DSTAR and APRS - which way?

davecason

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#1
Hi Guys,

So here’s a question you’ve never heard before, I’ve been doing lots of reading for my next mobile rig and it’s going to be either a Icom ID- 5100A or a Kenwood TM- D710G so which one? … all over again. It seems to be a pretty popular thread and topic. (grin)

What's the easier why to go ..... buy the Icom and then make it do APRS on it or buy a Kenwood and then make it do dstar?


I do want DStar but I also want APRS so my thinking based on what I’ve read so far is, if I want DStar it’s the easiest to go with the Icom because with the Icom I can fake the APRS on the second channel with an APRS tracker device (Argent Data Tracker2 or Tracker3 or Byonics TinyTrak3 or TinyTrak4) on the D-Star radio. I’d also want messaging from my PC via the Icom to the internet as well so I’m guessing that’s done with Icom’s data cable and the low speed messaging function.

Is that correct or was the post I was reading way out of date?

With the Kenwood as the choice – I can’t do the DStar as easily right?

I figured I post here rather bug the people I know that have them and also being a newbie I'm out to lunch in my reasoning ..... I dunno, so we’ll ask the pros here ….

Cheers’
Dave
 
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#2
If you want to do D-Star buy the Icom. It is designed to do D-star and it seems it would be a lot cheaper to ad a tiny track 3 or 4 than spending a few hundred more to get the Kenwood to play on D-Star.

Just my 2 cents.

.
 

davecason

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#4
Thanks

Yep,

Thats what I was thinking too ..... the Icom on DStar by default and adding in the APRS seems the way to go .....

Cheers'
Dave
 
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#5
In areas that you have a gateway enabled D-STAR repeater, you will most likely have DPRS as well. Not the network coverage APRS offers I realize, but a useful capability untill you get the APRS side set up.
 

newsphotog

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#6
You can't get a Kenwood to do D-STAR.

You can't use an ID-5100 to have APRS on one side of the radio like you can with a Kenwood D710. Instead, Icom's D-STAR radios offer "DPRS" which is similar to APRS. You must have a D-STAR gateway in your area that has DPRS enabled (most of the genuine Icom D-STAR repeater stacks have this). You can set your radio to beacon your position and a status message at set intervals (no more often than 5 minutes when mobile) and it will display your position on APRS websites like aprs.fi. The drawback to this is that your beacon won't be broadcast over RF on 144.39, unless there is an i-gate that is set to broadcast internet packets to RF, which is a whole other topic.

It's really either/or, not both in this case. When I switched vehicles last year, I had to decide between D-STAR and APRS. I chose APRS. Now that I am reconfiguring my mobile setup to accommodate an ID-5100, I've decided that I'd rather have D-STAR, and I can use APRS, or if I need to send my position over APRS 144.39, I can swap out my scanner for my D710 on road trips like to Dayton.

FWIW, the ID-5100 is a really nice radio. It's pretty much the Cadillac of dual-band radios right now. It will not disappoint, and it's the easiest D-STAR radio to use if you have never used D-STAR before.

Hope this helps.
 

W9BU

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#7
You can't use an ID-5100 to have APRS on one side of the radio like you can with a Kenwood D710.
Why not?

Connect one side of the ID-5100 to an external APRS-specific TNC (such as an Argent Data Tracker3 or Byonics TinyTrak 4). I don't know the specifics of how this connection would be made, but if the ID-5100 has a 6-pin mini-DIN "packet" port, then it would be pretty easy.

That would allow you to run APRS via RF on 144.390 using one side of the radio while running D-Star on the other side of the radio.
 

newsphotog

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#8
Why not?

Connect one side of the ID-5100 to an external APRS-specific TNC (such as an Argent Data Tracker3 or Byonics TinyTrak 4). I don't know the specifics of how this connection would be made, but if the ID-5100 has a 6-pin mini-DIN "packet" port, then it would be pretty easy.

That would allow you to run APRS via RF on 144.390 using one side of the radio while running D-Star on the other side of the radio.
Because you would constantly be switching between the two sides of the radio. It will transmit only on the band that you select as the "main" band. So if you have 144.39 on side B, where you want to beacon, you'll need to leave that as the main band. If you want to talk on, let's say, a D-STAR repeater on side A, you'll need to switch to side A, and if your TNC beacons during that time, you'll be transmitting an APRS packet on the D-STAR repeater. The ID-5100 just isn't set up to run APRS like the D710, it's not designed to be used that way.
 

newsphotog

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#10
Incorect. If you are willing to spend a little time and effort, you can make any radio do D-STAR.

Examples: Converting the Kenwood TKR-820 to use with D-STAR « John's Meanderings

Add DSTAR to your Analog Radios ICOM, YAESU, KENWOOD Radios - The PAPA System

And there are many more options.
Of course, for the purpose of being simple and realistic, I said you can't, but you can, if you want to invest the time, effort and $$ to do so. You'll still come up with a kludgy, sub-par device using node adapter boards. I speak from experience on this. Especially considering that I don't know OP's skill level, this is out of reach for a lot of hams especially if this is their first foray into D-STAR.
 

davecason

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#11
Yea, I know but ....

