Will Opaqueness Kill Brandmeister?

In response to the ill-advised Brandmeister ban on the DV4mini devices by Corey Dean (N3FE), I approached some of the key personnel behind the Brandmeister DMR system to determine if I could put up a new master server in the USA. The purpose of the server would be to support the stations requiring extended routing who had been disenfranchised by N3FE.

Most of the Brandmeister core team do not publish email addresses, but I was able to get in touch with Yentel (ON3YH). He indicated that he was not active any more in the development process, but said the he would pass on my message to Artem (R3ABM) and Rudy (PD0ZRY). After a couple of weeks with no further response, I tried some social media channels where I put the following questions to Artem and Rudy:

“Does Brandmeister have a policy which supports the action of the USA Administrators who disabled access to TG 4999 (extended routing)?

“Thousands of USA users who require access to extended routing have been abandoned by the current admins. Therefore, I propose to put up a new master server in the USA which will support those abandoned users by explicitly supporting extended routing. Will you permit/support this?”

Finally Artem came back to me. Not with a straight answer mind you, but a roadblock:

“Please discuss this with Corey Dean”

Talk about opaque. Not a yes, not a no, not a statement of policy. Not an answer on behalf of the core development team as to whether they support the actions of the USA team. Rather, appeal your execution to the executioner and don’t bother me. This is not exactly an answer in keeping with the amateur radio objectives of mentoring and experimentation.

The team running Brandmeister has a published list of policies. Policy number 9 for master server operators is:

“Promote a positive image of BrandMeister”

It seems that the leaders of this project could better comply with their own policies. Their image is not looking too shiny to me right now.

What happens next? What if someone decides that MMDVM boards made in China or Kenwood repeaters or you fill-in-the-blanks are not to their liking and decides to ban them? It is ironic that the Brandmeister project sprang up because of the closed nature of the DMR-MARC C-Bridge networks which preceeded them. The Brandmeister devs were the freedom fighters.

Now, they are the bureaucrats.

11 thoughts on “Will Opaqueness Kill Brandmeister?”

    1. Gentlemen, I dealt with Brandmeister since the beginning of their introduction into the US. I have been banned twice just because I have had a personnel conflict with some of the Admins. I will not mention any names but you can probably figure out who they are. I have done nothing wrong ! I complimented them on a job well done ( boy that was hard) I wrote apology letters even tho I knew I was the one that was right. I ran the very popular TGIF group 31665. I always helped and mentored many. Just ask any of the current TGIF members. I have never seen such a group of hypocrites and liars than a couple of the Admins ever in my 56 years on this planet. I will not bore you with everything that happened to me over the years because you would think I was full of BS and would find it hard to believe. That’s ok tho because the man upstairs knows the truth and so do I. We have taken the high road and started our own network the TGIF Network. We will never have the same Mo as BM. Their attitudes and actions are so anti Amatuer radio it is pathetic. We have had over 6000 unique DMR ID’s log into our very powerful server. We have Ty Weaver KG5RKI rewrote the backend code which works most amazing. we are only 5 months old and our future is very bright. We will if we already don’t have the go to DMR network that is and will be praised as the best. All are welcome with no politics and the other nonsense that goes on the BM US Masters
      TGIF Admin

    2. I’m surprised that more DV4mini (and DV4 device users) are raising cane over this all over the Ham Forums. It should be all over QRZ as many people who have bought these things. And where is Wireless Holdings in all this – off all people who should be screaming about this is them, but they are dead quite. Is there anyway that any brilliant person can come up with a solution?
      de W4LLZ

  1. Hi,
    As a BrandMeister user, Repeater Builder and DV4Mini user, I can sense your disappointment. It is very apparent that certain members of the amateur radio community have lost faith in such a device. What if they were to ban the Yaesu FT101E because it doesn’t have all the WARC bands?

    Properly tuned and administered there are no issues with my DV4Mini, as people appear genuinely surprised when I admit to using the device.

    From day 1 it has behaved as expected giving me 100% access to the necessary talk groups on BrandMeister via the extended talk groups management page on 4999.

    Only recently have I begun to notice that certain servers have become misconfigured with fixed talk groups on 4999, creating multiple path errors. The german server has many such talk groups on the 4999 connection page, and the French server has five.

