D-Star on Hermit Lake

This afternoon I took the kayak out on Hermit Lake. I worked Orlando, Florida and Worcester, Mass with an Icom 51AD d-star handie talkie.


The setup was pretty simple. I parked the camper at the edge of the lake. On the front seat I used a Raspberry Pi computer (credit card sized) connected to a DVAP. A DVAP is a tiny repeater. It’s about 1 by 2 inches and runs a few milliwatts for local access. I also had a mifi card supplying an internet connection in the camper. This setup gave me a range of about a half a mile from the camper. I was connected to reflector 30 which is like a conference room comprising 50 local repeaters. One of the advantages of d-star is that there’s a lot of activity and it’s always easy to reach someone to chat with.

Out on the water, I talked with Dave KB1PVH in Worcester, Ma for a few minutes and headed over to an island to check out some wild irises.


This lake is also known for two varieties of carnivorous plants… the pitcher plant and the sundew plant. They aren’t in bloom yet.

As I headed back toward the shore, I said hello to Mike KA9ZRZ in Orlando, Florida. He was also using a Raspberry Pi and DVAP. Suddenly, as I passed a quiet cove on one of the islands, a huge gray heron swoshed right across the bow of the kayak a few feet above the water. I think we were both startled.

I put the kayak back in the camper and listened to VK4TUX from Australia chatting with another station. International contacts on d-star are common.

Jim Cluett, W1PID, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Hampshire, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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