Ham radio operators who are interested in going digital are often left to wonder — which digital mode is best? That’s a tough question to answer, but one starting place is looking at the number of digital repeaters. The more repeaters out there the more coverage you’ll have with your new digital radio.
Digital Repeaters in Minnesota
Differences based on where you live
You will find that hams in various cities talk to each other. Who would have thought, right? One person gets a new digital radio and they started telling their friends about it. Before you know it they are getting new radios and repeaters start popping up with that technology.
Yaesu began offering heavily discounted C4FM/System Fusion repeaters as a way to build popularity with hams across the country. “Build it and they will come,” as it’s known. This is why you’ll find a heavy presence of C4FM/System Fusion repeaters in southern Minnesota. Hams in these communities have adopted Yaesu’s technology and you’ll find many repeaters in the southern half of the state.
Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) has a particularly strong presence in the Twin Cities metro and outlying areas. As you venture outside the metro coverage is more sporadic. D-STAR is the same way; good options in the metro area but much more sporadic as you get into rural Minnesota.
Which digital mode is right for you?
It really depends on how you want to experiment. D-STAR is great because it also has applications on HF, Yaesu System Fusion is the easiest mode to use, but not as open with the System Fusion network, while DMR and P25 are seen as more tough to learn.
Many of the Minnesota Ham Radio admins are DMR users, but also utilize Yaesu C4FM/System Fusion on occasion. If you have questions about getting started with digital modes, hotspots, repeater programming, or anything else join the Minnesota Ham Radio Discord server and connect with our community. We’re here to help.