Networks, Configuration, etc - Questions

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kc7ve
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:01 am

Networks, Configuration, etc - Questions

Post by kc7ve »

Background: I have two hotspots running. One is running as a simplex hotspot. The other is running as a duplex hotspot. Mostly this is just to learn how all this works. I also have GPS (for APRS) and that's working fine. Everyting is working great.

So what's the problem? Well, it's working but I see stuff I don't understand.

Passwords: I have set my password for Brandmeister security. I have tested it and it's all working. And I verified by mismatching the passwords and sure enough my hotspots stopped working. Now, I'm back to the correct passwords and it's working fine.

However when I go to the DMR GW page under EXPERT, I don't see my passwords anywhere. I have 3 Networks areas in that file, none appear to be for the Brandmeister network. I suspect it's Network 1, since that's the only change I made. I redirected 91 from slot 2 to slot 1, so it shows up on my display in the top slot. That works fine, so I assume Network 1 is Brandmeister. But why isn't my password in that file? If I set it, on configuration page, and it's working, shouldn't it be automagically changed in that GW file?

IP addresses: I have the USA 3103 server selected. But in Network 1, it's showing 87.117.229.173, under Network 1. What is that IP for? It doesn't appear to be the server I've selected. Shouldn't it be for the server I'm using? There are no USA servers selected in this GW file. So I'm confused.

Networks: I have an XLL and Network 1, Network 2, Network 3. I assume they can be any network I wish to use. I haven't changed anything from what the hotspot came with. Since it's one of the typical pi-star pre-builts, I assume Brandmeister should be one of them. Best I can tell it's likely Network 1 but there is no name and the IP doesn't look like the server I selected. Can someone explain what these IP represent?

Shouldn't there be a reference to a Brandmeister server? I'm using USA 3103 and don't see anything referencing it.

Slightly off-topic
Contacts: As I understand it, contacts are just a list of TalkGroups. And they can be Group Call or Private Call. My Contacts have a mixture of Group Calls(91, 93, etc). And a few Private for direct contact.

What happens if I make a direct call to an individual Radio ID, through the pi-star? Does it hog the system? Is it publically heard? Is it forbidden? I know if I make an RF call, by ID, it's a radio to radio and others on that freq, don't typically rear it. I'm just wondering what happens if done through a pi-star.

Similarly, what happens if, I add a personal contact (i.e. mine), in my Contact list, and I make it Group Call, vs Private. Then create a channel, for that contact. Does that mean more than one person can contact me simultaneously. I have tried this, and it does go through the system and I hear it on one of my other radios but I don't know if it's possible for multiple people to call me at the same time. Just curious. And if this does happen, again is that something frowned upon, via pi-star. Would everyone ear the conversation.

Finally, the typical way these are used is people make calls from their radio to a talk group. No one is directly contacting another person's radio. But is it possible? Or common? Or allowed? This is similar to above but what if I want any number of people to be able to contact me. Is it possible to make a group call, such that the Group call, does directly to my pi-star, without interfering to TG91 for instance?

I think the answer is yes, because I just created such a channel and contact, and tested it. I had a radio for two different hotspots, and I could hear my call coming out of both radios. But I don't know if that's frowned upon. And I don't know if that makes it a TalkGroup, which I know are frowned upon, if not coordinated. Just trying to understand this stuff.

Thanks
Amateur Radio 40+ years
USMC 1963-1967
KE7FNS
Pi-Star Team
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Re: Networks, Configuration, etc - Questions

Post by KE7FNS »

kc7ve wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:19 pm However when I go to the DMR GW page under EXPERT, I don't see my passwords anywhere. I have 3 Networks areas in that file, none appear to be for the Brandmeister network. I suspect it's Network 1, since that's the only change I made. I redirected 91 from slot 2 to slot 1, so it shows up on my display in the top slot. That works fine, so I assume Network 1 is Brandmeister. But why isn't my password in that file? If I set it, on configuration page, and it's working, shouldn't it be automagically changed in that GW file?
No, the reason you don't see things represented in the DMRGateway settings is because you aren't using DMRGateway.

When you enter a password for the BM Hotspot security setting in the main configuration page it edits /etc/mmdvmhost and changes the Password field in the [DMR Network] section.

DMRGateway is for more advanced setups than a hotspot listening to just one server.
kc7ve wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:19 pm IP addresses: I have the USA 3103 server selected. But in Network 1, it's showing 87.117.229.173, under Network 1. What is that IP for? It doesn't appear to be the server I've selected. Shouldn't it be for the server I'm using? There are no USA servers selected in this GW file. So I'm confused.

