NXDN

I chose to setup a page for NXDN as it has picked up popularity in the amateur radio community in south and west central Florida. A number of radio amateurs, many involved with emergency communications, have found this mode to be very resilient. In fact, check out pages 67 & 68 of the February 2023 QST magazine, and you’ll find an article titled “Notes from a Catastrophe: Hurricane Ian.” During this emergency, “NXDN radios provided clear, dependable communications.”

However, If you go to Repeaterbook.com and do a quick search in any state, and then select NXDN, you’re likely not to find a very long list of repeaters for this mode. This is unfortunate, since NXDN is a great digital mode with better voice quality than DMR and some of the other digital modes available to amateur radio operators today.

Luckily, we have a very extensive network of linked NXDN repeaters in south and west central Florida operated by the West Central Florida Repeater Group.

First of all, What is NXDN?

NXDN was created by Icom and Kenwood in 2005 and is the only true 6.25KHz radio protocol.

NXDN is a Common Air Interface (CAI), a technical protocol that defines a digital voice and data radio system. This technical specification is managed by the NXDN Forum.

NXDN utilizes FDMA (Frequency Division Multiple Access) modulation, whereas the DMR system uses TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access).

NXDN can use 6.25KHz & 12.5KHz channel bandwidth, as opposed to the commonly used wide bandwidth of FM transmissions of 25KHz.

It can perform digital speeds of 4800 baud at 6.25KHz and 9600 baud at 12.5KHz bandwidths.

NXDN is easy to network and provides superior weak signal operations.

If you would like even more technical specs and a breakdown of what NXDN can do, I suggest you checkout the presentation made by Paul Toth, NB9X, at the ARRL West Central Florida 2023 Techcon by clicking here. He also did a local visit to the Lake Wales QRP and Tailgate Tech event at Mary Holland Park in March 2025. Click here to hear Paul describe NXDN to local hams there.

Ok, enough of the technical side… on to getting started in NXDN.

Getting Started

Getting started in NXDN is not as easy as DMR, not from a technical standpoint, in fact, NXDN is easy to setup and use as opposed to the learning curve people experience when getting involved in DMR.

What makes getting started in NXDN more difficult, is that you can’t walk into a Ham Radio Outlet or get on to the Main Trading Company Web site and order up an NXDN radio. If you go to the Icom Web site, and then click on Amateur, you won’t find the listings there. This is because, like some other modes like P25, NXDN is marketed in the Land Mobile Radio category. On the Icom Web site you will find their NXDN radios marketed under their iDAS digital land mobile radios.

With that in mind, NXDN radios aren’t as cheap as the plethora of DMR radios like TYT and others that have flooded the amateur radio market in that category. However, like some of the legacy amateur radio lines, you’ll find NXDN radios at comparable prices to the better quality amateur radios on the market.

Some of the current popular radios at the time of this writing have been the Icom IC-F6130D, IC-F6121, IC-F6220, and the IC-F6140D for mobile rigs.

Whether you buy your radio new from a commercial dealer, local radio amateur, or on eBay or QRZ, you’ll need to get an NXDN ID, just as you did if you have operated on DMR amateur radio. In fact, the Web site, radioid.net, the site you obtained your DMR ID, is the same place to request an NXDN ID.

Once you have your NXDN ID and radio, you’re ready to go. A simple little bit of programming of the radio with frequencies and RAN codes (similar to using a PL tone in the analog world), you’ll be on the air in no time. No worrying about the cumbersome codeplugs with timeslots, color codes, and the hundreds of talkgroups used in DMR. Yes, there are talkgroups, but in many cases, very few utilized.

Is NXDN in your area?

Like other digital modes such as Yaesu System Fusion (C4FM), M17, P25, DMR, D-Star, etc., it may not be very useful if there are no other NXDN repeaters or operators in your area using this mode.

However, in my area, we have a number of radio amateurs using this mode and it’s another tool for the emergency communications toolbox.

South/West Central Florida NXDN

So, for those of you who know me, or are in the south/west central Florida area, here is some info on the NI4CE NXDN linked repeater system

First, the coverage map:

You can use any of the above repeaters on a local only bases, and not be heard by the other repeaters on the network, by using Talkgroup 1. That will allow you to chat with others locally and not tie up the rest of the system. Other than that, the Talkgroup 1200 (Florida), is the one utilized on the system the majority of the time, allowing you to be heard on all of the linked repeaters.

WIDE AREA TAKGROUPS

1200    FLORIDA This Talkgroup is designed to work on all Florida-based NXDN Repeaters in the West Central Florida section.

