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Thread: Has P25NX kicked the bucket?

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    Default Has P25NX kicked the bucket?

    Seems like P25NX has gone dead in the water. The project creator even admits the "Version 2" of his network has been a failure. Seems like the on-paper design was great but didn't scale into real-life usage. The other issue is with the huge rise of MMDVM it looks like P25NX has become a "walled garden" for those who still want to stay on it while MMDVM usage has been on the rise. P25NX was supposedly working on integrating the two networks together via the reflectors, but with the issues present in the system it looks like it will be on hold indefinitely.


    For those already with P25NX, seems like all that is needed is to change your Raspberry Pi (or whatever computer you're using) to the MMDVM software and the hardware remains the same. Because of that - I have been looking at implementing the MMDVM setup here, with a local reflector for a statewide talkgroup and Parrot server.


    I am wondering if there will be an overall shift to MMDVM or if P25NX will still cling on till the end. For us it seems like MMDVM will be the way to go.


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    Our club has actually been looking into various linking setups for our quantars, and we've decided to possibly explore the MMDVM route as well. We've also been talking with the Penn State ARC about working on modifying the P25NX code to work a bit better, or possibly coming up with a new linking system of some kind.

    Our biggest priority is being able to revert back to local-only mode when we use the repeater for events, something that a full-time v.24 link can't do. MMDVM seems to have provisions for that which makes it more interesting to us.

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    I have been looking at this solution for an analog and P25 link method:
    http://wiki.w9cr.net/index.php/Allst...P25_on_Quantar

    This was written with the premise of using P25NX, however the guys at https://dvswitch.groups.io/g/Quantar-Bridge/ have been saying that the switch from P25NX to MMDVM just involves switching your Raspberry Pi from the P25NX image to the Pi-Star image, and the Pi-Star is already designed to pass P25 traffic.

    The method I was going to set up was at one site have an Intel NUC (or other spare small computer) set up to be a P25 Reflector and Parrot server. Then set up a local P25 talkgroup and an "area-wide" which will be on our own server and added manually to the Pi-Star image. For the analog side I am still researching but it seems like I should be able to program the AllStar console to either de-link the analog side by IP or something like an MDC1200 status transmission.

    The W9CR instructions show the repeater being set up with certain channels reverting to "fail soft" where it would revert back to local operation so the key in my implementation would be to find a way to trigger that fail-soft and lock it into that mode until the event has passed and then give it the option to return back to normal.

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    Luckily we run full-time digital so that simplifies things quite a bit.

    We're still off for the summer but once I get back to school I'll have to start playing with our repeaters and seeing just how easy it is to get Pi-Star talking to a quantar. I'm a big fan of the MMDVM project so far, and while I failed to get it working on a spare MTR2000 we've got (probably some sort of deviation issue, I gave up without ever really doing thorough testing) it seems like a great platform for internet linking of repeaters.

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    I've been running into a lot of problems getting my Quantar to link up for P25NX, once that is figured out I plan on giving quantar bridge a try.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crazyboy View Post
    I've been running into a lot of problems getting my Quantar to link up for P25NX, once that is figured out I plan on giving quantar bridge a try.
    A lot of the P25NX issues are on their "back-end" itself so you might have everything set up correctly and the their side is just thrashed. If you have the hardware already I'd just try going straight for Quantar Bridge and seeing how that works.

    I am assembling the hardware now for the mixed mode setup while getting the other trustees on-board with the idea. Luckily the repeater I am experimenting on is used by an ARES group that is heavily interested in P25 so I shouldn't hit much resistance.

    Another repeater on the other side of the area is an MSF5000 that needs to be retired - looking at using a couple CDM1250s, the MMDVM modem board, and a Quantro power supply and PA to make a nice continuous duty repeater. That one will be linked analog and digital to the Quantar I will work on first and be my trial run for a multicast setup on Quantar Bridge.

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    Even when P25NX worked it hardly got used. I've decided to go the Quantar Bridge route for our little system down here in HTX... just need to pick up another Cisco router and a RPi 3 to get it going. Other users of the board here have successfully implemented it and brought it into AstroTAC-linked systems.

    I am firmly against moving away from V.24 linking and using MMDVMs as repeater controllers. One, why reinvent the wheel, and two, the factory hardware can handle vocoding and modulation far better than the MMDVM will ever be able to. For home/portable hotspots and experimentation they're great kit, but they don't belong on commercial sites.
    "The Girl Scouts found several hungry REACT members at the finish line..."

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    Quote Originally Posted by motorola_otaku View Post
    Even when P25NX worked it hardly got used. I've decided to go the Quantar Bridge route for our little system down here in HTX... just need to pick up another Cisco router and a RPi 3 to get it going. Other users of the board here have successfully implemented it and brought it into AstroTAC-linked systems.

