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Digital Voice for Amateur Use Discuss use of digital voice technologies on the amateur radio bands. This is to include technologies such as VoIP, P25, DMR/TRBO, NXDN, D-STAR, etc.

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  #101 (permalink)  
Old 12-04-2009, 10:06 AM
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The article makes a lot of good points, for sure.

I am not a D-STAR fan (I'm one of the P25 fanboys) but there are a couple of technical errors that might make one re-think some of its conclusions.

As noted in a reply to the original post of this article on the internet, the AMBE protocol is not ICOM-specific, but patented by DVSI. Chips that decode this protocol are available for about $20. There has been some interesting experimentation with D-STAR, aside from the products produced by ICOM. There's the well-known DV-Dongle, and the work done by Satoshi. Very interesting stuff.

*I* see the main D-STAR problems as (1) Cost, (2) Complexity, (3) Critical Mass. (wow... three "Cs"... I wish I had planned that)

Until we see more ham radio manufacturers jump on the D-STAR band wagon, and D-STAR becomes essentially a "no extra cost" option on radios, folks in the ham radio community are going to be resistant. You've got an HT now. It works with all the repeaters in your area, except that one D-STAR repeater. What's going to make you change? If you DO decide to treat yourself to a nice new radio, why would you spend an extra $75 or more to access that one D-STAR repeater? Until more manufacturers jump on the D-STAR bandwagon, and provide D-STAR at little or not additional cost, most folks just aren't going to bite.

The complexity issue mentioned in the article is also significant. Heck, I've heard of hams that find PLs too complicated to use (and, given the annoying PL setting procedures and options on some radios, there's no wonder. But I digress). There really needs to be a revision to D-STAR to address the "easy of use" issues. I don't know, maybe the Japanese ham radio community (the inventors of D-STAR) likes to configure intricate settings and count spaces. But for most hams in the States, that's just not going to fly. The protocol needs to be rev'ed to be waaaaay smarter. It's not impossible, it just needs to be done.

Finally, there's the issue of critical mass. There won't be radio buyers until there are repeaters. There won't be repeaters until there are radio buyers. This is typical of any new technology... it'll just take time.

But until the first two issues are addressed, I can't imagine we'll see critical mass of D-STAR gear any time soon.

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  #102 (permalink)  
Old 12-04-2009, 1:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyandotte View Post
b. And why do the same people look down on the "stripped down" D-Star radios like my V-8200. "It's just not full featured. Use it as a doorstop and go spend top bucks on the latest and greatest".

Every year, I go the Fort Wayne Indiana Hamfest. And I drop in on the Digital Forum, And the above is always a prevelant attitude at that forum, like if you don't have deep pockets, stay on the porch, don't get into this.
I couldn't agree more. I have attended several symposiums on digital topics since the mid 90's, ranging from 9600 baud packet through the APRS craze and now the D-Star era...and most anyone who was there seemed to think the equipment had to be the newest "best in the west" top-of-the-line stuff.

Granted, I know what PL is and don't own a thumbwheel Icom HT but sometimes it seems to me that the digital guys think everything needs to go "all the way, all the time". The D-Star crowd seems to be the same around here, pushing for 1.2GHz data repeaters, voice D-Star machines online and linkable to the world and running the absolute latest and greatest Icom products.

It seems to me that some of these guys fail to understand that not everyone needs to go "all the way" with their equipment and maybe some of us like basic "low tier" equipment. I own equipment from basic to 2nd-mortgage inducing, but until someone demonstrates a need to me for a $900+ VHF/UHF radio used in a HOBBY I'll be sticking to my basic-tier stuff for hammy use. I can see spending the money for the IC-92AD, as it seems to be a jack-of-all-trades portable, but the top end D-Star radios are crazy.
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  #103 (permalink)  
Old 12-04-2009, 5:24 PM
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Originally Posted by stateboy View Post
I can see spending the money for the IC-92AD, as it seems to be a jack-of-all-trades portable...
The new IC80AD is a bit less expensive. I found one dealer listing it for $425.
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  #104 (permalink)  
Old 12-04-2009, 5:35 PM
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Originally Posted by PeterGV View Post
Until more manufacturers jump on the D-STAR bandwagon, and provide D-STAR at little or not additional cost, most folks just aren't going to bite.
Why should D-STAR be made available at no additional cost?

