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Author Topic: The "D-Star" Tizzy  (Read 11813 times)
WA4D
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« on: May 21, 2013, 07:09:26 AM »

On the front Page of eHam is an article promoting D-STAR use.  The Comments are enthusiastic and amusing either for or against.

"Costs too much!" "

Sounds great" (it does?)

"Close Architecture"

Stable and reliable. 

"Don't need it"

 "Just because we CAN do a thing doesn't mean we SHOULD."

"D-Star is being used as defacto encryption by cliques of elitist hams"


Yet not a single observation on how the mode is used. (Yes the EmComm nanny's claim value). But if you tune across ANY of the reflectors on D-STAR at ANY time. What you will hear mirrors the same  tired meaningless drivel that occupies most VHF / UHF frequencies. Here in LA there are literally dozens of repeaters that sit dark hour and after hour/ Day after Day. Similarly, you drop onto a high use Reflector (Say 30C in Atlanta) Where 2 or 3 dozen people are "listening" via DVAP and other methods.  Some guy comes in says he's "monitoring" and no response. And what discourse that does transpire is about the Wx, their Raspberry Pi or the arcane connecting configurations of the D-STAR mode.

Yes, I bought into the D STAR vision and hype. And I find the mode interesting. But, the Ham Radio culture at large is mode agnostic. (and D STAR is no exception) The spectrum remains a vast wasteland  where there is little substantive exchange. From the elderly men who each day trudge to the radio room to talk to the same dying old men on the low bands, to those that shout meaningless numbers at each other for hours on end in Contests or the FAUX world of "Special Events" and "Field Day". 

There are some smart, well read, articulate and accomplished Hams to engage with. But like finding a "Fit" person at a Ham fest, they're  rare.
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W1JKA
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2013, 07:20:49 AM »

This should be interesting.Until now I always thought D-Star meant Death Star in one of the old Star War movies I saw years ago.
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M6GOM
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2013, 09:06:24 AM »

In my area there used to be three voice repeaters, two on VHF covering a massive area, one on UHF. One of the VHF ones was in a prime location on top of a hill on a commercial tower and could be opened 60+ miles away.

Well that repeater keeper managed to get a lottery grant. It got converted to DSTAR with him and his 5 buddies getting new Icom 2820s with this grant. His argument was that it never got used on analogue which was an outright lie. It now has 3 unique users a fortnight. It is also currently about to be moved to a small town in the middle of nowhere at sea level because he decided that he didn't want to pay the £100 a year site fee (inclusive of power and internet) and the new location will work at his house so he doesn't care.

The UHF repeater was turned into DSTAR by the neighbouring repeater group, again with another lottery grant, which was quite good as it was seldom used and now is.

The remaining VHF analogue repeater run by this same group was taken offline "for maintenance". That was 2 months ago. They are obsessed with DSTAR so I doubt there'll be a rush to get on the air.

This has resulted in a 2000 square mile area of the country with no analogue voice repeaters accessible by a HT or mobile station but fine if you're using DSTAR. In this country though, most of those using DSTAR have got them through lottery grants by being in a small clique, usually the committee of the repeater group running the repeaters.

Personally I wish it would get banned as it is a proprietary licensed encrypted communications protocol which is illegal to use on amateur radio and France has banned it because of this. If a repeater keeper doesn't like you he can ban you from the repeater.

Worse still is it does not offer anything new. Echolink, APRS and packet all cover everything that DSTAR does without having to spend the "Icom Tax" to use it.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2013, 09:10:55 AM by M6GOM » Logged
K1CJS
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2013, 09:36:15 AM »

More 'stirring of the pot' by the originator.  Why?  Isn't there enough drivel and bullsh*t on the article on the front page?

What a waste.
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KB4QAA
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« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2013, 05:46:36 PM »

Starting a thread to discuss a thread on another forum.  Brilliant and pointless.  sheesh.
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K7CB
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2013, 03:47:23 PM »

I have to agree with the last two posters.  All one is going to see here are comments similar to those in the other thread.  Some people like D-Star, some don't.  I happen to be one of those that does - but I also acknowledge its weaknesses and I don't try to claim that it has better audio than an analog repeater.  I see the potential it has and many creative people are working on ways of improving the system.  It's that innovation that I find so interesting.
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KE7TMA
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2013, 03:55:28 PM »

I don't think that the main complaints are about the audio quality, but the totally proprietary, closed, experimenter-hostile nature of the AMBE voice codec that Icom chose to use.  I suppose in the future, all the different radio companies will have their own proprietary voice codecs, only allowing users to communicate with others who own the same brand of radio.  At least, unless we all choose to ignore this cynical joke from Icom and find a truly open standard.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2013, 03:58:25 AM »

No matter what, there are some that refuse to stop feeding the trolls.  Oh, brother!
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KE7TMA
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« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2013, 01:46:07 AM »

No matter what, there are some that refuse to stop feeding the trolls.  Oh, brother!

So is discussing this thing off limits daddy?  Mom said I could talk about it.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2013, 03:42:46 AM »

You don't get the point here.  The originator--and you--have the right to discuss anything, but the originator has a reputation on this board.  Most of his posts are either outrageous or just plain bull.
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AC2EU
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« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2013, 07:14:33 AM »

You don't get the point here.  The originator--and you--have the right to discuss anything, but the originator has a reputation on this board.  Most of his posts are either outrageous or just plain bull.

Check his post history. I wonder if he is getting paid by the MFRs to blog this stuff...

That being said, I will reiterate that I have no problem with progress and digital voice modes, EXCEPT when they are proprietary.
In the tradition of HAm radio, we should have the ability to tweak and modify the protocol and not be held hostage to a MFR.
Costs are higher also, as already mentioned.
Whatever digital mode is chosen should be "open source". If the mfrs want to produce it as such, fine.
Unfortunately, the ARRL is not taking any leadership role in this controversy because there are advertising dollars at stake.  Sad
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N3DF
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« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2013, 09:58:16 AM »

144 and 440 MHz FM are so underutilized in most places that any development that stirs up some interest is welcome. 
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Neil N3DF
KE7TMA
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« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2013, 01:19:59 PM »

144 and 440 MHz FM are so underutilized in most places that any development that stirs up some interest is welcome. 

Except when it's proprietary.
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G3RZP
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« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2013, 12:20:45 AM »

Analogue FM at least degrades as signals go down, not just drop out like digital systems. There was an interesting article in the 'Arizona Republic' newspaper a couple of Sundays ago about the problems of fire fighting around Phoenix: the fire fighters said that they want analogue simplex equipment to give communication inside high rise buildings and underground car parks and the like, without needing to talk to a digital base station giving communications which are either there or  isn't. Not helped by the various fire departments not all being on the same digital system......
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M6GOM
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« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2013, 03:39:16 AM »

Analogue FM at least degrades as signals go down, not just drop out like digital systems. There was an interesting article in the 'Arizona Republic' newspaper a couple of Sundays ago about the problems of fire fighting around Phoenix: the fire fighters said that they want analogue simplex equipment to give communication inside high rise buildings and underground car parks and the like, without needing to talk to a digital base station giving communications which are either there or  isn't. Not helped by the various fire departments not all being on the same digital system......

In the UK the HTs firefighters use are analogue for this very reason. The radios in the trucks to base are digital but the HTs are analogue.
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