    This has probably been caused by MMDVM Hotspot users needlessly tuning to 4999, and fixing their talkgroups with their individual BrandMeister API’s, which is very difficult to unpick.
    I have experimented with an MMDVM configuration in the same fashion with a personal BM-API, on shutting down the MMDVM, the talkgroups I had left fixed, remained present on my self care account when logging in with the DV4Mini . I could only remove these groups by restarting the MMDVM and removing the settings in the MMDVM Administration. I could not undo it in the DV4Mini configuration.

    Finally I would like to see 4999 remain even if the other reflectors are removed from the tables. There is sufficient routing with talk groups (extended or not) to expand the current use of the network. I don’t think we have broken the ice on the expansion yet. The majority of the UK repeaters are reflector based, which to me looks a bit like analogue thinking. In the construction of my BrandMeister repeaters I have felt it unnecessary to include reflector access, and I confirmed this by successfully connecting to and from the repeaters using the DV4Mini in the fashion I described.

    Your image is invaluable – My DV4Mini is permanently soldered inside a Pi3 Case with fan and Short antenna and runs 24/7, with the occasional reboot due to change of the Dynamic IP address here.

  2. I think you only exposed the iceberg above the waterline – I have firsthand knowledge that the folks over at the radioid.net affiliate of refusing to register DMR IDs under the guise of enforcing bogus “regulations”. I fear the consequences of their actions as those disenfranchised will get together and form their own “network” thus fragmenting and undoing all the hard work they have gone into consolidation.

    1. That’s already happened with the TGIF network. It is common knowledge, the USA Brandmeister Admins are ban-happy. There is evidence to support a lot of activities detrimental to amateur radio being conducted by USA admins. The banning of this hardware item only reinforces the point of those who are at odds with Brandmeister (or the USA component thereof)

      To the OP.: Just set up your master server.

      1. Radioid.net admins in USA/Canada see no issue with banning overseas jurisdictions from registration. Now they have apparently de-registered all repeater registrations in Taiwan. Feel free to search their repeater database for IDs with prefix 466 and let me know what you find.

        First politics, now foreign policy. So much for good will

  3. Well time to opensource brandmeister, if the current admins / devs, are not community-friendly, we should take the matter into our own hands.

    Could anyone publish .deb files or APT repositories configuration, needed for running BM master, so we could figure things out?


    1. I think a lot more could be done with HBlink systems to develop a central Hub server to connect the satellite HBlink systems worldwide and present to any one of those a better TG base, accessing the other HBlink systems connected, for it’s users, with dynamic TG activate or static support. Sure it may not be as sophisticated as BM, but it would be opensource , developed by hams for hams, and accessible via github for any ham developer to add features and improvements. It could only get better as time passes, with all hams able to add to it’s progress. i find the DMR audio quality better with HBlink, I don’t have to go on a waiting list to get anything done, and see the development progressing with the developer.

  4. Corey Dean N3FE volunteered when the Brandmeister programmers based in Europe needed hams to deploy their new DMR servers in the USA. The BM masters 3101, 3102, and 3103 were started by different people, but Corey managed to take control of all of them. He also has the benediction from Brandmeister Europe to do whatever he wants in the USA, and that’s why you will never get a response from them about the decisions he makes.

    As it is unfortunately common in the amateur radio world, Corey chose to manage his responsibility like a little dictator. He doesn’t consider the opinion of the users, and make by himself decisions that affect all of us and doesn’t accept any comments. And if you disagree with him, he’ll kick you out of the BM groups which he made sure to build on platforms where members can be kicked and banned (ie: Facebook, Telegram). You can observe his condescending tone and his disdain for DMR newbies in the BM support group.

    There is no doubt Brandmeister is technically the best amateur DMR network out there. It is however unfortunate that a person like Corey Dean is heading it for the USA. The Brandmeister top team never asked US hams whether we like what Corey is doing and how he manages the network for the USA. If only they let us elect a less narcissistic and more respectful ham radio operator to take over the management of BM USA, we’d be in a much better shape.

    1. Since my original post (now several years old), I’ve had the opportunity to work with N3FE on a couple of things. He’s helped me out, I’ve helped him out. So management style aside, it turns out he’s a decent guy and willing to help other hams.

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