D-STAR Illegal In the US and Now France

As others have reported in the radio artisan blogosphere, France has ruled that D-STAR is illegal.  The reasons in a nutshell are: A) it can connect radios to the Internet, B) cryptography, and C) patents.  I can't comment on the laws in France as I have neither the time nor inclination to research them.  Regardless, I think "A" is goofy, "B" is a stretch, and "C" is half right and is somewhat close to the reason D-STAR should be banned in France and the US.  However, patents aren't the real issue, it's the closed and proprietary nature of the vocoder.  Patent it all you like, the encoding technique needs to be published in order to be in compliance with US FCC rules, a fact that escapes the FCC and ARRL.  But release a mode that's MFSK on crack and carelessly call it spread spectrum and for some reason the FCC will ban it in a heartbeat and ARRL will follow suit and declare it verboten.  I don't get it.

I'm sure Internet forum and 80 meter evening roundtable hamdom in the US is going to be confused over which side to take as many of the older crusty hams in our ranks hate D-STAR but also have a disdain for France, to the point of wanting to change the name of  French Fries to Freedom Fries.  It should make for some interesting conversations.  But I digress.

Obligatory disclaimer: I don't hate D-STAR, I just have issues with the proprietary vocoder, and rest assured that the FCC has not declared D-STAR illegal in the US.
Anthony Good, K3NG, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Pennsylvania, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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