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Icom ID51EDSTAR1111

DSTAR (Digital Smart Technilogy for Amateur radio) Is Icom's digital communications protocol.
It's a great pity that the digital modes went down this manufacturer lead path, but this is where we find ourselves. DSTAR is the first packet based standard to be deployed by a amateur radio manufacturer and has been around since about 2001.

Audio at the transmitter is encoded by the AMBE (proprietary codec chip) into GSM (similar to mobile phones) allowing voice and some text transmission. There is no exclusive licencing that prevents other manufacturers from using that codec, in fact Kenwood has now started to produce some Dstar radios.
Although some forward error correction is use, signals at the fringe of the service area can be frustrating to listen to with packet loss replacing the traditional swishing in and out of the squelch, often refered to as R2D2 (sounds like the star wars character). The transmitted signal is narrow FM and sounds like a high speed modem when listened to on an FM receiver.
The signal is transmitted in octets (8 binary pulses) with all the necessary flags, destination, callsign, etc. transmitted at the start of the over. Hence sinultaneous keying up at the start of a transmission into a repeater or node can result in your signal failing to secure the pathway.

In order to use DSTAR for anything more than simplex contacts, you will need to register with a gateway. You can join the network with a friendly local repeater gateway keepers help, or try using http://dstarusers.org/ You can check registry at http://query.ke5bms.com/index.php. DSTAR has the advantage over FM repeaters that you can enter pathways to target specific nodes or users (after a bit of study)

Those who have no local repeater of simplex gateway nearby can use a DV-dongle, DV-Mega, Blueshark, or similar device to work the network. These are like your own private 2m/70cm RF simplex node you can work with a handie/mobile/base rig. Most of these devices can also be used on DMR and Fusion networks.


A few connection devices for PCs shown below

DV dongleDV dongleDV mega

It is now possible to obtain a device integrated or powered by a Raspberry Pi or similar small computer board, removing the need of a PC.

 


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