D-STAR Makeover

I had a surprising and slightly emotional experience on DV mode last week. I was in QSO with a mobile station who temporarily lost the repeater for a couple of seconds. Not unusual, but get this - instead of vanishing permanently in to vast digital abyss, he came right back as the system re-synced and locked-up. This happened again and he was re-acquired and all was well. Remarkable.

No longer will your beautiful, eloquent, flowing QSO be 'bumped' abruptly and permanently off the air by a random mobile station the other side of the world 'pinging' his local repeater for a few milliseconds. You can now even QSY to a 'chat' module and not hog the repeaters of an entire nation while you discuss your passion for North Korean tractor parts for three hours.

The advent of DCS reflectors, hand-in-hand with the German DV-RPTR boards shipped all over the world, is going to save the mode from extinction, no less. Witness the used D-STAR radios in the graveyard of Ebay as testament to the disillusioned DPlus users.

If only they'd have waited.

The DV-RPTR unit in its housing












*UPDATE 24th April 2012: Looks like the Dplus system has been suddenly revamped to include the routing information with the voice packets in the same way as DCS. Shame it took seven years of dysfunctional communications and a rival system to prompt this. I'll be staying on the DCS system - but enjoy whichever system you use and enjoy the mode!
Rob Law, MW0DNK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Anglesey, Wales. Contact him at [email protected].

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