TGIF Network On WPSD Digital Mobile Radio Software

TGIF Network On WPSD Digital Mobile Radio (DMR)

I’ve been using Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) for a few years now.  Essentially, DMR uses the backbone of the internet to communicate.   You can enter that network by using a radio to local DMR repeater connection.  Additionally, most people enter the DMR network by a Hotspot device connected to their own WiFi or Ethernet home network.   The most popular DMR service is the BrandMeister Network, but over time a couple other networks have sprung up.   Today I’ll be discussing how to connect to the TGIF Network.  While TGIF has been around a bit, yours truly just discovered it.  Connecting to it wasn’t as easy as I anticipated so I thought I’d write a few pointers in this blog to hopefully help others.

DMR Hotspot Software

For hotspot users there are kind of two ways to go about it.

  1. Purchase a device such as an Openspot which has proprietary software.  Usually when I say “proprietary” software it is used in a negative manner.  Not so this time.  Openspot hotspots and their firmware / software implementations are awesome!  Only downside is the devices are expensive.
  2. Purchase an MMDVM board and mount it on a single board computer such as a Raspberry Pi and install a hotspot operating system on the Pi.

The most popular hotspot OS is called Pi-Star.  Pi-Star has been the de facto standard for years.  The latest up and coming DMR OS is called WPSD.

I only found out about WPSD because I ran an update on Pi-Star on one of my hotspots which summarily broke it.   In defense of Pi-Star I haven’t turned that hot spot on in 2 or 3 years and it worked fine, but of course was out of date.  3 years worth of updates probably was too much for it.   While I was trying to research my problem I had read that the developer of Pi-Star announced he was turning over the reigns of his development project to others.  It sounded kind of iffy to me so I decided to give WPSD a 1st try.

I should point out that Pi-Star is still being developed and just had a major update and a major beta update.  My initial concerns may have been unfounded.  Still WPSD is super cool and is now my new favorite.

Prerequisite Work For The TGIF Network

Before you can do anything you need to go to the TGIF Network page and register.  The process of registration could take 24 hours or so.  In my case I registered online super early in the morning and it seemed like I got processed when the working day started.  Didn’t take long at all.   Once your registration is all set up you can go to the User Security section under your call sign and get your security key. Obviously I have blacked out my security key below.

TGIF Network

TGIF Security Key Section

That’s about all you need to get running on the TGIF Network.  Oh but if it were just that simple.

TGIF Network Pi-Star Setup

Setup here is pretty easy but you have to dig way under the hood for one step.  It’s easy but not very intuitive.  Go to your Configuration page and scroll down to the “DMR Configuration” section.  Select TGIF Network from the drop down box and paste in your Security Key from TGIF.  Hit apply changes.

TGIF Network

Pi-Star Configuration for TGIF

Done, right?  Nope.

Now in the Configuration page go into EXPERT then MMDVMHOST.  Scroll down to the DMR Network section.  Paste in your Security Key.  Obviously mine is redacted.

TGIF Network

MMDVM File Mod

NOW you can use the TGIF Network.  Why this doesn’t auto populate when you add your security key in the Configuration page……….I just don’t know.

I should add there is a way to use both Brandmeister and TGIF at the same time but it is a little deep for the scope of this blog.

TGIF Network WPSD Setup

Set up is a breeze here.  Go to your Configuration page, scroll down to the TGIF Network section and paste in your security key.  Then ensure that it is enabled.   That is it.  You can simultaneously, and easily use Brandmeister and TGIF on WPSD.

TGIF Network

TGIF Network Setup

Again, oh if it were that easy. In the lower right side there is a statement that reads:

Uses “5” talkgroup prefix

While setting up your codeplug for your radio you’ll be selecting from the TGIF Talk Group List.   There are hundreds of talk groups but we’ll just pick the first one as an example.

TGIF Network

TGIF Talk Groups

TAC 101 is Talk Group ID 101.  Remember the earlier statement of:

Uses “5” talkgroup prefix

What it doesn’t say is that not only do you preface the TG number with a 5 it must also be 7 digits long.  Pad the missing digits with zeros. 

TG 101 becomes TG 5000101 when you program your radio.

Took me a while to figure this out and it is explained in detail on the WPSD pages (sorta).  Scroll down to the part that says “Talkgroup Prefix Mappings”.   The info is all there but it doesn’t give a specific TGIF example per say.

TGTO (Thank God That’s Over)

So while setup on WPSD is a piece of cake you have to modify your TG ID to be 7 digits long.  It starts with a 5 and you pad it with zeros, if necessary.  Conversely, most of the magic is accomplished in the radio codeplug programming.

Your Brandmeister and TGIF networks will run simultaneously with no issues and you’ll be listening to whatever zone or Talk Group that you key into.

Static Linked Talk Groups

Pro tip.  Disable your static linked talk groups.  Example:

I was listening to Brandmeister TG 91 (World Wide).  When I changed zones to TGIF, that I set up in my radio programming and keyed into a TGIF Talk Group…………Brandmeister TG91 wouldn’t let go.  Go into your Admin page for Brandmeister and delete any static linked TG’s you may see there.  Understand that you are NOT deleting the TG, but rather just the static link. 

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezey.

Static and Dynamically linked Talk Groups is a detailed discussion for another day.

Wrap Up

Anyway, I hope this helps someone to configure WPSD for the TGIF network.  Pi-Star is cool but it is way easier to run Brandmeister and TGIF at the same time under WPSD.

73’s from KN4FMV

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