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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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  #61 (permalink)  
Old 01-21-2014, 5:53 AM
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Default Re: Which digi mode will win out in the end????

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Originally Posted by Denverpilot View Post
Ironically the lingua franca between them all is still analog. To "patch" digitally requires the CODEC be openly designed, and none are.
Actually, I believe all of the "analog" Radio over IP codecs are, at least the commonly used ones. AMBE isn't, but there is a receive only implementation available, and the patents on the version used in D-Star are coming up on their expiration dates within the next few years.

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Twiddling the bits is easy if the standard is open. Easy enough that there's no money in it. And infrastructure building, is all about money.
I call BS, as I know this isn't the case; it SOUNDS easy, but until you actually look at the standards you don't know if they will be easy to implement or not.

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Old 01-21-2014, 9:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Denverpilot View Post
Ironically the lingua franca between them all is still analog. To "patch" digitally requires the CODEC be openly designed, and none are.

Twiddling the bits is easy if the standard is open. Easy enough that there's no money in it. And infrastructure building, is all about money.
This is true. But there are still advantages. Even you find the resultant audio objectionable, you don't have to use it 100% of the time.
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Old 02-05-2014, 5:05 PM
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I'm not active on DMR (yet) but believe this is one of the big advantages of DMR and especially DMR-MARC. If we get a DMR-MARC repeater in the Austin, TX area I'll definitely pick up a MOTOTRBO mobile. Will you guys have a booth again this year at Dayton? The folks there last year were great and helped me get a much better understanding of the network.
Yes, it appears we'll be in the same place, very close to ARRL. Visit DMR-MARC Network to learn more about our network and DMR. Be sure to visit the links on the About Us page. The link to get there is at the top of the main page. The Networked Repeaters page lists the Google Map of all of our sites and the status of many of our repeaters.

My recommendation is to get in touch with a local club and chip in as a team for $1800 to get a UHF 403-470 MHz UHF Band 1 MOTOTRBO repeater. Remember, you need the Motorola repeater to join the network but you can use any kind of DMR mobile or portable, and yes, there are some new cheap Chinese models selling for less than $200 ea.

I can't guarantee those cheaper Chinese models will be that great. But, you can choose to pay for quality or choose to go cheap just to get into the mode. That's the best thing about DMR - multiple manufacturers, multiple pricing and feature tiers. Then of course, you get basically 2 repeaters in one since TDMA supports two simultaneous voice channels.
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Old 02-05-2014, 6:03 PM
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Originally Posted by AA9VI View Post
Yes, it appears we'll be in the same place, very close to ARRL. Visit DMR-MARC Network to learn more about our network and DMR. Be sure to visit the links on the About Us page. The link to get there is at the top of the main page. The Networked Repeaters page lists the Google Map of all of our sites and the status of many of our repeaters.

My recommendation is to get in touch with a local club and chip in as a team for $1800 to get a UHF 403-470 MHz UHF Band 1 MOTOTRBO repeater. Remember, you need the Motorola repeater to join the network but you can use any kind of DMR mobile or portable, and yes, there are some new cheap Chinese models selling for less than $200 ea.

I can't guarantee those cheaper Chinese models will be that great. But, you can choose to pay for quality or choose to go cheap just to get into the mode. That's the best thing about DMR - multiple manufacturers, multiple pricing and feature tiers. Then of course, you get basically 2 repeaters in one since TDMA supports two simultaneous voice channels.
Excellent news - I'll see you there. It looks like there may be an active DMR repeater fairly close to me, and several others in Texas. I decided on the CS700 portable as an inexpensive way to get started, and am looking for an XPR5500 mobile next. I've used Motorola mobiles and portables on VHF/UHF/900 with great results. You are correct - the CS700 is no Motorola, but it appears to be an impressive radio for the price. Much more solid than the Chinese amateur portables I have seen in look and feel. I won't get to try it for a week or so due to my schedule but look forward to giving it a workout.
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Old 02-05-2014, 7:49 PM
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Default Which digi mode will win out in the end????

