D-STAR one route for traffic into Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand flag (from Wikimedia Commons)

Tonight, before heading home I dropped by the VA3CUA station at the University where I work.  I used the Icom ID-1 to link the 1.2GHz module of VA3ODG to reflector REF003C, an Australian reflector.  Linked also to the reflector was the repeater ZL1VHD in Auckland, New Zealand. After making a call out on the reflector I had a reply from Marlene, ZL1MYL. We had a nice but brief chat and she told me that there had been messages passed through the Auckland D-STAR repeater for people in the earthquake damaged city of  Christchurch. Messages received were being relayed on via other modes on VHF to Christchurch, as that city does not have a D-STAR repeater.  The chat with Marlene was short as she had to take a phone call, but I did then talk to her husband Laurence, ZL1ICU.

Later tonight I saw the message from the ARRL that confirms that 2m is being used to support the recovery efforts and currently not HF.

If you have traffic for someone in Christchurch then one possible route in is via the Auckland D-STAR repeater ZL1VHD.

Alan Steele, VA3STL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Ottawa, Ontario. Contact him at [email protected].

6 Responses to “D-STAR one route for traffic into Christchurch, New Zealand”

  • Ernest Gregoire, AA1IK:

    Valuable as passing messages is in times of emergency, D-Star is not ham radio.

    A 10,000 mile contact of which 2 miles of it might be radio, is not ham radio in my book. (radios are not necessary for D-Star contacts)

    Is making D-Star contacts fun, yes, I’m sure people who use it like to do so. But please, ‘Don’t say its ham radio’!

  • Tom K4TOJ:

    I don’t agree with Ernest – you MUST have a ham radio to use DSTAR. I think he got it confused with Echolink, where you can use your computer or iPhone to make contacts. Both, in my book, are HAM radio though. You MUST hold an amateur radio license to use those technologies and both may use radios only Amateurs can utilize. The only difference between HF and these technologies is Propogation is done through the internet, not the atmosphere.

  • Ernest Gregoire, AA1IK:

    The confusion is on your part Tom, I saw a demonstration of D Star with my own eyes. This is not ‘my opinion’ its what really happened. A friend used D Star to chat with a ham in Tennessee. The ham in Tennessee had a radio, but my friend in Florida, used a Macintosh computer with a dongle for this chat.

    No radio involved on his part! It is also possible to chat from computer to computer, using D-star with a dongle attached to each.

    Having a ham radio license is not the point here. There is no such thing as ‘propagation done through the internet!’ It simply does not exist!

    D Star is simply making a phone call without a telephone! It matters on what the ‘telephone’ instrument looks like, no propagation is still no propagation.

    I have no objection to people using D Star, but it is not ham radio.

  • Phil - N4LNE:

    Ernest this is the old argument that many in the ham radio community use to put down anything new. Yes it is possible to talk on D Star Dongle to Gateway to Dongle without benefit of a radio but in most cases there is a radio on at least one end of the conversation and most of the time both. It is a shame that the only bit of information you got from the D Star demo you saw was the least used feature of D Star. Ernest why is your only input on Tom’s post a put down on what he had to say and not a pat on the back for listing a link that some may find useful? In these times ham radio has evolved many different modes and with any luck will continue to do so. The people developing these modes need encouragement to continue to move the hobby forward. I went back through the history of ham radio and the first CW operators said that SSB was not ham radio, when SSTV and RTTY came out we were told it was not ham radio, when PSK31 and other digital modes came out we were told it was not ham radio and they would be the death of ham radio. Now you want us to believe that D Star is not ham radio where does it end? Try looking at the bright side of things once in a while. Pick up the microphone or keyboard and make a contact or two without worrying about how the conversation gets from one end to another. I for one think it is pretty neat that I can pick up my D Star hand held radio put in a call sign of a ham in Japan and talk to him at will if that is not Ham Radio then I do not know what is. Keep up the good work Tom

  • Ernest Gregoire, AA1IK:

    You are absolutely right Tom, you don’t know what ham radio is.

    All those other modes that you mentioned, CW,SSB,PSK are from ‘My antenna to His antenna! I use all of them. There is no ‘middle man’ involved. I didn’t put anyone down. I merely corrected your misinformation about D Star.

    D Star and IRLP is what it is! NOT RADIO! If that is radio then maybe I should send QSL cards for using my cell phone to make a phone call. At least that uses radio waves.

    Enjoy D Star to your heart’s content, but it ain’t ham radio!

  • Ernest Gregoire, AA1IK:

    I meant to say Phil, not Tom, Sorry!

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