D-Star?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by N2SUB, Jun 19, 2017.

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  1. N2SUB

    N2SUB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm a little late to the party on D-Star, and I really can't find any basic, yet thorough information. I was looking for a way to communicate directly with my Dad and my Brother when we are in our shacks in SC, FL and NJ regardless of propagation conditions. I understand that D-Star sends GPS info, but that would not be important to us.

    After reading a lot of material and watching countless videos, I do not really see how D-Star would be any more useful than Echolink aside from the fact that we wouldn't be tied to a computer if we had D-Star HTs. That sounds like a cool novelty. I'm not in range of a D-Star repeater, but I know I can buy or build a D-Star hotspot and that will get me up and running.

    The cost for me would be $250-$350 for a hotspot and ~$500 for a D-Star HT, a minimum of $750 to get going on D-Star. Or, I could get a D-Star dongle for a few hundred, but that still ties me to a computer. Yet Echolink is free, and if we found the right repeater to connect to, problem solved. My conclusion has been that for the initial intention of linking shacks with my Dad and Brother, D-Star is not a financially viable option. If there is a cheaper way I have missed, please clue me in.

    Also, I'm not ruling it out as something to pursue. Can anyone point me in the direction of basic information on WHAT YOU CAN DO with D-Star as opposed to what D-STAR is. Thanks!
     
  2. ND5Y

    ND5Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    You can make an EchoLink simplex node and use it like a D-STAR hotspot. You don't need to use a repeater.
     
    N2SUB likes this.
  3. N2SUB

    N2SUB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    True, I didn't think about that. It's been a while since I've used Echolink.
     
  4. WF4W

    WF4W XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    so i like the idea of DSTAR to meet your scenario IF ... IF you could all hit a DSTAR repeater that was using the same reflector and no one else was using it. If you have to build your own hotspot and/or DVAP to connect all of you together you really dont need the RF part of the equation. Why not just add Mics to your PCs and use Skype, Mumble, any other internet based voice chat applications? OR dare I suggest cell phones? (im not being facetious... but there's the right tool for the right job and cell phones or internet voice are the right tools)
     
  5. N2SUB

    N2SUB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    We do use cell phones currently.

    Is there an advantage to any of the other VOIP tools over Echolink?
     
  6. ND5Y

    ND5Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    It depends on what you want to use it for.
    There are free PTT over VoIP services like Zello that let you use smart phones as a 2-way radio anywhere you have cellular or wifi coverage. One advantage is you don't need a ham license. Probably better audio quality than EchoLink.
     
  7. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    You can get on Allstar for about $50 if you like Raspberry Pie. :)

    You can get on IRLP, Echolink and Allstar with a RPi3.

    I would encourage building and testing to make it work on D-Star too. Build a bridge if needed.

    Refresh your memory about what Amateur Radio was once about. ;)

    Have Fun.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  8. AE9AM

    AE9AM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Might also look for local wide area networked DMR repeaters as an alternative to the D-Star "expensive cordless phone" idea.
     
  9. KV6O

    KV6O Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you're only ever going to use it for point-to-point, then as others have mentioned, you can use nodes with radios - whether that be D-STAR, DMR, FM, etc. Or an app on your phone like Zello (if you're in WiFi range) might do it without using your cell minutes. There are even WiFi radios like the Icom IP-100H that work via IP/WiFi.
     
  10. N2SUB

    N2SUB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    What does that mean? I've been an avid builder for my entire ham radio career, and one of the things I suggested as an option in the original post was to buy OR BUILD a hot spot.
     

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