    I am firmly against moving away from V.24 linking and using MMDVMs as repeater controllers. One, why reinvent the wheel, and two, the factory hardware can handle vocoding and modulation far better than the MMDVM will ever be able to. For home/portable hotspots and experimentation they're great kit, but they don't belong on commercial sites.
    That is the biggest reason I am looking at it. For a ham repeater the Quantar Bridge looks awesome and a promising project which I'll be starting here as long as I get everyone else on board with it. Some of the older hams are stubborn... but some people BEGGED for the repeater to be P25 mixed mode and then it still sits unused except for one net Tuesday nights for 30 minutes. So I want to breathe some life into a repeater, antenna, and tower which was furnished to this club at NO COST... they can't bitch too much.

    But for the AstroTAC based idea we are looking at setting one up on a commercial VHF split. I have thought of using the Quantar Bridge setup with a private P25 Reflector to tie it all together nicely, and then tie in another 2 repeaters in a multicast configuration we are planning on putting up. This method is by far much cheaper than anything else we can commercially think up - and for a private "family and friends" repeater we want to keep costs down.

    The MMDVM board to build a repeater will be interesting though. I want to try that on a ham split where we can't find a Quantar and see how it stacks up to the first Quantar I mentioned. Luckily the existing repeater is an MSF5000 which means I have a nice power supply and PA to use in that event.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Navy_BOFH View Post
    The MMDVM board to build a repeater will be interesting though. I want to try that on a ham split where we can't find a Quantar and see how it stacks up to the first Quantar I mentioned. Luckily the existing repeater is an MSF5000 which means I have a nice power supply and PA to use in that event.
    Based on the experience of my local cohorts, a dumb analog repeater is much easier to interface to than anything with "digital" capability. Think TKR-820, GR-series, something like that. Arguably the easiest is a pair of VRM-650s (MCS2000-based) which is well-documented with step-by-step instructions on one of the Google groups or .io boards.
    "The Girl Scouts found several hungry REACT members at the finish line..."

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    Quote Originally Posted by motorola_otaku View Post
    Based on the experience of my local cohorts, a dumb analog repeater is much easier to interface to than anything with "digital" capability. Think TKR-820, GR-series, something like that. Arguably the easiest is a pair of VRM-650s (MCS2000-based) which is well-documented with step-by-step instructions on one of the Google groups or .io boards.
    I wish I could use VRMs, I might try those for a DMR "event repeater" but for everyone here we are using VHF which I haven't seen a VRM for just yet. But I agree on the "dumb" repeater... I am hoping to stumble on a VHF one for cheap soon just to play with.

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    I still hear some activity on P25NX V2. As far as setup, it was not much harder for me to do V2 than it was V1.

    One thing that I have noticed is that after the move from V1 to V2, the activity level dropped to almost nothing. I am not sure where everyone went, off on another talkgroup other than Worldwide.

    Dave did a lot of hard work on the system and it seems a shame for it to go away.

    That said, I am exploring options to replace P25NX should it go away. I spent some time this past weekend doing some web surfing looking for ideas...and no, I do not want to replace my Quantar with something else.

    Any suggestions from people that have already tackled this issue.

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    The links I posted above regarding the software switch to "Quantar Bridge" - part of the DVswitch/MMDVM network seems to be where people are headed. I looked at the dashboard for one of their P25 reflectors and it seems between repeaters and hotspots it is where the Quantars are heading.

    I saw a post from Dave (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!to...nx/sH35yC2odT0) stating that he is noticing the issues but doesn't have the time or resources to work on the issues. He seems to want to "give it back to the community" but the community is being divided by both P25NX and DVswitch. Granted - eventually the plan was to link both networks anyway - but for now I am trying to get a repeater on a system without the issues which means I will skip the P25NX setup until its either fixed or merges with the DVswitch network.

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    I have looked at Quantar Bridge and was leaning that way myself. At least I have another UHF Quantar to test with.

    Since I have all of the pieces, I can start playing with it in my spare time.

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    After reading some of the messages in the P25NX Google group, I am reminded of one thing...that is Dave insisting that the network remain "pure" no analog to P25 connections via a DIU3000 or things such as the DMR to P25 bridging being done on Quantar Bridge. I am sure that has slowed the growth of the P25NX network.

    From a standpoint of being a tech, I did not add network connectivity my P25 repeater and then have the audio compromised by bridge connections to other networks. As long as the P25 network is up, I will keep a repeater on that network.

    Through a generous benefactor, I have the opportunity to dedicate another Quantar to the Quantar Bridge project.That way I can see how the two networks compare.

    Setting up a dedicated Quantar to P25 networking should be easier today that several years ago when the "Knickerless Quantars" were the only units within a reasonable price range. Some of that has changed for the better. Also, there appears to be a large quantity of UHF XTL2500's (from Canada) of ebay at excellent prices.

    These are things to be considered when you set up a repeater.

