D-STAR Projects

One of the many misconceptions about the D-STAR digital amateur radio protocol is that it is closed and will prevent tinkering by hobbyists. This turns out to be far from the truth indeed. Last year at the Dayton Hamvention there were several exhibits by D-STAR enthusiasts which included an entirely home brewed D-STAR radio and a home brewed D-STAR repeater controller. Well now someone has built a DV interface adapter which can provide a D-STAR digital voice interface on many existing transceivers. Of course some functionality is missing as there is no ability to change various DV settings from the minimal interface but it proves yet again that there is the possibility for much experimentation with this new digital mode.

On other fronts the OpenDSTAR group has released several software tools which build on existing commercially available repeaters and Internet gateways to extend functionality. Still in the pipe from that group is a USB dongle called the DV Dongle which will allow end users to encode audio in the AMBE format used by D-STAR digital voice for later playback through the repeater or, ostensibly, for live PC to repeater communications. Indeed the home brew spirit of amateur radio is alive and well in the world of digital communications, it just looks different than it has in the past.

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