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Some D Star links for you scrappers

Discussion in 'Scrap Radio (So Cal Radio Amateur Project) Club' started by FatHam, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. FatHam

    FatHam Well-Known Member
    Staff Member

    Apr 15, 2011
    Likes Received:
    With all of the digital Q/A happening on the machine lately, I figured I'd start a thread with some links & screenshots for your viewing pleasure.


    Lets start with hotspots since that's where most of the questions come from. So you've purchased a D Star radio and want to get in to "the system". It can be done using RF in to a local repeater, but you'll find that many of the local repeaters are "membership repeaters". You are welcome to use them just like you do the KAO machine using RF in/out to talk to your buddies digitally just like you would any analog machine. Where the rub comes in is when you want to link that machine into "the system", tying it to another D Star repeater or reflector.

    When you link that machine to another D Star machine, you have linked the entire user base of the machine you're hitting with RF with a machine somewhere else in the world that they may not want to listen to. If you're a paid "member", you're welcomed to do this. If you're NOT a member of that machine, you can pretty well expect to receive a nice letter in the mail from the machines owner explaining their linking protocol, along with a membership application asking for $100-$125 per year.

    This is the case with most of the machines that you IE guys have access to. Santiago Peak is Papa System ($125 per year), Keller Peak or Blueridge (both $100 per year), etc... That's where a hotspot comes in. With a hotspot you can access the D Star gateway system and you're not beholding to a repeater owner to access it.

    The easiest one to set up is a "DVAP". This is a low power UHF or VHF transceiver that you simply connect to your computer with a USB cable. "Easy" of course comes with a price tag... This set-up will set you back about $250 and you still need a D Star radio to talk to it.


    More info on this here --> http://www.dvapdongle.com/Home.html

    Another less expensive "work around" is a hotspot/node adapter board like the Star Board from Moencomm. This is not a transceiver like the DVAP, but rather goes inline between an analog radio and your computer. You talk to your analog radio with your D Star radio and this board converts the analog radio's signal to digital, then sends it through your computer to access other repeaters, reflectors, etc... With Cables, box, etc..., this one will set you back less than $150 when it's all said and done.
    More on that here -->http://www.moencomm.com/

    Another option that DOES NOT REQUIRE A D STAR RADIO is the "DV Dongle". If your computer has speakers and a mic, you can get in to the D Star system and talk digital to your buddies for about $200. What it WON'T do is simplex (talking radio to radio). It will however allow you to link into and talk (without a radio) on D Star repeaters or reflectors using just the mic & speakers on your computer.
    More on that here -->http://www.dvdongle.com/DV_Dongle/Home.html

    All of the above devices are controlled with computer software. I use a couple of different (free) programs to do this. Win DV (DV Node for Windows) and DVAR Hotspot (below) link/unlink repeaters or reflectors using your computer. Your radio is simply talking to the hotspot on simplex and all of the commands are done on the software's dashboard. DVAR Hotspot doesn't have as many memory slots as Win DV, but it's been much more stable on my set-up. You don't HAVE to save a repeater/reflector in to memory to access it as it can all be entered through your keyboard. The memory slots are simply quick links.



    A third program that Tim/Moleculo recently turned me on to is "D-Star Repeater". This one you actually control from the radio rather than from the computer. Using this software, you're actually controlling the linking commands with the RF from your D Star radio rather than from a dashboard.

    Again, if you don't mind becoming a "member" of your local repeater for $100-$125 per year to access the gateway, you need none of the above mentioned hardware or software. If you're within RF shot of Monrovia, Tim's repeater (W9WDX B) is available for you to use and link with no membership involved. It will be a tough shot for you IE users though.

    A couple of other links that have been given out a number of times on the air are the "Live Log" screens. These show who's on the air, what they're linked to, etc...

    First is DstarUsers.org. I like this one with the exception of the fact that home brew repeaters & nodes don't show up. It only logs Icom gear.

    The second is IRCddb Gateway. Less friendly to look at, but it logs both Icom and non-Icom gear linked to the system.


    Dstarusers.org is a good source of information if you're just getting started.

    There is also some good information on this site regarding D Star setup as well at Tim's repeater & X Reflector.




    #1 FatHam, Jan 11, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
    kj6zpn, K6BRY and kk6hdu like this.

  2. FatHam

    FatHam Well-Known Member
    Staff Member

    Apr 15, 2011
    Likes Received:
    kk6gun and kk6hdu like this.
  3. kk6gun

    kk6gun Member

    Jan 26, 2013
    Likes Received:
    After general orientation with the radio and figuring out the settings and use of analog, dstar use gets a little easier. As a halfway tech capable guy I thought that the process was pretty easy, including making a cable for a moencomm board, and setup of the software (albeit nowhere near install-and-run capable). This is nowhere as hard as getting a dongle to work however.

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