Friday, January 4, 2013

D-Star in Tulsa

Gregg Wonderly, W5GGW reports:
The  TARC D-Star repeater, on 443.000mhz is up and running with the network connection working good.  We still have some packet loss between the tower and the gateway computer, but I've tried to decrease the packet sizes by an increase in the hopping frequency so that noise or problems on one segment of the 900Mhz band has a smaller impact on the total quality of the audio being transmitted across 900Mhz.

I enjoyed the D-Star web program put on over last weekend of Dec at the web site.  It had a lot of great information in it.  There are reruns still available on that web site.  There were a couple of times that audio cut out as they changed speakers or at the start of a session, so just hang tight what that happens in the replays, and you'll get audio back shortly.

I currently have 443.000 connected to reflector REF014C.  Reflectors are internet connected hubs which handle the large bandwidth needed for lots of users being "internet" connected to one or more repeaters.  If you want to connect to a different reflector, you can use the 'unlink' mechanism by sending a 'U' in position 8 of the UR call field.  The list of possible reflectors can be located on the internet by searching for "dstar reflectors".  The web page is at the top of the results. To connect to one of the reflectors, set the UR call to the reflectors name with an additional 'L' character in position 8.

Each of the reflectors listed, has a "Usage" description of it, and location information etc.  You can click through the links there in your web browser, and see which repeaters and users are connected to which reflectors.

There was a lot of information provided on the DV-AP and DV-Dongle devices. These devices are internet connected dongles which allow you to use D-Star as well.

The DV-AP is an "access point" like device which you connect to your computer. It has a low power FM transceiver on board, which you can talk through, with your conventional FM equipment.  That device provides the D-Star CODEC to encode/decode your voice for D-Star.  It then gateways your transmission into the reflector/repeater which you've used your computer to connect to.

The DV-Dongle is also connected through your computer, but requires you to use a headset for your audio in and out.  If you are setting near a computer, and can stay there, then this device can make it possible to get into D-Star with that simple restriction on your movement.

Both of these devices can be found on the internet at the various ham radio equipment stores.

The DRATs application was also reviewed.  DRATs allows you to use your D-Star radios digital data services to send text messages, transfer files and other related data services.  It is a great ARES resource for support activities because you can use your D-Star radio, as you would a TNC, and this application provides all of the "applications" without you having to do the extra work to manage your data transfers manually.

There are lots of D-Star nets being run world wide.  There is a list at which you can review to see if there are some interesting topics which you'd like to participate in.  If you have a DV-Dongle, you can sit at your computer and connect to these nets and participate directly.  With the DV-AP, you can also connect via your computer, but be able to use your FM HT, around the house to participate.  If you want to use a D-Star radio, then you can check for any activity on a local repeater, such as the TARC 443.000mhz. If there are no other users who need the repeater for something else, then you can simply link the repeater to the appropriate reflector and participate.

This coming year, I will be taking some time to do some D-Star demonstrations and programs at the TARC club meetings.  If you have an interest in D-Star, feel free to send me an email to and I can try and provide some answers or pointers to answers.

Editor's Note:  Are you using D-Star?  

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