RadioReference on Facebook   RadioReference on Twitter   RadioReference Blog
 

Go Back   The RadioReference.com Forums > Amateur Radio > Digital Voice for Amateur Use


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.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #81 (permalink)  
Old 09-11-2009, 11:26 AM
SOFA_KING's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: SE Florida
Posts: 1,580
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by WX4JCW View Post
---Begin RANT--- I have experience in P25 and now i purchased a D* ID-880H, to me the arguing is kinda fruitless, both technologies are expensive, i have a friend who works for the Orlando Fire Department who uses P25 Amateur, we have 1 UHF P25 Repeater in the orlando area and it has phenominal coverage, the repeater uses analog and P25, my problem with this whole thread is people cant get along and just accept that whatever works for you is best for you, this is why i don't joing the local ARC, it is a hobby, I operate amateur radio because i find it fun, i am a skywarn spotter because i enjoy it, i was a 911 Dispatcher for EMS/FD for 12 years because i enjoyed it, if someone doesn't enjoy D* or Code or P25 why argue, just get together with those who enjoy that particular aspect of the hobby and leave the others alone. ----END RANT----

as far as D* goes, i have been on since Friday and have checked into several nets across the country, including the SE WX Net which in terms of a hurricane preparadness, i see alot of good that D* will have, and look forward to using it over the road
Hi, Jason. I think we were D-RATSing with the new Beta 0.3.1b4 (now works with the Dongle) last night. I agree with you. Live and let live. This thread was about D-STAR Systems. Somehow it became a debate. It was not intended to be anything about P25. D-STAR is good stuff and growing very fast. I like it because it is the complete package (on one channel) for voice, data, and linking/routing. And the audio sounds real good, plus it is very narrow band. All good advantages!

Phil
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #82 (permalink)  
Old 09-14-2009, 4:15 AM
WX4JCW's Avatar
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: All Over USA
Posts: 2,028
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SOFA_KING View Post
Hi, Jason. I think we were D-RATSing with the new Beta 0.3.1b4 (now works with the Dongle) last night. I agree with you. Live and let live. This thread was about D-STAR Systems. Somehow it became a debate. It was not intended to be anything about P25. D-STAR is good stuff and growing very fast. I like it because it is the complete package (on one channel) for voice, data, and linking/routing. And the audio sounds real good, plus it is very narrow band. All good advantages!

Phil
Yeah we were , Heard You today (I am in Dayton/Springfield) but i was having issues programming the radio (my own fault).

now we need to get a repeater in your area so you can use that radio.
__________________
Jason WX4JCW EMD/FF/EMT RET
Like Johnny Cash's Song I've been everywhere man, ive been everywhere and monitored it
SDS100,XPR7550,SDR
Reply With Quote
  #83 (permalink)  
Old 09-17-2009, 5:19 AM
SOFA_KING's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: SE Florida
Posts: 1,580
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by WX4JCW View Post
Yeah we were , Heard You today (I am in Dayton/Springfield) but i was having issues programming the radio (my own fault).

now we need to get a repeater in your area so you can use that radio.
That day is getting closer! I brought my DV Dongle to the EOC meeting last night (for one person who wanted to see it) and a bunch of people were very interested. Some were ready to buy after the demo I put on with my laptop. If that interest continues to grow, I can see funding from the locals the next logical step as they demand a repeater. I didn't expect that response, but was glad to see it.

And I heard on the D-STAR net last night that Brevard is getting ready to get their's going in Melbourn and also another in Titusville is gettin closer. D-STAR is taking hold in a big way, and even those who were thinking like "who needs it?" are showing interest. It is here to stay and growing very fast.

Phil

Last edited by SOFA_KING; 09-17-2009 at 5:21 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #84 (permalink)  
Old 09-17-2009, 12:05 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: NC
Posts: 388
Default

I've got great interest in it. I used to be one of those "why bother" peopel until I realized its full capabilities. My next VHF/UHF will be a D-STAR capable radio. I had thought about getting the chip for my V82 but at $200 for the UT-118 and the lack of capabilities of the V82 and lack of intuitive control over the radio, it is far from worth it.

