Where Is D-Star Going?

D-Star was front and centre at Dayton this year.

On Friday morning, there was an D-Star workshop put on by the Georgia D-STAR group which went over the basics of how D-Star works and was well worth the time. Video from the workshop is coming online soon.

D-Star is a digital format that can be used simplex (radio to radio) or can involve a repeater (radio to repeater to other radios) and can also link repeaters and devices called reflectors (which can host lots of people on one channel).

I think I’ve got this right even though technically it might not be right on.

I also attended the Friday afternoon D-Star Forum at the Hara Centre which was on advances in D-Star technology.

To say I understood everything would be an overstatement but here’s what it comes down to: some of the guys in D-Star development want to introduce more human connection into this automated digital world.

So what does that mean?DH_FV-1-masked

I’m thinking we’re going to see a lot more integration of other technology like BlueTooth and smart phones and the D-Star network. We’re likely going to see multiple format platforms running that can accept any digital signal coming at it.

One really exciting development was a commercial product called the DHAP by Hardened Power Systems. Checkout the video on this site.

One issue that D-Star has made worse rather than better is now repeater trolls can be heard on 30 machines at the same time as opposed to one.

You may have heard a repeater troll. They live on the local machine and anytime you sign on they either offer a comment (usually without identifying) or they engage you in the same conversation you had yesterday and the day before with them. Sort of like Ham Radio’s version of Groundhog Day.

With D-Star, the repeater troll is now heard all across the system. When I was down in Dayton I was scanning the local D-Star repeaters and sure enough on two machines was the same repeater troll I hear at home.

Of course this is more of a social issue than a technological one but it the reason some people dropped the D-Star system in favour of other formats like Motorola’s DMR.

With more equipment being built for all the digital formats and with prices coming down we’re going to see a lot more activity everywhere. Remember these are early days.

 

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About Peter West

I am retired. I'm invested into bike riding, guitar playing, yoga and Ham Radio. I am a former photojournalist, newspaper and magazine editor and public relations practitioner with national, regional and local experience. A long-time member of Toastmasters International and an active Amateur Radio (Ham) operator here in Canada I am taking on new challenges.

2 thoughts on “Where Is D-Star Going?

  1. Hi Peter,

    I am avidly reading your D-STAR messages. We don’t have a D-STAR repeater up here in the Sault, but we’re hoping in the future. . .

    One thing that puzzles me is that there are two repeater systems listed for D-Star in Oakville. Well, one is probably a hotspot on 440, VE3OBP, and the other is a combination of a 1.2g repeater and hotspots on 440 & 2m, VE3SRY. The puzzling thing is this: with the coordinates given, they are placed in the middle of Lake Ontario down towards St. Catherine’s, as listed on the dstarinfo.com website, maintained by the Georgia boys. Is this on purpose or just a mistake?

    Now that you’ve had them for awhile, how do you like your ‘880 & ’31?

    Speaking of SDR, I understand the new radios; i.e. the ’31, ’51 and ‘5100 are basically SDR in nature. Changing only the software/firmware adds the latest in features, such as the new 3x data speed for those new radios.

    Will DMR become more popular? Could be, with the Chinese coming on board with their copies. dPMR is also a standard, besides DMR, that they seem to be pursuing. With the price of some of them . . .

    Cheers,

    Dave VE3JX.

  2. Never heard of the term “Repeater troll” You know the first time I got my license 1991 no code tech I was 22 years old. I attempted to talk to some people on repeaters and found the people really didn’t want to talk to me. They either ignored me or paused for 20-30 seconds and answered me then went back to their weather talk or what ever. Most of the time no one even answered my call sign then a minutes later 2-3 would start talking. What I could tell at that time Ham radio was a bunch of cranky old retired men from some backroom lab at a defense company “old boy club” radio. These people could careless about new people wanting to talk on the radio. Not all were like this a few I did talk to but not that much.

    You know what I did I stopped using my ham radio my license expired in 2001. I found the internet to be much more interesting. Fast forward to 2014 I renewed my tech license after 20+ years I heard ham radio was going dead lot of dead air on repeaters I pulled out my old FT-470 and you know what lot of repeaters were dead air I knew the repeater was there because I keyed up with my call sign and it put out it’s call sign. No one talking all day long on the weekend I listened to a few. I guess those old men that didn’t like me in 1991 actually are dead now.

    One day in 2014 I read about DSTAR and I thought that seems really cool so I thought maybe I can find some people to talk to since those old cranks are dead I could use a digital network on the internet. FCC is all too happy to give away ham bands to cell companies if no one is using it maybe you guys on those repeaters might think more about talking to new people instead of ignoring them maybe people thought I was a “Repeater Troll” I guess things haven’t really changed much on the Ham Repeater’s.

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