Networks: I have an XLL and Network 1, Network 2, Network 3. I assume they can be any network I wish to use. I haven't changed anything from what the hotspot came with. Since it's one of the typical pi-star pre-builts, I assume Brandmeister should be one of them. Best I can tell it's likely Network 1 but there is no name and the IP doesn't look like the server I selected. Can someone explain what these IP represent?

Shouldn't there be a reference to a Brandmeister server? I'm using USA 3103 and don't see anything referencing it.
Same answer as above for those questions too.
kc7ve wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:19 pm What happens if I make a direct call to an individual Radio ID, through the pi-star?
It does exactly as what it says, it routes your call directly to his hotspot and out over the air and to his radio (if it is on).
kc7ve wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:19 pm Does it hog the system?
No more than any other connection from your hotspot to the BM server, meaning if you were to key up and talk on TG 91, or TG 3100.
kc7ve wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:19 pm Is it publically heard?
Yes, and no, it depends on your point of view. Yes because when it arrives at the destination it goes out over the air, and anyone with a radio (or SDR) within range that is tuned to that frequency can capture it, decode it and listen to its contents.

No, if you mean can others easily monitor and hear it while it travels over the network, but that doesn't mean it isn't possible to capture the network traffic and monitor the communications.
kc7ve wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:19 pm Is it forbidden?
No, its a feature. If it was forbidden BM would have of already blocked it, you can bet on that.
kc7ve wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:19 pm I know if I make an RF call, by ID, it's a radio to radio and others on that freq, don't typically rear it. I'm just wondering what happens if done through a pi-star.
Again, if you have a radio with the capability to listen to any DMR transmission, you can hear it clearly you just have to be within range of the transmitter. Its a feature commonly refereed to as "Promiscuous Mode".
kc7ve wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:19 pm Similarly, what happens if, I add a personal contact (i.e. mine), in my Contact list, and I make it Group Call, vs Private. Then create a channel, for that contact. Does that mean more than one person can contact me simultaneously. I have tried this, and it does go through the system and I hear it on one of my other radios but I don't know if it's possible for multiple people to call me at the same time. Just curious. And if this does happen, again is that something frowned upon, via pi-star. Would everyone ear the conversation.
I don't understand the question, if you add a contact, that is for you to contact an individual, it has nothing to do with someone contacting you simultaneously.

If you crank up a private call to a user, he also needs to crank up a private call back to you to hold a two way conversation. Yes another individual can try to contact you at the same time and only one transmission is going to get through to you, so the other one is going to be lost. It doesn't queue up the messages and wait for it to be idle.
kc7ve wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:19 pm Finally, the typical way these are used is people make calls from their radio to a talk group. No one is directly contacting another person's radio. But is it possible? Or common? Or allowed? This is similar to above but what if I want any number of people to be able to contact me. Is it possible to make a group call, such that the Group call, does directly to my pi-star, without interfering to TG91 for instance?
That is a difficult question to answer. The only way to contact a radio directly is to be close enough to have RF to RF communications, and then again anyone can listen in. (I'm completely avoiding the whole landmine topic of encryption on purpose because in the US as amateur radio operators it is illegal to encrypt a transmission).

When you are using a hotspot you don't contact the radio, you are contacting the hotspot. BM gets your request that says this goes to DMR ID 1234567 private call and then BM routes it to his hotspot that is set to be DMR ID 1234567.

This is why talkgroups were invented so that a number of people can just camp in one place and hold a conversation. You could apply for a talkgroup to be created or just use one of the thousands that are already available, or I've even heard that you can use your own DMR ID as a talkgroup, but I don't know exactly what all that entails, I've only heard it mentioned by Andrew M1DNS in a reply to another on the forum. Maybe someone else can respond.
kc7ve wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:19 pm I think the answer is yes, because I just created such a channel and contact, and tested it. I had a radio for two different hotspots, and I could hear my call coming out of both radios. But I don't know if that's frowned upon. And I don't know if that makes it a TalkGroup, which I know are frowned upon, if not coordinated. Just trying to understand this stuff.
If you are doing something that BM doesn't like, you'll learn about it the hard way because all the sudden things won't work at all, because they will just block you without telling you what you did wrong.
If someones previous actions are any indication of their future actions, then I predict the deletion and removal of access will happen at any moment. 7-11-2020.

