Getting started with the D868UV

I just bought a handheld transceiver to go along with my base station, the Yaesu FT-857. After my past experiences with a cheap Baofeng (my first radio, never had a QSO on it!), I was looking for something good quality.

The Rig

I decided on the AnyTone AT-D868UV, a DMR and Analogue dual-bander with GPS and digi-APRS features, and as a bonus fairly cheap from ML&S. This should work pretty nicely for me, since I have very nearly literal line of sight to a cluster of DMR, APRS, and 70cm analogue voice repeaters at Madingley.

First impressions are great. The radio is neatly packaged, and has a nice feel to it: not heavy, but certainly chunky and robust. I have the recent firmware update with a white-on-black screen, which is readable, crisp and bright.

The supplied rubber-ducky antenna seems as okay as any other, although it struggles a little to reliably hit a 2m repeater a dozen or so miles to the south, which is an occasional challenge even for the base station with a slim-jim.

Programming

DMR on it has been great, with very nice audio. DMR has its problems, of course. Since it was designed for the commercial market, it’s overly complicated, needs proprietary codec chips (boo!), and a different piece of proprietary software for each radio (rarely even per manufacturer in my experience). This proliferation and balkanization of software makes getting started quite difficult, since you generally can’t just download a code-plug for your radio.

For the first time in a decade, I needed Windows. I threw Windows 10 on a VM on my Fedora workstation and obtained a copy of the CPS for the AnyTone D868UV. I initially started to write my own codeplug, but with a patchy understanding of how DMR works I wasn’t very successful.

There seem to be two publicly-available codeplugs for the rig, one from Moonraker and another from Martin Lynch. I bought the radio from the latter, so used their codeplug and modified it a little to suit my QTH.