My only thing is that I wish more companies would pick up the spec and build more D-STAR.
__________________
"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn..."
~Gone With the Wind

Terrell

"Ham radio is one of the few slices of insanity that you actually have to test into..."
Reply With Quote
  #85 (permalink)  
Old 09-17-2009, 4:48 PM
WX4JCW's Avatar
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: All Over USA
Posts: 2,028
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by tekshogun View Post
I've got great interest in it. I used to be one of those "why bother" peopel until I realized its full capabilities. My next VHF/UHF will be a D-STAR capable radio. I had thought about getting the chip for my V82 but at $200 for the UT-118 and the lack of capabilities of the V82 and lack of intuitive control over the radio, it is far from worth it.

My only thing is that I wish more companies would pick up the spec and build more D-STAR.
I think other companies will, there are already non Icom repeaters out there, d-star is picking up steam so i think it is a matter of time, I don't think Yaesu will do it because of some competing issues, but kenwood will probably.

D-Star is still in the toddler stage, i think the operators are trying to get a consistent standard developed as to how the system will work, it is a learning curve.

the only issue i have is with emergency communications, in order for the system to work the network backbone would have to remain intact, lets say god forbid we had another attack on the US- possibly Nuclear in nature, if the internet backbone goes down, well then d-star would be pretty useless, so HF would still be the best for those situations.
__________________
Jason WX4JCW EMD/FF/EMT RET
Like Johnny Cash's Song I've been everywhere man, ive been everywhere and monitored it
SDS100,XPR7550,SDR
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #86 (permalink)  
Old 09-19-2009, 3:25 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Shelby Twp., MI
Posts: 29
Default

I am thinking about purchasing a D-Star radio and I am just now starting to look at D-Star information. I do have some concerns about Icom not being "open" about D-Star information. My first roadblock to D-Star information was the Icom web site. To download a brochure on a D-Star Radio I had to Agree to be bounded to some Terms and Conditions for use of the information before I could download a brochure about a D-Star Radio. I did read the Terms and Conditions but it was nonsense (What is Icom trying to protect?). My second roadblock to information was the Icom software. The software is for MS operating systems and no source code is available.

I do believe that digital voice will be the major mode for ham radio. I wished there was a digital voice standard for ham radio that was not just for push-to-talk operators but allowed for experiments and improvements by hams. Icom needs some competition. I am still going to try D-Star, which means, I am going to buy an Icom radio.
Reply With Quote
  #87 (permalink)  
Old 09-21-2009, 6:33 AM
SOFA_KING's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: SE Florida
Posts: 1,580
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by djg000111 View Post
I am thinking about purchasing a D-Star radio and I am just now starting to look at D-Star information. I do have some concerns about Icom not being "open" about D-Star information. My first roadblock to D-Star information was the Icom web site. To download a brochure on a D-Star Radio I had to Agree to be bounded to some Terms and Conditions for use of the information before I could download a brochure about a D-Star Radio. I did read the Terms and Conditions but it was nonsense (What is Icom trying to protect?). My second roadblock to information was the Icom software. The software is for MS operating systems and no source code is available.

I do believe that digital voice will be the major mode for ham radio. I wished there was a digital voice standard for ham radio that was not just for push-to-talk operators but allowed for experiments and improvements by hams. Icom needs some competition. I am still going to try D-Star, which means, I am going to buy an Icom radio.
I think you will like it. Icom makes you "agree" for any information you download...not just D-STAR radios. There is no closed information and Icom does not have any corner on the market. Too much misinformation out there. Anyone can make a D-STAR radio...and I have talked to people who have done home brewed D-STAR repeaters and devices. It is totally open. The AMBE vocoder chip from DVSI (same company who makes the P25 IMBE chip) is the only "closed" device (for both platforms) and is looked at as a $20 part. The DV Dongle uses this chip too (not an Icom product) and lets you onto the whole worldwide network. Slick stuff! And it sounds great. Many new D-STAR users are amazed with it...You can tell when they are gushing about how much they like it. Oh...and no software is even needed to program and use the radio, however it is handy to have as it speeds up the programming. A company called RT systems also sells software for programming (closed source).

