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Thread: Kenwood APRS vs Icom D-star? Which to choose?

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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    Rochester, MN
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    20,158

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    Quote Originally Posted by KB1NXE View Post



    Both can connect via GPS receivers and relay their position. The APRS system typically need outboard equipment (laptops, Packet TNCs, GPS) in order to do both text and position reporting. D-Star may need external GPS inputs with some rigs offering all in one solutions. The closest I know of in an APRS system is the aforementioned 710 has a built in TNC, but requires an outboard laptop (I may be wrong here, someone correct me if I am) to do messaging. I own a 708 that does not have the built-in TNC (only difference as I understand it from the 710). The D-Star can send text using a method similar to cell phone texting. With an outboard laptop on a D-Start rig, you have many options for chat, messaging, E-Mail, file sharing, etc.
    Uh, no... the D700 and D710 as well as the older THD7 handheld and I believe the new Yaesu VX-8R can all do text messaging without an outboard PC. It's almost exactly like 'texting' on a cellphone - you use the DTMF keys on the mike to do the letters. They both have a lot of other 'built in' APRS functions which make them convenient to use in that mode.

    Another thing to note is that the digital speed for APRS is actually faster than for D-Star on 2 meters or 440. But, on the 1.2 Ghz. band, the D-Star ID1 provides a much higher speed connection.

    There is a D-Star gateway that can be used like EchoLink to connect your D-Star mobiles into the wider D-Star network via the Internet, but I understand the functionality is somewhat limited.

    I'm really glad to hear that D-Star is growing rapidly.
    EchoLink, IRLP, Allstar and DSTAR linking - adding interest to repeaters worldwide 24X7

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC0REY View Post
    My only problem with D-Star is it is proprietary. And that is why I think D-Star is a passing fad. There are folks who are trying to get computer based D-Star working and Icom won't play. Seriously big bucks are involved as well.
    This is one misconception that I try to correct every time I see it...

    The D-STAR Specification is NOT proprietary.

    In fact, you can download the entire specification that contains all the information you need to build your own D-STAR equipment and/or software from the ARRL (who translated it from the native Japanese document published by JARL): http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/reg...har/D-STAR.pdf

    Now there is one proprietary component of a D-STAR equipped radio - and that is the chip that does the actual analog to digital conversion. The D-STAR specification (as authored by JARL) indicates that the voice encoding will be done via the AMBE protocol. And that protocol is proprietary.

    It is the choice, for whatever reason, of JARL to specify a proprietary (and expensive to licence) encoding standard that makes it impossible for amateurs to experiment with D-STAR. The company that owns AMBE, Digital Voice Systems, will only licence AMBE software for 6 to 7 figure licence fees. If you want low-quantity or prototype licences, they will sell you a chip that does all the AMBE in hardware, so you can't reverse engineer it.

    Icom gets a lot of bad press in the Ham-verse for DSTAR, but NONE of it is Icom's fault. Icom pays Digital Voice Systems a licence fee for every D-STAR equipped raido they sell - just like everyone else. The only reason that nobody else is selling D-STAR radios is that they aren't willing to take the financial risk of licencing AMBE.
    --73, Andrew
    N3OCQ

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Gladewater,TX
    Posts
    135

    Talking APRS vs D-Star

    OH no you dont need a laptop or keyboard to send MSG over APRS. All the Kenwood APRS radios have everything you need to send MSG and why they didn't add this to D-Star I don't know. But the MSG and tracking features of APRS isnt all you can do! You can send Email, Text MSG to cell Phones, Winlink2000 Email, See local Objects such as Repeaters, Weather Stations, Hospitals, Traffic Jams, Club Meetings, National Weather Service bulletins which includes Watch Boxes and Warnings. And the list goes on so why there is even a question of which one to use I really dont see a comparison. They are two different birds. APRS uses old technology to see and use modern features. Such as AX.25 Protocol at 1200 BPS. It is a little slow but hey it works and quite well actually and I always believe in the old saying of "Why fix what isnt broke?"