Well, I can now say that I have used DMR... But in it was a clients radio system, that my company has an issued radio. I must say that the audio quality was much better than what I expected. The handheld was a XPR-6500. Audio quality is FAR superior to DStar, and even in weak signal conditions I did not experience any packet loss resulting in missing or corrupted voice packets. I know not a far comparison BUT I now know what the audio quality of DMR is. While the audio is 'digital' it sounds far better than DStar, and sounds much better than Provoice. I can not compare it to P25 because I have only listened to P25 on a scanner, not a real subscriber radio.

I can say that I am now really looking forward to establishing a DMR repeater where I live.


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Old 02-06-2014, 8:43 AM
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Default Which digi mode will win out in the end????

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Originally Posted by kayn1n32008 View Post
Well, I can now say that I have used DMR... But in it was a clients radio system, that my company has an issued radio. I must say that the audio quality was much better than what I expected. The handheld was a XPR-6500. Audio quality is FAR superior to DStar, and even in weak signal conditions I did not experience any packet loss resulting in missing or corrupted voice packets. I know not a far comparison BUT I now know what the audio quality of DMR is. While the audio is 'digital' it sounds far better than DStar, and sounds much better than Provoice. I can not compare it to P25 because I have only listened to P25 on a scanner, not a real subscriber radio.

I can say that I am now really looking forward to establishing a DMR repeater where I live.


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Couple of things to add, first this was a capacity plus trunk system that I used. The audio, while 'digital' sounding, was much closer to natural than any other low bit rate format I have heard. Also, the fact that if I changed talk groups, and the newly selected talk group was active, the radio still showed the transmitting RID(late entry) which is nice.


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Old 02-13-2014, 9:20 AM
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Really wish all these different digital formats would standarize. It's beta v. VHS all over again. Motorola s p25 is the gold standard. Going to be lots of marginalized folks with obsolete equipment in a few years. The folks with 70-80's radios type analogy.

Just my .02
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:00 AM
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Default ICOM Announces their new D-Star Radio for 2014 - ICOM IC-5100D

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Really wish all these different digital formats would standarize. It's beta v. VHS all over again. Motorola s p25 is the gold standard. Going to be lots of marginalized folks with obsolete equipment in a few years. The folks with 70-80's radios type analogy.

Just my .02

How is P25 the 'gold standard' for digital in amateur radio? Is it because P25 is the 'gold standard' for public safety??? Also it is not motorola's, there are a wide variety of p25 vendors, all of which are significantly more expensive to buy than any other digital format.

I would venture that DMR and DStar have much more users in amateur radio than P25. Even NXDN is gaining traction in Amatuer radio.

Try linking P25 repeaters together.... Then compare it to linking DMR or NXDN...

I believe there will always be competing formats in amateur radio. Some better than others.


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Old 02-13-2014, 11:46 AM
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.. Motorola s p25 is the gold standard ...
And equally as expensive, when all is said and done (eg, programming hardware and software).
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Old 02-13-2014, 12:43 PM
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I feel MotoTRBO is the best option available for the masses due to its sound quality and networks. P25 systems are hard to come by for a lot of hams. And there just aren’t a large portion of hams with access to P25 systems or radios. And if you have access to one your usually talking to 4 people hopefully. The other digital modes have users but not really any networks interconnected.
So people are more inclined to go with digital network/connectivity such as the MotoTRBO DMR Network, Hytera DMR Network, or D-STAR because of its Reflectors and home brew..

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Old 02-13-2014, 1:43 PM
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Default Which digi mode will win out in the end????

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And equally as expensive, when all is said and done (eg, programming hardware and software).

Lily I got a quote for a XPR-3500 (not P25 but DMR) and with 2 high capacity IMPRES batteries and a speaker mic it comes in WAY below an IC-92ad new with 2 batteries and a speaker mic


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Old 02-13-2014, 2:19 PM
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Lily I got a quote for a XPR-3500 (not P25 but DMR) and with 2 high capacity IMPRES batteries and a speaker mic it comes in WAY below an IC-92ad new with 2 batteries and a speaker mic

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And what about the programming hardware and software?

The price of the IC-92AD (a superseded radio) with the speaker mike is greater than the price of the newer radio (ID-51A). Not to mention that the XPR-3500 has no GPS, a VERY limited keypad, mono-band antenna, not dual-receive (both the IC-92AD and the ID-51A are) etc.

