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Author Topic: The "D-Star" Tizzy  (Read 11966 times)
G3RZP
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« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2013, 08:31:47 AM »

I got the impression that part of the problem is that the radio systems are bought by town managers and the like, rather than letting engineers get on with job.....
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K0GGC
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« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2013, 10:08:51 AM »

Actually D-Star is an open standard, that is documented and can be implemented by anyone.

The issue is that the JARL developed the standard using a patented proprietary codec (AMBE) in the D-star standard. Icom chooses to pay the license fees to use the AMBE codec for their radios. Other manufacturers choose not to pay the license fee and therefore can't use D-star unless they develop a new codec to replace AMBE.

There is currently an initiative underway to develop an open-source codec to replace AMBE in which case D-star using the open source codec would then be completely open. D-star is not an Icom owned standard however Icom did trademark the name "D-Star".

If a manufacturer such as Kenwood chose to implement D-star using an open source codec, it could be completely open and compatible with the existing "Icom D-star" radios and repeaters. Kenwood would just have to market the radio using their own trade name like "Digi-Star" and it would be completely open.
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AC2EU
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« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2013, 11:52:25 AM »

Actually D-Star is an open standard, that is documented and can be implemented by anyone.

The issue is that the JARL developed the standard using a patented proprietary codec (AMBE) in the D-star standard. Icom chooses to pay the license fees to use the AMBE codec for their radios. Other manufacturers choose not to pay the license fee and therefore can't use D-star unless they develop a new codec to replace AMBE.

There is currently an initiative underway to develop an open-source codec to replace AMBE in which case D-star using the open source codec would then be completely open. D-star is not an Icom owned standard however Icom did trademark the name "D-Star".

If a manufacturer such as Kenwood chose to implement D-star using an open source codec, it could be completely open and compatible with the existing "Icom D-star" radios and repeaters. Kenwood would just have to market the radio using their own trade name like "Digi-Star" and it would be completely open.

OK, but the codec is what makes it work, so in essence, it is proprietary no matter by whom, subject to a license fee.
The digital formats be a universal format such as ATSC is for television. Otherwise, if every mfr comes out with it's special format, we will have to have 3 different brands of radios to use the repeaters while traversing the country. That's just crazy!  Shocked
If there is a need for more than one (I can't think of a reason why) then all formats could be open and built into the rigs, just as USB, LSB, AM, FM are now. That makes a heck of a lot more sense to me! What say you?
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G3RZP
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« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2013, 03:38:21 PM »

So what is the point? Why is digital voice better for ham use than analogue? If Joe Q. Ham wants to talk on the repeater, why is a more expensive digital radio better than a cheap analogue radio?
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K0JEG
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« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2013, 05:38:32 PM »


The digital formats be a universal format such as ATSC is for television. Otherwise, if every mfr comes out with it's special format, we will have to have 3 different brands of radios to use the repeaters while traversing the country. That's just crazy!  Shocked

Not trying to dump on your point, but ATSC is a quagmire of patents and license fees:

http://www.atsc.org/cms/index.php/policies/details/158-atsc-patent-statements

In fact, much of the delay in getting an HDTV standard in the US was due to corporations trying to get their patented technology into the standard! Also why we don't have a world standard for OTA digital video, cable TV digital video, DBS digital video, Internet digital video, etc. MPEG2 is about the closest thing we have, and there's still a lot of incompatibility (and proprietary tech) that has to be overcome to get good, reliable video out the door.
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K0GGC
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« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2013, 06:09:56 PM »

So what is the point? Why is digital voice better for ham use than analogue? If Joe Q. Ham wants to talk on the repeater, why is a more expensive digital radio better than a cheap analogue radio?

Well I don't think of D-star as particularly better.

It is just another option. It allows digital connection between radios and repeaters. This makes it possible to allow things like; email, text messaging, photo transfer, location logging, digital voice, and /or DXing by connecting through the internet to remote repeaters.

Right now 2m and 440 are dead in most areas. Possibly D-star might revive the use of the available repeaters in the local communities if it allowed digital connectivity to the internet.

If an open-source codec was developed to replace AMBE then D-star would be completely open and available for all manufacturers without a license fee and it would be interoperable between the different radios and repeaters. This would help to bring down the costs. Right now costs are high because the market is very limited.
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KD8TUT
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« Reply #21 on: May 30, 2013, 03:45:31 AM »

So what is the point? Why is digital voice better for ham use than analogue? If Joe Q. Ham wants to talk on the repeater, why is a more expensive digital radio better than a cheap analogue radio?

Well I don't think of D-star as particularly better.

It is just another option. It allows digital connection between radios and repeaters. This makes it possible to allow things like; email, text messaging, photo transfer, location logging, digital voice, and /or DXing by connecting through the internet to remote repeaters.

Right now 2m and 440 are dead in most areas. Possibly D-star might revive the use of the available repeaters in the local communities if it allowed digital connectivity to the internet.

If an open-source codec was developed to replace AMBE then D-star would be completely open and available for all manufacturers without a license fee and it would be interoperable between the different radios and repeaters. This would help to bring down the costs. Right now costs are high because the market is very limited.