Hey Guys,

Thanks for the comments ......

I still think that going with the Icom so I have the DStar "native" so to speak and than adding in the APRS will be less hassle ...... (yep I will lose that channel) but once I get it going we'll see, (fingers crossed)

I also am aware of the Icom and it's DPRS but up here in the frozen north, well OK Calgary, I don't think it anywhere near as popular as the APRS but again with the Icom as the native unit it'll just work, so the Icom out of the box will give me the working DPRS and the DStar and then it's just a matter of the tiny track on the B side so to speak and we should be off and running.

Cheers'
Dave
 
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#12
Just because I don't know... Do you have a D-Star repeater near by? If not, I think D-Star is a waste of time, at least here it is.
- 'Doc
 

KE5MC

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#14
Dave,

It looks like Calgary has 5 repeater stacks in or around the city which is in your favors for choosing the 5100. I have a D710 and for the 1st 6 month APRS was always running. Now that the novelty has worn off it's on only for special occasions. Not to say it will be the same for you, but it could be.

The user interface for the current version of Icom D-Star radios is so much better than before. Once the internal GPS locks then you can call up repeaters from the database and you are ready to talk.

My 7100 came with a USB cable allowing connection to the PC. I like RTS programming software so all I had to buy was their software. It works without their cable. Don't know if you will have the same results with the 5100, but would be surprised if different.

Hey Guys,

Thanks for the comments ......

I still think that going with the Icom so I have the DStar "native" so to speak and than adding in the APRS will be less hassle ...... (yep I will lose that channel) but once I get it going we'll see, (fingers crossed)

I also am aware of the Icom and it's DPRS but up here in the frozen north, well OK Calgary, I don't think it anywhere near as popular as the APRS but again with the Icom as the native unit it'll just work, so the Icom out of the box will give me the working DPRS and the DStar and then it's just a matter of the tiny track on the B side so to speak and we should be off and running.

Cheers'
Dave
 

robertmac

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#15
Dstar is seldom used in Calgary. As for APRS, some are now looking at setting up mobile weather stations for use for ? storm spotting, ? flood watch, or even for bicycle races that cover a relatively large area. In a recent disaster exercise, APRS was used for texting and emailing from the field to the EOC. I am not saying that Dstar does not have it's place, but APRS has a lot more than just APRS. I am not certain what direction Stampede ARES is going in this direction, but you could discuss the pros and cons of Dstar/APRS with them as well.
 

davecason

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#16
Yep, at least for Calgary

Hey Guys,

Well I think there is a BIG difference in the popularity of DStar up here in Calgary compared to a few places in the states .... from the little bit I've seen on the web so far. DStar is pretty big in the US and not nearly as popular up here but again with this setup I'll have both so why not, I don't think I need to pick one or the other?

As for the debate over Icom vs Kenwood - right now being a newbie - MEH! Being a newbie I'm not informed enough to have an opinion on either - hence the post here. (grin) I'll ask the pros, I just know that I'd like to have both and I think this will work.


So that being said, I think it'll be much easier getting the Icom and having the DStar and DPRS out of the box and then adding on the APRS to that side of the radio, I think this is the way to go.

I have no personal for any of them and that includes all three, DPRS, APRS and DStar. I won't use them much but since I'm setting up my ham gear with the focus on Emcomm it can't hurt to have it. That's the only reason I'm buying that gear, if I get deployed someplace the EOC might find that handy.

For me the fun part will be e-mail / texts via the radio and there are a few ways to do that so that's going to be the fun one ..... I'm a new ham but a long time computer IT Admin and electronics dork so the fiddling and setting up part will be the most fun, it's just something else to play with .....

Cheers'
Dave
 
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#17
How about the best of both?

I too have thought about this.
For the base I run the TM-D710A and IC-9100 with Dstar.
In the mobile I run the TM-D710A and the ID-5100A is on the way.

Wayne-N0ISV
 

DaveNF2G

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#18
Your choice could also depend on what local groups or activities you want to join. For example, several hams in my area have settled on the Kenwood for its APRS and messaging and other features in support of their public service activities. Some of the Kenwood D710 features are only useful if you know somebody else with a D710.
 

W9BU

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#20
Cell phone APRS apps inject your position report into the APRS-IS servers which allow someone to see your position if they are connected to the Internet. No amateur radio is used to make this happen.

However, most I-gates will not gate your position report from the Internet to the local RF network. This means that your cell phone originated APRS position report will never appear on the screens of the folks who are monitoring the local RF network.

Locally, we use APRS quite a bit for tracking assets during public service events. Some of these events are conducted where cell phone coverage is spotty and Internet access is non-existent. I've had many people come to me talking about the cell phone APRS apps they are using. I always have to point out to them that their Internet-based position reports are of no use to the event organizers who are depending on the RF-based APRS network.

If you want to do APRS, get an APRS radio/tracking device and do it over RF.
 
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