You are comparing apples to steak. I prefer steak.

Note that I said dual-receive (ie, simultaneous), NOT dual-band receive (which the IC-92AD and the ID-51A also are).

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Old 02-13-2014, 2:27 PM
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I have DStar, and will soon have Trbo. Why have both? Because Trbo is more of a "consumer mode"

What do I mean?

Think of it this way. On even the CS-700, you will need software to program it. Meaning, you won't screw the radio up to the point that you can't call someone. Flip the call group and away you go.

Which radio would you hand to your XYL?

(Not a fair question for me as I did buy my XYL a ID51 :P )

What is currently holding Trbo back is 2 things.

1) Its not everywhere. I travel for business and some of the places I go, there is a Dstar repeater, but nothing Trbo. Yet...

2) The Motorola Fan boys. The sun doesn't rise and set on the Red Batwings. As usual there is a fair amount of elitism that revolves around the red M. The good news is that there are alternatives for folks that don't like brand x or y.

In the end, I think DMR will win out. Why? Because it favors the appliance operator. DStar is pretty awesome, but peoples eyes glaze over when you start talking about "sticking the call of the person you want in urcall" etc... DMR is not as flexible when it comes to "doing stuff on the fly" but that is what I think will help it win out.
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Old 02-13-2014, 3:29 PM
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... In the end, I think DMR will win out. Why? Because it favors the appliance operator. DStar is pretty awesome, but peoples eyes glaze over when you start talking about "sticking the call of the person you want in urcall" etc...
Ironically, that is what has attracted me to D-Star. It has become the "digital experimenter's mode". For a while, I thought it would keep out the "Mongolian hordes", but with the introduction of the ID-51A, that appears to be at an end.

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Old 02-13-2014, 3:38 PM
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Ironically, that is what has attracted me to D-Star. It has become the "experimenter's mode". For a while, I thought it would keep out the "Mongolian hordes", but with the introduction of the ID-51A, that appears to be at an end.
The elitism in the hobby is part of what chases folks away. I have heard lid's on 75 on Drake and Collins gear, as well as Baofang bandits on 2m.

The radio doesn't stop one from being a Lid...

That said, having Dstar for a while, it was only recently that I heard (gasp!) a couple of truck drivers having a conversation on one of the reflectors. Kinda cool seeing that they were on opposite ends of the country.

One was using a DVAP with a hotspot to get in. Why? Because there wasn't a DStar repeater nearby.

He would have been totally SOL trying that on DMR right now.

(course there will be those that will not be happy that DStar was actually being used in a very cool way because it was a couple of "truckers")
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Old 02-13-2014, 5:16 PM
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The simple answer to that 'winning out' thingy is... none of them! Just too many variables in all that. Pick your 'choice' and go with it. There will always be 'problems' with any node you choose. That 'best' thingy is a fallacy in any way you wanna define it. Just like a 'bordello', you makes you choice and live with it. Howz that for a 'no brainer'??
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Old 02-13-2014, 7:00 PM
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The elitism in the hobby is part of what chases folks away.
Elistism: one of my favorite topics.

Some thirty years ago, I bought a Heathkit 2m rig and installed it in my car. Yes, there were the usual antics on the radio (eg, people dropping autopatch in the middle of someone else's call), but here's the one that took the cake: After a while, I was driving in my car on the freeway, and the traffic was backed up. I turned on my mobile rig to a local repeater, and I heard others ask about the cause of the traffic problem. About then, the traffic moved to the point where I could see what the problem was, so I interjected my callsign, with "break, break", indicating urgency. I was told, "stand by, we are trying to find out what the traffic problem is." Whereupon I listened to the others (apparently all friends) all ask each other about the problem. No one had an answer, but this discussion continued for about ten minutes without a break.

Since the accident scene already had a tow truck present, I didn't see why I should help them feel good about being part of an "emergency communications capability", and so I did not transmit again, saying what the problem was. Shortly thereafter, I pulled the radio out of my car, junked it, and didn't use amateur radio for another decade.

