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Old 03-08-2019, 04:31 PM   #1
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D-Star (or APRS or both)

Anyone using D-Star? Been playing around with it lately, and kind of liking it.

Also been using APRS for some nearby trips. I kind of resist using the APRS droid app, because, well, just my preference, that's all.

Cheers!
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Old 03-09-2019, 03:24 AM   #2
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D-Star (or APRS or both)

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedSHED View Post
Anyone using D-Star? Been playing around with it lately, and kind of liking it.

Also been using APRS for some nearby trips. I kind of resist using the APRS droid app, because, well, just my preference, that's all.

Cheers!
Hi RedSHED,

You can do both with a radio like the Kenwood D-TH-D74 HT. The HT can do both conventional APRS and DStar. DStar does have a GPS capability, but it's one way into the network, your not tuned to 144.39 hearing any other stations around you. The Kenwood will also do conventional APRS on 144.39. With DStar you have the ability to QSO world wide: https://www.kenwood.com/usa/com/amateur/th-d74a/

Build or buy a DStar mobile HotSpot for your trips or use at home. It's not difficult..the recipe is easy. The HotSpot is typically a raspberry-pi with a modem such as a dvmega board (10mw Uhf or VHF). It's about the size of a deck of cards, powered by a 5v 2a cell charger. You'll need to feed it a wifi internet connection via phone tethered or hotspot mode, or something like a mifi. Data use is really, really low in comparison to browsing or streaming other data forms. Cost of a HotSpot is around 150-200 depending upon what you build or get.

Once you've established camp you can stroll around with the HT talking through the HotSpot to the world. The dvmega HotSpot is 10mw and even with a tiny stub antenna is good for several blocks around your camp.

You can also expand the dvmega HotSpot to be multi-mode...DStar, DMR, Fusion, P25, NXDN...you'd need other radios to talk in those modes but some also will crossover. There's lot's of capability, it's all in what you want to get out of it.

You can also use the HT on a DStar repeater, or conventional analog repeaters. The down side to that is only having 5w from the HT for talk power. Then it's all about antenna, location, and conditions, but of course there are ways to overcome these issues too. External vertical, mirage amplifier etc...

I used to bring lot's of gear with me...now it's just the HT, HotSpot and a JetPack and I get my radio fix for the trip. YMMV...hi hi

Tom - S/OS #025
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Old 03-10-2019, 06:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STREMN View Post
Hi RedSHED,

You can do both with a radio like the Kenwood D-TH-D74 HT. The HT can do both conventional APRS and DStar. DStar does have a GPS capability, but it's one way into the network, your not tuned to 144.39 hearing any other stations around you. The Kenwood will also do conventional APRS on 144.39. With DStar you have the ability to QSO world wide: https://www.kenwood.com/usa/com/amateur/th-d74a/

...
Thanks for the response! I've been messing around with APRS since last summer (I bought a Kenwood TH-D74 after passing the general exam - woot!). It's a stunning radio.

Just started playing around with DStar a couple weeks ago. The local repeater is 20 miles away and the echo tests weren't promising so I picked up a jumbospot board last week and spent some time this afternoon getting it up and running with a spare pi 0 w I'd already soldered headers on. It wasn't bad at all to get working.

Cheers!
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Old 03-11-2019, 03:44 AM   #4
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D-Star (or APRS or both)

Sweet! I'm just preaching to the choir then...you're all over it!

Congratulations on the general ticket! Nice job! I did the same when I got my ticket...picked up a IC-92AD at the time as my graduation present. Fast forward on to today's radios, wow pretty nice how things have changed. They're more intuitive with better menus etc...

20 miles on 5w is a big stretch and your right to go the HotSpot route. It'll give you a "personal repeater" that lets you can go anywhere and do what you like.

Don't know what your using for software on the pi0, but I'd recommend Pi-Star available at: http://www.pistar.uk/downloads/

It's the simplest to use of all the images out there. It's platform independent because it uses a browser for an interface. I've built several HotSpots using a variety of raspberry Pi, dvmega's, mmdvm boards and dvrptr's. The latter is no longer available. They all give you great flexibility.

PM if you need anything with the HotSpot or Pi-Star. We can talk it out on email, cell or teamviewer.

Best!

Tom - S/OS #025
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Old 03-11-2019, 08:17 PM   #5
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The install went pretty well.
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Old 03-12-2019, 03:52 AM   #6
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D-Star (or APRS or both)

Perfect! Well now you've got things configured and working at home...it's just a matter of packing it up and doing it mobile now. Probably the most complex thing is feeding the HotSpot a wifi connection on the road or at camp. We bring along a jetpack and that works for us, but a hotspot connection from your phone or a tether will do the job.

A 24/7 365 connection to a really busy reflector with daily software updates is about 2.5Gb a month. So data use is not really a deal breaker. Another thing you can customize is a power supply for the HotSpot. A portable battery like you'd use to recharge a smartphone etc...can provide all day operation. Rigging things right it can be a buffer to ignition starts in the TV and even offer pedestrian/bicycle mobile operations from a pocket or bag. Lot's of possibilities.

Operationally the busiest reflectors are REF001 C, REF030 C. REF001 is based in the UK and offers more of an international flavor with folks talking worldwide. Usually over 500 HotSpots and gateways connected to it. There's a Sunday night net at 8pm east coast (0000 UTC) that usually goes on for 3 hours or so. REF030 is based in GA SE USA and usually has around 500 HotSpots and over 40 gateways connected. It sees a lot of International connections too, but is centric to the SE and US areas. But you've got it linked to your HotSpot already so you can hear it yourself.

Here's a website that list's reflectors worldwide: http://www.dstarinfo.com/reflectors.aspx and another that lists repeaters: http://dstarusers.org/ A lot of the reflectors are generally centric to States or regions of a country, but there aren't really any boundaries.

Congratulations! Enjoy the hobby with all that new gear!

Best and 73 -

Tom - S/OS #025
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Old 03-12-2019, 07:21 AM   #7
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Ok, I'll bite...

I have no idea what this is but I am curious! Any pointers to a beginners guide?

Thanks!
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Old 03-12-2019, 07:27 AM   #8
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This is very cool stuff!

http://www.dstarinfo.com/faq.aspx
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:32 AM   #9
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D-Star (or APRS or both)

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Ok, I'll bite...
I have no idea what this is but I am curious! Any pointers to a beginners guide?
Thanks!
Gsmblue - It's Amateur Radio...sorry for all the acronyms etc... RedShed was asking about DStar, which is a digital mode of voice communications for 2-way radio. In the US it requires a license from the FCC to use. Although it sounds intimidating...the license isn't really all that difficult to get. It does require that you pass a written multiple choice test. The questions and answers for the test are published in a question pool so that you can study to pass the exam. There are online resources that help you study for the exams like this one on QRZ: https://www.qrz.com/hamtest/

APRS is an acronym for Automatic Position Reporting System...essentially beaconing your location over a 2-way radio frequency to a network of receivers. APRS consists of a volunteer network of amateur radio receivers and transmitters that share the info you broadcast into a one to many format. Once into the network it can be seen on mapping sites like APRS.FI

Tom - S/OS #025
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