Recommendation for DMR Nets: Get a Hotspot
Ted (N6RPG) and I have no issues getting into Talk group 311057 during nets. We hear and see everything. We're able to do this because we are not dependent upon repeaters to get into the group. Rather, we're both using hot spots which get us there directly.
There are many "hot spots" on the market. I have three of them: a Pi-Star, a Zumspot and a DVMEGA USB stick.
I built the Pi-Star using a Zumspot USB Stick, which incidentally works similarly to a DVMEGA USB Stick. A Raspberry PI 2 or newer works fine. The Zumspot is available at HRO: https://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-016662.
I use my DVMEGA USB Stick when I just want to get on the nets with a computer - no radio needed:
Lastly, the "Zumspot", not to be confused with the Zumspot USB stick, is a fully-built solution based on a Raspberry PI-Zero. That's more for the DIY guys who want to customize their case and all: https://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-016490
The OpenSpot3 is a great option (and the most expensive). I've never tried it, but I've heard good things about it:
If I had to do everything over again though, I would get a ClearNode. Why? Because it not only does everything that all of the above can do, but it can also do Allstar. I really don't need the "onboard" battery of the OpenSpot3 and I like the fact that the ClearNode uses a familiar platform.
But what about emergencies? Is DMR going to work?
I have an opinion about this. YES, DMR will work on a regional basis (that is, everyone using the same DMR repeater) but I don't think it's going to work for a wide-scale, multi-county disaster with interlinked repeaters. DMR is an excellent choice for event-based radios (i.e. everybody on simplex in a small area -approx 5-10 miles radius). In areas where some people are on one side of a hill and others on the other. the D578 which is already in the trailer can be used as a DMR repeater. Or it can be linked up to an Analog repeater. Either way, DMR radio signals go further with less power. When it's working, I'm able to hit the Santiago Repeater with 1/2 a watt on DMR indoors with a standard whip. I can't do that with Analog! Would it be good for a high traffic net? I think maybe not. So yes, DMR has its place.
If anyone needs help building or configuring a Hot Spot, I can assist.
P.S. There are also "duplex" hot spot. The main advantage of those is that you can key up even while a conversation is going on. This is useful if you're stuck in one talk group by traffic and trying to disconnect or switch to another.