Display Information

What you see on the display is a function of what is in your radio. The DMR-ID is part of the transmission and the radio uses the “digital contact list” to turn the “Radio-ID” into what you see on the display.

Note that what you see on the display of the 878 is configurable. The CPS “Optional Settings” dialog and then “Display” tab has an option for “Call Display Mode” and that is a choice between “Turn Off Talker Alias”, “Name Based” and “Call Sign Based”. We’ll ignore “Talker Alias” for now. Below are examples of the 878 display with each selection made.

To further tweak things, different interpretations of the digital contact list can be used. One common one is by KM4VIG. He has included license class info and put different info into the digital contact list CSV file fields. Here’s an example of my display using his contact info imported into my radio and then I’ll give an explanation.

Display Call

This is an image of my 878 while receiving.
My CPS has the “Call Display Mode” set to “Call Based”.
I’m also using the digital contact list from KM4VIG.
In the picture above, I’ve highlighted the “fields” on the display and put a letter next to each display field. Below I’ve mapped the display fields to the fields in the “digital contact list” CSV file.
A= “Radio ID”
B= “Callsign”
C= “Name”
D= “City”
E= “State”
F= “Country”
Note that the field names of the CSV are what the 878 thinks is in the field and how it maps the info to the display. If you’re new to CSV files and you’re wondering what I mean by field names, the first row of the CSV file has the above field names in it. Open the CSV file in a text editor (or some may used Excel) and you’ll see the field names in the first row.
Note that KM4VIG maps information to the fields a different way and adds new information for which there isn’t a field, like the license class.

I’ve played with many display options because the 878 only allows selecting red or black for “callsign” and with a black background red is your only choice (I like the black background). I find the red text hard to read. The display in the picture gives the Callsign and First Name in the large font (and it’s white) because the radio thinks it is the “Name”. The license class ends up in the “Callsign” field and moves up with the “Radio-ID” and is in red. The “City” field has the first and last name. The “State” field has the city. The “Country” field has the State and Country. I’ve simplified this to be North America centric but it maps other regions to be readable as well.

The following picture is the same KM4VIG digital contact list with the display setting changed in the CPS to “Name Based”.

Display Name

Notice that the license class info (that is in the “Callsign” field) is in the large text now and the callsign + name info (that is in the “Name” field is on the top line next to the “DMR-ID”. Basically looking back at the prior picture display picture fields “B” and “C” swap with the display setting change between “Name Based” and “Callsign Based”.

Hopefully this helps show a little of what is possible. This demonstrates the difference in CPS display settings as well as what can be done if different information is put into the digital contact list CSV file fields.

Here’s a copy of the two displays side-by-side to make the differences easier to see.

Below is a shot of my screen at the time of this writing. I started with the KC4VIG digital contact list CSV file and then modified it to fit what I wanted before importing it into my Code Plug. When you use the KM4VIG file as he releases it he puts the license class info into the “Callsign” field and adds the callsign and first name into the “Name” field. This has a consequence once someone quits talking and the bottom of the display scrolls thru: last callsign (“Callsign”), last caller (“Name”), last group. The radio shows license-class, Call First-Name. My change to the digital contact list CSV puts the callsign back into the “Callsign” field. I leave the “Name” field with the Callsign and First-Name. I put the license info into the “City” field.
Here’s an example of what it looks like. I’ve put it side-by-side with one of the earlier photos for comparison.

Here’s what the main display looks like scrolling thru the call, caller and group. If you use the KM4VIG digital contact list the first display has the license-class instead of the call (since that is what is in the digital contact list field for “call”). Using my method I see the call both times and the first name where the full name would normally appear.

Good luck on your 878 journey. 73, Tim K9TM

Testing that Code Plug or Hot Spot – Please no more “Radio Checks”

One very important suggestion. Please use the Parrot Talk Group. Doing this you’ll know if your Code Plug is working. You’ll know how your audio sounds. You’ll know how loud to talk, how far to hold the mic from your mouth, how different mics sound and where to set the CPS mic gain item. Please do this instead of getting on TAC 310 and asking for a “Radio Check”! If you use the Parrot Talk Group, you’ll know if it’s working and how you sound… this includes if your hot spot is working.

Once you have this going and you’re happy with your audio, get on TAC 310 or whatever Talk Group you choose and make friends.

Code Plug Beginning

This is a term that is foreign to Hams who are not familiar with Commercial Radios. Despite people saying they have to “program” a Code Plug, I find that terminology misleading. For a radio like the AnyTone 878 there is no “Programming” taking place. The CPS Software makes it easier to “Configure” the radio thru a series of choices that can be made based on how the user wants to utilize the radio. There is no “Programming” taking place. You don’t have to learn a programming language. I wish that “Programming” was left to describe the making of the firmware and the CPS process was described as “Configuring” the radio. No new feature is created by CPS, only selecting options for the programming/firmware that is already in the radio.

You need the CPS Software for the radio and it can be downloaded from a number of places. Make sure the version of the CPS software matches the firmware version in the radio.

Please resist the urge to create the “Perfect Code Plug”. I’ve found there is no such thing. Code Plugs are personal. They describe how you want the radio to operate within the ways the radio is programmed.

The problem is that as a newbie to DMR and to this type of configurable radio, you don’t know what you don’t know. So it’s hard to make decisions about what you want. Therefore it’s hard to create a perfect Code Plug. So just create a Code Plug that allows you to get on and play.

As you play you’ll start thinking gee I wish I could do xyz or it’s a pain to switch talkgroups using these menus, I wish I could just spin the knob on top or I find that the callsign in red is really hard to read, etc. When you start doing these things then you can continue on your quest of the perfect code plug and start getting familiar with the CPS program.

So to summarize, DMR Radios typically function more like Commercial Radios than traditional Ham radios. By this I mean that most Ham radios have a common HMI (Human Machine Interface) and Ham’s expect to be able to set the frequency, have automatic splits for repeaters, etc. On a DMR radio, the radio has to be “Configured” using CPS software. Don’t worry, you’re going to change this many times as you figure out how you want to use the radio or as your use changes over time.


Over a series of short posts, I’ll present information that is related to DMR and my experience with the Any Tone 878 handheld radio and the DVMega hotspot.

The thought behind short posts is that generally speaking we have short attention spans.  Also, newbies to DMR are likely here looking for an answer.  The goal is to provide information that is quick to read and hopefully help share information or solve a question/issue and make DMR more enjoyable.