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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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Old 11-07-2018, 10:08 PM
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Default DSTAR on a TH-D74 - completely lost

I'm at a complete loss here, I'm trying to get into DSTAR using the Kenwood TH-D74A and I'm completely stuck. I am registered on the DSTAR network and when I kerchunk on of the local repeaters I show up in the contact log for the repeater, but as often as not I get no response from the repeater.
Half the time the green screen indicating a signal will come up for a split second and I will hear "O P", the other half the time I get absolutely nothing in the way of response. Either way though if I look through the repeater's recent contacts log I see my callsign and the time I pressed PTT. I can also listen to the repeater pretty much fine, able to follow long conversations. I've tried reading through the TH-D74A/E Operating Tips PDF from Kenwood, specifically the section on making a local repeater call, I have no idea what I'm doing wrong or missing.
When I check in the RX history, for the times when I got the mysterious "O P" audio I can find a corresponding RX log entry from the repeater with my callsign as the destination, but there's no message. Every other resource I've looked at on DSTAR online indicates when a connect to a repeater I should get some "URxxx" gobbledygook message back from the receiver.
Does anyone know of an idiot's guide to getting DSTAR set up on the TH-D74 for the most basic local CQ call? I can be standing right next to my friend and his ID-51A and he will PTT for a second and get the expected response from the local DSTAR repeater while I do the same and might get nothing, but he will see on his radio, through the repeater, that I connected. I just don't get what I am missing, obviously it's not an issue with the signal from the repeater reaching me, since I can receive other peoples' conversations just fine , and I see their messages while they are talking (which in most cases is the person's name and location).
There's something fundamental I'm missing here and no amount of rereading the Kenwood tips PDF leads me to any new ideas for what to try and I don't want to be stepping all over other peoples' traffic continuously sending test transmissions.
What I have set up so far is:
set up my callsign in menu 610 (ex:"VA3xxx/D74")
set up a message in menu 611
set the radio to VFO then long-press down on the 4-way switch and selected a local repeater form the repeater list
selected local CQ via long press on the 4-way switch and selection of "local CQ" (CQCQCQ)
switched to DR mode via the digital menu

If I look in the TX history this is an example of what I am sending:
"UR:CQCQCQ
R2:VE3YYZ B
R1 VE3YYZ B
447.700.00
MY:VA3xxx"

I'm pretty sure I set up my DSTAR registration right, at the moment I have one entry consisting of my callsign and a space character per the self registration instructions on dstargateway, and if I check for my callsign in the registry it comes up. Regardless, as I understand it for a local CQ I shouldn't need to be registered in the system anyway.

Even the conversations I've seen on the repeater I can tell are often with the same model transceiver as mine, so I'm sure this thing can do what I'm trying to do, I'm just bashing my head against the wall trying to guess what mystery setting or option I didn't set right.
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:28 PM
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set up my callsign in menu 610 (ex:"VA3xxx/D74")

I’m not following the above. The /D74 is often seen with a callsign but it’s appended from another entry not to be included with callsign. I use an iCom ID-51 and have limited experience with D74. Is xxx just to hide your actual callsign?
Mike

P.S. see if you can find a DStar calculator as it will layout the details of the required entries.

Let me add... Looks like you are front panel programing. Get the Kenwood programing software as you will see the bigger picture. Likely it has the DStar calculator built-in. Read your radio first to see what you have done.

Good Luck!
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Last edited by mcscanner; 11-07-2018 at 10:48 PM..
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:47 PM
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Yeah sorry I don't know what etiquette it's for that here on RR. The xxx was a placeholder to hide my callsign but what the heck, it's VA3USO. And yeah I don't know how the menus on the ICOM are set up but the D74 part is equivalent to what would go into the pcname field when filling out the self registration online for dstar..... I think.
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:57 PM
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The registration I did a long time ago. It does not really help with radio programing. Enter your callsign in a DStar website and if your registration is good to go it will tell you. I forget if the information includes your static IP address or if you have to go to another site. I recommend programing channels discreetly in your radio with the program. Once you get that down front panel is quicker and more mobile with the GPS.

In the attachment the upper left corner has my callsign and radio type as separate entries. It is assembled to what you see to the right without the M01 used in my transmission. You post indicates D74 is directly entered with your callsign, which might not be the case it just looks like it.