I bought an IC-91AD while on sale. It came with free software and a cable from HRO. Great little radio! Limited range, but has dual watch (I put FM on one watch and D-STAR on the other). I also like the call sign and user text messages scrolling on the bottom of the screen. I have an IC-2200H 65W 2m in the house now. It works just fine for basic operation, but I want to trade up to an ID-880H, which has VHF and UHF at 50W. That is the radio to get these days. The price is much lower than a 2820 (out of line price wise), D-STAR is already installed, and it also comes with free programming software (which may also operate the radio and let you send data text and messages like my 91AD software does...not confirmed by me yet). I think you have to buy the cable though ($22), and they say you can either use the clone cable or data cable. Get the data cable, as it will let you send data over the radio as well as program the radio. There are programs like D-Rats and D-Chat that allow you to tap into the data side of the protocol, so the data cable is good to have. Overall I think you will like it. Many who are not within repeater coverage build a kit device called a "D-STAR Hot Spot". This plugs into an analog radio with a 9600 packet jack on it, and they provide a link onto the worldwide gateway. I'm amazed at the enthusiasm out there over this whole D-STAR innovation! Some guys are advancing this technology (like AA4RC...aka Robin Cutshaw...a nice guy and the father of the G-Plus gateway and DV Dongle). Many guys who have nothing to do with ICOM are improving on what JARL and ICOM have introduced. This is a growing technology, but nothing will be obsoleted, so no worries there. More features are being added. So, go for it!

Phil
Reply With Quote
  #88 (permalink)  
Old 09-21-2009, 6:44 AM
grem467's Avatar
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 881
Default

Phil, are the subscriber radios mixed mode on RX? If im listening in DV can i also hear FM on the same frequency and vice versa?

I realize during normal repeater ops this would not be nessasary, but during simplex it could come in handy..

just curious, not trying to start crap or stir the pot.. just something ive been wondering....


Marc.
Reply With Quote
  #89 (permalink)  
Old 09-21-2009, 10:33 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: NC
Posts: 388
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by WX4JCW View Post
I think other companies will, there are already non Icom repeaters out there, d-star is picking up steam so i think it is a matter of time, I don't think Yaesu will do it because of some competing issues, but kenwood will probably.

D-Star is still in the toddler stage, i think the operators are trying to get a consistent standard developed as to how the system will work, it is a learning curve.

the only issue i have is with emergency communications, in order for the system to work the network backbone would have to remain intact, lets say god forbid we had another attack on the US- possibly Nuclear in nature, if the internet backbone goes down, well then d-star would be pretty useless, so HF would still be the best for those situations.
Very true as I have begun to realize that more. Here in North Carolina there is a ham with lots of skills building D-STAR repeaters out of, I think, GE Master II repeaters and they are up and in full use by a small but growing contingent of hams. I hope to join them soon and add to my mobile and base ham shack.

As for a loss of interenet activity, well, one thing we can rely on, other than (or I should say, along with) HF are those VHF and UHF repeater sites that can link via other means such as microwave backbones and PCRN. Now, for D-STAR, I know there is the 10GHz backbone system designs but I don't know of much of that being done and I'm sure a system can be designed to work similar to PCRN and other over-the-air linking systems for D-STAR.
__________________
"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn..."
~Gone With the Wind

Terrell

"Ham radio is one of the few slices of insanity that you actually have to test into..."
Reply With Quote
  #90 (permalink)  
Old 09-22-2009, 7:11 AM
SOFA_KING's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: SE Florida
Posts: 1,580
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by grem467 View Post
Phil, are the subscriber radios mixed mode on RX? If im listening in DV can i also hear FM on the same frequency and vice versa?

I realize during normal repeater ops this would not be nessasary, but during simplex it could come in handy..

just curious, not trying to start crap or stir the pot.. just something ive been wondering....