You see, there's TWO SIDES to this "what chases folks away" from amateur radio. I could go on with story after story, but I hope you see my point.

When I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I thought I'd get involved in amateur radio again. So, I made some inquiries, and I found a group of amateurs that are part-time experimenters. No, I am NOT going to name the group. The amateurs in this group are reasonably intelligent, and it's fun spending time with them.

IF IT WERE NOT FOR THIS LATTER GROUP, I WOULD HAVE BECOME INACTIVE IN AMATEUR RADIO AGAIN.

Go on the Yahoo! ID-31/51 group. The amount of erroneous information posted there is astounding. Just one example among many: "Dual receive on the ID51 doesn't work". Yes, it does, and when you take the time to explain it to them, and give them a step-by-step series of tests for them to verify it for themselves, do you even get an acknowledgement (not to mention a "thank you") ??? Nope.

The ID-51 has become wildly successful for Icom. Whether it will be the same for D-Star, is an open question. There are experimenters currently injecting erroneous data into the D-Star protocol between gateways, because they don't know what they are doing, and don't take the time to learn before screwing things up. Things were so bad in the early days of D-Star, that if you bought a D-Star repeater system from Icom, you had to take a written test AND PASS IT, before they would let your repeater on the US-Trust system. There were repeater owners that (inadvertently) did things that repeatedly took down the D-Star US-Trust system.

This is not new to amateur radio; the APRS system suffers from the same problem of bad data being injected into the network, and (in the early days) causing message loops.

Even outside of amateur radio: Some years ago, some bozo wrote an NTP client program, hard-coded my Internet domain name into his program to obtain the time, and allowed users to set the polling interval as small as a fraction of a second (the Internet standard minimum is a minute, which is only used for startup),. His program also did a hostname DNS lookup for each poll, not relying on the OS's hostname caching to reduce network traffic. He then distributed his program for free, world wide. In order to not have immense amounts of network traffic to my DNS servers, I had to abandon that domain name. Others were not so fortunate: Why we have Abandoned the UltiMeth.net Domain Note the link to how Netgear caused massive Internet traffic to the University of Wisconsin, by hard-coding the latter's NTP server IP address into products they sell.

Am I tired of people screwing things up for everyone, simply because they will not learn about how things work? You betcha! Does that make me elitist? Why, yes, yes, it does ...

There is room in amateur radio for everyone with good manners, but the span of capabilities and interests is so wide, that not everyone wants to associate with everyone else; it's just not productive to specialized interests.
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Old 02-15-2014, 6:28 PM
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Elistism: one of my favorite topics.


You see, there's TWO SIDES to this "what chases folks away" from amateur radio. I could go on with story after story, but I hope you see my point.

When I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I thought I'd get involved in amateur radio again. So, I made some inquiries, and I found a group of amateurs that are part-time experimenters. No, I am NOT going to name the group. The amateurs in this group are reasonably intelligent, and it's fun spending time with them.

IF IT WERE NOT FOR THIS LATTER GROUP, I WOULD HAVE BECOME INACTIVE IN AMATEUR RADIO AGAIN.

My point was that its not the radio that determines the lid, its the operator and attitude.

Folks do stupid things all the time. There was one guy on the left coast that was fooling with his amp and checked himself out because he failed to ensure it wasn't energized. Costly mistake.

Glad you found a part of the hobby that you enjoy, and I hope no one ruins it for you.

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Old 02-15-2014, 9:00 PM
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Default Which digi mode will win out in the end????

By the way, for an on-topic response... The one which will "win" is the one in an area that has people designi and caring for it that care and make it do things people want.
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Old 02-16-2014, 1:54 AM
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By the way, for an on-topic response... The one which will "win" is the one in an area that has people designing and caring for it that care and make it do things people want.
Actually, I think it will be different for different people:

1. For some people, it will be over pure technical superiority (or their perception thereof) for their needs.

2. For some people, it will be what is new or interesting.

3. For some people, it will be what their friends are using.

4. For most people, it will be what the "herd" is doing (similar to #3).

That last one isn't necessarily bad. Most people find it difficult (or don't want to spend the time) to research all the details.
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