1201    WCF SEC This Talkgroup will work on all NXDN Repeaters in the West Central Florida Section.

1202    NFL SEC This Talkgroup will provide Wide Area connectivity on NXDN Repeaters in the North Florida Section. 

1203    SFL SEC This Talkgroup will provide Wide Area connectivity on NXDN Repeaters in the South.

1299    SKYWARN1        This Talkgroups can be used on all repeaters in the NWS-Ruskin County Warning.

TACTICAL TALKGROUPS

1230    WCF-1           A Tactical Talkgroup that includes the Charlotte North and Charlotte South repeaters.

1231    WCF-2           A Tactical Talkgroup that includes the Verna, Bartow and Lake Placid repeaters.

1232    WCF-3           A Tactical Talkgroup that includes the Seminole and Pasco repeaters.

1233    WCF-4           A Tactical Talkgroup that includes the Seminole and Boyette repeaters.

** Repeaters included in each of these Talkgroups subject to change based on needs.

LOCAL TALKGROUPS

1       LOCAL   At the moment, TG-1 can be used on a single repeater when ALL operators are on the same repeater. It will not echo to any other repeaters than the one being utilized.

It is recommended you  ANNOUNCE the Talkgroup you are transmitting on when logging into a repeater.  Other operators monitoring the network will know how to contact you.  Since many NXDN radios are programmed to receive multiple Talkgroups, knowing which Talkgroup to TRANSMIT on is important.

For more information on the NXDN repeaters, and additional talkgroups that could be utilized, click here.

Stand Alone NXDN Repeaters in the South/West Central Florida area

Along with the great network in place by the West Central Florida Group, there are some non-linked NXDN repeaters in our area.

Here is a listing of non-linked NXDN repeaters in our area:

W4CLL (located in Lakeland Highlands) – 442.025/+
This repeater uses a RAN code of 45. Use talkgroup 1 local, although the important part here is the RAN code of 45.

Brandon, FL NXN Repeater (Brandon, FL) – 444.325/+
A good coverage repeater used by many of the folks in the Brandon Amateur Radio Society. They use a RAN code of 2. Use talkgroup 1 local, although the important part here is the RAN code of 2.

W4CLL (located in Plant City) – 443.775/+
This repeater uses a RAN code of 1. Use local talkgroup 1.

Orlando (located in Orlando, FL) – 442.0375/+

This repeater uses a RAN code of 1. Use local talkgroup 1.

A Final Note about NXDN

I hope Paul doesn’t mind, but I thought I’d share some of the comments he made on the ni4ce.org Web site titled “Some New Connections,” posted on April 28, 2023. Here they are:

I am often asked, “Why NXDN? Why not DMR or Fusion or P25?” What are the real benefits for Ham Radio with this mode? Most importantly, why should I invest my money to buy yet another radio?” These are all great questions. Here is my response.

NXDN is the most spectrally efficient of the digital modes being used in the VHF and UHF bands. Its’ 6.25 KHz bandwidth packs a HUGE punch with voice clarity that I find superior to other modes. Despite its narrow bandwidth, NXDN outperforms the other modes found on the Amateur Radio bands, all of which require double or up to four times the bandwidth. Unlike Analog signals which are difficult if not impossible to read at signal strengths below -105 dBm. NXDN provides clear, precision audio that is tuned to the human ear at signal strengths down to -116 dBm. This is particularly important for operations requiring the use of a portable radio. And this ability to decode weak RF signals extends the effective range of NXDN radios on repeaters and in simplex mode.

OK. But if NXDN is such a big deal, why can’t I find any NXDN radios on my favorite Ham Radio dealer’s website? NXDN was created in 2005 by two companies very familiar to Hams: ICOM and Kenwood. Why these two prominent radio manufacturers have chosen not to market these radios to Radio Amateurs may have something to do with each company’s focus on the Land Mobile Radio market. ICOM also has another digital mode it created for Hams: D-Star. Whatever the reason(s), you won’t find NXDN radios or repeaters on the shelves at your favorite Ham Radio retailer. But NXDN and Ham Radio were made for each other. And you will find NXDN radios are readily available through both ICOM and Kenwood Land Mobile Radio dealers.

NXDN is more than just a crystal-clear voice. It also supports Short Digital Messaging, a Digital Paging function called CALL ALERT, Over-The-Air Alias which allows you to automatically transmit your FCC Callsign with every touch of the PTT button. Some models also have built-in GPS and Bluetooth. NXDN is a worldwide product with Hams in Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America using NXDN radios. NXDN is real Ham Radio!

A word or two about Hotspots. These Voice-over-IP computers have become a way for Hams to explore NXDN in places where an NXDN repeater or repeater network has yet to be built. Not all Hotspots are created equally causing voice quality degradation. Mobile Hotspots require some type of mobile Internet service to make a connection. NXDN is a radio mode that is LIVE and LOCAL just like most analog Ham Radio, And in West Central Florida, the NI4CE NXDN Radio Network is real NXDN you can take everywhere you go.

To learn more about the NI4CE NXDN Network, go to the NXDN section of our website. When you take the plunge and get your own NXDN portable or mobile radio, come join us on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 for the Florida NXDN Net.