Marc.
No problem, Marc. That is a good question...and the answer is YES if you set a global menu option called "DV Auto Detect" to ON. In reality it is an "FM auto detect" when you have a memory channel programmed as DV (digital). This is not available on every model (such as the 2200H), but is on all newer models and even the ID-800H (as a friend indicated to me).

I tried it on my IC-91AD. It worked, but I turned the option off when distant analog repeaters kept opening the squelch on some of my digital repeater channels. In fact, I just did some research on a feature my 91AD had that my 2200 did not...That was the ability for the channel scan to skip analog transmissions on digital channels (or not). Again, newer radios like the 880, 91AD, 92, 2820, and 80AD all skip over the unwanted mode in scan. The older ID-800 and 2200H do not. It drives me nuts to see the scan hung on an analog signal when I have a channel programmed as digital (nothing heard of course...just sits there until it goes away). That is one reason I'm upgrading to a ID-880H. I like to scan, and I like to have it work the way it should work! Don't we all?

Phil

Last edited by SOFA_KING; 09-22-2009 at 7:15 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #91 (permalink)  
Old 09-22-2009, 12:45 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Shelby Twp., MI
Posts: 29
Default

Thanks for the good comments to my post. As a result of the comments to my post, I am going to learn more about D-Star and I am going to buy a new Icom Radio (880H or 80AD). This weekend, I am going to the Digital Communications Conference (DCC) in Chicago and attend the Intro to D-Star Digital Voice & Data Session.

I think there is no D-Star activity in my area; however, I do mobile through a lot of cities that have D-Star repeaters.
Reply With Quote
  #92 (permalink)  
Old 09-24-2009, 8:39 PM
SOFA_KING's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: SE Florida
Posts: 1,580
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by djg000111 View Post
Thanks for the good comments to my post. As a result of the comments to my post, I am going to learn more about D-Star and I am going to buy a new Icom Radio (880H or 80AD). This weekend, I am going to the Digital Communications Conference (DCC) in Chicago and attend the Intro to D-Star Digital Voice & Data Session.

I think there is no D-Star activity in my area; however, I do mobile through a lot of cities that have D-Star repeaters.
Yeah, my new ID-880H is a total winner! They did this one right. Everything works very well. Easy to program with the free software and scans like a real radio should...fast and no hangups on cross-mode stuff. I love it!

Have fun in Chicago.

Phil
Reply With Quote
  #93 (permalink)  
Old 09-26-2009, 11:34 PM
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Posts: 128
Default

That's one of the great things about D-Star. Even if you don't have a repeater near you you can get a DV Dongle, and as long as you have internet access the Dongle turns your computer into a D-star radio and you can connect to any D-Star repeater around the world.

Jim, NS3K
Reply With Quote
  #94 (permalink)  
Old 09-27-2009, 9:09 AM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Conroe, Texas
Posts: 330
Default

ive got a 880h on the way for the pickup. Cant wait to start playing with it.
Reply With Quote
  #95 (permalink)  
Old 09-27-2009, 10:06 PM
SOFA_KING's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: SE Florida
Posts: 1,580
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by emd001 View Post
ive got a 880h on the way for the pickup. Cant wait to start playing with it.
All right! Congrats! Good choice!

I spent the good part of today exploring every feature on my 880. The more I test everything, the more I like this ID-880H. It has better digital decode than the IC-2200H and IC-91AD. It sounds like the digital TX is cleaner too. I'm getting good copy when the signal is in the noise floor (quick switch to analog to check). I'm getting call signs and messages with no S meter reading. And the scan is perfect. All improvements. The DR Repeater List is not of much use since they have no Your Call (UR CALL) entries in the list. I do not need it anyway as I put much into channel memory and special linking stuff into the Your Call memory. I wish there were more than 60 of these! This is where the action is, but I make do.

Speaking of scan...I created a bunch of Programmed Scan limits for the different repeater and simplex ranges and linked them to do a custom Programmed Link Scan I made...just searching out D-STAR activity. IT WORKED! It skips over all the analog noise and sifts out the D-STAR activity. Slick! Now I can travel and search out D-STAR. One minor thing...you have to set the mode in VFO to DV for each band. You also have to set the step size to 5 KHz on 2m and 12.5 on 440 before starting the scan. Even though you can set these in the programming, I see no way they make any difference when you start the scan. Maybe I'm missing something, but it is working and will come in handy during road trips to different D-STAR areas.

