Confused about DIgital Voice Modes...

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W8AMD, Aug 16, 2019.

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  1. W8AMD

    W8AMD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good Evening all

    Had a question about getting into Digital voice. I looked and there are some Digital Repeaters near me! I understand D-Star is pretty much it's own thing, but I was looking into Yaesu System Fusion since it appears to be the simplest mode to use (tune the repeater and go from what I can tell) but I noticed some Yaesu radios are listed as, WiresX, C4FM, or Fusion. Whats the difference between those 3? Are they all related? Are they the same thing even?

    Any tips are greatly appreciated. I'm still debating on which one I'd want to pursue. The nearest DMR repeater is pretty far away and would require a hotspot, that was the original one I was thinking of getting into due to the lower cost of the radio, but Now I've noticed I have 2 repeaters near me that are D-Star and 2 that are listed on repeater book as "Fusion WIRES" So As I stated earlier I'm confused on what the difference is between Fusion and WIRES.

    Lastly for a radio I was looking at the Yaesu FTM-3200 DR since it is a decent price but it is listed as C4FM and I'm wondering if that's compatible with WIRES or Fusion.

    Thanks, 73's
  2. W7UUU

    W7UUU Super Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Personally, I know practically nothing other than there are a lot of YouTube videos with knowledgeable people explaining the various systems.

    K6UDA has a number of them - short and to the point - and fun to watch.

    Just a suggestion to add to your searching along with whatever replies you get here... I've watched a bunch of them just for the heck of it but those modes really don't much appeal to me, personally.

    Good luck in your quest!

    WA6OSX likes this.
  3. KB9MWR

    KB9MWR Ham Member QRZ Page

    WiresX - What they call their radio to internet linking protocol.
    C4FM - The digital modulation (its a continuous 4 level FSK)
    Fusion - What they call their digital mode (think trademark name)

    A simple internet search would have found these answers.

    Compare to D-Star:
    D-Plus - One of the radio to internet linking protocols
    GMSK - The digital modulation - Gaussian Minimum Shift Keying
    D-Star - What they call their digital mode (think trademark name)
    W8AMD likes this.
  4. W8AMD

    W8AMD Ham Member QRZ Page

    It was not explained like this and this was way easier to understand. So no a simple google search did not help but thank you I understand now
  5. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    WIRES is like Echolink. "Fusion" is their equivalent to D-Star and DMR.
  6. KT1F

    KT1F Ham Member QRZ Page

    What does the "Personally," mean there? I see it quite often but I've never figured out the difference between "I ..." and "Personally, I ...".
  7. WF4W

    WF4W Ham Member QRZ Page

  8. W4EAE

    W4EAE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'll try and keep this explanation as short as I can.

    D-star is the oldest--and therefore most fleshed-out and developed--digital voice mode. The term D-Star describes both the modulation protocol, and the network.

    Fusion is Yaesu's digital voice protocol. Modulation is C4FM. Yaesu uses these terms interchangeably in their various literature.

    Wires-X is Yaesu's digital internet linking protocol.
    [Wires is Yaesu's FM internet linking protocol similar to IRLP to Echolink.]

    DMR is another beast altogether. It was developed for commercial use. DMR is ideally suited for programming radios with a few channels and handing them to employees. Many of the DMR radios used by amateurs can be programmed from the VFO, but it is a relatively complex process. (I am not a DMR hater. I use DMR, but it is my least-preferred mode for amateur use.)

    Fusion and D-Star can be used on simplex just like FM. Simplex can be done on DMR so long are you are both transmitting and listening on a simplex talkgroup.

    You are absolutely correct that if you have a Yaesu Fusion radio with the 'X' button, Wires-X is the easiest to use. All you need to know is the frequency information of the repeater or node you are connecting through. You have the option on the face of the radio to search for and connect to any other Wires-X room (a reflector), repeater, or node on the network. So all you have to program is one memory channel for each Wires-X repeater or node you intend to use. It is important to note that quite a few Fusion repeaters are not connected to the Wires-X network. These work just like a standalone FM repeater, except using digital modulation.

    D-Star requires some setup. You have to register in order to use the network. Once you have done that, you are able to connect to any repeater, reflector or even individual on the system. Most new D-Star radios have a feature called 'DR mode.' When you enter DR mode, the radio references a repeater database. You can search for repeaters near you (D-Star and FM). With a DR mode capably D-Star radio, you do not need to program any channels to use its full functionality.

    DMR is completely different to the other two. You do need to register for a DMR ID (although everything will work technically without it). DMR uses talkgroups, and a given DMR repeater will only have certain talkgroups. There is no way to query the repeater from the radio. So you have to know the repeater frequency and the talkgroups available on it. When programming a DMR radio, each channel has a frequency, an RX talkgroup(s), and a single TX talkgroup. (If these last two are different, you could be hearing someone who cannot hear you, and transmitting to someone you cannot hear). When programming your radio, you need to program an individual channel for each talkgroup you wish to use on each repeater. So if you are using 6 talkgroups on three different repeaters, that is 18 channels. You can imagine how quickly that will add up. There are un-networked DMR repeaters around as well. DMR gives the repeater owner/manager the most control over use of the system. Additionally, DMR uses time-division multiplexing, so two different conversations can happen simultaneously on a single frequency. This also makes full-duplex technically possible, although it is not in use in amateur radio.

    D-Star and Fusion both support sending other types of data like, location information, text messages, and images. Callsign, name, and location can all be transmitted along side your voice transmission. DMR has text messaging support, but the it is not a unified standard and therefore does not work universally. DMR transmits only your DMR ID along side your voice transmission. A DMR radio can reference a DMR ID database stored on the radio to give information such as callsign, name, and registered location (not current location derived from GPS).

    Automatic gain control is banned from many DMR networks. You will spend a lot of time adjusting your volume knob while talking on DMR.

    D-Star and DMR are open protocols, and any company could manufacture radios from either or both standards.

    Fusion is Yaesu's propriety standard, and only Yaesu makes radios for it. (There is nothing stopping Yaesu from making a radio that does all three though).

    To answer your final question, the Yaesu FTM-3200 DR will give you full use of Fusion and Wires-X for voice on 2m; although the small screen will make other Wires-X functions a little more fiddly.

    All three digital modes use the same voice codec, and it is proprietary.
    KG5ILR, W4POT, W8AMD and 1 other person like this.
  9. N8OHU

    N8OHU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actually, with D-STAR, you only have to register if the local gateway is on the Icom G2/G3 gateway list and you want to use the D-Plus reflector network exclusively. If the local system is on the ircDDB network, no registration is required, unless they are connected to D-Plus.
  10. W4EAE

    W4EAE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    If I could, I would amend my original post to read, 'to get full use of D-Star, you must register.'

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