    I know that I have been vaccinated by the Motorola needle (the way another shop referred to customers that preferred Motorola)but give me a Quantar and day over a couple of mobiles and a MMDVM board.

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    Just received an email

    We're migrating this from google groups to a mailman list. This will provide searchable archives and ensure the continued availability of the project...........
    Perhaps there is life left after all?

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    I received the same email and was glad to see things are still active.

    My first impression of Quantar Bridge...I have heard some terrible audio on this system and a lot of it seems to come from people trying to bridge other networks into the system and those who have cobbled up some radios just to get on the network.

    This does not mean that it is all bad but support Dave's requirements for P25NX where the audio quality is excellent.

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    I just stumbled into this thread while looking for something to read. Some general comments to some of the posts.

    Dave did a great job building out P25NX and we would not have been able to create QB without all the work he did. We would be willing to investigate linking the 2 systems via reflectors. See my comments below about a Quantar only reflector.

    Though Quantar_Bridge could be added to the Pi-Star image, I don't suggest it. Pi-Star is very closed and I expect a Pi-Star upgrade would break QB. I have a system builder tool that will add everything needed to a stock Debian or Raspbian image.

    I agree with FMTRU140D ( I had one of those back in the day) Some of the Hot Spot and cobbled repeaters can sound bad. I can see building a "Quantar Only" reflector. It would be a minor modification to the reflector software but would preclude allowing properly aligned HS traffic. The nice thing is you can have access to both the QB only reflector and the normal MMDVM system.

    A VRM makes a pretty good base RF package for a MMDVM system. I have a few repeater built using UHF versions.

    73, Steve N4IRS

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    My only issue with the Quantar-only concept is that there are some great Tait, EFJ, Harris, and Daniels/Codan repeaters that handle P25 that are going for cheap these days as well. I wish there could be a "native P25 bridge" instead of a Quantar Bridge - but I can assume that those other repeaters won't be as easy to link as the Quantar has been.

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    Each vendor repeater would have to taken on a case by case basis. If the data can be extracted...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Navy_BOFH View Post
    but I can assume that those other repeaters won't be as easy to link as the Quantar has been.
    Possibly (probably?) easier - the current generation of repeaters mostly use the standardised P25 IP interface for linking, whereas all the Quantar efforts have been based off reverse engineering the V.24 protocol. A couple of fields in there still remain elusive but have been worked around...

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    Well, you would know. Thank you so much for the work on the Quantar. We could not have done QB without you guys.

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    I am glad to see the P25NX on a new mailing list and some activity once more. I wish I had some better programming experience or I would already be volunteering to fix whatever issues might be seen.

    I know when the system was in "Version 1" status, David was happy to provide the code to me to make a closed-loop system for emergency management use - but that is where the Quantar Bridge looked like an easier solution in that sense.

    For ham use - I really hope P25NX comes back so I can set up some repeaters. I keep stalling and have all the equipment ready to go, just haven't set it up yet with hopes to have it all on the original network.

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    Our club's going to give Quantar Bridge a try. It seems like there's more room for adoption with MMDVM support behind it. We were never able to get onboard with V1 or V2 of P25NX but I'm all for giving it a go as well should the project spring back to life.

    Either way, regardless of the method of linking it's great to see P25 get adopted more in the ham world. It'll probably never rival DMR or the other ham waveforms like D(istas)tar or YSF, but having a skilled community of people who know what they're doing and a huge collection of technical knowledge is (at least in my opinion) what makes the community of P25 users great.

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    That was my original concern with whichever link is chosen for the ham repeater. Getting it linked isn't so much of an issue as it is having to hear crickets on the other side if no one is using it. The MMDVM support seems to be growing, though I can understand audio quality concerns between modes. However it looks like the MMDVM takes raw bitstreams for each mode and converts it to the destination mode - so I would assume we wouldn't be seeing double-vocoding issues between modes resulting in garbage audio.

    The other point I was thinking of was that other than homebrew repeaters, the only supported P25 repeater is still the Quantar, which means there should be some uniformity between repeater sites. I have wanted to at least set up my area repeater with the Quantar Bridge and buy a MMDVM hotspot to see how the audio sounds myself, but have been holding off just to see where everything moves.

    For my commercial setup - I am still looking at a way of using Cisco routers with a V.24 card and an E&M card to link analog audio and P25 at the same time. With that system it looks like we are heading to full-time multicast so I wouldn't have to worry about having a reflector server or anything else.

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    I'd imagine hotspot setups can't be that bad with P25. In theory it's still just raw data frames but as we've seen with DMR via hotspots it's not always that simple.

    Per your E&M question, you should reach out to NF9K, Bill. He's in my neck of the woods and is the head honcho for the Indiana Quantar Network which does full-time linking of both digital and analog. I don't know the specifics of how they're doing the analog stuff but I've heard it works well. The digital side uses the standard Cisco STUN tunnels but just uses a stack of several ATACs on the server side to vote everything together.