I created a file for Florida that has everything you need to get up and running fast. I maxed out every option. This is a killer file with a template that will allow you to do all the D-STAR features and (of course)also do analog. Maybe I will post it so anyone who wants to know "how to" make D-STAR play (and use the radio features to their best advantage) can look at it and get an idea. Icom lets you download the software for the radio for free, so loading my file into that will give you instant access to the way I programmed the radio and set up the features. Default setting are not the best options. I also made a text file explaining the conventions and reasons why I set up the radio the way I did. I am think of posting it in the Equipment section. If anyone is interested, PM me here.

Enjoy the new radio, emd001! I know you will.

Phil
Reply With Quote
  #96 (permalink)  
Old 09-28-2009, 5:59 PM
SOFA_KING's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: SE Florida
Posts: 1,580
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimNS3K View Post
That's one of the great things about D-Star. Even if you don't have a repeater near you you can get a DV Dongle, and as long as you have internet access the Dongle turns your computer into a D-star radio and you can connect to any D-Star repeater around the world.

Jim, NS3K
Very true. It is worth the money. You get to hear what is going on around the world.

NEWS FLASH:

Florida now has another two D-STAR repeaters. KI4WZA has a 2m and 70 cm system in Milton, FL.

That makes 15 - 2m repeaters, 16 - 440 repeaters, and 7 - 23 cm repeaters. There is also 6 high speed data 23 cm machines. People who use it are having a blast. Don't miss out...D-STAR is growing fast.

Phil
Reply With Quote
  #97 (permalink)  
Old 12-01-2009, 7:51 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,440
Default D-Star recieve

When you have your D-Star radio in D-Star recieve mode, can you tell if someone is talking analog on the frequency? I'm not asking of you can understand them, just asking if you can tell someone is "out there" on analog FM while you are monitoring in D-Star mode.

Last edited by Wyandotte; 12-01-2009 at 7:53 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #98 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2009, 7:33 AM
Caesar's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Cayce, SC
Posts: 163
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyandotte View Post
When you have your D-Star radio in D-Star recieve mode, can you tell if someone is talking analog on the frequency? I'm not asking of you can understand them, just asking if you can tell someone is "out there" on analog FM while you are monitoring in D-Star mode.
depends if you have your radio in DV mode with auto detect on or off, auto detect on with pick up the FM transmission and break squelch so you can hear it, but if someone is talking in DV mode at the same time you will not hear the FM transmission...
Reply With Quote
  #99 (permalink)  
Old 12-03-2009, 1:55 AM
Hamradiostuffing's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 300
Default D-Star: If We Don’t Build It, They Won’t Come.

from D-Star: If We Don’t Build It, They Won’t Come. | Pearl's Paradise

In the movie “Field of Dreams” Shoeless Joe Jackson lurked just beyond the edge of the cornfield ringing Kevin Costner’s fictional Iowa home. Until the diamond was complete, the field perfectly striped, manicured, and groomed, Shoeless Joe and his 1919 Black Sox exiles remained out of sight, out of mind.

Such is the state of D-Star implementation in the Ham Radio community. Commercial-grade equipment from Icom sits on store shelves gathering dust while radios purchased by early-adopters churn their way through eBay, eHam.net, Craig’s list, and a host of other online swap meets. The hype machine from Icom kicked into high gear with the release of the first commercially available digitally-equipped Ham radios. Early adopters who had long sought a digital alternative to analog bandwidth-hogging technology jumped on the crazy train. The rest of the legacy-bound Ham community let go with a collective “yawn!”


D-Star’s detractors are both vocal and prolific. “It’s too complicated.” “It’s a closed system based on a proprietary protocol.” “It’s too expensive.” “Nobody really needs digital.” “It’s a solution in search of a problem.” “I sound like R2D2 if I go out of range of the repeater.”

