Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Home-build D-Star radio

Years ago, after I built my Elecraft K2 I had the idea that I would only use home-built radio equipment. However I found that it was no longer possible to buy a kit to build a 2m FM radio. This afternoon I visited a site mentioned by Tim, G4VXE in his latest blog posting and was intrigued to find that a Dutch group is working on a design for a VHF/UHF transceiver kit. Not only that, it is apparently being developed in consultation with Elecraft and is built into an Elecraft EC-1 (K2) enclosure!

The basic kit will be for an analogue FM transceiver with modules for 2m, 70cm and 23cm (it isn't clear to me whether you must choose one of these bands or whether you can fit all of the modules.) But with the addition of another module it can also become a D-Star transceiver!

Now I have never made any secret of my dislike of D-Star, mainly due to the fact that one manufacturer has a monopoly on the provision of radios. But a home-brew D-Star transceiver that doesn't require you to buy anything from Icom and would sit neatly alongside my K2 in a matching enclosure could just be the thing that makes me swallow my objections. Yes, it will still have an AMBE chip containing the proprietary codec. But most of my radios contain chips with proprietary firmware so I don't think that's a good enough reason for continuing to avoid D-Star.
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