Yes. The VX-8R software will ask to automatically update when you first install it and the update includes the 8DR functionallity. (Works great BTW!) Where in MD are you going to end up? Unfortunately, I can't give you info about D-STAR in my area. I don't know anyone in CARA that uses it. As far as APRS; I have had success Rx beacons from other APRS users in my area but I have yet to reach a digipeater.