APRS is a hugely popular mode for a lot of hams. Yet, radios with built-in APRS features can only be had at an additional cost over similar radios without APRS.

Here are a few examples:
  • Kenwood TM-D710 2m/440MHz mobile with APRS: $520. Kenwood TM-V71 2m/440MHz mobile without APRS (same chassis as the D710): $350.
  • Yaesu VX-8R 2m/440MHz handheld with APRS: $380. Yaesu VX-7R 2m/440MHz handheld without APRS: $290.

The additional cost for APRS does not seem to be slowing down sales for these APRS-capable radios. Clearly, hams will pay a premium for the ability to communicate using a very specific mode that is a bit outside the mainstream of amateur radio. If that's the case, then I'm not sure that cost is what's holding back acceptance of D-STAR. And I certainly would not expect amateur radio manufacturers to include a non-mainstream communications mode in their radios at no additional cost.
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  #105 (permalink)  
Old 02-22-2010, 2:19 PM
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Default D-star questions

Are their any Motorola style radios that will operate on D- star?
Or is their any way to convert an existing Mot anolog radio to digital and reveive D-star?
Are their any new scanners that will receive D-star yet?
D- star radios are to expensive so I am trying to find a way to monitor d-star with my current radios or scanners
I dont know much about apco 25 but I beleive that d-star is not apco 25
It is a digital voice mode and cant be decoded with a standard anolog scanner but you can get a signal report with a ham radio , only receive dig noise - data , no audio

I was considering a motorola type radio for ham radio but needed one to monitor d-star with
I am assuming that it would need to be a digital radio but I've only seen Apco 25 dig radios for sale
and not sure if they will work on d-star
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  #106 (permalink)  
Old 02-22-2010, 2:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAJONES View Post
Are their any Motorola style radios that will operate on D- star?
Or is their any way to convert an existing Mot anolog radio to digital and reveive D-star?
Are their any new scanners that will receive D-star yet?
D- star radios are to expensive so I am trying to find a way to monitor d-star with my current radios or scanners
I dont know much about apco 25 but I beleive that d-star is not apco 25
It is a digital voice mode and cant be decoded with a standard anolog scanner but you can get a signal report with a ham radio , only receive dig noise - data , no audio

I was considering a motorola type radio for ham radio but needed one to monitor d-star with
I am assuming that it would need to be a digital radio but I've only seen Apco 25 dig radios for sale
and not sure if they will work on d-star
No. Icom is currently the only manufacturer of D-STAR radios (though any company can jump in at anytime). D-STAR uses the AMBE vocoder, while P-25 uses the IMBE vocoder. They are not compatible. No scanners can currently decode D-STAR... if you want to decode D-STAR you'll have to buy a D-STAR radio.
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  #107 (permalink)  
Old 02-22-2010, 2:49 PM
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Thanks
I figured as much
I will have to save a lot of aluminum cans to get a d-star radio
But I would like to have a scanner to hear d-star on , I dont need to talk only listen even though I am licensed ham , I cant afford to buy a d-star just for listening - too expensive
I thought that there was a difference between apco 25 and what d-star operated on
just wasnt sure what thae difference was

In my opinion D-star radios go against all the new rules that radios mut be interoperable , Mot radios and d-star radios are not capatable with each other and anolog and dig radios are not either
D-star radios are not ham radio friendly unlesss you want to spend a small fortune or take a mortage out on your home or pawn your car title to buy one
What if want a radio in your car , ham shack and an Ht , then I hope you have plenty of money to spend
I cant afford to change all my anolog equipment over to digital just to hear someone talking
A lot of areas are changing over to d-star and are considering moving ham radio emergency communications over to d-star
I hope that doesnt happen because if will leave a lot of good hams out in the dark that could provide very good emergency communications with their existing analog equipment
I am not against dig communications or d-star but their just needs to be a way to let amateurs that only have analog radios communicate with d- star users without having to buy all new equipment