Then there is perhaps the single biggest hurdle to adoption. “There just aren’t enough D-Star repeaters in my area. When FM repeaters are already falling silent, why are we even worrying about D-Star?”

You just can’t get geeked-up over digital communications if there aren’t any digital repeaters within shouting distance.

The truth is that many of these complaints are legitimate. Drawing battle lines between the pro-D-Star and anti-D-Star forces in a copycat replay of the Beta -vs- VHS wars misses the point. As someone squarely in the pro-D-Star camp I can speak honestly to my brethren. D-Star has its warts. It’s time for us to accept that reality and make a more compelling case to our non-D-Star compadres as to why adoption is to their benefit in specific and ham radio in general.

There is no getting around this first truth. D-Star is indeed complicated. Whereas with analog FM communications you need only know the repeater frequency, CTCSS tone, and frequency split, in D-Star you need to know the call sign of the repeater you are accessing as well as the precise spacing of the call sign and “node address” you are programming. The first time I programmed my D-Star radio – even knowing all the call signs and spacing required – it took me more than an hour to make my first successful contact. The second repeater I tried to enter took another 20 to 30 minutes just to get all the parameters entered properly and tested thoroughly.

With D-Star it is no longer enough to dial up a frequency and hear “W3XYZ Repeater System” ring back. No, now you must pre-program your radio with your call sign, the call sign of the repeater, and the node you are attaching to on the D-Star repeater stack. Interestingly, the D-Star gurus who came up with the standard labeled their repeater node arrangement with the seemingly child-like A, B, and C. Unfortunately, A = 1.2Ghz, B = 440Mhz, and C = 144Mhz. To put not too fine a point on it, who decided that 1.2Ghz was the most popular band and deserved the “A” rating? For people who read left-to-right (the majority of the world’s linguists) the logic seems bass-ackwards and counterintuitive.

And let’s not forget all the global interlinking going on between D-Star gateway systems scattered across the world. Figuring out how to jump from system to system adds its own measure of complexity to the digital stew.

Complicating D-Star adoption further – and in spite of Icom’s assertions to the contrary – D-Star is indeed a proprietary communications platform. Icom may argue that D-Star is based on allegedly “open” Japanese Amateur Radio League standards, but by leveraging the “proprietary” AMBE voice-encoding protocol and patenting the required necessary codec chip-set they have essentially closed the standard to competition. You want to compete with Icom’s D-Star juggernaut with a D-Star system of your own? Get ready to bow, cash in hand, at the feet of Icom to pay the royalties you will owe on every chip set you purchase from them. The D-Star specification may be in the public domain but the way Icom leaped to the fore with its implementation put most manufacturers in the position of paying homage to their main competition. Is it any wonder Yaesu, Alinco, and Kenwood are dragging their feet in creating D-Star radios of their own?

Devotees of the relatively more open APCO25 digital standard used by most first responder systems in America emphasize that they face none of the D-Star-esque proprietary hurdles under their favorite platform. True, but there are also no amateur radio manufacturers producing any APCO25 equipment in a form usable by the majority of today’s “appliance” operators. Like it or not, APCO25 fanboys, it’s a standard that is going nowhere fast in the Ham world. Unless you can buy the hardware off the store shelf, the standard just isn’t going to gain traction.

Yet availability alone is no guarantee of success. You can pickup D-Star equipment at just about any Amateur Radio retailer. From the V-series single-band 2m handhelds to the top-of-the-line 1.2Ghz ID-1, Icom has a full line of gear just ripe for the taking. So why aren’t more people on the bandwagon?

D-Star equipment remains prohibitively expensive for the majority of Amateur Radio operators, especially in today’s economic climate. What is the cost of a basic analog-only dual-band mobile radio? $280.00 will buy you a nice, one-band-at-a-time Icom IC-208H, the radio on which the D-Star equipped ID-800H is based. The price of the ID-800H? $450.00 after discounts. But that doesn’t even begin to come close to the more than double price premium expected out of those who go for the upscale IC-2820H radio with the add-on D-Star module. That baby will set you back nearly $900.00. The next closest advanced, analog-only radio from competitor Kenwood, although with the added features of APRS in the mix, comes in at under $500.00.

