Monday, June 07, 2010

D-Star reaches Cumbria

Kudos to Lynn KJ4ERJ, developer of the brilliant APRS client APRSISCE. Yesterday he read my comment that the program doesn't support transmit through the soundcard based AGWPE software yet, and today it does! So now my APRS beacons are braaping out over the Cumbrian airwaves.

I have noticed a bit more APRS activity round here in the last few weeks. Today I noticed another new station mobiling around the north-east of the county - G7NZR. The info for this station showed that he was actually using DPRS, the digital version of APRS, and was being gatewayed through MB6CA. This is a D-Star simplex node set up by G7NZR. Its coverage map shows that MB6CA can't be heard in Cockermouth or Workington, so for the time being at least West Cumbria is still a D-Star free zone.

When I looked at the MB6CA coverage map I was reminded of a map I saw some years ago showing the spread of grey squirrels across the county. Overseas readers may not know that the grey squirrel is an illegal immigrant - from the US, no less - and it has been gradually wiping out our indigenous red squirrels, so that there are now only a few pockets of them left.

Will D-Star be the grey squirrel to analogue FM's red, gradually increasing its territory as more and more people are persuaded to make the switch, until Icom ends up with a virtual monopoly over the VHF and UHF bands?


GW0KIG said...

Hi Julian

I think D star is more likely to be a dead duck than a grey squirrel!
Lets face it the take up has not been that great.One semi local amateur I know, who operates mainly /M made a big thing of the fact that he was abandoning FM analogue for good in favour of D-Star. A few months later he was back on the analogue repeaters. The reason?- there was no one to talk to on D Star, the new D star repeater in his area is very under used.
The other thing is that everything I have read about d Star centres around its use in conjunction with repeaters. Does it have any Simplex advantage over analogue?
As I have said before if working distant or foreign repeaters is your thing you can do it via Echolink without the need for expensive new Icom kit!

73 Kevin

Theodore said...

The nice thing about technology is that it tends to stratify its users.
This sorting allows identification and tagging, which facilitates avoiding inadvertent wandering into unwanted territory.
D-star users remind me of those poor insomniacs who listen to talk-back radio at 2am.
So it is with them - they listen to repeaters in other lands on proprietary expensive radios with AMBE chips and think it is Ham Radio.
They could do the same on the internet without all the expense.

In the end D-star is good, in that it removes from general circulation the hams who think Amateur radio is a "public service", emcomms subsidiary of Homeland Security or anything else that implies begging acceptance.

Amateur radio has always been, and will remain, an activity which allows interested persons to indulge in extending their personal horizons, pursuing the art of Amateur Radio communications (free of proprietary chains) and incidentally enriching the community in which they reside.

Not every Ham is an Edison or Marconi, but there are many innovative people in our ranks - and deep inside each of us, I am sure the same spark of creativity resides, which is why we chose this hobby.
D-star is like a sieve. Knowing on which which side of it you stand defines your attitude to amateur radio.

Unknown said...


Juha said...

Sigh. Handy indicator, Estonian analog TV audio on 64MHz is shutting down in a month. The other more distant stations on the same hole will eventually follow suit.

And here's a grey squirrel:

OH5NXO Juha :)

Anonymous said...

Jusr accept that d-star is growing . I have been involved in aprs since 2004 . I am bored silly with it . D-star is a great of voice communication . Voice is the word ,not text coming across my th-d72 HT .