Thanks

Last edited by CAJONES; 02-22-2010 at 2:52 PM.. Reason: Update
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  #108 (permalink)  
Old 02-22-2010, 3:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAJONES View Post
Thanks
I figured as much
I will have to save a lot of aluminum cans to get a d-star radio
But I would like to have a scanner to hear d-star on , I dont need to talk only listen even though I am licensed ham , I cant afford to buy a d-star just for listening - too expensive
I thought that there was a difference between apco 25 and what d-star operated on
just wasnt sure what thae difference was

In my opinion D-star radios go against all the new rules that radios mut be interoperable , Mot radios and d-star radios are not capatable with each other and anolog and dig radios are not either
D-star radios are not ham radio friendly unlesss you want to spend a small fortune or take a mortage out on your home or pawn your car title to buy one
What if want a radio in your car , ham shack and an Ht , then I hope you have plenty of money to spend
I cant afford to change all my anolog equipment over to digital jut to hear someone talking
A lot of areas are changing over to d-star and are considering moving ham radio emergency communications over to d-star
I hope that doesnt happen because if will leave a lot of good hams out in the dark that could provide very good emergency communications with their existing analog equipment
I am not against dig communications or d-star but their just needs to be a way to let amateurs that only have analog radios communicate with d- star users without having to buy all new equipment



Thanks
There's no rule about interoperability on the ham bands. You might have mistaken ham radio with public safety.

D-STAR is really no more "ham radio friendly" than packet, SSB, ATV, PSK, CW or whatever. It's just a mode. Different modes are not supposed to "be compatible" with each other.

Analog isn't going away. D-STAR is just a new technology. Amateur emcomm will not be "switching" to D-STAR -- they may use it here and there for data or other specialized uses -- but they will still be using analog.

While "affordable" is a relative term, D-STAR radios are becoming more affordable. Since D-STAR has been around for a little while, we're seeing more and more used equipment being sold online at decent prices. I have seen dual-band ID-800H's being sold for $275-350. You could find a new dual-band analog radio that doesn't do D-STAR for the same price. In fact, I do have a D-STAR radio in my car, and at home, and also a D-STAR handheld. WIth any hobby, it all depends on how much you want to immerse yourself. I chose to immerse myself in D-STAR when I got my ham ticket. The equipment was purchased over a span of a few years, some of it is used, and the rest of it was purchased with either a discount or a rebate.

It's the same thing as buying an APCO P-25 scanner -- it's going to cost you more money if you want digital. That's just the nature of the beast. Compare this -- a new Uniden BCD996XT at Scanner Master is $495. A dual-band Icom ID-880H at Gigaparts is $479.

Once more manufacturers begin producing D-STAR radios, the market will become more competitive and I would expect that we see prices fall tremendously.

The D-STAR gateway system was not designed to be used with analog radios. To me, allowing analog radios on the D-STAR system really defeats the purpose. One of the advantages of digital voice is improved audio fidelity. With D-STAR, there is no static, no squelch tails, VERY rarely any overdeviation and the like. It can be done, I have seen it done, but it's not recommended.
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  #109 (permalink)  
Old 02-22-2010, 3:21 PM
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Thanks for your response on d-star
I just need to find a cheap way to monitor d-star with a scanner or a cheap Dual band HT before I buy all new equipment just to monitor
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Old 03-04-2010, 2:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAJONES View Post
Thanks for your response on d-star
I just need to find a cheap way to monitor d-star with a scanner or a cheap Dual band HT before I buy all new equipment just to monitor
Just get a DVdongle. It's the cheapest way to monitor and use dstar without having to buy a radio. New they are $200; which isn't bad. A lot of people are using the dongle. The have a site at dvdongle dot com.
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  #111 (permalink)  
Old 03-08-2010, 9:17 AM
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Thanks
Now I just need a good PC & internet
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Old 04-04-2010, 8:49 AM
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The above replies are spot-on. D-STAR is not that expensive. And IT REALLY WORKS WELL all over the world. Those who are holding out for whatever reason are missing the party. Those who are in it know what I am talking about. The "end to end" sound quality....anywhere in the world it is linked to (if you choose to link) is outstanding. Once you get the hang of the UR call field, doing advanced routing is a breeze. It is not so hard. Use free software to program, load your UR call memory section with your favorite links and call signs, and you are good to go worldwide. (use the D-STAR Calculator to understand the formatting...easy). The bottom line is that D-STAR has taken off and is growing at a very fast pace. Once the "nay-sayers" experience it, they dive in and have a blast.

