions. No station may transmit unidentified communications or signals, or transmit as the station call sign, any call sign not authorized to the station. [emphasis added]
Remember, many of the DMR radios are Part 90 (commercial) certified and have features for commercial applications (including encryption) that are not authorized under Part 97 Amateur Radio operations.
I’m leaving the information up on this page as it is an interesting capability, especially if you travel a lot, and a lot of people might look at the programming software and wonder, as did I. If you want to use roaming make sure you contact the repeater owners and ask.
I’m sure at some point someone will ask the FCC for a specific ruling (I’m not going to. Sometimes it’s better to ask forgiveness that ask for permission. 🙂
What is Roaming?
Roaming is a function found in the newer DMR radios. The easiest way to think of it is a scan function HOWEVER rather than stopped when it hears traffic on the repeater it finds the next DMR repeater on the ROAMING LIST it can “hear” and “locks” onto it. Another way to look at it is like a cell phone, it is always connecting to the nearest cell tower. For those that can remember the “old” (early) days of cell phones you would have a local area, and if you went out of your local area your phone would “roam” to the nearest system if you had it enabled. When you roamed you typically paid extra for calls!!
It allows you to stay “connected” to a specific talk group while travelling, such as on a DMR network that covers a large area, such as a state or even multiple states.
As the radio “scans” the list of repeaters you have set up in a ROAMING ZONE it is important to think of the areas you travel and perhaps set up a roaming zone that is geographic.
For example, in the case of DMR networks like the Interstate DMR network (which covers DE, MD, PA, NJ, FL & DC) or the NCPRN network (which covers NC, SC, TX and VA) you wouldn’t normally want to scan through all the repeaters if you are routinely in one or two states the network covers.
You might want to create a roaming zone for your common commute, and another for other areas. For example for the Interstate system I have a roaming zone that covers south central PA and the central part of MD where I routinely travel. There is no need to include the eastern shore of MD, DE, NJ or FL as that would increase the number of repeaters the radio would have to scan through to find one when I got out of range of one.
It is much easier to have all the channels, with corresponding talk groups, set up in your channel list before you start setting up roaming. (page and video coming soon)
Watch the video on how to set up the channels as ROAMING CHANNELS and then the ROAMING ZONE.