And don’t get me started on the price of D-Star repeaters. Forget homebrewing a decent repeater system and self-programming a controller. D-Star repeaters are strictly the domain of commercial-grade heavyweights with serious coin to lay on the counter.

A prevalent myth, however, is the notion that D-Star is a solution in search of a problem. On this score I simply can’t jump in with the D-Star bashing faithful. Band over-crowding, especially in the 144Mhz range, is a legacy of 25khz bandwidth spacing necessary on analog signals. D-Star’s bandwidth? 6khz including the 950bps data sub-stream that comes along for the ride on every voice transmission. On the count of pure bandwidth efficiency, D-Star wins the day. It isn’t even close. You can fit three D-Star signals in the space of just one analog signal. Digital communications are simply more bandwidth efficient, including simultaneous-data features analog-only radios can only dream of.

Like the proverbial Field of Dreams D-Star’s biggest hurdle to adoption has less to do with technical merit, cost, or even bein a solution in search of a problem, and everything to do with the simple matter of availability. Without a ballfield on which to play, the ghostly apparitions of Shoeless Joe and his friends had no reason to come out of the cornfield. This, too, appears the strongest source of inertia blocking wide-scale D-Star adoption. There simply aren’t enough decent, local ball fields on which to play the digital game.

In the Philadelphia area we have precisely two D-Star repeater systems on line. Sometime later this year or early next, more will come on line as a part of a grant from the Southeastern PA DHS Task Force. For now there are only two. One of the two is located in wealthy, well-endowed, and leading-edge Chester County. The other system (K3PDR) is located near the Philadelphia / Montgomery County border in southeastern Montgomery County. Though the K3PDR repeater has a decent footprint according to computer models, neither is a prime location for a wide-area footprint throughout the Philadelphia region and neither seems to be all that busy with enthusiast traffic on any given day.

(To be fair, the Chester County system is dedicated to Emergency Communications, not hobbyist thrills. The relative dearth of traffic is noticeable nonetheless.)

With just two repeaters on the air, and with large numbers of Hams scattered throughout the hilly country surrounding Philadelphia, is it any wonder why D-Star’s embrace, including support of the price premium expected out of early adopters, has been glacially slow in our region? It makes me wonder whether similar such stories elsewhere are a contributing factor to D-Star’s slow up-take nationally.

D-Star is a wonderful tool, too complicated to dive into without some mentoring but with significant merit worthy of the inquisitive ham’s consideration. Until more repeater clubs make the switch and force both a lowering of Icom’s prices as well as an opening of the standard to cost-competition among Icom’s corporate foes, D-Star’s adoption will remain tepid and cautious. Merely having analog capabilities on the radio is not justification enough for most hams to bear the significant price premium required to breath the rarified D-Star air.

I’m looking for a ball field to play on with my D-Star powered ball, glove, and bat. I wonder how many others who considered D-Star briefly and shied away feel the same way?
Reply With Quote
  #100 (permalink)  
Old 12-03-2009, 8:26 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,440
Thumbs down D-Star

Interesting post, HamRadioStuffing,
(I'm not going to quote the whole post, but I'm sure someone will ).

I think D-Star will be around just as long as ham radio. Yes, it's a bit complicated, but the folks who have gotten into it have too much invested to drop out.

My biggest issues are two-fold:

a. It seems like to put up a machine, there's too much peer pressure to have it hooked into the net so others across the world can link to you. Some folks with superior height may not want to "make a racket" trying to get an internet link at the site they are using. Somebody is kind enough to let you you use the top of their building, you don't want to get pushy.

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.

Last edited by Wyandotte; 12-03-2009 at 8:59 PM..
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
sticky

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:08 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
All information here is Copyright 2012 by RadioReference.com LLC and Lindsay C. Blanton III.Ad Management by RedTyger
Copyright 2015 by RadioReference.com LLC Privacy Policy  |  Terms and Conditions