The DV Dongle is a good way to catch the action. What you will hear there is the same exact thing you will hear on a radio. Same vocoder and audio. The only thing you will not hear is simplex coms. You need a radio for that. The ID-880 H is a superb dual-band radio at a fair price. Used IC-91 AD handheld radios are a real bargain...and great radios as well. Go for the base/mobile if you want to do more than listen. The extra power will serve you well. Avoid the IC-2200 H. It is missing features that are useful on D-STAR (or they are too hard to use). Don't miss out on the fun. It is a blast and it really works well.

Florida has just seen a growth spurt on the East Coast with many new machines coming on-line. I have been driving all over the state and enjoying instant coms with my worldwide friends. There are only a few pockets of "resistance" that are D-STAR dead. Most areas have realized how good this innovation is and have embraced it. Many have received government grants and are using this advanced technology for emergency coms. Here is what FL now has:

K1XC Orlando FL 146.82000MHz -0.600 443.27500MHz +5.000 1285.00000MHz -12.000 1255.00000MHz
KI4VKC Panama FL 145.61000MHz -1.300 444.52500MHz +5.000
KJ4ACN Lakeland FL 146.65500MHz -0.600 444.77500MHz +5.000 1293.55000MHz -20.000 1253.45000MHz
KJ4ARB Tampa FL 147.01000MHz +0.600 444.67500MHz +5.000 1293.00000MHz -20.000 1253.00000MHz
K4WAK Tallahassee FL 146.83500MHz -0.600 443.45000MHz +5.000 1293.00000MHz -20.000 1253.00000MHz
W4BUG Ft Lauderdale FL 145.34000MHz -0.600 442.20000MHz +5.000 1291.60000MHz -20.000
KG4NBB Naples FL 145.49000MHz -0.600 441.50000MHz +5.000
KJ4BYI Port Richey FL 442.76250MHz +5.000
K4FWB Crestview FL 145.13000MHz -0.600 444.60000MHz +5.000
NI4CE Riverview FL 444.42500MHz +5.000
W4AES Orlando FL 443.62500MHz +5.000
N4CLL Plant City FL 147.20000MHz +0.600 442.02500MHz +5.000 1292.10000MHz -12.000 1251.40000MHz
W4RNT Tampa FL 444.81250MHz +5.000
KJ4MMC Orlando FL 145.29000MHz -0.600
KI4WZA Milton Fl 147.33000MHz +0.600 444.92500MHz +5.000
KJ4OVA Orlando FL 443.13750MHz +5.000 1291.30000MHz -20.000 1251.30000MHz
KA4RES Palm Coast FL 147.32000MHz +0.600
KJ4RYF St.Johns/Duval/Flagler #1 FL 145.34000MHz -0.600
KJ4RYG St.Johns/Duval/Flagler #2 FL 145.36000MHz -0.600
KJ4RYH Daytona Beach FL 146.98500MHz -0.600
WB6RTI Mobile EMCOMM-1 FL 147.32000MHz +0.600
KJ4OXT COCOA FL 147.03000MHz +0.600
NI4M Valrico Florida 145.19000MHz -0.600 443.00000MHz +5.000
NI4M Tampa Florida 146.94000MHz -0.600
W4PLB Sanford Florida 145.15000MHz -0.600 442.30000MHz +5.000