Yup.. you are right. It needs to be open sourced. And quite frankly in my hobbies/professional stuff (computers and radios) it's unacceptable to my mind set to use any non-open source code.

Open source really levels the playing field by letting the "little guys" into the game. That's true in IT- and would be true in amateur radio. Imagine computer savvy hams and what they could do in an open source environment.

Just on principle I'll avoid non-open source DSTAR.
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W4KVW
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« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2013, 03:20:05 PM »

Like ANY other mode of operation,if you don't want to use it then you are NOT required to do so.There are plenty of us who do enjoy it & many more will join us.I happen too also enjoy 2 meter SSB & many think it's a waste of time & money but that's their opinion.Spend your money on whatever gear you like & myself & thousands & thousands of others will keep having fun on D-STAR as another option for ham radio communications enjoyment. {:>)

73 & God bless,
Clayton
W4KVW
 Cheesy  Grin  Smiley
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K1CJS
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« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2013, 12:23:54 PM »

I got the impression that part of the problem is that the radio systems are bought by town managers and the like, rather than letting engineers get on with job.....

Quite well put.  Ever since the bottom line became the most important thing that is paid attention to, most managers are either lawyers or accountants, the engineering and service people were left out in left field.  I would say that the most glaring example of that was the GM reshuffling in the late 70s when car sizes were drastically cut.  Ditto with the Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler lines.  All of a sudden, cars of different lines but the same manufacturer were simply branded 'cookie cutter' types.  There were many problems with drive trains, the cars were a nightmare to service, and the black eyes given to American car companies from that shellacking drove (no pun intended) people to buy foreign cars.
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KE7TMA
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« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2013, 12:14:22 AM »

many more will join us.

No, I think D-Star has peaked despite Icom enlisting lots of people to cheerlead is technology in exchange for free radio gear.
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K0GGC
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« Reply #25 on: June 20, 2013, 10:48:09 AM »

many more will join us.

No, I think D-Star has peaked despite Icom enlisting lots of people to cheerlead is technology in exchange for free radio gear.

Sorry, but this sounds like unsupported hearsay.

I very much doubt that Icom has given away more free radio gear to promote D-Star than they would to promote any new radio. Icom doesn't make any more profit on a D-Star radio than on a non-D-Star radio. Icom has to pay a license fee for the use of the AMBE codec just like anyone else who wishes to make a D-Star radio. The typical D-Star radio costs more because of the added technology and the current small audience.

I think the primary reason why Icom wants D-star to take off is because it keeps Amateur Radio fresh and has the potential to appeal to a broader (younger audience).

With only a handheld HT, a D-Star user can potentially, send text messages, check email, connect to the internet, dx around the world and there is no usage fee other than the cost of a D-Star HT.

I think this appeals to the typical smart-phone using, young technologist.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #26 on: June 20, 2013, 01:58:06 PM »

There is one reason that D-star may finally fail--the AMBE codec.  One company holds the patent rights to that chip even though the protocol is open, and that is what will kill D-star in the end.  Both that company and Icom is penny wise and pound foolish--the chip company for keeping it so sequestered--and Icom for investing so much in the system depending on that chip itself.
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WB6DGN
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« Reply #27 on: June 24, 2013, 12:47:06 AM »

So what is the point? Why is digital voice better for ham use than analogue? If Joe Q. Ham wants to talk on the repeater, why is a more expensive digital radio better than a cheap analogue radio?

It isn't about "talking on a repeater".  Talking is what CB'ers do.  Hams want to learn new technology and most hams learn by doing.  Reading about a subject only teaches so much.  I doubt that there are many "talkers" that are willing to spend the money for D-star and the technical types have better digital protocols to use, but studying the technology and comparing it to other available digital protocols is how a ham learns (if he can afford it).  Then again, education has never been cheap!

Quote
Why is digital voice better for ham use than analogue?
That question can be answered by obtaining a radio and measuring its operating parameters.  The positives and negatives of digital voice will become clearly evident AND, as a ham, you will have LEARNED.
Tom
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K1CJS
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« Reply #28 on: June 24, 2013, 06:05:46 AM »

It isn't about "talking on a repeater".  Talking is what CB'ers do.

Geez, it's quite evident that you don't participate in nets or roundtable discussions.  Talking isn't limited to 'what CBers do--it IS also what some hams do.  Likewise there are some hams that took up the hobby to experiment and broaden their knowledge--like you--and then there are some hams that do both!
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WB6DGN
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Posts: 617




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« Reply #29 on: June 24, 2013, 12:29:37 PM »

Quote
Geez, it's quite evident that you don't participate in nets or roundtable discussions.  Talking isn't limited to 'what CBers do--it IS also what some hams do.  Likewise there are some hams that took up the hobby to experiment and broaden their knowledge--like you--and then there are some hams that do both!

Point taken.  Gotta add, though, I don't know too many hams that JUST talk.  They're usually into other activities as well whether nets, traffic handling, the public services, etc., etc.
Tom
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