"07/13/20 This Website Has Been Taken Down" ... again :lol:
kc7ve
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:01 am

Re: Networks, Configuration, etc - Questions

Post by kc7ve »

Ok, most of what you said is kind of how I expected it to work. But one way I was thinking it might work was to allow multiple people talking and listening by making my radio ID a contact but "Group Call" vs. "Private Call". Doing that would seem to allow several people to talk in a kind of party line fashion. Obviously you'd have to take turns. And anyone wanting to listen would have to have my radio ID, listed as a contact on one of their channels.

And about what I was getting at with my Contact comment. If I have a contact (my radio ID), and it's Group Call, and I have a channel for that contact, then I can listen to anyone making a call to it. And if others have the same Contact, and channel assignment for it. I would think everyone who makes a call to it, is just like making a call to any other Talk Group, and anyone monitoring that contact, on their end, should also hear the conversation. They might have to kerchunk it once to make it active. I guess I'll just have to test it.

And when I tried that, and used one of my hotspots to contact my other hotspot, by making a call to my radio ID (as a Group Call), the pi-star showed KC7VE talking to TG KC7VE. Which made me think it was acting like a Talk Group. I'm just concerned about testing this, since I don't want to be kicked off, :)
Amateur Radio 40+ years
USMC 1963-1967
KE7FNS
Pi-Star Team
Posts: 1830
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:11 pm

Re: Networks, Configuration, etc - Questions

Post by KE7FNS »

kc7ve wrote: Thu Dec 10, 2020 3:22 am And about what I was getting at with my Contact comment. If I have a contact (my radio ID), and it's Group Call, and I have a channel for that contact, then I can listen to anyone making a call to it. And if others have the same Contact, and channel assignment for it. I would think everyone who makes a call to it, is just like making a call to any other Talk Group, and anyone monitoring that contact, on their end, should also hear the conversation. They might have to kerchunk it once to make it active. I guess I'll just have to test it.
You are really confusing the heck out of me. I'm pretty sure that if you are listening to a group call of a specific DMR ID you wouldn't be able to hear a private call to that DMR ID.
kc7ve wrote: Thu Dec 10, 2020 3:22 am And when I tried that, and used one of my hotspots to contact my other hotspot, by making a call to my radio ID (as a Group Call), the pi-star showed KC7VE talking to TG KC7VE. Which made me think it was acting like a Talk Group. I'm just concerned about testing this, since I don't want to be kicked off, :)
You are definitely treading on thin ice if you ask me, BM isn't too keen on "testing". They shoot first and don't even bother asking questions.

You really need one hotspot to be a completely different DMR ID, but even then BM will see the traffic is originating from the same IP address, so the safest way would be to have one hotspot with a different DMR ID using a completely different ISP.
If someones previous actions are any indication of their future actions, then I predict the deletion and removal of access will happen at any moment. 7-11-2020.

"07/13/20 This Website Has Been Taken Down" ... again :lol:
AF6VN
Posts: 574
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:15 am

Re: Networks, Configuration, etc - Questions

Post by AF6VN »

kc7ve wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:19 pm Finally, the typical way these are used is people make calls from their radio to a talk group. No one is directly contacting another person's radio. But is it possible? Or common? Or allowed? This is similar to above but what if I want any number of people to be able to contact me. Is it possible to make a group call, such that the Group call, does directly to my pi-star, without interfering to TG91 for instance?
Remember that DMR originated as a BUSINESS BAND radio service. The type where, say, a construction company leases a dozen or so HTs from a radio service provider (who likely also operates at least one repeater in the service area). The radio service provider would program the leased radios with a number of talk groups, as requested by the CoCo, along with contact IDs for each unit. This programming would not be shared with other units leased to other companies. For a CoCo, talk groups might be set up for entire-job-site, or specific function groups. For a moderate job site, it is possible most of the units will be operated in "talk-around" (simplex) mode, and not bother fighting for access to the provider's repeater. The talk-groups are likely local to the CoCo and service provider. Contact IDs may be issued from a block of numbers "owned" by the service provider. If the CoCo is conscientious enough to ensure that employees receive the same radio each day, the contacts could be programmed with employee names -- allowing for 1:1 conversations rather than everything going group-wide. A receive group list would be used to ensure that, even if someone is in a private 1:1 mode, calls from management (say) to the site-wide group will be heard by all.


Note that, I believe, Brandmeister supports the use of an individual DMR ID AS a talk group ID number. This essentially means that everyone with a DMR ID has a "personal" talk group -- and anyone else programming that ID as a group call channel contact (and anyone with that group ID in a receive group list /activated/ on BM should hear traffic).

--
AF6VN
Dennis L Bieber
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