My First D-STAR Contact

At Dayton, I picked up an ICOM IC-91AD handheld radio, with D-STAR capability. The thing is, there are no D-STAR repeaters within range of my house. Fortunately, Elliott KB0RFC also picked up a D-STAR handheld and we arranged a sked on 2M simplex. The de facto calling frequency for D-STAR is shaping up to be 145.67 MHz, so that is what we used.

I have to admit that the audio quality was better than I expected. When the radio is not dropping bits, the audio is quite clean and clear. When the Signal-to-Noise Ratio degrades, you do start to hear that digital twang as the vocoder does its best to recover the audio in the face of digital errors. Overall, I was favorably impressed.

Tonight, we did some additional testing with DV mode and were surprised at the range of the handheld on 2M. The 70 cm band seemed even better, apparently due to the improved efficiency of the handheld antennas on that band.

There is lots more stuff to play around with, so stay tuned.

Digital voice on the ham bands? Must be the 21st Century!

For more info on D-STAR, see my article from CQ VHF.

73, Bob K0NR

One Reply to “My First D-STAR Contact”

  1. Excellent piece Bob. I too just bought a 91AD and am learning about the mode.

    I wish I’d seen your 2006 D Star piece in CQ/VHF earlier. I found much of what you published but spread out over many places. A snippet here, a blurb there. But without the organization and logic of your article!

    I’ve said this before…there should be a MASTER Ham Radio ONLY Wiki for stuff like this. Not an addendum to the Big Wiki, rather a standalone Wiki that is devoted exclusively to Amateur radio issues. — I think some people have tried this, but none has yet caught on. (One might make that case that the obvious candidate for hosting such an information repository is the league. But they have conflict of interest issues as they get revenue from Icom, Kenwood, et al)

    Anyway, I’m going to try to find someone to D-Chat with this weekend.

    mike / WA4D