BridgeCom Systems SkyBridge Hotspot Review


Are you a ham radio operator interested in DMR? Getting started can be intimidating, but not with the SkyBridge Hotspot DMR Plug N’ Play package from BridgeCom Systems.

BridgeCom’s SkyBridge dual band hotspot is the latest hotspot on the market for amateur radio operators. What makes it such a compelling buy is the ease at which you can get on the air. BridgeCom will take care of programming the radio and the hotspot before it ships. Once it arrives, simply plug in the hotspot, turn on the radio and you’re on the air rag chewing.

BridgeCom SkyBridge Hotspot features

The SkyBridges uses a Pi-Zero board with a custom MMDVM hat putting out 10mW of output power. More than enough power to blanket your entire house and property (unless you live on acres of property) with seamless digital coverage.

  • Wired and wireless Internet capability
  • High-performance 32-bit ARM processor
  • SkyBridge Board Fully Assembled And Tested
  • Pi-Star Operating System
  • Compatible with DMR, D-Star, Yaesu System Fuzion (YSF),  NXDN, P25 and POCSAG radios
  • Supports the following Cross-Mode Capabilities: DMR to NXDN, DMR to YSF, YSF to DMR and YSF to NXDN
  • Supports operation in both 2m (144Mhz) and 70cm (440Mhz) bands
  • Onboard LEDs to show status (Tx, Rx, PTT, Mode)
  • Up to 10mW RF power
  • SMA antenna connector, dual-band VHF/UHF antenna included
  • MMDVM open-source firmware is pre-loaded and is easily upgraded via software
  • Built-in 1.3″ OLED display
  • Connection for Nextion LCD display
  • 1 Year Warranty
  • FCC Part 15 Certified

The most important thing you get, in my opinion, is fantastic support form BridgeCom. You’re paying for the piece of mind you’ll have someone to call if you have troubles, or something malfunctions. You will also get access to BridgeCom University, and online portal that provides a long list of videos that will help you learn everything you need to know about DMR.

How far does the BridgeCom SkyBridge reach?

Many hams wonder just how far a little 10mW transmitter will work. The answer is— surprisingly far. I set my SkyBridge near the window in my basement and was able to walk about 600 feet in my suburban neighborhood before losing the signal from my hotspot. Don’t worry about having coverage around your home or property. This hotspot has you covered! I tested the coverage from my PiSpot with a high gain antenna at 40 feet HAAT, it’s worth checking out.

Is the SkyBridge hotspot reliable?

I was able to use the SkyBridge for a week and I found it to be incredibly reliable. It handled my day-to-day just as well as my PiSpot hotspot running a Raspberry PiB3 board and a DVMega hat. In fact, it ran cooler in temperature than my custom built PiB3.

Can I talk to friends who use D-Star or YSF?

Yes! The hotspot supports cross-mode capability thanks to the Pi-Star firmware. You can use your DMR radio to talk to your ham radio friends who may be using D-Star, YSF, P25 or NXDN. This is huge. It sucks we have a fragmented digital protocol system. With this hotspot that becomes less of an issue.

Is the SkyBridge hotspot worth the money?

If you’re a ham looking to make the jump into DMR, I think it’s absolutely worth it. The real value of the SkyBridge Plug N’ Play package is the ease of getting on the air. BridgeCom makes it incredibly easy. Pair that with access to BridgeCom University you can watch hours and hours worth of tutorials on DMR — that’s a lot of value in a single package.

You can buy the BridgeCom SkyBridge hotspot here, or get their SkyBridge Plug N’ Play package here.

Take a look at what you get in this YouTube video