    I think the one difference between the two is the speed. If you are going to be doing RACES and your local RACES uses D-Star then you may want to go that route but dollar for dollar you get 10 fold the features with APRS as you do with D-Star. Plus you can add a base APRS Station without buying any new equipment and isnt that what Ham Radio is all about? Making some old stuff do new tricks? That is what I was told it was all about by my Elmer in 1992. So just drag out the old TNC or find one from an O/M and put it to use!!!! Along with a PC of course. Then you not only have a Mobile you may have spent some money on but you also have a base station too capable of doing APRS with very little money if you have a 2Meter Radio, a TNC laying around and an old PC. Or you could run one of the Sound Card Interfaces will work too instead of using a TNC is another option at the house.

    But either way it is very easy to set up a Base Station on APRS to keep in touch with or watch the Mobile with. So I am sorry but other than the reason of being able to provide an Internet connection with D-Star Radio there is just no comparison of the two! And why anyone would want D-Star other than to do RACES with a group because they already have the very exspensive Repeater and Radios already I really dont know why anyone would want D-Star because you can use ECHO-Link or IRLP with an APRS Radio at the push of a button. Which is basically the same as the D-Star Link features.

    So from where I stand D-Star is just like someone already said. "A passing fad." Unless of course they make some major changes to its features that is.

    Enjoy and I hope to see you on my map. =]

    DE WW5RM

    Randall

    Quote Originally Posted by KB1NXE View Post
    I own both APRS and D-Star. As said, these are different animals. APRS is for position reporting and does text messaging as a side. It is an analog medium (inasmuch as the data is modulated into analog sounds for transmission and demodulated from the analog to digital). It is a wide bandwidth method of transmitting up to 9600 baud with 1200 typical. It is relatively slow in it's transmission speed.

    D-Star is a digital encoding method for voice (using a VOCODER). Since it is a digital medium, it lends itself to digital message transmission at a higher rate of up to 128Kbps. Some have experienced 196Kbps. It is possible to 'surf the web' using a D-Star system. It is a narrow bandwidth system

    Both can connect via GPS receivers and relay their position. The APRS system typically need outboard equipment (laptops, Packet TNCs, GPS) in order to do both text and position reporting. D-Star may need external GPS inputs with some rigs offering all in one solutions. The closest I know of in an APRS system is the aforementioned 710 has a built in TNC, but requires an outboard laptop (I may be wrong here, someone correct me if I am) to do messaging. I own a 708 that does not have the built-in TNC (only difference as I understand it from the 710). The D-Star can send text using a method similar to cell phone texting. With an outboard laptop on a D-Start rig, you have many options for chat, messaging, E-Mail, file sharing, etc.

    As I said, I own both. I think the D-Star solution is a much easier and less cumbersome approach. It is not widely available as a digital repeater system, but becoming more and more so. Use of a D-Star rig does not preclude you from using analog systems (repeaters) with the exception of the Icom ID-1 which is a 1.2GHz digital only rig. By digital only, I mean it is incapable of working analog repeaters.

    If you want a recommendation - go with the D-Star system. It will grow (is growing) and it is still usable as an APRS system in much the same way many of the available rigs are today. With a D-Star rig, you can have them both, but not the other way around.
    Last edited by WW5RM; 09-19-2009 at 01:04 AM.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Cumbria, UK
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    853

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    Quote Originally Posted by WW5RM View Post
    APRS uses old technology to see and use modern features. Such as AX.25 Protocol at 1200 BPS. It is a little slow but hey it works and quite well actually and I always believe in the old saying of "Why fix what isnt broke?
    Boy do I agree with that! D-Star is a solution looking for a problem. It is not, as has already been pointed out, a proprietary system. But the prime reason for its existence is commercialization. It is a technology developed by the JARL that has been seized upon by Icom as a way of selling more radios. Through marketing and offering cheap deals to repeater groups they are setting up D-Star repeaters in areas where there is already existing repeater coverage, in the hope that people will buy D-Star radios to try this out. But we should all resist D-Star because its ultimate result, if it becomes successful, will be to make a lot of existing equipment obsolete that would otherwise have years of useful life left.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    In Missouri Ozark Mountains
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    It seems in our area that the only ones that are interested in APRS is the EComs. In fact most of our state there is D-Star coverage around larger cities and that goes for APRS as well.
    73 de Fred N0AZZ

