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Old 01-30-2013, 7:46 PM
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Question Digital modes and converted equipment

As of late digital voice modes have caught my intrest and I was wanting to experiment with some digital stuff. D-star is a promising piece of tech and I like what it offers, but with ICOM keeping it propritary and the expense I thought I might look at a few other things as well. P25 is appealing as well and the 1st generation of stuff is begining to find it's way to market at decent prices. DMR looks like it would be entertaining as well but cosidering that the commerical gear available for this at present being just as costly as D-star I'm really on the fence with that.

In terms of what is around me locally the repeaters are still largely analog. So much so that I only have one D-star and one DMR repeater local to me. Thus those two technolgies have the most appeal to me.

With all that being said what are the communities thoughts on these technolgies and there implimentation in amateur radio. Also in terms of gear is there a good source of information of commerical radio mods?
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:51 AM
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Some people do frown on modding a commercial radio for whatever reason. Like I tell other people who are wanting to get in to digital for ham radio use it all depends on the person and what their needs are, I've tried almost all of the digital modes for instance NXDN, D-STAR & MotoTRBO ''DMR'' haven't tried P25 as of yet. I am debating on getting back in to D-STAR since MotoTRBO is quiet in my area but their are 2 repeaters for DMR around the area. D-STAR is all over my area same with NXDN/IDAS. I currently own a Motorola XPR 5550 & 6550 440mhz radio for analog/digital DMR use but I do check in to the nightly nets on the local analog repeater.
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Old 01-31-2013, 7:42 AM
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D-star is a published mode created by JARL, Icom happens to be the only manufacturer that has chosen to produce equipment for it. It is not Icom proprietary technology
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Old 01-31-2013, 8:08 AM
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As well, as long as the commercial kit covers the ham band, there is little 'mods' that need to be done. Although if you are using current CPS, you will need a key to be able to program wideband channels.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:15 AM
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No digital technology will be of any use to you if nobody else around you is using it. The most important selection factor is whether or not you can talk to other hams with it wherever you are.
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Old 02-02-2013, 1:19 PM
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^|^|^ there it is in a 'nut shell'. Around here it would be a complete waste of time.
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Old 02-04-2013, 2:06 AM
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what he said.
Infrastructure is what matters. If you go out and blow four figures on a whiz-bang radio and no one is on the other end, than you have a nice, shiny bookend.

Look into what digital repeaters are up in your area. If there is none, is anyone else interested in investing in digital? All the formats have their pluses and minuses. All of them are EXPENSIVE infrastructure wise- all of them will require a broadband internet connection at the repeater site if you plan on adding them to any network. Like any repeater, a good site is critical. This is the most expensive part.

In my area, D-star is the dominant digital choice for ham radio, with DMR and Nexedge/iDAS in a few spots, P25 is the least used with but a single ham band repeater on the outskirts of town, and a couple others throughout the state. I have D-star, TRBO/DMR and P25.

If you do have digital of one kind or another, I suggest getting with someone who owns a radio of the format in question and see if you can borrow it for a day or so, if they aren't willing to loan out their $600 dollar radio to a stranger, don't be offended, but ask them to come to your QTH and see how well the repeaters in your area work. Not much point to buying an expensive radio if there isn't a repeater you can hit with it from where you are.
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