The list is growing fast...and not just in Florida. Other states have realized the potential as well. Only those who resist are loosing out on the party. "Resistance is futile"!
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  #113 (permalink)  
Old 04-17-2010, 11:35 PM
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ICOM makes a scanning receiver which will use the UT118 board and decode D-STAR.
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:54 AM
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US Patent application for DSTAR by Icom dated March 4th, 2010....IMO it is no longer shared and open and I highly doubt you will ever see anyone else (Kenwood, Yaesu, or Alinco) create any repeaters or controllers unless they agree to ICOM's terms and conditions, even if they call it something else once the patent is granted. ICOM already has the DSTAR system patented in Japan as shown below.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DATA COMMUNICATION CONTROL APPARATUS ... - Google Patent Search


Couple of important notes in the document...


DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT [0033] The text to follow explains the data communication control apparatus, the data communication system, the data communication method, and the computer-readable storage medium recording a data communication program according to an embodiment of the present invention. [0034] FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating the D-STAR (Digital Smart Technologies for Amateur Radio) system, to which the data communication control apparatus according to the embodiment of the present invention is applied (D-STAR is a registered trademark of the Japan Amateur Radio League, Inc. in Japan).

and...

RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application is based on Japanese Patent Application No. 2008-225176 filed on Sep. 2, 2008 and including specification, claims, drawings and summary. The disclosure of the above Japanese Patent Application is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I could not find a mention of DVSI or AMBE vo-coder anywhere in the patent or anything on the actual radio design as of yet, so this is strictly for the infrastructure/repeater design as a whole. It is not for the end-users radios that curently uses a vocoder technology patented by DVSI.


Mark KS4VT
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  #115 (permalink)  
Old 06-04-2010, 12:35 AM
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So what? Everything that is manufactured today is patented. I looked at a BASKETBALL today. Guess what? It was patented. Does this mean that nobody else can make a basketball because that one is patented?

Every other radio is patented. Does this mean that FM modulation is patented? Does this mean nobody else can manufacture FM radios? Look, here's a Yaesu patent on one of their radios: Full-spectrum all-mode radio ... - Google Patent Search

Repeaters can be patented as well. Does this mean no one else can create repeater equipment?

D-STAR is an open standard -- get over it. Anyone can build a D-STAR system. Look at the Satoshi hotspot project. Or the DV Dongle. Or the DVAP. The list is growing. Don't break your back trying to go out of your way to bash D-STAR and claim it's a closed, proprietary system.
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Old 06-04-2010, 3:22 PM
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Say what you want...I think ICOM is looking to close the door for other manufacturers to make D* capable infrastructure components. Yes it is just an application at this point, but they are extremely detailed in the call processing and signal paths if you took the time to read as much of it that as I did.

I never once said it was closed and proprietary and I even noted that the radios aren't included in the application and at this point anyone can create the mobile and handheld radios utilizing the patented DVSI AMBE vocoder.

I'm just stating the facts that I have found...interpret them how you wish and it also depends on how much ICOM wishes to protect the patent should they receive it.
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Old 06-17-2010, 9:07 AM
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Has anyone tried using a non DSTAR radio on DSTAR by using the software called D-Star Client
along with two sound cards one of them feeding the 6 PIN mini DIN on the rear of the radio.
I have made a DSTAR simplex contact using my IC-706MKIIG. It's not working well enough
to try it on the repeaters. However I have seen a video of it working on repeaters.

Ken
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Old 06-20-2010, 11:03 AM
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I am considering investing into DSTAR radio equipment, however I want to monitor the local DSTAR repeater first, how can I do this, or can I use my scanner?

Thank You
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  #119 (permalink)  
Old 06-20-2010, 11:31 AM
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You'll need a DStar radio in order to monitor your local DStar repeater over the air.
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Old 06-20-2010, 1:03 PM
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Unless the repeater offers their audio on the web then you choices at to buy a DV Dongle which
is the cheapest way to talk to people on DSTAR. You would hear your local repeater if he
is also on the network using the DV Dongle connected to you PC.

Ken
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