    _____________________________________

    The License is Only Your Starting Point in Radio!
    MVDX/CC of SW MO., DX Hogs, OARS, NARC, NCDXF
    ARRL member, ARRL and W5YI VE
    DX the thrill of the chase

    ""D-STAR making use of the 2/ 440m repeaters for real world Digital Voice usage around town and around the world""

    " Not one of us can do what all of us can do " ** Max Lucado

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Macomb, IL
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    Quote Originally Posted by N0AZZ View Post
    It seems in our area that the only ones that are interested in APRS is the EComs. In fact most of our state there is D-Star coverage around larger cities and that goes for APRS as well.
    You live in the state of Misery. I live close to your state and travel through all the time. Nice state, even nicer people...and friendly hams.
    Repeater coverage is adequate (my 5th grader spelled that for me), and the only large cities you have is St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield. You have many areas between them that don't have any repeater coverage. Very spotty D-Star coverage I would say.

    APRS is not primarily used by EMCOMM. I have noticed a bunch of ECOMMERS using it in the KC area, but the primary users are hams just like you and I.


    Travel around some more before you make broad statements like the one I quoted. I think your statement could be better made about D-Star.

    Yes, I am anti D-Star and pro APRS
    . I use APRS because it is fun and it works everywhere.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Macomb, IL
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    5,063

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    Quote Originally Posted by G4ILO View Post
    Boy do I agree with that! D-Star is a solution looking for a problem. It is not, as has already been pointed out, a proprietary system. But the prime reason for its existence is commercialization. It is a technology developed by the JARL that has been seized upon by Icom as a way of selling more radios. Through marketing and offering cheap deals to repeater groups they are setting up D-Star repeaters in areas where there is already existing repeater coverage, in the hope that people will buy D-Star radios to try this out. But we should all resist D-Star because its ultimate result, if it becomes successful, will be to make a lot of existing equipment obsolete that would otherwise have years of useful life left.
    Exactly how I feel!

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Frederick, Maryland
    Posts
    2,252

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    I put together my first APRS station for about $100 I haven't been able to do that with DSTAR! One of the early responders was right, it is really apples and oranges.

    The thought has crossed my mind of converting the club's lightly used 70cm repeater (on a mountain with 5 other 70cm repeaters) to DSTAR just for something different, but the idea really hasn't gone anywhere. Chicken and eggs, nobody has the radios so why bother, but there is no repeater so why get the radios.

    73 de Joseph Durnal NE3R
    Joseph Durnal - [callsign]NE3R[/callsign] ex N3PAQ
    [URL="http://cryptojoe.blogspot.com"]http://cryptojoe.blogspot.com[/URL]

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by G4ILO View Post
    Boy do I agree with that! D-Star is a solution looking for a problem. It is not, as has already been pointed out, a proprietary system. But the prime reason for its existence is commercialization. It is a technology developed by the JARL that has been seized upon by Icom as a way of selling more radios. Through marketing and offering cheap deals to repeater groups they are setting up D-Star repeaters in areas where there is already existing repeater coverage, in the hope that people will buy D-Star radios to try this out. But we should all resist D-Star because its ultimate result, if it becomes successful, will be to make a lot of existing equipment obsolete that would otherwise have years of useful life left.
    Very well put! I totally agree!
    D-Star is not what ham radio is about. Might just as well use your cell phone. Everybody has one.
    It creates a US and THEM mentality. It splits the ham community.
    Resist D-Star!!!

  10. #20

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    No one has pointed it out yet but D-star is a technology just waiting to be made obsolete.

    What happens to your D-star system when the next generation of vocoder comes out? What happens when the next generation of digital transmission technology comes out (e.g. a high speed PAM system)?

    We've already been through wnat? 3 generations of cell phone technology? Wait till that happens with amateur radio. Talk about a lot of wailing about money having been wasted.

    Digital technology just absolutely lends itself to a host of Tower of Babel problems. Plain old analog FM technology does not.

    tim ab0wr

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