Looks like your registration is good.

http://dstar.info/query.html

73, Mike KE5MC
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Last edited by mcscanner; 11-07-2018 at 11:10 PM..
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Old 11-08-2018, 6:48 AM
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What are you using for an antenna? In other words, are you certain that you are getting enough signal strength into the repeater for it to properly decode the stream of data coming from your radio?
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Old 11-08-2018, 8:35 AM
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Thanks Mike, yes my DSTAR registration seems ok.
The "D74" isn't part of my callsign, it's just how it looks when entered on the TH-D74. In the screen where I enter my callsign there are two fields seperated by the slash character, the left field is 8 characters wide, where I entered just my callsign VA3USO, the right field is 4 characters wide where I entered D74. I did that based on the example provided in Kenwood's tips and tricks PDF manual and watching what comes up on my radio during conversations where it seems common practice to use the right field for that purpose, I see a lot of ID51 and D74. I had tried both ways though, leaving the right field blank and having "D74". I'll try to dig into the software side of this tonight.
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Old 11-08-2018, 8:43 AM
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It's a good point, I'm just using the rubber ducky, I'm not giving it it's best chance from that perspective. But I tried cranking it up to the full 5W and was testing it out in the open yesterday with clear LOS to the tower about 9km away and standing right next to me was my friend with his ID51 handheld and ducky at 5W having no trouble linking to the repeater.
Like I mentionned the repeater is obviously decoding my ID at least since I show up in the recent contacts log, though maybe it's only getting some of the message. When I get a chance I will have to try this with a better antenna, maybe borrow the connection to my friend's mobile for a quick test in the parking lot.
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Old 11-08-2018, 8:52 AM
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Try changing R2 to G and hear is a link you might want to check out https://amateurradionotes.com/th-d74.htm
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Old 11-08-2018, 9:03 AM
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Thanks I'll try that tonight. It will be a bit of a nuisance if that's necessary compared to what the manuals suggest should be possible for connection just as a local repeater but hey if it works I'll be happy.
Also, thanks for the link. That's one of the ones I had been looking over. I did check on a DSTAR calculator this morning and it also indicated I should change RPT2 to have the G for "local repeater with gateway", but it also indicated I should be able to do just "local repeater" with nothing set for RPT2. Like I said though, if there's some magic combination that works I'll be thrilled. Later I can worry about how to then extend that to be able to use the "nearest repeaters" function on the radio without a lot of futzing around in it's guts.
I'd better go silent now before someone comes up behind me and asks what this web site I'm on has to do with work.... :P
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Old 11-08-2018, 9:16 AM
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It sounds like you dont have the right call sign routing set right,any way ask your friend that has the Id-51 what he has Rpt 1 and Rpt 2 set on his radio.....
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Old 11-08-2018, 7:09 PM
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I don't know whether to call this progress or what. I checked with my friend and on his ID51 RPT2 is set to "not in use" when he's set up for local CQ. I don't have the option of entering that on the Kenwood and if I leave it blank it just reverts to the same callsign as RPT1 (VE3YYZ B in this case).
I hooked up to a better antenna, a 38" dual band mobile and tried with RPT2 set both to VE3YYZ B and VE3YYZ G as suggested, both times when I kerchunk and wait a few seconds the reply screen comes up indicating I've received something from the repeater but it gives me the audio message "error" and that's all. That's different than before anyway when it was saying "OP" but still doesn't seem to get me linked to the repeater.
When I look at the message details for that "error" transmission it says:
Origination: VE3YYZ G
Destination:VA3USO
Route: VE3YYZ G Toronto
Repeater: VE3YYZ B Toronto
RX Frequency: 442.700.00
Message:
(message is blank), then the timestamp.

I guess next up is to connect the USB and fire up the software.

---EDIT---
Hah, I must have had a brain fart today, turns out I had inserted a space after my callsign some time while messing around with the radio this morning, so I'm baclk to the "OP" state. Maybe it's working as intended, just listening to see if anyone's talking...
I really wish someone could tell me what it means when the Kenwood says "OP", I asked at the store where I picked it up and they have no idea and the manuals don't give any details on what the radio will "say" and why or when it will say it. The only clear thing is that "error" was probably a step backwards.

Last edited by grosporina; 11-08-2018 at 7:17 PM.. Reason: new details added
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Old 11-08-2018, 7:28 PM
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I think I might be making progress with a better antenna. I still get the "OP" but I see the expected little antenna shack and green check mark icon when the reply screen comes up.
I took the 38" mobile and just stuck it on a cookie sheet next to a window (high tech). More permanent solutions can come later after I confirm I've sorted this out.
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Old 11-08-2018, 7:45 PM
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Success, local success anyway. I was able to carry on a conversation locally through the DSTAR repeater. Thanks for the suggestions and help. Now I will up my frustration level by trying to so something more worthwhile like accessing a DSTAR repeater beyond visual range (otherwise I might as well be sticking to analog repeaters after all...).
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Old 11-08-2018, 7:59 PM
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Stick with it as itís worth the effort. Learning new skills is always good!
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